Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Telling Tall Tales: Shared Mythology in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, April 25, 2021

Today I happened upon a description of a beer made by Cigar City Brewing of Tampa, FL – Double Barrel-aged Hunahpu’s – which is a 2016 release of an Imperial Stout, aged in rum barrels & apple brandy barrels and blended together.

As rated and ranked by the crowd-sourced beer enthusiast’s website BeerAdvocate, where reviewers rate beers according to various measures of quality, not upon “popularity” based upon sales volume, per se, Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout was graded 100, which is a perfect score, and was ranked 2nd within the category of Imperial Stouts, had a 3rd overall weighted rank, while the website’s contributors gave it an overall rating of 4.78 out of 5 truncated mean for all beers on the site. Its flavor notes read “Stout aged on Peruvian cacao nibs, ancho and pasilla chiles, cinnamon and Madagascar vanilla beans aged in apple brandy and rum barrels before being blended together.”

After having read the review notes, I navigated over to the Cigar City Brewing site to see the brewery’s page for the brew, to see what they said about it, and read that they describe it as being:

“Extremely dark in color with a brown head with notes of big notes of chocolate and espresso, moderate notes of vanilla and cinnamon and mild notes of tobacco and chilis. Flavor opens with a big blast of chocolate and moderate espresso with notes of dark toffee and interjecting notes of vanilla with lingering hints of cinnamon and tobacco and chili notes with a mild Scoville heat in the finish. Extensive aging in both rum and apple brandy barrels adds candied apple, allspice, vanilla and oaky tannic qualities to this rare and complex stout.”

I also found the following about the beer’s curious name:

Did you know?

In Mayan mythology, Hun Hunahpu was the father of the Mayan hero twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque. Hun Hunahpu, along with his brother Vucub Hunahpu, was tricked by the Dark Lords of the underworld and slain. Hun Hunahpu’s corpse morphed into a cacao tree, his head becoming a cacao pod, which in typically awesome mythology fashion, spit upon the hand of a young maiden named Xquic who promptly became pregnant with the hero twins. The twins would ultimately grow up to avenge their father and uncle and defeat the Dark Lords and ascend the heavens to become the moon and sun.

That’s quite a tale, to be certain, and as I read it, the preposterous absurdity of it all was reminiscent of another well-known fairy tale told by observant Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.

Artist’s depiction of the Hebrew exodus

That tall tale is of Moses, regarded as a major prophet in Islam, primarily as a major prophet and “law giver” to Jews, and similarly as a major prophet, and as a leader and liberator of an enslaved people to Christians and Jews. In all three Abrahamic religions Moses is highly regarded. The stature given to him by all three religions is of the greatest regard, and reverence. Moses is perhaps the single greatest and most renown of prophets in Abrahamic religion.

And as we have come out of Jewish Passover, Christian Easter, and now are in Islamic Ramadan, respectively, it should be mentioned that Moses was a murderer, among other things.

But, that matter aside, the story that’s told of his origin claims that, at age 3 months, he was abandoned by his mother, who allegedly set him afloat in the Nile river after “she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. 4His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him,” and very shortly thereafter, perhaps even “immediately,” was mysteriously somehow found, and psuedo-adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter, who returned him to his mother, who then raised him, and later sent him to Pharaoh’s daughter to have the “finishing touches” applied as having been raised as an Egyptian in the royal family.

The nation of Israel crosses the Red Sea 3, or 4 abreast

If we pay close attention to the narrative, we see that the government of the Egyptians (Pharaoh’s daughter) was exercising a type of foster parenting program – paying someone who was (in this case, presumably) not the child’s mother to raise him. Again, as the story is told, after being set afloat in the Nile by his mother, “his sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him” and seemingly “coincidentally” happened upon the scene as Pharaoh’s daughter was playing in the water, (which is euphemized as “bathing”) – and “found” a mother, whom Pharaoh’s daughter thought a wet nurse, though it was his own mother – to raise the child.

That’s quite a contrast to the controversy surrounding Archie, the first-born son of the union of Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex and his spouse Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, and the bigoted racist remarks made by unnamed members of the royal family, which include comments like “what color will his skin be,” and other such preposterous nonsense which sadly, accompany other unseemly behavior such as denying him protective security, and a royal title. Because it just wouldn’t be fit to have a Black King of England, now… would it? (The reader should understand the preceding remark is dripping with sarcasm.)

Moses on horseback like a Civil War figure leading the Israelites across the Red Sea

Nevertheless… as the Moses myth is told, as found in the Exodus account, chapter 14 (KJV):

16But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

21Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. 22So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

Just to be absolutely certain and succinct about the matter, some murderer waved a magic wand, perhaps uttering some incantation, and magically, the whole freaking sea just dried up – TOTALLY DRIED UP – meaning that the ground was not muddy, but dry – dry as a bone.

Moses as an “Old Man Mozz” figure to the side of figures like Joseph & Mary with infant Jesus crossing the Red Sea

Then, an ENTIRE NATION of people just moseyed across the equivalent of a very dry lake bed while “the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.”

And not only that, but various artists’ depictions show a variety of themes, most of which are  Hollywoodized-Charlton-Heston Americanized versions of a distinctly brown-skinned people, which make them appear as if they’re White folks, rather than people of middle eastern origin – Jews.

A fictional artist’s version of Moses parting the Red Sea, which resembles a canyon

A Hollywood-ized Charlton Heston-like Moses figure parts the Red Sea

Yeah – two walls of stacked water on either side of them. The water just piled up and magically stayed in place while they sauntered along, kids and animals in tow.

That story is about as far-fetched as the Hun Hunahpu story above.

And all three groups are at each others’ throats.

And I think to myself, ‘what a wonderful world.’

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