Special Sub-Topic: Whale Rider
|Jonah has been claimed to have been born in several places - amongst them is Gath Hepher which is a location near to the childhood home of Jesus, as well as "the Arab capital of Israel". What major northern Israeli city is this?|
Nazareth. Interestingly, the majority of the population of Nazareth are Muslims (and have been for quite some time). While some scholars dispute whether the "Nazareth" referred to in the Bible is actually the city we know today as located near Galilee, the Arabs seem to have no question on the matter. They often named settlements according to "nisba" - that is, named after a significant person who lived in a specific area. Their name for Nazareth transliterates in English to "an-Nasira", which roughly means "followers of Jesus".
|Approximately how much time did Jonah spend (by whatever method of "transportation") on the sea between Jaffa and Tarshish?|
No more than a week. Bible writings do not really specify anything other than three days and three nights inside a "big fish" (Jonah 1:17), but even if you add on sailing time (in a boat) it would be less than a week.
A "month of Sundays" is an idiom that means an indefinitely long period of time (as in "forever"). "40 days and 40 nights" can also mean a really long time, but generally refers to either the temptation of Christ in the desert, or how long Noah and the passengers on the Ark had to survive through the rain. "Six Months in a Leaky Boat" was a fun song released by the New Zealand band Split Enz in 1982.
|In Rabbinic literature, similar to the number of Christian apostles, Jonah is referred to as what?|
One of the twelve minor prophets. Jesus had twelve apostles. Jonah was certainly a "rebellious" sort of character, but he is considered to be one of the twelve minor prophets in the Tanakh. In "traditional" Jewish faith, the Book of Jonah is usually read every year on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).
|In the Islamic faith, Jonah is quite important in his role as a prophet. What name does he go by in the Qur'an?|
Yunus. Ibrahim is Abraham, Isa is Jesus and Musa is Moses.
Jonah is the only minor prophet of the Hebrew Bible who is also mentioned in the Qur'an (chapter 10, verse 98). Without the specific mention of the word "prophet", he is also cited twice in Chapter 37, verses 139-148. In Arabic, he is called "Dhul-Nan", which translates to "The One of the Whale".
|Based on the biblical stories, over time the name "Jonah" has developed different meanings to different folks. What does the name mean to sailors?|
a jinx. A "Jonah" is considered to be anyone on board a ship who brings bad luck to the rest of the passengers/crew. A more "modern" day example would be found in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Coleridge.
|This Muslim spoke highly of Jonah and by naming him as a fellow prophet, encouraged many to join the Islamic faith. Who is this man?|
Muhammad. Muhammad/Muhammed felt that all prophets, no matter what "denomination", were equals since it was his belief that there is one God for all, no matter His name. In Islamic scriptures it is quite explicit that he did not hold himself "above" Jonah as a prophet ("minor" or otherwise).
|Jonah is considered a Saint in certain sects of Orthodox and Lutheran churches. In what month, considered to be the one in which North Americans can no longer fashionably wear white shoes, is his Saint's Day celebrated?|
September. Nobody is absolutely certain why white can't be worn after Labour Day in North America, but perhaps it has something to do with the weather. In any case, Jonah's Feast Day is usually September 22 (Julian Calendar), or if you're an adherant to the Gregorian Calendar, then it occurs during the first week of October (which wasn't an option).
|Written several centuries after the Book of Jonah, Greek mythology contains a character whose adventures had several similarities to Jonah. Which character would that be?|
Jason. The story of Jason and the Argonauts shared several things with the story of Jonah. To name a few: fleeing, storms at sea, the "ethereal" gourd, problems with fellow sailors and being swallowed by some sort of giant beast. Jonah's story also parallels that of Jesus in one particular aspect - Jonah spent three days in darkness inside a fish, while Jesus spent three days in "darkness" before the Resurrection.
|The ancient Assyrian settlement associated with Jonah is Nineveh, which today is encompassed by a fairly large city called Mosul. In which modern-day country would you find it?|
Iraq. The city of Mosul is the place where the fabric muslin gets its name. It is also where you can find a historical center for the Nestorian branch of the Christian "Church of the East". Amongst other prophets of the Old Testament, Jonah is said to be entombed there. However, other locations also claim to hold the remains of Jonah, such as the Muslim mosque/sanctuary Nebi Yunes near Hebron on the Palestinian West Bank.
|With the dubious exception of the sperm whale, some naturalists have decided that due to the anatomy of a whale's mouth, a full-grown man could not possibly be swallowed by one. What ocean-dwelling animal do they propose as the "likely suspect" for Jonah's discomfort?|
Shark. Complete human corpses HAVE been found inside of Great White Sharks. It is not very likely that the other suggestions would qualify. The "Ogopogo" is a mythological lake monster (similar to "Nessie") that supposedly has been sighted in the Lake Okanogan area of British Columbia (Canada).
Most theologians generally agree that the "big fish" was either an allegory/literal device, or a creature singularly created by God for this one purpose and hence, wouldn't fit any species categorised in today's science world.
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