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History of the golem legend - Input Junkie
January 5th, 2014
11:42 am


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History of the golem legend
An extensive history of many versions-- includes labor relations, intellectual property, and exact measurement (possibly a bit of a novelty in 1200*), not the mention the many changes a basic idea can go through.

Contrary to modern tastes, while some golems were made to protect Jewish communities from anti-Semites, there are no descriptions of what the golems actually did.

And also the history of the Chelm stories, which I didn't realize were recycled German folk tales, nor that Chelm was an actual town.

*actually not yet standard practice worldwide-- Cooks Illustrated the Science of Good Cooking starts off with an explanation of why it's important to measure by weight, not volume. Volume is still standard in American recipes, but how you scoop your flour can affect how much is in a cup by 13%.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1030891.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:January 5th, 2014 07:15 pm (UTC)
It doesn't help all that much to measure your ingredients by weight if your favorite recipes give amounts by volume. Luckily, most of my favorite recipes seem to be pretty forgiving.
[User Picture]
Date:January 5th, 2014 07:47 pm (UTC)
thank you for the golem link, that's one of my interests. I'm going to read the feathers off that. I always wondered what Chelm-ites thought about Chelm stories.

Personally, I hate measuring by weight and I won't do it for anything except certain kinds of preserves and wine making. I rarely bake, since I can't eat much baked stuff, and when I do, it's always by eye and intuition anyway. (snipping rant about how much I hate the modern precisionist food writing)
[User Picture]
Date:January 5th, 2014 09:59 pm (UTC)
I have a great big golem
I made it out of clay
And when I write the Name on
My word it must obey

Oh golem golem golem,
Golem go and slay.

- Matthew Joseph Harrington, 1/5/2014

From a work in progress.
[User Picture]
Date:January 20th, 2014 12:10 am (UTC)
As story by David Brin, Kiln People, is based rather closely on the golem legend. IIRC the word "chelm" figured somehow in the story.

On a related question, do you know if the medieval rabbi Abulafia had anything to do with golems? Before knowing the name, I encountered it as a verbal command used by a character to access a drop-down menu in Greg Egan's Permutation City. Since the character is a sort of electronic golem, I wondered if there might be a connection.
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