Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Embalmed in honey

So I came across a book (don't ask) called Nativity: The Christmas Story, Which You Have Never Heard. My first thought was, how would that be possible? I've already read the only real source material that exists. Turns out this is one of those "real history" books, albeit "real" filtered through a particular theological agenda.

Possibly the finest tidbit on the back cover (and yes, this is "sic"):

"Herod amazing genius whose architecture excelled Rome, and kept his murdered wife in a jar of honey!"

Wow! I definitely don't remember hearing that one before! Unfortunately, the actual "fact" is described in the book this way: "It was rumored in ancient times that Herod secretly kept Mariamne's body embalmed in a huge jar of honey...but this was never verified." (p. 119)

The online JewishEncyclopedia.com does include this factoid as a "Talmudic legend." But I definitely appreciate the enthusiasm of the back cover blurbage.

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