Attentive readers of Scripture will have noticed that the Ioseph typikos, of whom our blessed Lady's chaste Spouse is the Antitype, is decribed (Genesis 39) in the Vulgate (and the Neo-Vulgate) and the Septuagint as having been sold as a slave to Potiphar, Eunuch of Pharaoh. Indeed, Brown Driver Briggs gives "Eunuch" as the central meaning of the Hebrew SRIS. Eunuchs were very often Great Men in ancient kingdoms because a sovereign could be moderately confident that they would not spend their time squirreling away state resources for their own offspring. Since, therefore, great officers of state were often eunuchs, it will often yield apparently good sense to translate SRIS as "Officer" or "Courtier" or (Tyndale) "Lorde". And, of course, that will prevent naive people from blurting out "But how can a eunuch have a wife?" Nor will puzzled children ask what a Yew Nuck is.
And, indeed, all the proliferating English Protestant Bibles which derive from the King James Bible do so translate it. But, surprisingly, so do the Catholic Knox and Jerusalem Bibles (and, even more oddly, they do so with never even an explicatory footnote). Only the Geneva Bible and the Douay-Rheims-Challoner Bible courageously give "eunuch". (John Wycliffe, sometime Master of Balliol College in this University, or a collaborator of his, rendered it "gelding"!)
Translating the term accurately as "Eunuch" would give a piquancy to Potiphar's wife's rather urgent desire for sexual intimacy ...
Wikipedia, by the way, has some stuff about there being a medieval Jewish legend that Potiphar's wife was called .... Zuleika. Nice one, Sir Max!
Incidentally, some years ago a 'transgender' undergraduate answering to the name Zuleyka stood for Union Office here in Oxford ... ... ... but it was Potiphar who was the eunuch ...
Or we might say, "S Joseph, and S Joseph, and Potiphar…" After all, both Josephs are saints, and the Old Testament saints have been a favoured topic of yours, Father John.
Foster father Joseph would best be described as a Nazirite a self appointed eunuch
According to the British Museum, Zuleika‘s.name is given only in the version of the story in the Koran,
As a general rule your correspondents tend to be rather dry and serious, but one likes to think that many of your readers have been chuckling, as I, over the very English humour in the last paragraph. Just naughty enough to keep coming back to mind with a not-quite-innocent smile. The foolishness of man is always a source of amusement.
So one thought at least I should write to express our collective appreciation of your sense of humour.
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