Corn or Grain in Mark 2:23?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by North Carolina Tentmaker, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Messages:
    2,355
    Likes Received:
    0
    I did a search for this subject and could not find it, I hope it is not a repeat. In the King James Translation Mark 2:23 says:
    I struggled over this verse years ago and other verses like Genesis 42:1
    where the Bible talks of corn. This corn was not native to Palestine and was not grown in Biblical times, it was discovered with the settling of the America.

    So how, I asked a pastor years ago, could there be corn in Jesus' day and how could his disciples have picked "ears" of corn when corn was only discovered by Europeans when they came to this continent?

    This answer of course was very simple once I got bast the King James vocabulary. "Corn" was no more known in King James' day than it was in Jesus'. What we call corn here in America most of the world still calls maize. In 1611 when they said corn they were referring to other grains, usually sheaves of barley. What the disciples picked on that Sabbath day long ago was probably barley. It could have been some other grain but it was definitely not maize.

    In the NIV Mark 2:23 says:

    One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain.

    Now IMHO this is a great example of an improvement in the wording of a modern translation over the King James. Has anyone else struggled over this verse? What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Lacy Evans

    Lacy Evans
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2003
    Messages:
    2,364
    Likes Received:
    0
    "Ears of Corn", "Heads of Grain"

    The terms are synonymous in English.

    No one understands every English word they encounter. We don't have to fix every word, term, or phrase that we don't understand. Instead we need to improve our grasp of English. IMHO, Too many times (perhaps not here) something very valuable is lost in the fixing, and rarely (if ever) is anything gained by the "fix".

    Lacy
     
  3. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is a great example of needed changes. Lacy, why would anyone using a KJV bother to look up "corn"? They think they know what it means (even though it doesn't). It is therefore misleading to them.

    There is nothing at stake here, to be sure. But usually a whole lot is gained by the "fix," like proper understanding for starters ...
     
  4. skanwmatos

    skanwmatos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Messages:
    1,314
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is an excellent example of the terrible condition of the American education establishment.

    corn (kôrn) n. Any of various cereal plants or grains, especially the principal crop cultivated in a particular region, such as wheat in England or oats in Scotland.
     
  5. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    But the common usage of corn has a particular meaning that most people, even the well educated, would think that they understand. When you go to the market and ask for an "ear of corn," you know very well what you will get and it is not what Christ and his disciples ate.

    The American educational establishment, as deplorable as it is, is not at fault in this one. This is just an outdated translation.
     
  6. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Messages:
    2,355
    Likes Received:
    0
    Lacy and skanwmatos are both absolutely correct about the definitions of corn and ear. There is no error here in the King James Bible, just the archaic use of a word that clouds the meaning when read by modern men and women.

    I have a can of creamed corn I bought at the supermarket and guess what is in it? They were selling ears of corn at the produce stand yesterday (6 for a dollar by the way). I think I will pick some up on the way home. Guess what? Its all maize. When the average American sees the word corn that's what they are going to think of.

    No, there are no spiritual truths hanging in the balance on this verse (although the NIV uses the name Jesus where the KJV uses the pronoun he, obviously a satanic plot to reduce the impact of the name of Jesus [sarcasm intended]). However, when I first read this verse as a teenager I thought I had discovered an error in scripture and it really bothered me.

    We must be careful that we make the gospel of Christ accessible to everyone. We don't need to lock it away and only allow it to be understood by those who speak Latin or the King's English. Everyone should here the word of God in their own language. Yes skanwmatos, it does say something of the American Education system, but even us illiterate commoners have a right to hear the word of God.

    It is amazing to me that those who claim their loyalty is to the King James Bible are blind to the fact that they are opposing the very principle that led to it, the right of the common man to hear God's word in his own language.
     
  7. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well said, NCT. The word of God should not depend on a dictionary to define words that used to be used in a different way than they are. The Bible should be translated in teh common man's language.
     
  8. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Messages:
    2,355
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh, by the way, I just have a cheap little pocket dictionary here on my desk. It is Webster's School and Office dictionary, new edition, published in 1978. It defines corn as
    That is the complete definition. Now I know this is not the greatest dictionary in the world. I once worked for a Scotsman who asked me why in the world anyone would buy an English dictionary written by an American. But I keep this dictionary because its small and handy. Now I can figure out the use of the word corn in Mark with it, but it is not the primary definition.
     
  9. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    But I would still ask the question, Why would anyone actually look it up?? It has a common, well understood meaning. The people reading it would say "I Know what that means" when in fact they don't. And when looking it up, why in the world would anyone choose the second definition?
     
  10. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Messages:
    2,355
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well said Larry. I did look it up, after I scratched my head and said, "That can't be right, they didn't have corn back then."
     
  11. LarryN

    LarryN
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    Messages:
    958
    Likes Received:
    0
    Corn certainly historically can mean "grain" generically in English, and therefore it's correct to say that it's not an erroneous usage in the KJV. In Spanish, however, Maize (alt. "mais" or "maiz") does only refer to "ear corn" (i.e. corn-on-the-cob).

    When some no-doubt well meaning KJVO's decided some years ago that their needed to be a new version of God's Word in spanish (the Reina-Valera apparently not being acceptable, even though it's TR-based) translated directly from the KJV, they made the unfortunate choice of "maiz" in this passage.

    Here's how Doug Kutilek tells the story:

    "--At Mark 2:23, the KJV mentions the picking of "corn" on the Sabbath. In 1611 British English, "corn" meant "grain" (of whatever sort, but usually wheat, rye or barley), not specifically what we in America today call "corn" (think "Iowa in July"). As Americans who misunderstood the KJV's use of "corn" as though it was the 20th century American meaning of the word, the Rey Jaime translators give "maiz" ("corn," that is Indian corn; the Latin name being Zea mays). What is especially egregious about this mistranslation based on personal ignorance is that they have introduced into their version what is an actual historical error. You see, what we Americans call "corn" is a native American plant and was completely unknown in the Old World in general, and in Palestine in particular, until some while after A.D. 1492 when Columbus made his first voyage to the New World. To insert this plant into a first-century Palestine narrative is as much a historical error as if we found Paul driving to Damascus in a Chevy or Peter watching "The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather" on TV while on the rooftop of the house in Joppa."

    ---------------------------------------------

    Here's a link to the full article (look for the "Rey Jaime" section):

    http://www.kjvonly.org/aisi/2001/aisi_4_5_01.htm
     
  12. skanwmatos

    skanwmatos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Messages:
    1,314
    Likes Received:
    0
    You don't know what "corn" means so it must be the KJVs fault. Yep. Uh huh. Makes perfect sense to me! NOT!
     
  13. Orvie

    Orvie
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2001
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    0
    You don't know what "corn" means so it must be the KJVs fault. Yep. Uh huh. Makes perfect sense to me! NOT! </font>[/QUOTE]Pastor Larry is right. What does "corn" mean to your everyday Joe? Of course to most today we assume w/o further inquiry (who's gonna look up "corn" in the dictionary?)that this word is the yellow stuff that grows on a cob. I'd be willing to bet (fig of speech) that the vast majority of Americans who read "corn" in our Bibles don't know it's actually grain. Hence, for moden day Americans, the reading should be "grain", not "corn". See how MV's clarrify God's Word for us? ;)
     
  14. Lacy Evans

    Lacy Evans
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2003
    Messages:
    2,364
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sounds to me like the spanish translators need a better grasp of the original English. :D

    Lacy

    PS. . .. Uh, that's a joke son. . . (Foghorn
    Leghorn)
     
  15. Lacy Evans

    Lacy Evans
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2003
    Messages:
    2,364
    Likes Received:
    0
    How far are you willing to dumb down the English language?
    I absolutely guarantee that at least 90% of my low-level readers in my 8th grade class would read this and think Boaz was a pimp and was addressing one of his whores. Should we change the text? Or should we "study to show ourselves approved?"

    Lacy
     
  16. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    You're 100% correct. The Old English word "corn" referred to grains in general. Today, the words "grain" and "corn" are two different things. This is an example of how the English language has evolved over time.
     
  17. Lacy Evans

    Lacy Evans
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2003
    Messages:
    2,364
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know of no KJV-onlyist who doesn't believe that archaic words should be explained. But I have a biblical precedent for retaining the original word while taking the time to explain it to the younger hearer.

    What have ya'll got?

    Lacy
     
  18. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    You don't know what "corn" means so it must be the KJVs fault. Yep. Uh huh. Makes perfect sense to me! NOT! </font>[/QUOTE]Maybe because that is because you don't want to understand the issues. The fact is that out of all the definitions that "corn" has in the dictionary, there is one that commonly understood ... and if someone understands that, why would they look for something else.

    I didn't say the KJV was wrong. I said it was outdated and this is a prime example. It should make perfect sense to you. The fact that it does not may say more than you would like for it to.

    Lacy, this is not about dumbing down the English language. It is about standard English. When you say "We had corn for dinner" no one asks you if it was cereal, or grain. They know exactly what you mean. They are not dumb. They are using the language the way it is commonly used.

    As for Ruth 4:1, yes, you should use a modern version. Your eighth graders deserve that ...
     
  19. skanwmatos

    skanwmatos
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Messages:
    1,314
    Likes Received:
    0
    I do understand the issues. I just don't major on minors, and stupid minors at that.
     
  20. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    I fail to see how the definition of a word is in any way a KJVO issue. "Corn" in today's use not a good choice for translating this verse, since its use as grain in general is outdated. The best word to use is "grain". There's no way that anyone can say that "corn" is the best word to use in a translation in today's language. There's nothing in scripture that says we need to stick to outdated words in translations.
     

Share This Page

Loading...