[b-hebrew] hebrew in rabelais

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Wed Oct 5 14:49:26 EDT 2005

The form "niphseleth", is the fem. sing. niph. of PSL. In the Bible, the 
verb PSL means "to sculpt" or "to carve", and as a noun, it means 
"sculpture", as well as "idol". In rabbinic Hebrew, the verb also came to 
mean "to void" or "to reject" - what a sculptor does to the material that 
the cuts off the statue. Something that's "pasul" is void or unfit. 
"Niphseleth" would be someone or something (feminine) that was declared or 
made unfit.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: <faustroll1 at juno.com>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, October 04, 2005 2:51 AM
Subject: [b-hebrew] hebrew in rabelais

> Dear B-Hebrew Group:
> I have a question in regard to Francois Rabelais' use of Hebrew in his 
> books; I hope my question is not seen as inappropriate, as I have no such 
> intention.  Rabelais seems to have been a reader of the Hebrew Bible.
> As early as the end of the 16th century, glossaries for Rabelais' books 
> defined "Niphleseth," the name of the Queen of the Andouilles in the 
> Fourth Book, Ch. 42, as Hebrew for "virile member."  I have now found this 
> on both French and English websites.  But no one seems to have questioned 
> it.  As a "sausage" (andouille), this makes some sense, but since she is 
> female, it also raises some questions.
> I hesitate to state why I think the name might mean something else.  I'm 
> just looking for either verification of this meaning, or a forthright, 
> well-reasoned (and perhaps well-documented) rejection.
> Many thanks, and best wishes,
> Respectfully,
> Dr. Faustroll


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