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Monday, April 23, 2007

More on kissing

Why I keep posting on this ridiculous topic escapes me...perhaps others can enlighten me on my Freudian slips into kissing posts....

A guide to Biblical kissing

I'm not sure about what follows below because I know from experience (well, not that kind of experience) that not all Africans seem all that adverse to kissing...anyway, here is the excerpt from the above link:

Kissing is by no means a universal human behavior. Some ethnic groups kiss and some don’t. Take greetings for an example. A lot of the European cultures use some sort of kiss to greet someone. But in African culture kissing is a totally strange activity...In most of Africa, kissing is an imported activity. Kisses are not used for greetings nor is it an intimate activity between lovers. In ciNyungwe there is no word for kiss at all. So the word we use in our Bible translation is -mpsompsona which means suck or breastfeed. So Judas’ betrayal of Jesus in Luke 22:47-48 comes out sounding something like: “Then Judas went to suck on Jesus. And Jesus said, ‘Judas do you betray the Son of Man by sucking on him?’” If that sounds strange to you, imagine how weird it sounds to someone completely unfamiliar with Biblical culture! In such situations translators have a couple strategies:

1. Be more general: “Judas greeted Jesus.”
2. Explain: “Judas greeted Jesus by kissing him”
3. Translate as directly as possible and use a footnote.

Thanks to Brazilian soap operas, Mozambicans are learning about the practice of kissing as a form of intimacy between lovers. But a man kissing another man as a form of greeting is still pretty foreign to them.


ktismatics said...

On a related note... here in France people greet each other with a kiss across each cheek. Anne has occasionally demonstrated the American-style hug to French people It creeps them out. (I've got to admit, hugging kind of creeps me out too.)

Jonathan Erdman said...

I'm not quite sure where I stand on this. What is worse: Swapping saliva or going body-to-body in a hug formation?

Melody said...

But the French don't swap saliva.
And yeah, hugs are akward...