The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-28-2001, 12:27 PM
toadspittle toadspittle is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Toadspittle Hill
Posts: 6,075
Just curious what sort of work they were involved with. Building houses? Thatching roofs? Did they only handle making post-and-beam supports or something? Or did they cart rocks, mix plaster, etc.?

In other words, was this a specialized/skilled trade, or just another word for "day laborer"?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 03-28-2001, 12:49 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 10,649
Allow me to recommend David MacCauley's picture books, specifically CATHEDRAL, PYRAMID, CITY, and CASTLE. Very informative and enjoyable.

Basically, everything the stonemasons did needed to be laid on top of a wooden frame created by the carpenters. The the carpenters came back and took the frame away. Must have been a fairly thankless existence.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-28-2001, 12:54 PM
dolphinboy dolphinboy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Bigfork, Montana
Posts: 2,938
Although I'm not an expert on the subject my understanding is that the word "carpenter" probably didn't mean exactly what it means today. In other words, these people could build things out of wood (as opposed to stone masons) but were somewhat more gene.

I wouldn't think of them as common day laborers since they were what we would consider skilled workers of their day.

They could probably build a house, or a cart, or an ark... whatever you needed built that was primarily made out of wood.

What's harder for me to imagine is that 2000 years ago there must have been some source of wood in the Middle East... I'm just not sure from where.
__________________
De gustibus non est disputandum - "There is no accounting for taste"

A good friend will help you move. A really good friend will help you move a body.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-28-2001, 12:56 PM
plnnr plnnr is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
They sang really sappy songs, of course...

Why do birds suddenly appear
Every time
You are near?
Just like me
They long to be
Close to you...

Oh, I'm terribly sorry. I thought the thread said "the Carpenters."

Never mind.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-28-2001, 12:59 PM
dolphinboy dolphinboy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Bigfork, Montana
Posts: 2,938
Although I'm not an expert on the subject my understanding is that the word "carpenter" probably didn't mean exactly what it means today. In other words, these people could build things out of wood (as opposed to stone masons) but were somewhat more gene.

I wouldn't think of them as common day laborers since they were what we would consider skilled workers of their day.

They could probably build a house, or a cart, or an ark... whatever you needed built that was primarily made out of wood.

What's harder for me to imagine is that 2000 years ago there must have been some source of wood in the Middle East... I'm just not sure from where.
__________________
De gustibus non est disputandum - "There is no accounting for taste"

A good friend will help you move. A really good friend will help you move a body.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-28-2001, 01:09 PM
Liberal Liberal is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
The term "carpenter" in this context is a translation of the term "tekton" (can't render Greek characters here). It is Strongs number 5045, and is found in two instances:

Matthew 13:55 "Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?" (KJV)

Mark 6:3 "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him." (KJV)

Strongs gives this:

Quote:
5045 tekton {tek'-tone}

from the base of 5098;; n m

AV - carpenter 2; 2

1) a worker in wood, a carpenter, joiner, builder
1a) a ship's carpenter or builder
2) any craftsman, or workman
2a) the art of poetry, maker of songs
3) a planner, contriver, plotter
3a) an author
This is an excerpt of commentary by John Dominic Crossan, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, DePaul University:

Quote:
Tradition has it that Jesus was a carpenter. The term is in Greek "tectone" in Mark's gospel..., "artisan" would be maybe our best translation. But in the pecking order of peasant society, a peasant artisan is lower than a peasant farmer. It probably means usually a peasant farmer who had been pushed off the land and has to make his living, if he can, by laboring.

The difficulty for us in hearing a term like "carpenter" is that we immediately think of a highly skilled worker, and at least in North America, in the middle class, making a very high income. As soon as we take that into the ancient world we are totally lost. Because, first of all, there was no middle class in the ancient world. There were the haves and the have nots, to put it very simply. And in the anthropology of peasant societies, to say that somebody is an artisan or a carpenter is not to compliment them. It is to say that they are lower in the pecking order than a peasant farmer. So it's from the anthropologists that I take the idea that a peasant artisan is not a compliment.
Most commentators, including Matthew Henry and Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, agree that the reference to Jesus as "carpenter" in both Mark and Matthew were intended as derision.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-28-2001, 01:13 PM
yabob yabob is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 7,252
Quote:
What's harder for me to imagine is that 2000 years ago there must have been some source of wood in the Middle East... I'm just not sure from where.
Why right over there ... See der tree?

'course that could be just a pile of shittim.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-28-2001, 02:41 PM
DrMatrix DrMatrix is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: New York State of Mind
Posts: 3,299
What did carpenters do in Jesus's day?

Who do you think made all of those wooden crosses?
__________________
That's not a tau neutrino in my pocket; I've got a hadron.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-28-2001, 04:02 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: 847 mi. from Cecil
Posts: 28,925
Quote:
Originally posted by dolphinboy
What's harder for me to imagine is that 2000 years ago there must have been some source of wood in the Middle East... I'm just not sure from where.
What, you've never heard of The Cedars of Lebanon?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-28-2001, 08:46 PM
omni-not omni-not is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Re: What did carpenters do in Jesus's day?

Quote:
Originally posted by DrMatrix
Who do you think made all of those wooden crosses?
If I remember correctly, it's the opening scene in Scorsese's Last temptation of Christ
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-28-2001, 09:04 PM
D18 D18 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Re: Re: What did carpenters do in Jesus's day?

Quote:
Originally posted by omni-not
Quote:
Originally posted by DrMatrix
Who do you think made all of those wooden crosses?
If I remember correctly, it's the opening scene in Scorsese's Last temptation of Christ
And to quote Kinky Friedman:

We ain't makin' carpenters who know what nails are for!
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03-29-2001, 12:03 AM
Max the Immortal Max the Immortal is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
For what it's worth, there is evidence that the word "carpenter" was a metaphor (for what, I don't know). Likewise, the apostles probably weren't literally fishermen, but more like missionaries; their job was to "fish for souls" (convert people).

I suppose that 2000 years ago, real carpenters built stuff (duh). You know, furniture, houses, boats, barns, other buildings...
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 03-29-2001, 12:08 AM
Gatsby Gatsby is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Quote:
Originally posted by Ukulele Ike
Allow me to recommend David MacCauley's picture books, specifically CATHEDRAL, PYRAMID, CITY, and CASTLE. Very informative and enjoyable.

Basically, everything the stonemasons did needed to be laid on top of a wooden frame created by the carpenters. Then the carpenters came back and took the frame away. Must have been a fairly thankless existence.
[highjack]

Ike, have you read Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth ? Great novel about stonemasons and cathedral building based on Follett's usual superb research.

[/highjack]
__________________
You got it buddy, the large print giveth and the small print taketh away - Tom Waits
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 03-29-2001, 09:51 AM
Duck Duck Goose Duck Duck Goose is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Time for Sunday School. Back in Old Testament times, they were perfectly familiar with forests....
Quote:
Deu 19:5 For instance, a man may go into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood, and as he swings his ax to fell a tree, the head may fly off and hit his neighbor and kill him. That man may flee to one of these cities and save his life.
Quote:
Josh 17:15 "If you are so numerous," Joshua answered, "and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites."
Quote:
2 Sam 18:6 The army marched into the field to fight Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim.
2 Sam 18:8 The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest claimed more lives that day than the sword.
Quote:
1 Chr 16:33 Then the trees of the forest will sing, they will sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.
Quote:
Song 2:3 Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
...and with the wild animals who lived there...
Quote:
Psa 80:13 Boars from the forest ravage it and the creatures of the field feed on it.
Quote:
Psa 104:20 You bring darkness, it becomes night, and all the beasts of the forest prowl.
Psa 104:21 The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God.
Quote:
Jer 5:6 Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them, a wolf from the desert will ravage them, a leopard will lie in wait near their towns to tear to pieces any who venture out, for their rebellion is great and their backslidings many.
..and with the forest fires that sometimes destroyed them...
Quote:
Psa 83:14 As fire consumes the forest or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,
Psa 83:15 so pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your storm.
Quote:
Isa 9:18 Surely wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns, it sets the forest thickets ablaze, so that it rolls upward in a column of smoke.
There was plenty of wood for carpenters...
Quote:
Neh 2:8 And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the king's forest, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?" And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests.
...even if they were using their skills to make idols...
Quote:
Isa 44:13 The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker; he roughs it out with chisels and marks it with compasses. He shapes it in the form of man, of man in all his glory, that it may dwell in a shrine.
Isa 44:14 He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.
Isa 44:15 It is man's fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it.
Isa 44:16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, "Ah! I am warm; I see the fire."
Isa 44:17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, "Save me; you are my god."
Isa 44:18 They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
Isa 44:19 No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, "Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?"
Isa 44:20 He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, "Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?"
And especially for God as Carpenter, there was no shortage of wood...
Quote:
Isa 10:33 See, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will lop off the boughs with great power. The lofty trees will be felled, the tall ones will be brought low.
Isa 10:34 He will cut down the forest thickets with an ax; Lebanon will fall before the Mighty One.
Isa 11:1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
Here endeth the Lesson.

Here's a big list of the flora of Palestine today (this is just a snip). Lots of Latin names. "Quercus" is oak. I'm assuming "pistacia" is pistachio. Acacia is mentioned in the big list. Carob trees, pine trees. "Maquis" is another name for what in L.A. is called "chaparral".

http://www.mena.gov.ps/part3/biod.htm
Quote:
The Mediterranean Territory covered with vegetation includes forests, maquis, garigue and batha (dwarf shrub formations) in which Quercus calliprinos and Pistaca palaestina are shown to be the dominant species. The local forests and maquis can be grouped as the Common Oak Forests, the Aleppo Pine Forests (Pinus halepensis), and the Carob and Mastic Pistacia Scrub Forests.
Google. "deforestation Palestine".

http://www.palestinecenter.org/news/20000314.html
Quote:
14 March 2000 -- Part of the "Fertile Crescent," historic Palestine is positioned at the crossroads between Eurasia and Africa. It hosts over 2,500 species of wild plants, 800 of which are rare, and some 140 of which are limited to particular areas; at least 80 species of wild mammals, and 380 species of birds are native to Palestine. This rich biodiversity is supported by tremendous climatic variation within a small area.

Unfortunately, it is now difficult to recognize the land that was described by early visitors as "flowing with milk and honey." Barren hills have replaced once-rolling woodland covered with thickets and forests, and grasslands have turned into deserts.

<snip>

According to a recent study by the PA Ministry of Agriculture, the total area in the West Bank and Gaza officially designated as forest land decreased from 300,736 dunums in 1971 to 231,586 dunums in 1999 (one dunum is 1,000 square meters). More than half of the affected areas are in Gaza, where 95 percent of the forests have disappeared (from 42,000 dunums in 1971 to 2,000 dunums in 1999).
2,000 years ago, there would have been even more forests. When you see Palestine on the evening news, you are looking at the deforested, settled areas. This is like looking at Los Angeles on the evening news and saying, "Gee, they don't have any forests there." Yes, they do, but you have to go find them, Peter Jennings isn't going to show them to you.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 03-29-2001, 10:12 AM
D18 D18 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Quote:
Originally posted by Duck Duck Goose
Time for Sunday School. Back in Old Testament times, they were perfectly familiar with forests....
And whadya think the Ark was made out of?
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 03-29-2001, 10:47 AM
Montfort Montfort is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Quote:
Originally posted by Duck Duck Goose
Time for Sunday School. Back in Old Testament times, they were perfectly familiar with forests....
But Jesus wasn't around in the Old Testament!

Am I the only one who calls DDG "Duck Duck Google"?
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:19 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.