Warning:  This contains a discussion of Christian Exegesis, or biblical
interpretation.  There is some science stuff as well and a comparison of
the two.  But if that kind of religious debate is not your cup of tea, you
might want to skip this post. We'll wait for you to move on.........


Ye are *the salt* of the earth: but *if* the salt have lost his savour,
wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be
cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.   Matthew 5:13   King James

From a purely chemical reasoning, I really don't see how it could "lose
flavor". . The flavor comes from the ionic bond breaking when it goes into
solution, as in when it dissolves in the saliva in your mouth. IF there is
physical salt, then those bonds are present. If the bonds are present, then
they will break in solution.  If they break in solution, there will be
flavor. Therefore, they must be talking about something else.  I think what
has happened here is that a copy error occurred in later editions, and
someone changed "savour"  to "flavor".

I have also read this (in Mark) as "has lost its saltiness".  Comparing the
two, that would indicate the meaning as "that which makes it salt".  If
salt isn't salt, then it is simply dust, and should be put where the rest
of the dust is...... In the street to be trod upon, because that is what
makes dust.

But I will tell you that the intensity of flavor does change with the salt
composition.  PCl, commonly known as "lite Salt", used primarily by people
on a low sodium diet, is less "salty" tasting than NaCl. On the other hand,
most places are going to have only one kind of salt.  The P- Cl+ doesn't
form when the stronger bonding Na- is present.  The Na is stingy, and takes
the Cl+ all for itself.  Why?  Don't know, not a chemist.  But those two
salts are not found together in nature.

The other concept that you might consider is that the Bible was discussing
the preservative nature of salt.  If salt has lost its ability to save
(savour), then what will preserve the salt?   Salt was THE preservative
method, and salt mined from the earth (like in Salzburg, Austria, or in
Wiesliczka,Poland, or in Krewka, Pakistan) has been in existence since the
beginning of the world.  So if you want to save something, wrap it in salt.
If your salt doesn't save your stuff, then throw it away as worthless.

Now, as to my interest in the passage.....   Salt comes in a rocks, or in
gravel if you have a lot of it.  larger towns pave their streets to stave
off the mud. Spreading gravel is the equivalent of paving.  If you have a
large salt mine to hand (like you know, the Dead Sea, maybe), it is easier
to mine the salt than it is the limestone, and break it into gravel. This
is very dirty salt, pretty much the equivalent of our road salt, and
definitely not fit for eating, or preserving food FOR eating. For that
purpose it has to be washed and refined several times.  That refining is
what makes salt so expensive.  This raw stuff is literally dirt cheap.
 Road engineers will use whatever gravel is closest and easiest to access.
 Sand stone, limestone, granite, broken reef, coal cinders, what ever they
can get cheaply.

Why would Jesus have used this visual if the common culture was not
familiar with the image?

From an engineering perspective, this has some really interesting
characteristics.  Rain does not percolate down through the soil like it
does here.  It evaporates back UP out of the soil in that region.  So the
cycle would be....  Salt the road, rain falls and dissolves the salt,
enters the earth to a depth of no more than 18", then evaporates leaving
the salt behind.  The Salt then hardens the soil, creating a hard surface
that is more impervious to rainfall than the surrounding ground.  IOW, it
creates a hard pack road NATURALLY!!!!!    in *my* book, that's pure
f*****g GENIUS!

Cultural support for this theory comes from a practice distinct to the
region.  EVERYbody goes barefoot everywhere around the world. Indians,
American Indians, Polynesians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Mayan.
 Everybody.  But the ONLY place that has a ritual foot washing with oil is
the Holy Land.

 Normal dust does not dry out the feet severely.  Salt dust will cripple
the feet in less than a week because it will dry the skin and make serious
bleeding cracks.  The only way to correct that is to wash the salt dust
off, and rub oil into the skin.  And this practice is documented not once,
but several times in the gospels. Mary does it to Jesus. Jesus does it to
the disciples, widows to saints.

At least, that is MY take on it.

On Sun, Feb 16, 2014 at 3:09 AM, Jerry Harder <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> So when does salt loos it's flavor as in the biblical reference that never
> made any sense to me?
> On 2/14/2014 11:40 PM, Franz wrote:
>> You are looking at it backwards.
>> They didn't infuse salts so much as they used salts to preserve other
>> herbs. Example: herb d'Provence, which is a number of herbs local to
>> Provence, France, chopped into sea salt to dry it out.
>> The herbs don't flavor the salt, the salt dries the herbs.
>> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Feb 14, 2014, at 9:05 PM, Stefan li Rous <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>  Yes, please. This discussion has gotten me interested in seeing if there
>>> really is a taste difference between the different salt sources.
>>> These different salts have been a recent, growing fad. Not too long ago,
>>> it was difficult to simply find sea salt.
>>> Then a number of salt samples can join my collection of different honeys
>>> (from a Pennsic merchant when he was shutting down) and various 'medieval'
>>> spices, also mostly from Pennsic.
>>> I haven't seen any evidence that medieval Europeans infused salts, but
>>> they did infuse sugar with other spices.
>>> flavord-sugars-msg (8K) 3/27/05 Period flavored, infused sugars.
>>> Stefan
>>> On Feb 14, 2014, at 12:57 PM, Ted Eisenstein <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>  Wow was I wrong. Its Hawaiian sea salt, and they said you can find it in
>>>>>> local fresh markets where they have a selection of salts.
>>>>> Oddly enough, I was in Key West a couple of days ago, and wandered into
>>>> a tea-and-spice shop on, hmmm, Front Street near Duval I think. They
>>>> had quite a selection of salts, both self-flavored (habanero salt;
>>>> garlic salt; triple-something salt) and naturally flavored of
>>>> several types, including fleur de sel, and some sort of Mediterranean
>>>> salt not FdS, and a few others.
>>>> I've got their website. If anyone wants to check to see if they have
>>>> correct salts, ask.
>>>> (Their business card and the website are hidden somewhere in my
>>>> luggage, else I'd post right now.)
>>>> Alban
>>> --------
>>> THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
>>>    Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> **** See Stefan's Florilegium files at: ****