...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Friday, March 10, 2006

All of those things you saw in your pajamas are a long-range forecast for your farmers

Prof. Kugler: "How does Joseph's land-distribution strategy in Genesis 41 compare with what Eusebius tells us in Fragment 2 that Artapanus wrote? Is anyone familiar enough with the Biblical tradition to remember this?"

Me: "Well, in Genesis Joseph was Pharaoh's advisor and predicts seven years of bumper crops and seven years of famine, and devises the grain rationing system to lead Egypt through the famine."

Yes, friends, I spoke with absolute authority in Seminar in Biblical Studies on the Joseph story, based almost completely on knowledge gathered from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. God bless you, Andrew Lloyd Webber. If only you were so useful in New Testament. ("Always hoped that I'd be an apostle / Knew that I could make it if I tried / Then when we retire, we can write the Gospels / So they'll all talk about us when we've died" unfortunately does not accurately represent the trasnmission and composition histories of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, although Jesus Christ Superstar DOES help me remember who the Zealots were, and that they were probably all quite hot while dancing around in black leather while hoisting machine guns).

Your farms will boom! (woo woo woo)
There won't be room! (woo woo)
To store the surplus food you'll grow!
But Egypt's luck will change completely overnight (aaaaa)
After that, the future doesn't look so bright (aaa)
(something something)
What you need to lead you through the famine
Is a man with economic plannin'
But who this man could be I just don't know...
Who this man could be I just don't
Who this man could be I just don't
Who this man could be I JUST DON'T KNOW!

Artapanus, this wacky Jewish Egyptian who wrote in the late third or early second century BCE might record it a little differently and change Joseph's policies around, but as far as I'm concerned, "the first recorded rationing in history was a hit!"