Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Daily Hump: Jubilee

It's hard to believe but today marks the 50th post to WordHumper. In the original spirit of the word (see definition #4 below) I'm taking a rest and not peppering this entry with my trademarked wit™ and punnery™. Truth be told I have to take care of some Dead Horse business. Color me blockquote:

Per the American Heritage Dictionary a jubilee is
1. A specially celebrated anniversary, especially a 50th anniversary or the celebration of such an anniversary.
2. A season or an occasion of joyful celebration.
3. Jubilation; rejoicing.
4. often Jubilee Bible. In the Hebrew Scriptures, a year of rest to be observed by the Israelites every 50th year, during which slaves were to be set free, alienated property restored to the former owners, and the lands left untilled.
5. often Jubilee Roman Catholic Church. A year during which plenary indulgence may be obtained by the performance of certain pious acts.
The Online Etymology Dictionary notes that the word is from the Hebrew yobhel,
...formerly "a trumpet, ram's horn," lit. "ram." The original notion was of a year of emancipation of slaves and restoration of lands, to be celebrated every 50th year (Levit. xxv.9); it was proclaimed by the sounding of a ram's horn on the Day of Atonement.
(...not to toot my own shofar, but this entry is pretty timely considering Monday was Yom Kippur.) As the OED notes
...during [a jubilee year] the fields were to be left uncultivated, Hebrew slaves were to be set free, and lands and houses in the open country or unwalled towns that had been sold were to revert to their former owners or their heirs.
The Catholic Church sense of "a period for remission of sin penalties in exchange for pilgrimages, alms, etc." was begun in 1300 by Boniface VIII. Per the OED
It was at first appointed to take place every hundred years, but the period was afterwards shortened to fifty, thirty-three, and twenty-five years, and now ‘an extraordinary jubilee is granted at any time either to the whole Church or to particular countries or cities, and not necessarily or even usually for a whole year’ (Cath. Dict. 1885).
What a cop-out.

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:: posted by David, 8:18 AM


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