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Transmission ErrorTobias Henoeckl
- Thu May 06 10:39:38 2004
A new young monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to help the
other monks in copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand. He
notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not
from the original manuscript. So, the new monk goes to the abbot to
question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in
the first copy, it would never be picked up. In fact, that error would
be continued in all of the subsequent copies.
The Abbot says, "We have been copying from the copies for centuries,
but you make a good point, my son". So, he goes down into the dark
caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscript is held
in a locked vault that hasn't been opened for hundreds of years. Hours
go by and nobody sees the old abbot.
Eventually the young monk gets worried and goes downstairs to look for
him. He sees him banging his head against the wall. His forehead is all
bloody and bruised and he is crying uncontrollably. The young monk asks
the old abbot, "What's wrong, father?" In a choking voice, the old
abbot replies, "The word is celebrate, not celibate!"