Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Judas Is Carrots

A little post today noting a piece of writing concerning the red hair of Judas. It's called simply Judas's Red Hair and is by Paull Franklin Baum. It was published in 1922.

It contains many little notes and references. It's quite short too, so it's well worth reading the full thing if you're interested in the topic.

There are a couple of things I thought were worth making note of.

Firstly he states that:
Wright's English Dialect Dictionary gives "Judas-born" as meaning born with red hair.
Which is interesting.

Then later in the text he notes that:
Abraham a Sancta Clara submits that the general tradition sprang from a popular etymology of the name Iscariot - "Ist gar roth."
Abraham a Sancta Clara was a German Augustinian monk who lived in the 17th century. "Ist gar roth" in German means "is even red" according to Google Translate. Not speaking German I can't be sure if this is correct. I would suspect "is very red" or "is really red" would be a better translation. Either way though the suggestion is that the name Iscariot means "is red".

This sounds a little silly at first. However, looking at the name again words like carrot and garrotte spring to mind. Garrotte meaning to strangle someone of course, which could come with connotations of bloody red. Judas died by hanging too it may be recalled.

"Carrots" is a common nickname for redheads, though originally carrots weren't always orange. Supposedly they were originally white, with the orange variety being cultivated in the 16th or 17th century. So the relation to red hair may not go back too far.

Oranges and orange pumpkins became a little recurring theme on this blog a few years back. Perhaps it's time the humble carrot joined the gang :)

In fact, I've just read this on Wikipedia:
There are many claims that Dutch growers created orange carrots in the 17th century to honor the Dutch flag at the time and William of Orange.
So we're on familiar ground !

Though the same Wikipedia page also notes that the 11th century Jewish scholar Simeon Seth mentioned carrots that were red and yellow. As did a 12th century Arab writer. So perhaps the relation of the carrot to red does indeed go back further.


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