Aside on the mosaic depiction above, which comes from the 12th century and is in Palermo, Italy: notice the way the man has his hands covered w/ his sleeve so he’s not directly touching the unclean corpse, and is covering his nose and mouth because of the stench.
That is the King James Version of Martha’s description of four-days-dead Lazarus, what we heard as “already there is a stench.” Actually, the King James says, “he stinketh.” Lots of things stink, literally or figuratively. The death of a friend. Disease-laden drinking water. The smell of gunpowder after a shooting. Flop houses and crack houses. Bodies on a battlefield. Antiseptic in hospitals and the deadly infections it fights. A person living on the streets without access to a shower or clean clothes. Salty tears. Continue reading →