The fairytale of Snow White was written by the Brothers Grimm during the mid-19 th century, and like all of their fables it was written as a parable and therefore infused with layers of hidden meaning. The Brothers Grimm were not simply storytellers, they were academics, lexicographers and linguists who were deeply immersed in historical and cultural research. They not only knew of the literary usage of the Gospel parable and the Talmudic pesher, they wanted to emulate these tried and tested techniques. And the deliberately cryptic nature of Gospel parables is made perfectly clear by Jesus himself, when he says:
The disciples came to Jesus and said: Why do you speak in parables? He answered: Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given … Therefore I speak to them in parables, because they seeing see not and hearing they hear not, nor do they understand. (Math 13:10-13)
Parables to Keep Secrets
So biblical parables were used to keep secrets from the common people, just like a Mason passing codes and cyphers in plain sight to fellow Masons. That was the true nature of the Church of Jesus and James, before it was turned into Simple Judaism (Christianity) by Saul. Some of the Gospel parables were deliberately overt, like the merchant who bought a precious pearl (Math 13:45) or the mustard seed that grew very large (Math 13:31), to give the common people the erroneous belief that they were a part of the initiated few. But other parables were purposely designed to resonate only with an inner circle of disciples and trusted followers, like the parable of the wicked tenant (Math 21:33).
The Wicked Tenants
In fact, the parable of the wicked tenant was so astutely obscured and so contrary to normal expectation that it has very rarely been correctly translated even within modern academia. It is actually an explicit description of the Syrio-Judaean struggle against Roman taxation during the first century, with the Romans being cast as the wicked tenant.
The Romans were living on Judaean land (tenants) and yet they would not pay any rent to the princes and kings of the region, and demanded rent (tribute) from them instead. From the Syrio-Judaean perspective the Romans were indeed ‘wicked tenants’ in refusing to pay their dues to the landowning monarchs of the region, and this was a divisive grievance that eventually precipitated the Jewish Revolt – but one that also highlights the royal status of the biblical Jesus.
During their research into German language and culture the Brothers Grimm came across many folk tales that appeared to contain similar hidden meanings, and they were determined to preserve them for future generations.
The mid-19 th century was a peak of social change, as the Industrial Revolution swept away old rustic traditions that had endured for centuries and replaced them with a newly urbanized void. And if these ancient customs and fables were to survive in this new world, they would have to conform to the edicts of an increasingly centralized and powerful academic and religious elite.
The Green Man and Maypole may have been de rigueur out in the rural provinces, but were less acceptable in the emerging industrialized metropolises of Europe, where conformity was a virtue and the finger of heresy could easily end a career. And these conformist threats were very real, as the Brothers were to find out in 1837 when they were suspected of being allied to the Young Germans – a group of radical academics and writers who fought for a separation of Church and State and for transparency in religious teaching – and lost their university teaching positions as a result.
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