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Matthew 19:24: the camel and the needle’s eye

“I repeat, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Many a linguistic commentary has been generated by this famous Biblical tag.
Indeed, a number of erudite commentators have wondered whether the somewhat confusing metaphor of the camel and the needle was plausible.

The reason is that Greek, which serves as a base for the translation, comprises two very similar words: kamelos, camel, and kamilos, a thick rope to which ships’ anchors were attached. Kamilos is the more logical choice and yields by far the more comprehensible metaphor. Might it be that a cenobitic translator, who perhaps relied over-much on mead to keep depression at bay, once used one word in place of the other?

The issue remains unresolved. Indeed, its complexity increases with the knowledge that the “Eye of the Needle” was one of Jerusalem’s gates and known for being too low to allow the passage of loaded camels.

If you are interested in further unravelling this mystery, we advise that you consult the following webpages (in French):
http://www.persee.fr/doc/igram_0222-9838_1991_num_51_1_3236

Le chameau et le trou de l’aiguille

Jeromius

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