Monday, August 4, 2008

Moses Olympiad: Winners!

About a week ago I challenged my seminary colleagues to explain why Moses was depicted with horns in a Tepoztlan church. I expected only the seminary geeks to go after this one, but boy was I wrong. There were actually three responses, only one of which was from someone with two years of seminary training (sigh). Forget points – I’m giving out medals in the spirit of the upcoming Olympics:

GOLD: Erica Heisser! Erica gets extra points for being the first responder (by email on July 30). She explains that Moses is depicted with horns because of a mistranslation by St. Jerome. The Hebrew actually says that Moses had rays of light on his head – not horns. Cokie Roberts was right about that Jesuit education!

SILVER: My dad, Mitch Keadle! Dad gets extra points for going the extra mile and looking up all kinds of arcane information on Michaelangelo’s scupture of a horned Moses (seen here) in St. Peter’s Baslilica which I totally did not even know about. Dad was impressed that Michaelangelo thought this particular sculpture so good, the artist hit marble-Moses on the knee with a hammer and commanded him to “Speak!” The scar on his knee is still there, but marble-Moses remains quiet. I spoke to Dad by phone on July 30 and received his answer, so he gets a very strong silver.

BRONZE: Zach Parris! Seminarian and soon-to-be Vicar Zach gets extra points for posting his answer in the comments section of the blog for everyone to enjoy, but sacrifices full victory by posting his answer a day late (July 31). Much like the 2004 USA Basketball Team, Zach takes the bronze during the offseason.

So there you have it. Moses was enlightened, with a face so bright he had to wear shades, or at least a veil, as Exodus 34:29-35 tells us. After all, if he really had horns, he wouldn’t be wearing a veil, he’d be shaving them down, like an ancient near east Hellboy (clearly I’ve been watching too many hotel room movies).

Congratulations winners! Stay tuned for our next competition…

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