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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In Defense of Apples

The idea for this started as joke between my college roommates and I. It is, of course, meant purely as a piece of fiction, not as any sort of academic speculation.  

Sometimes, a lot can depend on a little thing. And sometimes, a lot gets dumped on a little thing. Take apples for example. As far as I’m concerned, no fruit, no thing, has taken so much blame  for something it didn’t do.

Original sin, no less! The poor apple gets blamed for being the fruit that brought sin into the world. I don’t know how the rumor started. Maybe because the apple’s taste is deceptionally both sweet and bitter at the same time. Maybe it’s because in Latin mãla (apple tree) is just one long mark short of mala (evil). Maybe some non-too-scholarly monk translated God’s warning about the “tree of good and apples” instead of the “tree of good and evil.” I don’t know. Whatever it is, the poor apple has had a bad rap ever since.

I mean, really, apples? Tell me, where do apples appear in the Bible? The answer would be: nowhere. If you’re looking for Biblically significant fruits, I’m afraid you have to look somewhere else. Like figs for example.

‘Figs’? you ask. Yes, figs. Did you know Jesus once cursed a fig tree? No really, you can go look it up if you don’t believe me. He was walking by this fig tree (out of season, of course,) and wanted a fig. But of course, there weren’t any there. So he cursed it. And the next day the tree was dead. So if you’re looking for a bad fruit, I figure a fig might just be it.

Of course, if you’re looking for a really significant fruit, you probably can’t do much better than a grape, what with water into wine, vines and branches, and laboring in vineyards. It seems to me the Bible is just chock full of grapes, and what with them becoming wine and all, they strike me as a bit more devilish than your plain run of the mill apple.

But if you really want to know what fruit is to blame, you don’t need to look any farther than the architectural descriptions that litter the Old Testament. They are there, carved in to wood, covered with beaten gold, and quietly decorating almost everything built in that time and age. I am speaking, of course, of pomegranates.

It seems to me that if a fruit is to be blamed for original sin, it must be the pomegranates. Why else would they decorate everything from tent poles to engravings? It’s I reminder, I think. I reminder of sin carved even in the Holy of Holies.

So how about we give the poor little apple a break, and start putting the blame where it properly lies – on the pomegranate.

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