Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Legend: Bride's mix-up results in an embarrassingly inappropriate Bible verse being inscribed on her wedding cake.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2006]
Origins: We often come across tales whose key feature is a confusion of scripture, offered for a variety of reasons: to deflate the ego of someone who brashly lords his supposedly superior scriptural knowledge over others, to expose someone who exploits religion for personal gain, to make a political point, or simply because the confusion proves humorous.
The anecdote quoted above is an example of the last of these categories, a story about a nervous bride whose failure to distinguish between similarly-named but distinctly different sections of the New Testament results in an embarrassingly inappropriate verse being inscribed on her wedding cake. The bride intends to select a verse from
(A parallel, secular version of this type of legend involves a bride who is likewise mortally embarrassed at her wedding due to her failure to differentiate between two similarly-identified pieces of
As amusing as this story may be, we suspect it's merely the invention of someone who noticed the oppositive nature of the two verses and framed them with an amusing yarn. While inscriptions are the norm for most celebratory events that include a cake (e.g., birthdays, anniversaries, bon voyage parties), weddings are an exception; only rarely are they inscribed with any sort of message. Also, a caterer who recognized the inappropriateness of the selected verse — enough to call back and question it — would likely recite it to the orderer to avoid a mistake of this nature. And in any case, since the Bible exists in many different versions and translations which can vary quite widely in their presentation of scripture, the parties would probably want to work out in advance the precise wording of the passage to be inscribed on the cake.
Real-life tale or not, this narrative does demonstrate one truism: Many texts — scriptural and otherwise — can assume very different meanings, ranging from the archly humorous to the darkly ominous, depending upon the context in which they're presented.
Last updated: 29 August 2010
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