Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mark Twain on the Sea of Galilee

My earliest memory of a large lake is of Lake Tahoe in northern California, but the body of water I've been to the most is the Sea of Galilee.  Mark Twain compared the two on his visit in the 1860s:

The celebrated Sea of Galilee is not so large a sea as Lake Tahoe by a good deal—it is just about two-thirds as large. And when we come to speak of beauty this sea is no more to be compared to Tahoe than a meridian of longitude is to a rainbow. The dim waters of this pool cannot suggest the limpid brilliancy of Tahoe; these low, shaven, yellow hillocks of rocks and sand, so devoid of perspective, cannot suggest the grand peaks that compass Tahoe like a wall, and whose ribbed and chasmed fronts are clad with stately pines that seem to grow small and smaller as they climb, till one might fancy them reduced to weeds and shrubs far upward, where they join the everlasting snows. Silence and solitude brood over Tahoe; and silence and solitude brood also over this lake of Gennesaret. But the solitude of the one is as cheerful and fascinating as the solitude of the other is dismal and repellent" (Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad, pp. 375-76).

IThe sea of Galilee, from the heights of Safed, pp2071b
From Picturesque Palestine, 1880s

Sea of Galilee and Plain of Gennesaret pan1d, tb032507719sr 
A few months ago

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2 Comments:

  • He...has a point. But! Did Jesus ever cross lake Taho? Nooooo. So there Twain!

    By Blogger psychobob, at Wed Sep 26, 10:20:00 PM  

  • Todd, I read The Innocents Abroad only months ago myself. Having visited Galilee last Spring for the first time, I was dismayed at Twain's evaluation. It is nothing close to what I viewed with my own eyes ... Galilee is beautiful! ... in many respects it beats the Great Lakes which I have lived beside for years. Your picture tells the story :) Thanks for the post.

    By Anonymous Nathan Badger, at Tue Oct 16, 10:19:00 PM  

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