Re: un-saltiness

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Oct 07 1995 - 20:25:11 EDT

At 5:33 PM 10/7/95, wrote:
>A bit of interesting marginalia regarding salt that has lost its savor--
>Lk 14.34: "Salt is good, but if even it loses its saltiness . . ." (KALON OUN
>TO hALAC EAN DE KAI TO hALAC MWRANQH). Marshall (NIGNTC) explains the use of
>MWRANQH (from MWROC, "foolish") by noting that the Hebrew *tafal* means both "a
>lack of saltiness" and "foolishness" (see Job 1.6, 22; Job 24.12; Jer 23.13).
>>From this I surmise that there was some kind of proverbial association between
>salty salt and wisdom.

I don't know how far this will go, but Latin SAL, and still more regularly,
the plural SALES, has the idiomatic sense of "wit" or sometimes even
"tastefulness," "sophistication." Although I wouldn't want to urge that
this MUST be the meaning in the Jesus-saying, it would not surprise me if
that should be the case, particularly in view of this very verb being used
here, MWRAINW, to make silly or foolish.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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