forked tongues

From: Bart Ehrman (
Date: Thu Feb 17 2000 - 10:55:23 EST

QNANATOU hH DIGLWSSIA. This translates into something like: "you shall
not be of two minds nor xxx; for xxx is a snare of death."

   I'm trying to come up with an English phrase for DIGLWSSOS/DIGLWSSIA.
I don't much like keeping the parallel with "two minds" by saying "two
tongued (or double-minded/double-tongued)." I could use
"equivocate/equivocation," but that gets rid of the metaphor.

   What would you think of my using "forked tongue," as follows: "You
shall not be of two minds nor speak with a forked tongue. For a forked
tongue is a snare of death" ?

   I must admit, it vaguely reminds me of a Smothers Brothers routine I
used to listen to as a kid; but otherwise I kind of like it. But is it a
phrase people still understand?

-- Bart Ehrman
   University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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