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Author Topic: He's the 'salt of the earth'? Where's that come from?  (Read 579 times)

Offline P-Kasso2

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He's the 'salt of the earth'? Where's that come from?
« on: 05 August, 2017, 06:21:23 PM »

Call me nitpicky but I'd say that "He is a diamond" is far superior to being just "salt". Wouldn't you?

So why do we say someone is 'the salt of the earth'?  Apart from salt being indispensable on chips, is there some mysterious meaning behind being 'the salt of the earth'? Something I am too thick to see?

Can anyone explain why being salt is somehow A Good Thing? Why 'salt' of all things?

Where does this strange expression come from? And why?
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Offline P-Kasso2

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Re: He's the 'salt of the earth'? Where's that come from?
« Reply #1 on: 16 August, 2017, 10:40:44 PM »
.
Just found the answer to my own question! I was feeling a bit miffed that no IAers had felt interested enough to do a spot of light digging on my behalf and so I keyed in the words "salt of the earth" myself - and up popped the answer...

It comes from the Bible! (No wonder it had passed me by).

"The phrase 'the salt of the earth' I am told, derives from the Bible, Matthew 5:13

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."

Odd phrasing this where, as so often in the Bible, the poetry of the Bible clouds the meaning. It seems that 'salt' in this instance simply means 'excellence'. But I reckon it could (by rephrasing this Bible quote more accurately) be better reinterpreted as "If Gold rust, what shall mere Iron do? Where mere Iron stands for mere ordinary Man. Good question!

In other words, what shall you expect of mere men if their supposedly superiors and betters rust with corruption etc?

But here, in the quoted Bible quote, it seems that the 'excellent' aspect of salt (and you have to remember this was 2,000 years ago) in 'the salt of the earth' was coined back then in reference to the then financial value of salt, which salt no longer has.

This in turn is reflected in other old phrases too - such as a worker being "worth his salt" (or his salary) meant he was wotrth his wages.

Or in another phrase about the aristocratic and powerful who were said to be 'above the salt'   - I'd always thought that that expression simply referred to the boss's position at the head of the table  naturally being above the condiments.

Somehow 'being called 'the ketchup of the earth' wouldn't have had quite the same ring to it.




« Last Edit: 16 August, 2017, 10:56:31 PM by P-Kasso2 »
"I live in hope"