Should the Bible be Copied Like Links in a Chain?


My last article was Was the Bible Copied Like Links in a Chain or a Tangled Ball of String?. Here’s a joke I found showing the dangers of the links-in-a-chain method of copying. There are several versions of this joke on the Internet, so I don’t know who at attribute it to.

A new monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to help the other monks in copying the old texts by hand. He notices, however, that they are copying copies, and not the original books.

So, the new monk goes to the head monk to ask him about this. He points out that if there was an error in the first copy, that error would be continued in all of the other copies. The head monk says, “We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.”

So, he goes down into the cellar with one of the copies to check it against the original. Hours later, nobody has seen him. So, one of the monks goes downstairs to look for him. He hears sobbing coming from the back of the cellar and finds the old monk leaning over one of the original books crying. He asks what’s wrong.

“The word is celebrate not celibate,” says the old monk with tears in his eyes.

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