Friday, December 07, 2007

Use Your Allusion: From Dan to Beersheba & A Few Thoughts On Pronouncing "Augustine"

The phrase "From Dan to Beersheba" is a Biblical allusion that shows up most often as a concept, rather than as an exact phrase. As you can see on the map, Dan was the Northernmost part of the kingdom, and Beersheba was the Southernmost. So when you say anything about, "From Dan to Beersheba," what you mean is, "From one end of the country to the other."

I actually made a post a while back where I retyped an old old article from the Gospel Advocate, which described the origins of the Donelson, Una, and Pleasant Hill churches of Christ. The title of the article was, "'From Dan to Beersheba:' Or From Donelson to Una. 1865-1872."

There were 10 passages I was able to find quickly where both Dan and Beersheba are mentioned together in Scripture, such as when a census is taken of the fighting men, when God inflicted punishment on much of the kingdom, and when the people are gathered to celebrate the Passover when it had not been celebrated in a long time.

"Dan" is pretty easy to pronounce. "Beersheba" is generally pronounced by us Southern folk "Bear Sheeba". In Hebrew, the pronunciation is actually more like, "beh-EER sheh-BAH." I generally just go with the common pronunciation, because when you whip out Hebrew pronunciation, it's really obvious that the only reason you're doing it is to try and sound smarter than everyone else.

So again, when you want to talk about anything that is sweeping across the nation, you can say it is happening, "From Dan to Beersheba."


On a separate note about pronouncing things, I always like discussing Augustine of Hippo with people. He's one of my favorite historical figures. When people ask that question about, "If you could meet anyone from all history and have a meal with them, who would you pick?" Augustine of Hippo and Jimmy Page are two of my top choices.

Augustine is fun because no one can agree on how to pronounce it. In Florida, the city is always pronounced, "St. AUgustEEN." But the people I've known (including a HUGSR student from Africa) with the same name insisted it was pronounced "auGUSten."

Actually, I think either pronunciation is correct. So at this point, if someone else brings Augustine up first, depending on which way they pronounce his name, I try to pronounce it the other way to make them feel like they're doing it wrong, then in my head I laugh. :-)


  1. I remember Neal Pryor actually using this.

  2. Yeah, of the allusions I've put on here, this is definitely one that you hear from time to time.