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Subject: Re: chocolate eggs and...
From: Dennis King <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scholars and students of Old Irish <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 13 Apr 2001 16:44:26 -0700
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Mara Freeman wrote:

> What sweet goodies would the writer have been inveighing against
> in particular, I wonder?

That's a good question.

The sentence glosses "noli cibo tuo illum perdere" in Romans 14:15.
The chapter deals in matters (metaphors?) of food and faith which
I'm certainly not qualified to explicate.  Here's the whole verse:

  Si enim propter cibum frater tuus contristatur iam non secundum
  caritatem ambulas noli cibo tuo illum perdere pro quo Christus
  mortuus est.

You should read this in the translation of your choice.  The Irish
Bible has:

  Má bhíonn an bia a chaitheann tusa ag goilliúint ar bhráthair
  leat, níl tú ag maireachtáil feasta de réir an ghrá.  An duine
  a bhfuair Críost bás ar a shon ná mill é leis an mbia a
  chaitheann tú.

> Since honey was used liberally by the early Irish, in
> drinks, baking and marinading meat and fish, I don't see why he
> makes a special distinction between sweet foods and local foods.

These glosses on the Codex Paulinus were preserved in a monastery
on the Continent.  Whether on not the original glosses were written
in Ireland or on the Continent I don't know.  (Anyone?)  If written
outside Ireland, the rejection of "biada milsi" may well have been
an Irishman's reaction to the food of his mainland colleagues, which
he found to be too honeyed -- and perhaps too rich or indulgent in
other respects?

Incidentally, strictly off the cuff & possibly off base, I have the
impression that the early Irish appreciated "white" foods (dairy
products of all sorts) more highly than sweet foods.

Dennis

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