Some jokes are just lost in translation, and that appears to be true with Milton’ “Paradise Lost”. For the better part of 350 years, the joke went over most everyone’s head, when it was all in plain sight. It all started in 4 A.D when Pope Damasus gave the task of translating the bible into Latin to the leading scripture expert of the time, Jerome. Jerome was a learned man, who spoke several languages, Latin among them. He used the dialect of Latin the commoners spoke and herein lies the joke. The word ‘malus’ meant evil as an adjective and apple as a noun. This remained unchanged for many years. Then along comes Milton, a fan of Jerome, and decides to continue the pun as a homage to him, and thus how the forbidden fruit of the Bible, which never specifically names any fruit, became the apple.
- Miltons Paradise lost was sold for 5 pounds after her wrote it 350 years ago.
- in Latin the same word is used for evil and for apple, it being : Malus.
- miltons approach at saying the snake came around noon, making it lunch time, was very clever of him.
“In the Hebrew Bible, a generic term, peri, is used for the fruit hanging from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, explains Robert Appelbaum, who discusses the biblical provenance of the apple in his book Aguecheek’s Beef, Belch’s Hiccup, and Other Gastronomic Interjections.”