Имян Отчествович Фамильев (nomen_nescio) wrote,
Имян Отчествович Фамильев

Любезный semenych прислал мне оригинальную статью о кости пениса в книге Берешит, спасибо ему.

American Journal of Medical Genetics 101:284 - 285 (2001)
Letter to the Editor

Congenital Human Baculum Deficiency: The Generative Bone of Genesis 2:21 - 23

To the Editor:

There are certain genetic diseases that affect 100% of
the human population. One of these is gulonolactone
oxidase deficiency [OMIM 420400], caused by a deletion
on chromosome 8p21 [Nishikimi et al., 1994]. The lack
of this enzyme causes severe connective tissue disease
and makes us dependent upon dietary supplements of
ascorbic acid. Another genetic condition, extending to
100% of human males, is the congenital lack of a
baculum (os priapi; os penis). Whereas most mammals
(including common species such as dogs and mice) and
most other primates (excepting spider monkeys) have a
penile bone, human males lack this bone and must rely
on ¯uid hydraulics to maintain erections. This is not an
insignificant bone. The baculum of a large dog can be
10 cm long X 1.3 cm wide, X 1 cm thick [Sisson and
Grossman, 1953]. In rodents, the proximal segment of
the os penis is formed by intramembranous ossification,
while the distal region appears to be formed by
endochondral ossification. The size of the rodent
baculum is regulated by the posterior members of the
HoxD set of transcription factors [Williams-Ashman
and Reddi, 1991; Zakany et al., 1997] and appears to be
induced by members of the TGF-b and BMP families
[Origuchi et al., 1998]. It has not been determined if the
deficiency in human males is due to lack of paracrine
factor expression in the genital mesoderm. Human
bacula have been reported, usually in association with
other congenital diseases or penile abnormalities [see
Hoeg, 1986, Gelbard, 1988; Sarma and Weilbaecher,
1990; Vahlensieck et al., 1995].
One of the creation stories in Genesis may be an
explanatory myth wherein the Bible attempts to find a
cause for why human males lack this particular bone.
Our opinion is that Adam did not lose a rib in the
creation of Eve. Any ancient Israelite (or for that
matter, any American child) would be expected to know
that there is an equal (and even) number of ribs in both
men and women. Moreover, ribs lack any intrinsic
generative capacity. We think it is far more probable
that it was Adam's baculum that was removed in order
to make Eve. That would explain why human males, of
all the primates and most other mammals, did not have
one. The Hebrew noun translated as ``rib'', tzela (tzade,
lamed, ayin), can indeed mean a costal rib. It can also
mean the rib of a hill (2 Samuel 16:13), the side
chambers (enclosing the temple like ribs, as in 1 Kings
6:5,6), or the supporting columns of trees, like cedars or
firs, or the planks in buildings and doors (1 Kings
6:15,16). So the word could be used to indicate a
structural support beam. Interestingly, Biblical
Hebrew, unlike later rabbinic Hebrew, had no technical
term for the penis and referred to it through many
circumlocutions. When rendered into Greek, sometime
in the second century BCE, the translators used the
word pleura, which means side, and would connote a
body rib (as the medical term pleura still does). This
translation, enshrined in the Septuagint, the Greek
Bible of the early church, fixed the meaning for most of
western civilization, even though the Hebrew was not
so specific.
In addition, Genesis 2:21 contains another etiological
detail: ``The Lord God closed up the flesh''. This detail
would explain the peculiar visible sign on the penis and
scrotum of human males - the raphe . In the human
penis and scrotum, the edges of the urogenital folds
come together over the urogenital sinus(urethral
groove) to form a seam, the raphe . If this seam does
not form, hypospadias of the glans, penis, and scrotum
can result. The origin of this seam on the external
genitalia was ``explained'' by the story of the closing of
Adam's fiesh. Again, the wound associated with the
generation of Eve is connected to Adam's penis and not
this rib.
A rib has no particular potency nor is it associated
mythologically or symbolically with any human generative
act. Needless to say, the penis has always been
associated with generation, in practice, in mythology,
and in the popular imagination. Therefore, the literal,
metaphorical, and euphemistic use of the word tzela
make the baculum a good candidate for the singular
bone taken from adam to generate Eve.

Geldbard MK. 1988. Dystrophic penile calcification in Peyronie's disease. J
Urol 139:738 - 740.
Hoeg OM. 1986. Human penile ossification. Scand. J Urol Nephrol 20:231 -
Nishikimi M, Fukuyama R, Minoshima S, Shimizu N, Yagi K. 1994.
Cloning and chromosomal mapping of the human nonfunctional gene
for L-gulono-gamma-lactone oxidase, the enzyme for L-ascorbic acid
biosynthesis missing in man. J Biol Chem 269:13685 - 13688.
Origuchi N, Ishidou Y, Nagamine T, Onishi T, Matsunaga S, Yoshida H,
Sakou T. 1998. The spatial and temporal immunolocalization of TGFb1
and bone morphogenesis protein-2/4 in phallic bone formation in inbred
Sprague Dawley male rats. In vivo 12:473 - 480.
Sarma DP, Weilbaecher TG. 1990. Human os penis. Urology 35:349 - 350.
Sisson S, Grossman JD. 1953. The Anatomy of Domestic Animals. WB
Saunders, Philadelphia.
VahlensieckWKJr, Schaefer HE, Westenfelder M. 1995. Penile ossification
and acquired penile deviation. Eur Urol 27:252 - 256.
Williams-Ashman HG, Reddi AH. 1991. Differentiation of mesenchymal
tissues during phallic morphogenesis with emphasis on the os penis:
roles of androgens and other regulatory agents. J Steroid Biochem Mol
Biol 39:873 - 881.
Zakany J, Fromental-Ramain C, Warot X, Duboule D. 1997. Regulation of
number and size of digits by posterior Hox genes: a dose-dependentmechanism
with potential evolutionary implications. Proc Natl Acad
Sci USA 94:13695 - 13700.

Scott F. Gilbert*
Department of Biology
Martin Biological Laboratories
Swarthmore College,
Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Ziony Zevit
Department of the Biblical Literature
University of Judaism
Los Angeles, California
Letter to the Editor 285

*Correspondence to: Scott F. Gilbert, Department of Biology,
Martin Biological Laboratories, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore,
PA 19081 USA. E-mail: sgilber1@swarthmore.edu
Received 18 January 2001; Accepted 18 January 2001
Published online 22 May 2001
ß 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Tags: Берешит, Танах, глава Берешит

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