The Cardiff Giant – a “cunningly devised fable”

JP: Briefly commenting on the phrase from 2 Peter 1:16, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty”. Peter is here expressing the absolute truthfulness of the Gospel. He was an “eyewitnesses of [Christ’s] majesty” on the Mount of Transfiguration. This is for John W. but I need to share this for what follows. The Greek of this phrase is “ου γαρ σεσοφισμενοις μυθοις εξακολουθησαντες”. Breaking this down a bit to make it more understandable:

  • σοφίζω (present active participle). Note the transliteration (where an English alphabet letter replaces the Greek letter): it is sophizō. Kind of looks like “sophisticated” and that’s about what it means! Here specifically it means “to devise cleverly or cunningly”
  • μῦθος is a noun. The transliteration is mythos which looks like “myth”. And that’s what it means – a myth or a fable.
  • Putting it together, Peter wrote .. “we did not follow a sophisticated (in a negative way!) myth”!
  • Other versions translate the phrase as follows:
    • ESV: “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths
    • NASB: “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales
    • NIV: “We did not follow cleverly invented stories

You know some people will believe anything; and in the realm of religion, sadly, many do! The Christian faith and the Gospel of our Savior is absolutely true.

Some years ago we visited Cooperstown New York and the baseball hall of fame. Our children were young and I don’t think one of them was impressed. I don’t think Kathee was either (but she tolerated the visit). Wanting to find something that would interest the family, we went to the Farmer’s Museum” in Cooperstown. I saw there an artifact of one of the most unusual hoaxes perpetrated – the Cardiff Giant. The Wiki article has a nice summary of the details so I will not elaborate other than providing additional links and images.

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