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  #1  
Old 09-02-2000, 07:09 PM
MEBuckner MEBuckner is online now
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I have seen in numerous places on the web the claim that Chernobyl is Ukrainian for "Wormwood". This would be significant because of Revelation 8:10-11's reference to a star named Wormwood falling to Earth and poisoning a third of the waters. Most of the web pages citing this as fact are, unsurprisingly, Christian fundamentalist websites, and I, having a base and suspicious mind, am not inclined to give much credit to Christian fundamentalist websites. On the other hand, I also found one non-fundie site which refers to the Chernobyl=Wormwood claim as fact. Now, a Ukrainian-English dictionary I found on the web has an entry for "wormwood", and none of what comes up looks anything like "Chernobyl" (or "Chornobyl" in Ukrainian). Aha! I say. Another stupid fundie urban legend. (Which suckered in a few secular types as well.) But then, a little further research turns up a number of official references to a "Project Polyn" in connection with the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster. And Polyn does mean "wormwood" according to the Ukrainian-English dictionary above. Furthermore, this site from the University of Hawaii, which appears to be a translation of an official document from the Kurchatov Institute, states that ""POLYN" is a Russian word and means "Chernobyl'". So at this point I don't know what to think.

1. Does Chernobyl/Chornobyl mean "wormwood"?
2. If not, what does it mean?
3. Again, if the answer to question #1 is "no", why'd the Russians name their official report on the Chernobyl disaster "Project Wormwood"? Pure literary allusion? (Like Oppenheimer supposedly quoting the Bhagavad-Gita at the Trinity atom bomb test.)

Any of the 9,315 of you speak Ukrainian (or have a grandmother who does)?
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  #2  
Old 09-02-2000, 08:17 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is online now
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Can't help you directly with the Ukrainian meanings, but bear in mind that different English translations of the Bible use different words to express that particular passage.

For example, the King James uses "Wormwood," but the Good News Bible states: "The name of the star is 'Bitterness.' "

Some of the Bible-mavens on the Board may be able to give you more information on this point: what is the Greek word in this passage, and how is it best translated?
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Old 09-02-2000, 09:03 PM
El_Kabong El_Kabong is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by MEBuckner


1. Does Chernobyl/Chornobyl mean "wormwood"?
2. If not, what does it mean?
Well, it sure doesn't mean 'Quality Assurance', ha ha ha...

Sorry, I'll shut up now.
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Old 09-02-2000, 09:19 PM
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I think the 2 important questions here are:

#1) Was Chernobyl a star?

and

#2) Did the disaster poison one third of our water supply?

The answer to both, of course, is 'No'. So does it really matter what Chernobyl means? If it does, i have a friend from Estonia who speaks Ukranian, i can ask him if you want.
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Old 09-02-2000, 09:28 PM
MEBuckner MEBuckner is online now
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Quote:
So does it really matter what Chernobyl means?
Well, I probably won't rush out and accept Jesus as my personal Saviour even if it's true, if that's what you mean, but it would be an interesting coincidence. (And if it isn't true, I don't suppose droves of fundamentalist Christians will renounce their faith and become Secular Humanists, even if the fact becomes well publicized.) But, what sort of attitude is that, anyway? This is the Straight Dope--dispelling ignorance is our great purpose in life. The Lord Cecil commands us to fight ignorance; it's our Great Commission. I am ignorant on this matter; I seek Enlightenment.

Quote:
If it does, i have a friend from Estonia who speaks Ukranian, i can ask him if you want.
Sure, I'd appreciate it.
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Old 09-02-2000, 09:37 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is online now
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I just realised something: Danielinthewolvesden is a) knowledgeable about the Bible, and b) of Trans-carpathian Ukrainian background.

Oh, Daniel...
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Old 09-02-2000, 11:03 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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No, Revelation 8 was just intended as a warning to lay off the absinthe.
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Old 09-02-2000, 11:09 PM
Speaker for the Dead Speaker for the Dead is offline
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Actually, if you take Revelations literally, I'd consider you a nut. You should hear some of the stuff that John says. About the 4 horsemen, and the dead coming alive.
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Old 09-02-2000, 11:29 PM
Cisco Cisco is offline
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Ok i emailed my friend and asked him. He's living at his parents summer house right now where they dont have electricity so he only checks his email every few days but ill post when i get a reply.
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Old 09-03-2000, 12:24 AM
MEBuckner MEBuckner is online now
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Thanks, Cisco.
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Old 09-03-2000, 01:11 AM
wolfman wolfman is offline
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just to play devils advocate for the moment

Quote:
#1) Was Chernobyl a star?
We'll it would have been really hard to explain to a non-techolgical person what nuclear power was(lumping fission and fussion together for a moment) so maybe God was saying it was like a star on earth, and that got translated to a star falling to earth.
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Old 09-03-2000, 03:08 AM
Danielinthewolvesden Danielinthewolvesden is offline
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jti: well, see, that area has more dialects than you can shake a shashka at. As far it being an exact analog of the Greek word that they translated as 'wormwood", it is unlikely.

However, certainly, even if it was, there would have had to be the opening of the 7 seals, and the two other Trumps, and this is something which would not be debated, or subtle in any way, such as the 4 Horsemen, the rising & marking of the 144000, the turning black of the Sun, the turning red of the moon, the complete stopping of all wind, the destruction of 1/3 of all the plants by burning hail, the falling of all the other stars, the turning of 1/3 of the waters & oceans to blood, etc. I really think we just might has noticed this.
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Old 09-03-2000, 07:04 AM
TheThill TheThill is offline
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Excuse me, but what exactly is wormwood anyway?
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Old 09-03-2000, 08:38 AM
Cisco Cisco is offline
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Wormwood is a star that crashes to Earth and ruins 1/3 of our water supply. You can read more about our friend Wormwood in the New Testament book of: Revelations.
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Old 09-03-2000, 09:28 AM
Kamino Neko Kamino Neko is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cisco
Wormwood is a star that crashes to Earth and ruins 1/3 of our water supply. You can read more about our friend Wormwood in the New Testament book of: Revelations.
One would assume he's asking what real wormwood is, not the symbolic use thereof.

Wormwood is a plant which yeilds a bitter extract, which was used to flavour Absinthe.
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Old 09-03-2000, 09:33 AM
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wormwood

The Thrill asks what wormwood is. It is also "n.1. also called absinthe, any of various plants of the chiefly N. temperate genus Artemisia, esp. A. absinthium, a European plant yielding a bitter extract used in making absinthe..." (Collins English Dictionary) This is fun - I knew it had a vermouth connection but didn't know it connected to absinthe-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder.
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Old 09-03-2000, 06:39 PM
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Cherno probably means black. No idea what byl means.
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Old 09-03-2000, 06:53 PM
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Literally Chernobyl means "was black" but that doesn't seem to make much sense. If someone could give me the originial cyrillic spelling it would be helpful.
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  #19  
Old 09-04-2000, 05:10 PM
Sith Sheriff Brody Sith Sheriff Brody is offline
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Wormwood is also the name of an apprentice devil in 'The Screwtape Letters'.


-SSB
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  #20  
Old 09-04-2000, 05:38 PM
Tinker Grey Tinker Grey is offline
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The Greek Word

is apsinthos, according to Strong's Concordance which can be found here. ( (1) Search for whatever verse or word you are looking for, (2) Click on the letter "C" which appears by the verse -> takes you to a greek-english word by word correspondance, (3) Click on the number of the word you are interested in.)

There are other instances of word wormwood in the Bible. Wormwood in the Jewish Bible appears to be used in a number of circumstances, but the Greek word absinthos occurs only in Rev 8:11. The Hebrew words that were translated "wormwood" appear to be related only in the sense of "bitterness".

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  #21  
Old 09-04-2000, 11:16 PM
Greg Charles Greg Charles is offline
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Quote:
Wormwood is also the name of an apprentice devil in 'The Screwtape Letters'.
... and, appropritately, the name of Calvin's teacher in "Calvin and Hobbes".
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Old 09-04-2000, 11:28 PM
screech-owl screech-owl is offline
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According to Baba (my great-grandmother, mom's side of the family) - there was a demon in Russian folklore named Chernebog (Chernybog? not too sure on the spelling), a large demon who would torment those in hell - I believe Disney used this as the basis for the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence for "Fantasia".

I was only six when she used to tell me these and stories about 'Baba Yaga' (Grandmother Witch) and about life in the 'old country', but this was one of the ones that really stuck in my memory (and scared me as a kid).

Not sure about the Wormwood or Christian connection.

Two cents rendered. Receipt please.
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Old 09-05-2000, 05:40 AM
Andy Andy is offline
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According to a friend from Kiev, it means "Black/dark legend".
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Old 09-05-2000, 06:37 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is online now
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I don't have the issue number here, but this whole question was addressed seveal years ago in The Skeptical Inquirer. The bottom line was "No, 'Chernobyl' does not mean 'wormwood'." The fundamentalists are working overtime again to shoehorn world events into their interpretation.
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Old 09-05-2000, 09:46 AM
Olentzero Olentzero is offline
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This subject was brought up almost a year ago now, I believe in MPSIMS. I've tried looking for the thread and can't seem to locate it; it may be older than Sept 1999 and therefore someplace I haven't thought of looking yet.

The actual spelling of the location in Ukraine is Chernobyl', i.e. a 'soft' sign at the end. (For all you non-Slavic language speakers, a soft sign is a silent letter, indicating a change in the pronunciation of the preceding consonant.) Hence it doesn't mean "was black", since that translates as cherno byl (no soft sign).

According to one online Russian>English dictionary, byl' does in fact mean "true story or occurrence", but I don't think it takes that meaning as far as the name of the place is concerned. I have a Russian dictionary at home - i.e. one that defines the Russian words in Russian - and I'll take a look there to see if it gives any other definitions to byl'. AFAIK Russian and Ukrainian are close enough to believe that the same definitions would apply in both languages.

I tried the online dictionary MEBuckner linked to, but since I don't have this thing set up for Ukrainian keyboard support it won't work with me. Oh well.
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  #26  
Old 09-05-2000, 08:48 PM
bibliophage bibliophage is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Olentzero
This subject was brought up almost a year ago now, I believe in MPSIMS. I've tried looking for the thread and can't seem to locate it
I found this thread in Great Debates in which is debated the wormwood/Chernobyl question: The Bible and aliens
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  #27  
Old 09-24-2000, 11:08 PM
MEBuckner MEBuckner is online now
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Just to update this thread with what I've discovered in my tireless (not to say obsessive) quest for The Truth:

The Children of Chernobyl (a charity for victims of the accident) includes this statement on its front page:

Quote:
Chernobylnik: a variety of absinthe (wormwood) with a red-brown or deep purple stem
A quick search for "chernobylnik" turns up this web page (which appears to be from the Department of Biology at Yaroslavl State University), which confirms that the plant known in English as mugwort, scientifically classified as Artemisia vulgaris L., and called in Russian "Polyn obyknovennaya" is apparently also named (or perhaps nicknamed) "chernobylnik". Mugwort is a very close relative of the common wormwood plant (A. absinthium).

I must say the fundies have really milked this one for all it's worth. For example, from this site (evidently from a conservative Catholic, just for a change) asserts that "In slavic Bibles (i.e. Ukrainian and Czech Bibles at least), the term Wormwood is translated as Chernobyl in our languages." I didn't find any Ukrainian Bibles on line, and didn't feel like shelling out seven bucks to buy one, but I did find a Czech Bible, and after a certain amount of horsing around with the thing (I don't speak Czech), I was able to get it to cough up the following:

Quote:
Když zazněla třetí polnice, spadla s nebe veliká hvězda sršící jako vržená pochodeň. Padla na třetinu řek a pramenů a zamořila třetinu vod svou jedovatou hořkostí; mnoho lidí v důsledků toho zemřelo. Ta hvězda byla nazvána Pelyněk.
Zjevení 8,10-11
I know the Russian word for "star" is "zvezda" (from the recent successful launch of the International Space Station's Zvezda module) and as previously mentioned in this thread, the Russian word for "Wormwood" is "Polyn", so I'm betting that "Ta hvězda byla nazvána Pelyněk" corresponds to "the name of the star is Wormwood", with "hvězda"="zvezda"="star", and "Pelyněk"="Polyn"="Wormwood". So, the mugwort plant (a close relative of the wormwood plant) is named, or perhaps nicknamed, something which does in fact sound very much like Chernobyl. And in both English and the Slavic languages the common name of Artemisia absinthium--Wormwood or Polyn/Pelyněk--does crop up in Revelation 8:11. However, I don't think the word "Chernobyl" actually appears in anyone's Bible in any language.

....Obsessive? Who, me?
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Old 09-25-2000, 02:29 AM
Snooooopy Snooooopy is offline
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The supposed connection between Chernobyl and wormwood formed the basis of an episode of "Millenium." I liked "Millenium" quite a bit -- too bad it only lasted for three seasons.
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  #29  
Old 09-25-2000, 05:09 AM
Stimpy Stimpy is offline
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Manchester, England, has a prison called Wormwood Scrubs. No strict connection to the question in hand, but piling the points on high for wormwood as synonymous with bad things. However, thinking on this a touch more, Wormwood Scrubs is also where they produce Boddington's Bitter, the amber nectar of beers..... is there anything in the bible concerning the destruction of all we know and then the God's popping down to eat?
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Old 09-25-2000, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Stimpy
Manchester, England, has a prison called Wormwood Scrubs. No strict connection to the question in hand, but piling the points on high for wormwood as synonymous with bad things. However, thinking on this a touch more, Wormwood Scrubs is also where they produce Boddington's Bitter, the amber nectar of beers..... is there anything in the bible concerning the destruction of all we know and then the God's popping down to eat?
Alas, no. Wormwood Scrubs Prison is in West London. On the other hand "Boddington's, The Cream of Manchester" is an anagram of "Boddington's Stomach Ache Fermenter".
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Old 09-25-2000, 08:51 AM
Stimpy Stimpy is offline
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- Say Ren, whatcha doin?
- You stuuupid fool, you've dropped your brain again you eeeediot! Here, get it away from me!

Sorry, it's HMP Strangeways in Manchester, isn't it? They do have great names/are built in unfortunately named areas though!
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Old 09-25-2000, 09:02 AM
Snooooopy Snooooopy is offline
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Wormwood Scrubs?

That clears up a line in the Jam song "Down In The Tube Station At Midnight" -- "They smelt of pubs and Wormwood Scrubs and too many right-wing meetings" refers to the gang that attacks the narrator in the tube station.
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Old 05-30-2001, 04:12 AM
bibliophage bibliophage is offline
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I don't know if anybody still cares, but I did stumble across a Ukrainian Bible resource (while looking for a Norwegian Bible). Go to the Unbound Bible . In the first drop-down menu choose Ukrainian (near the bottom), in the second choose Revelation (about 3/4 of the way down), and plug in the chapter and verse (8:10-8-11).

Not having the right fonts I can only approximate: Greek apsinthos is translated Polin in Ukrainian and Polyn' in Russian.
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Old 05-30-2001, 08:28 PM
MEBuckner MEBuckner is online now
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Just as I suspected...

Thanks, bibliophage. (I'm also gonna bookmark that site.)
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  #35  
Old 08-27-2011, 10:44 PM
shaunfrederick shaunfrederick is offline
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what about the fire mountain?

Am I being ignorant and arrogant when I say that I think the one Revelations trumpet where something that looks like a mountain on fire gets thrown into the sea...sorta....ehh..sounds like the Gulf of Mexico issue two years ago? Lets be honest, that oil rig sorta looks like a mountain....on fire.....to a guy 2000 years ago.

Atheist Shawn.
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Old 08-27-2011, 11:26 PM
MEBuckner MEBuckner is online now
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Wow...I thought this thread would be--I dunno--bigger maybe. It's so small! Only one page! Oh, gosh, I remmber that post--oh hey--is that my old baseball glove?




Quote:
Originally Posted by shaunfrederick View Post
Am I being ignorant and arrogant when I say that I think the one Revelations trumpet where something that looks like a mountain on fire gets thrown into the sea...sorta....ehh..sounds like the Gulf of Mexico issue two years ago? Lets be honest, that oil rig sorta looks like a mountain....on fire.....to a guy 2000 years ago.

Atheist Shawn.
Quote:
The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. -- Revelation 8:8-9
The Deepwater Horizon spill was bad, but it certainly didn't kill off one third of all the sea life in the world, and the only "ship" that was sunk was the Deepwater Horizon platform itself. A "huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea" sounds more like a major meteor impact event to me (and if it kills off one third of all the oceans, an asteroid or comet, not just a minor space rock); or maybe a big volcanic eruption.

Basically, I think a lot of Revelation is kind of like an inkblot. People read it, and see whatever is in their heads at the time.
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Old 08-27-2011, 11:34 PM
The Man In Black The Man In Black is offline
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Well, the dead do seem to be walking....
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Old 08-27-2011, 11:46 PM
MEBuckner MEBuckner is online now
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Well, the dead do seem to be walking....
Hey! I'm not dead! I'm just--resting!
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:11 AM
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Cher-no-bull

Thx for intelligent thoughtful debate!

I am a pastor who is teaching through the book of Revelation, and was doing research on the Chernobyl/wormwood connection. I too heard this explanation years ago, and was not content to simple repeat things without verifying them as facts. Sadly many ministers simply repeat things they hear another say because it "preaches good." It would appear from the consensus of answers here that there is a Chernobyl/Polnik/apsinthos/wormwood connection.

However, I'd like to point out that purely from a biblical perspective, the event described in Revelation 8 translated "Wormwood" in futurist vs. preterist view is something that will yet occur during the prophetic "70th week" (7 years) of the book of Daniel. During this time according to scripture a future antichrist will arise as a man of peace and successfully broker a 7 year peace treaty in Israel during which the events of Rev 4-19 take place. So the event at Chernobyl while possibly showing on a small scale how waters can be poisoned, is not the event prophesied in scripture. Many in Hitlers day thought he was the antichrist due to the similarities to scriptural prophecy, but we must not make the mistake of trying to make the puzzle pieces fit. (And no, Barack Obama is not the antichrist either, although I feel his policies are greasing the pole.)

I do believe that events prophesied are literal except where self described as symbolic, and though spectacular on some measure, it only stands to reason that if God truly created the universe as He claims, He is of utmost ability to judge it in any way He sees fit. That being said, I believe there are many ministers who take a mindless approach to faith and thus turn scripture to fit their own paradigm leaving no room for valid questions, in much the same way modern science rules out the possibility of a supernatural God simply because it rocks their secular humanist boat. I suggest for thinkers who are willing to know truth to read "God's Plan for Man" by Finnis Dake. His approach to scripture is both rational and scientific and yet allows God to be who He claims to be. He proves (as does science) that the earth is far older than 6,000 years, and yet that approximately that long ago the events of Genesis 1:2-31 (re-creation) were the beginnings of God's dealing with modern man, all in a way that does not insult reason and common sense.

I believe true spirituality is totally rational once one discovers spiritual law, in the same sense that flight is completely rational once man discovered the law of lift. The fact that the law of lift existed long before man discovered it, lends a rational door through which seekers may leap when pondering that God may exist after all. I as a seeker of truth myself will be happy to meet you at that door, which I believe to be Jesus Christ.

Thank you to Straight Dope for allowing thinkers of all backgrounds to come together without bashing to follow free will and vet out ideas. You're a credit to the human race!
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:26 AM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revbanks View Post
(And no, Barack Obama is not the antichrist either, although I feel his policies are greasing the pole.)
Feel free to elaborate in a more appropriately-themed thread sometime about which policies specifically and where that pole leads.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:03 AM
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It's been revived at last counting times. This thread really does refuse to die.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:05 AM
Alka Seltzer Alka Seltzer is offline
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... although I feel his policies are greasing the pole.)
I'm going to use the phrase "greasing the antichrist's pole" for anything nefarious from now on.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:23 AM
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I'm going to use the phrase "greasing the antichrist's pole" for anything nefarious from now on.
I used a variation of the line last night. Alas, I went home alone.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:44 AM
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Ignoring Jesus and friends for a minute and getting back to the OP, I can't believe that in twelve years nobody has looked in a dictionary.

"чорнобиль, m. Bot. wolf's-bane, monk's-hood, artemisia"
"полин" or "полинь, m. Bot. wormwood."

Wolfsbane and monkshood are aconite (aconitum); artemesia is the genus including wormwood. I'm guessing this is чорно- "black" + било "stem, stalk".
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:08 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revbanks View Post
It would appear from the consensus of answers here that there is a Chernobyl/Polnik/apsinthos/wormwood connection.
There's a connection, but only in the Kevin Bacon sense.
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  #46  
Old 11-22-2012, 09:47 AM
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Personally, I'm grateful to Revbanks's contribution for introducing me to the term "preaches good". I'll be using that extensively as the context permits!
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:55 AM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Posts: 26,007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revbanks View Post
(And no, Barack Obama is not the antichrist either, although I feel his policies are greasing the pole.)
[Moderator Note]

Revbanks, political remarks of this kind are not permitted in General Questions. Much of the rest of your post would be more appropriate for our Great Debates forum than this one. Please keep this in mind in the future.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Last edited by Colibri; 11-22-2012 at 10:55 AM..
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  #48  
Old 11-22-2012, 11:36 AM
Sailboat Sailboat is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revbanks View Post
something that will yet occur during the prophetic "70th week" (7 years) of the book of Daniel.
70 weeks = 7 years? How does that work in the literal sense?
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  #49  
Old 11-22-2012, 12:07 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Hamlet III, 2, 166:
PLAYER QUEEN
    Oh, confound the rest!
Such love must needs be treason in my breast.
In second husband let me be accursed!
None wed the second but who killed the first.

HAMLET
(aside)Wormwood, wormwood.


Reminds me, obligatory:
Ulysses, Circe

SHAKESPEARE (With paralytic rage.)
Weda seca whokilla farst.
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  #50  
Old 11-22-2012, 01:09 PM
Revbanks Revbanks is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
70 weeks = 7 years? How does that work in the literal sense?
Dan. 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

The phrase “seventy weeks” literally means “seventy sevens” (Hebrew: for “week” is shabuwa‘, seven).

The prophetic "70th week" refers to the 70 "weeks of years" as referred to in prophetic terms. A "week" in Daniels prophecy (Dan 9:24) represented 7 years rather than 7 days, and the 70th week ties into the fulfillment of the 7 year tribulation in Revelation. Too deep for here and I apologize for commenting in the wrong forum. As a "newbie" my mistake.

Also, please forgive the poor choice of example with reference to the "greased pole". Of course I didn't intend any phallic references, or political diatribes. Thx all for keep this thread classy not trashy.

God bless all who search for truth!
Respectfully...
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