Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hysterical History

The Horn Book
Back in the day when paper was expensive and little boys had to learn to read somehow other than drawing in the dirt or possessing a slate and stylus, wooden paddles carrying the letters of the alphabet, a catechism and perhaps a few simple drawings were used in place of actual books.
This goes back in history to the 1600s at least, perhaps before that.

These paddles with the letters, etc., were either made of wood or horn...the actual lesson on the front was covered with a thin layer of shaved cattle horn, like a plastic sheet over the lesson, to protect it. Often on the other side was a simple abacus. The child carried this hornbook with him (rarely her) to the teacher's residence. American colonials employed these things and thus our earliest Americans were taught their letters and thus, how to read.

Now, back in my personal history, no, I didn't have a hornbook, but I remember seeing a picture of one in my Jack and Jill magazine. This was far more advanced than just letters, each letter had a small caption in rhyme. The only letter I can remember was for A. The caption read "In Adam's fall, we sinned all." The little picture showed a man, a tree with a serpent in its boughs, a naked woman and an apple. The A might be for Adam, who every young boy must have heard about from his minister or father, and it might stand for Apple. Either way, that poor naked woman, not the snake, was to blame for the downfall of man. The temptress. The whore. The creature with whom Adam would sin and lose paradise.

The woman, founder of Original Sin.

The reason a man must be baptized, to be rid of the sin with which he was marked. To cleanse himself in the Name of God...the good guy in all this.

Why am I bothering with all this history?

Original sin, the Garden of Eden, the denigration of womankind...all lay at the feet of the other sex, the opposite sex. Females. The ruination of GOOD MEN, simply by caring enough for one somehow would lead to eternal damnation.

Women. Soulless creatures. Why, in the early days of the church, women were regarded as not having souls! Women were instruments of the devil, not allowed in church or at religious services during certain times of the month, separated from the righteous males in different areas completely, covered with eternal shame because of Eve's perfidy!

No, wait. I am not sure when women finally obtained souls, or who it was who decided to give them back to women...some kindly old dude, probably, who was convinced by a good woman to change his mind. Hmm. Maybe his saintly mother who never did anything bad made him stop and think that perhaps this soulless theory was wrong. Who can say? I'm sure there's some treatise moldering on a shelf somewhere with the answer. Right now, I can't find it.

But, hey, this idea of women being temptresses, destined to lead good men astray with their wiles and wishes, is not dead. Far from it.

Two major religions still adhere to the idea.
Several minor ones think it is gospel.  Women have always been creatures of the devil, put on Earth to bring their evil to men and destroy their souls, leading them to eternal damnation.

Good idea.

Makes great sense. This is the very reason the Equal Rights Amendment was never passed. This belief, this total misconception, is behind Sharia Law and whatever it is called for the Orthodox Jews...that separate the women, the mothers, daughters, women without male protectors...from men.

The reason our vice president won't eat a meal with any woman other than his wife.
The reason doctors of certain beliefs will not touch a woman to examine her, but rather depend on her husband to tell him what is wrong with her, what her physical complaints are.

Let's take this even further back in time, although it is also practiced to this day--female circumcision. The reasoning behind this primitive practice goes back to women being instruments of the devil. If they cannot experience pleasure during the sex act, they can only procreate, which is the sole reason for their existence on this planet. Hopefully, they will produce more men to be subservient to.

Yes, this is a rant. In Adam's fall, we sinned all.

1 comment:

  1. The earliest example of this rhyme I was finally able to locate was from the New England Primer, way back in 1690. There is a copy of the teaching rhymes if you look up the NE Primer.