<< For example, the word `oph also occurs in the passage in Leviticus 11
about insects. A word that can be used to refer to birds, bats, and
insects might be a word for flying creatures. >>
The word translated "bird" in Leviticus and elsewhere ('oph) is a cognate of
the verb to fly (also 'oph) , and is used in Lev 11:20 "every WINGED creeping
thing." and therefore is properly translated "flying creature" the dominant
flying creature being, of course, the bird.
Amongst other pre-scientific peoples, the most basic biological
classification system has Fish, Bird, Snake, then Wug (worm/bug) and Mammal.
Not all peoples use all five categories. In 1 Kings 4:33, you find the basic
biological classification: Fish, bird, snake and mammal.
The Rofaifo and Ndumba of New Guinea, the African Rangi, the Hill Pandaram of
India, and the Arab bedouin all classify bats under the classification, Bird.
Since pre-scientific peoples tend to be very good classifiers of birds, even
down to the species, I think it is clear that in Lev 11, the word "flying
creature" is the broad classification of their basic taxonomy; and, I find it
hard to accept that they should be faulted for not calling a bat a mammal.
I'm wondering now if Linnaeus started right out calling a bat a mammal.
I sympathize with Shuan's thinking on this issue, and most of it will still
stand; but, on this precise issue, you got it riight.
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