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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: June ::
Thighs and Sighs
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1328  Monday, 21 June 2004

[1]     From:   Pamela Richards <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 Jun 2004 07:03:00 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1313 Thighs and Sighs

[2]     From:   Pamela Richards <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 Jun 2004 08:49:37 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1313 Thighs and Sighs


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pamela Richards <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 18 Jun 2004 07:03:00 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 15.1313 Thighs and Sighs
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1313 Thighs and Sighs

Graham Hall had initially asked about the significance of an injury to
the "thigh" to the concept of dishonour.

I have located some information which I think bears on a relationship
between the two; but one must remember that in Jacobean England, the
term "thigh" was sometimes a euphemism for the testicles.  The more
correct medical term at the time was "secrets", but some preferred the
more euphemistic language, particularly in public readings such as the
reading of the Bible, or perhaps the presentation of a play.

Here is an example of "thigh" used as "testicles", from King James'
version of the Bible.  Abraham is entreating his servant to take a vow
to find a wife for his son, Isaac, as Abraham directs him.  God's
promise to Abraham, who prior to the birth of his son had had a serious
bout of what we would now call infertility, is to make his descendants
as numerous as the stars in the heavens.  In this critical matter, the
selection of a wife for his son, which  bears directly on his ability to
produce further generations, Abraham enlists his servant by having him
take an oath on that part of Abraham's body that signifies God's promise
to him and his descendants.

1] And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and
the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.
[2] And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his
house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray
thee, thy hand under my thigh:
[3] And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of
heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not
take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the
Canaanites, among whom I dwell:
[4] But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my
kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
[5] And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the
woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land:
must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from
whence thou camest?
[6] And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou
bring not my son thither again.
[7] The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my
father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and
which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying,
Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his
angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my
son from thence.
[8] And if the woman will not be willing to follow
thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only
bring not my son thither again.
[9] And the servant put his hand under the thigh of
Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that
matter.

Further, with regard to the etymology of the word, "testimony", from the
American Heritage Dictionary:

"testis

SYLLABICATION: tes

 

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