So . . . Moses Has Horns?: 7 Quick Takes XXVII

by | Oct 4, 2013 | 7 Quick Takes, Great Moments in Homeschooling, Things I Think | 26 comments

If you have ever seen Michaelangelo’s Moses at St. Peter in Chains in Rome . . .

okay, now you have

You may have noticed that he has, um, horns. Odd right?

We saw it in person in Rome and were all rather perplexed.

Well, since the Feast of St. Jerome was this week, it seems like as good a time as any to tell you that apparently, it’s his fault.

St. Jerome, the patron saint of translators, studied Hebrew so he could translate the Old Testament into Latin from the original, instead of from the third century Greek version that everyone else had used. The resulting Latin version, which became the basis for hundreds of subsequent translations, contained a famous mistake. When Moses comes down from Mount Sinai his head has “radiance” or, in Hebrew, “karan.” But Hebrew is written without the vowels, and St. Jerome had read “karan” as “keren,” or “horned.” From this error came centuries of paintings and sculptures of Moses with horns and the odd offensive stereotype of the horned Jew.


Dr. Taylor Marshall makes a case for them actually being horns of light but, I’ve seen it in person and, in my non-professional opinion . . . dude’s got horns. Little goaty horns.

Nobody said the saints were perfect . . . St. Jerome, pray for us!

For more Little Translation Mistakes That Caused Big Problems, check out mental_floss.

I don’t really have anything to add to the Obamacare/Government shutdown conversation. I think it’s another good case for my “It’s All YOUR Fault Method of Divide and Conquer Parenting”.

Except that we have a family trip to Sequoia National Park planned for next weekend, with (non-Xanterra-owned) hotel rooms booked and paid for. And currently, like all National Parks, Sequoia National Park is CLOSED.

So here’s hoping everybody in our government gets their acts together in a hurry so my kids can see some big trees.

And now for another edition of . . .

Great Moments in Homeschooling!

(discussing the phonogram ‘ng’ in our spelling lesson)

Me: ‘ng’ can come after a, i, o, or u, but in English words ‘ng’ doesn’t come after the letter e
Bobby: but ‘ng’ comes after the letter e in THIS word (points at word . . . English)
Me: ummm . . . (Looking at book, book not helping) yes it does, Bobby, yes it does. Let’s move on.

And speaking of homeschooling:

What does YOUR homeschool day look like?

Not curriculum choices, just the daily task of when and where and how you get it done. I’ve got a link-up still live through next week. 

Please don’t think you need to be a perfect homeschooler (not that that exists) to participate. 
There are lots of places to get curriculum advice, but not many places to get advice about when, and where, and how people actually DO homeschooling.

I really enjoyed reading the recent thoughts of Mary from Better Than Eden, and Kelly from This Ain’t the Lyceum about their own deaths.

I am totally with Kelly on casket choice and general funereal requests.

But I’m going to go you one better. I want an old fashioned Irish wake. In my house.

That’s right. I want to die in my house. Then I want to stay there, dead, and I want you guys to all come over and hang out. And I want to be unembalmed, so you’d best hurry. Bring the kids.

Then the Trappist Casket (this one) and the Requiem Mass. These are my wishes.

But, hey, it looks like Nella isn’t going to need to be writing up her own preferences any time soon. Thanks be to God!

Colleen at Martin Family Moments wants your help deciding whether to find out if she’s having a boy or a girl.

The comments are predictibly split, with very passionate folks on either side.

We have never found out. I just assumed we would with our first, but the husband felt strongly that we shouldn’t and, as usual, he was right. There is nothing that compares to that moment when he holds up our new baby and pronounces: IT’S A . . . whatever it is.

I have had natural labors throughout and I hate hate hate the pushing part. But not knowing really does give me an inspiration to keep at it.

Many folks who really wanted a boy or girl in particular commented that they wanted time to make peace with it. But for me, I’d much rather wait to find out until I have that baby in my arms. I could see being dissapointed with a grainy ultrasound photo of not the variety of baby I wanted. But I could never be dissapointed in that baby I’m holding in my arms, even if it does turn out to be, as Anita would say “another stinky brother.”

One thing I learned while attempting to become a published author is that I had been typing wrong THIS WHOLE TIME. And I don’t mean the actual physical typing, which I accomplish exclusively with the pointer finger of my left hand and the middle finger of my right hand, like all regular people do. I mean the formatting part of typing.

Like many people I took a typing class in high school, and like many people, I did not learn how to type in the typing class I took in high school. But I do remember that I was supposed to put a double space after a period. And that’s what I always did. Until I learned, while writing manuscripts, that two spaces is actually NOT the accepted formatting.

get it? they’re at a space . . . bar! found here

So I stopped doing it, because the rules are the rules ya’ll.

A quick peruse of blogs I follow showed that about 75% seem to use one space, while the remaining 25% use two. My guess is that most people don’t actually have very strongly held opinions about spacing after periods, and just type with whatever spacing they were first taught.

Exceptions to this:
Farhad Manjoo is totally judging you if you send him an email.
This guy thinks Farhad Manjoo is very, very wrong.
Um, there’s also this guy.

So who wants to tell Simcha she’s doing it wrong? Not me.

Catholic Memes

Happy weekend everyone!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. Beth Anne @ Beth Anne's Best

    I took a professional business writing class in college and we were told in "business writing" you only use 1 space but in "literature/english writing" you use two spaces. Ever since then I go back and forth on how many spaces I use. I think lots of times I do a variety of one and two so I guess I shouldn't email that guy. And I purposely used a variety in this comment just because LOL

  2. Nichole @ Yackity Shmackity

    Shoot, I use two spaces. There, I did it again. Drat, it's going to be hard to break that habit!
    I'm laughing about the "e" before the "ng" in "English." When it comes to rules, the English language exists to break them. My Polish mother-in-law never misses an opportunity to point that out! 🙂

  3. Amelia

    I used to use two spaces in typing, but then I learned that you are only supposed to use one. So, I just use one, except when old habits die hard and I use two. Like right here. Oh well.

    We always find out with our babies, and I've had all natural labors as well, and I will say that getting the baby OUT and stopping the pain seems to be plenty of motivation for me to keep pushing..because transition is so painful. But, I will also say that I like pushing during labor…well like is probably not the right word, but I don't mind pushing, and I HATE the transition contractions that precede pushing so pushing always seems like a relief to me, like I can finally; "do" something to get the baby out.

    • Anna

      I agree, there's plenty of motivation even without the surprise. The only time we haven't found out the sex was with my first, and I got the epidural for that one, so no experience there in finding out the sex after an ardurous pushing phase, but these last times when we did find out the sex, and I went natural, I was focused on 'baby Charlie' or 'baby Evie' or 'baby Henry' and how I would be holding him/her soon. I pray for my babies by name a lot during labor. I wouldn't say that finding out the sex helped me go natural, there were other bigger things influencing that decision, but I would say that either way there's something to pull motivation from.

  4. Erica Saint

    That is interesting information about St. Jerome. My homeschool group visited the Art Museum of the Miraculous Medal recently. While we were there my friend noticed a horned Moses, and we did not know why he had horns. I will share the information with her!

  5. Danielle

    Doh! I totally usually use two spaces. The rule follower, grammar police in me is going to be breaking this habit. It may be a rough week… 🙂

  6. Mandi

    I use two spaces as well, simply because I learned it that way and it's so ingrained that I don't think I could stop. I type fairly quickly and if I were to try to do only one space I'm positive that it would trip me all up.

    We didn't find out the sex of our daughter (due to my insisting) and now David is hooked as well. I can't imagine any gender reveal party being better than finding out after a hard labor! But I'll admit, my intentions for doing it during my first pregnancy weren't only the surprise – I also wanted to force people to buy gender neutral stuff that could be reused and I was SO worried that the ultrasound would be wrong and we'd have all pink dresses for a little boy.

  7. Kristen Nelson

    The pope mobile cracks me up.

    If you're a homeschooling mom who has been to Rome, you and your kids might enjoy my latest art history lesson and art project on Michelangelo. He sculpted the Moses right before being asked my Pope Julius II to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling. I touch on this a bit. Enjoy!

  8. Mary

    I'm a two space girl. That's how I learned it from my keyboarding teacher way back in high school so that's what I do. I think it's easier to read that way. Rebel I must.

    Cool info on Moses! Now I'll be able to impress my husband on our trip 🙂

    That English thing is hysterical! I was just bemoaning the English language again this morning while teaching my reluctant six year old. Seriously, could they have made it more difficult? Every other word is an exception to the rule and it's frustrating to a child who finally gets it that yep, that one's another silly word.

    Totally agree on #5. And thanks for the link!

  9. Dianna

    I learned two spaces but I switched when I found out in my college editing class that two spaces are a relic of monospaced typewriter fonts. So I'm a one-spacer all the way, and I care too much.

    I have never seen a horned Moses before. Thanks for sharing the background on it—I never would have guessed!

  10. Laura

    1) Poor St. Jerome. Can't you see him in Heaven, all "MAN! I did that whole Bible and I make ONE mistake and it keeps coming back to bite me!" Or maybe he did it on purpose because St. Matthew's gospel was his least favorite one to translate. Maybe he and Mark are snickering.
    2) I really hope the parks open back up for you guys. That would be such a bummer!
    3) I totally agree on the non-embalming Trappist casket thing. My Trappist monastery back home in Georgia has a burial ground. That's where I want to go. Guess I better work on dying in Georgia!
    4) My husband and I disagree over the spaces issue. I use one, he uses two. Thanks for confirming I'm right 🙂

  11. Nanacamille

    We will have fun on our trip to the "tall Trees" even if only the State Park is open but those stupid bobble-heads in Washington have no concept of how to run a country. The Natl Parks are loosing $400,000 a day in lost tourist revenue and that's not even counting Nana buying for the grandkids. Our Founding fathers are turning over in their graves in disgrace. Lets put Jack T in charge he'll get all the rules right and run it better than these idots.

  12. Jenn Miller

    And engine… Good job, Bobby, for catching that! 🙂

    I heard that the reason for the change from two spaces to one space after a period is due to changes in font. Back in ye olden days, when each letter was a certain distance from other letters (as in typewriters — I know, what are those?), two spaces was necessary. But when word processors and computers became all the rage and the I took up less space than the M, the rule was changed.

    Well, I defy the rule. I like the double space. 🙂
    I don't defy the rule. The single space is fine.
    Nope, nope. Gotta be two. Perhaps my thoughts just need more space… 🙂

  13. Brienne

    This is so weird to say, but I love that casket! Sign me up for one too–and the Irish wake–if we have a house that we have raised kids in. If not, just go to an AOH after the funeral instead and hire my friends, the Monaghan brothers, to play Irish music and oldies. Dance the night away, but most importantly twist to "The Twist, " "Let's Twist Again," and "Twistin' the Night Away"… (in that order). Also, I like the stone idea that Kelly had–I always thought I'd want a small one, but why not do it up–you only die once! Funeral planned. Thanks Kendra!

  14. Cristina

    So far, as a military spouse, the government shutdown has been more of a nuisance than anything else–it has been irritating that our commissary is closed and that the wait is so long at the hospital that you might as well just try back next week. But I just saw this on facebook:

    "NAS Jacksonville
    From the Command Chaplain:

    Due to the Federal Government shutdown, there will temporarily be no Roman Catholic Mass (or Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, CCD) on Sundays, or regularly scheduled weekday Masses at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, St. Edward's Chapel, until further notice.

    However, the Chapel will remain open for individual and family prayer during the normally scheduled hours.

    Protestant worship services led by Navy chaplains will continue as scheduled.

    Note, Navy chaplain support, care and counseling coverage along with reach back capability in emergencies via duty chaplain and Chaplain Care/311 are still available. Additionally, all Navy chaplains, RPs, and Navy personnel assigned to the Chapel will continue to accommodate and be responsive to the needs of all as appropriate."

    So lame.

    Since there is a shortage of priests in the military we have a contract priest on base (where we attend) and he is forbidden from performing mass on base on pain of being arrested. Hopefully the national parks will be open for your trip–I guess just be thankful you weren't trying to get married on a military base this weekend. 🙁

    • Kendra

      Wow, I just read a whole article at Catholic Vote on the issue. Apparently priests are being threatened with arrest if they try to celebrate Mass without pay!

      It certainly puts my wanting to look at trees in perspective. :0)

      And the Catholic Chaplin shortage is partially my fault. Before we met, the husband (who was a Marine at the time) was considering entering seminary and becoming an active duty priest. But then he met me and all my feminine wiles and now look where we are.

    • Cristina

      Well it's good to know who to blame!

      My husband wanted to be a marine (like his dad) as well but I talked him out of it because I thought it sounded too dangerous! His dad agreed with me–not because of the danger but because he thought there were more educational opportunities in the Navy–which turned out to be true, they paid for his undergrad and law school now we only owe them eleventy-billion years of service and we'll be square 😉

      He also corrected me and said that he didn't think priests were in any actual danger of being arrested and no one in his office could think of what they could charge a priest celebrating mass with other than trespassing. That didn't change the fact that we had to go find another mass out in town to attend this morning though. Hopefully everything will be fixed by next weekend. It looks like most of the commissaries will be opening back up tomorrow so that's a good sign 🙂

  15. Micaela Darr

    I totally laughed out loud @ "little goaty horns."

    I am a 2-spacer! Doh! Except on twitter. And sometimes on the iPad. Oh, dang it. I'm just inconsistent, I suppose.

  16. Son Mom

    Great info on the horns! And hilarious about "English."

    When it comes to gender, I like to be surprised but my husband likes to find out. So we were surprised on the first two and found out on the second two. We do agree on liking to surprise everyone else, though, so we never tell anyone else (including the kids, cause they would totally blab) what the gender is or what names we've picked out, so that we don't get any commentary on our choices.

    I have enjoyed it both ways — I agree, there's nothing quite like that moment of birth and finding out what the baby is. And when we were having baby number 4, and knew she was another girl, and our only son kept wishing for a brother, we knew it would be better for him not to know ahead of time. (Sure enough, when his new little sister was born, he was so thrilled and excited to finally have the baby on the outside that we never heard another word about wishing she was a brother.)

    The one thing I did really like about finding out the gender ahead of time is that for some reason my husband and I find it very easy to agree on girls' names, but argue like crazy over boys' names. So when we found out that the last two were girls, it saved us months of needless arguing, LOL!

  17. Kate

    The English Teacher in me will jump in on the two space/one space issue. I'm pretty sure the Modern Language Association held the two-space convention until 2009, when they finally switched to one. So its prevalence is understandable…

  18. Keren Horn

    Then what the devil are they supposed to be saints if they're not perfect? 😀 yeah, catholics were good only at frying people with popes' great love to christ and the church. Scary Inquisition.

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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