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Unicorns are real. The Bible says so.

From those crazy kids at This Week in Science: the Unicorn Museum! This makes me laugh like mad, because I love unicorns for all their cheesy, rainbow-riding beauty. How wonderful to discover they have the same amount of legitimacy going for them as other proven scientific concepts like creationism! From Job 39:9-12:

9Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib?

10Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee?

11Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? or wilt thou leave thy labour to him?

12Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn?

(That’s the King James Version . . . other heretical translations use “oxen.”)

Enjoy the Unicorn Museum? If your weekly dose of The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe still leaves you with a yen for more science podcasty goodness, check out This Week in Science!

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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8 Comments

  1. Some scholars believe that the "unicorn" in Job refers to a type of wild ox that lived throughout the Middle East. This beast was often depicted in Assyrian hunting murals, and the Assyrian word for the animal was rimu. The Jews may have borrowed rimu as the name for the oxen and Hebrew-ized it as re'em, which in Hebrew happens to mean "one-horned." Thus, although the word for the animal is unicorn, this is only due to a linguistic coincidence. I'm not necessarily advocating this idea, but it is interesting.

  2. You can find people in biblical academia who say that more recent manuscripts of the holy texts should be given higher regard, since they are witnesses "to the whole history of revelation." By that logic, "unicorn" should be the preferred translation in Job 39 and Deuteronomy 33:17, because God could easily have spake into a monk's ear when the monk was scribbling those lines down.

    Of course, nobody applies their own rules of textual judgment consistently; whether "liberal" or "fundamentalist," biblical scholarship contains strong doses of knavery.

    And here's my plug for Hector Avalos' The End of Biblical Studies (2007) and Fighting Words (2005). Go, buy, read — and make the Discovery Institute's smear campaign against him an ironic failure. Heh heh heh.

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