Man Gave Names to All the Animals

posted Nov 7, 2015, 3:05 AM by Professor Katz   [ updated Nov 7, 2015, 3:13 AM ]
It was during the Renaissance that the Hebrew language acquired mystical signification and kabbalistic intonations.  Hebrew was the vernacular of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, when Adam gave names to the animals, and there was no poetic ambiguity between words and the things to which they referred.  The biblical reference is Genesis 2:18-20:

18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

The Bible also tells us that God created the universe by speaking, and the language He spoke was almost certainly Hebrew.  There was always the hope that one day humankind might recreate this entire technology by a study of the intricacies of the Hebrew language, and thereby take part in the divine process.

Robert 'Bob Dylan' Zimmerman knew this when he wrote that song, 'Man Gave Names to All the Animals', first recorded in 1979.  But, you know, I think Johnny Cash sings it better:


Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, in the beginning
Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, long time ago

He saw an animal that liked to growl
Big furry paws and he liked to howl
Great big furry back and furry hair
“Ah, think I’ll call it a bear”

Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, in the beginning
Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, long time ago

He saw an animal up on a hill
Chewing up so much grass until she was filled
He saw milk comin’ out but he didn’t know how
“Ah, think I’ll call it a cow”

Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, in the beginning
Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, long time ago

He saw an animal that liked to snort
Horns on his head and they weren’t too short
It looked like there wasn’t nothin’ that he couldn’t pull
“Ah, think I’ll call it a bull”

Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, in the beginning
Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, long time ago

He saw an animal leavin’ a muddy trail
Real dirty face and a curly tail
He wasn’t too small and he wasn’t too big
“Ah, think I’ll call it a pig”

Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, in the beginning
Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, long time ago

Next animal that he did meet
Had wool on his back and hooves on his feet
Eating grass on a mountainside so steep
“Ah, think I’ll call it a sheep”

Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, in the beginning
Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, long time ago

He saw an animal as smooth as glass
Slithering his way through the grass
Saw him disappear by a tree near a lake . . .

Copyright © 1979 by Special Rider Music



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