Tuesday, January 29, 2008

et in Arcadia Lego

If you're wondering about the best way to infuriate a Christian - and you should be - you can do a lot worse than getting them to explain what the dickens is going on in Leviticus with all that law-giving. This isn't just a bit of academic nit-picking as it's from Leviticus that the Jews derive their prohibition on eating pork (Leviticus 11), and also whence those who disapprove of homosexuality for whatever reason derive their Biblical justification for doing so (Leviticus 18 and 20, as well as some stuff in Genesis).

In addition to these prohibitions, though, Leviticus makes a whole swathe of others which include trimming your beard at the sides, wearing clothing made from a blend of wool and linen, and getting a tattoo. The obvious question to ask is: why adhere to a cherry-picked few of these as the infallible word of God, and ignore the rest? And who decides which ones you get to ignore, as there's no clue in the text? (Though some of them seem sensible enough: declaring the meat of the ossifrage an abomination seems a convenient way of avoiding having to grapple with one and possibly lose an arm or something.) And the answers you get to pick from are either: a) well, quite, it's all self-evidently bollocks or b) by indulging in some slippery and ultimately self-defeating interpretative relativism generally known as hermeneutics to decide which arbitrary rules to obey and which to ignore.

Anyway, all this leads me to the rather wonderful Brick Testament, which is an illustrated guide to Biblical law through the medium of Lego. Specifics regarding food can be found here, but do look at all of it, it's tremendous. And particularly appropriate given that this week marks the 50th birthday of Lego (I think strictly speaking it was yesterday). The Biblical theme does preclude the use of any of the more outlandish spaceship stuff, though, which is a shame.

And apologies for the poncy classical allusion in the post title, but I couldn't stop myself. Turns out I'm not even particularly original. Oh well.

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