Wednesday, August 01, 2012


The Body as a House

Reading E.R. Dodds' poem The Moon-Worshippers, I was struck by the image of the human body as "a house of blood and bones" (line 5). The image also appears in the Laws of Manu 6.76-77 (tr. Wendy Doniger and Brian K. Smith):
He should abandon this foul-smelling, tormented, impermanent dwelling-place of living beings, filled with urine and excrement, pervaded by old age and sorrow, infested by illness, and polluted by passion, with bones for beams, sinews for cords, flesh and blood for plaster, and skin for the roof.
The same (tr. Patrick Olivelle):
Constructed with beams of bones, fastened with tendons, plastered with flesh and blood, covered with skin, foul-smelling, filled wth urine and excrement, the abode of sickness, full of pain, covered with dust, and impermanent—he must abandon this dwelling place of ghosts.
See also Patrick Olivelle, Collected Essays, II (Firenze: Firenze University Press, 2008), pp. 105-106.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?