I knew that the word came from the Bible. The Jewish tribe of Gilead had won against the Ephraimites and in order to stop them crossing the rivers in the area they introduced a password. The password was "Shibboleth" as the Ephraimites could not pronounce the 'sh-' sound correctly. If anyone trying to cross the river said it wrong they were killed.
Today, the word Shibboleth has a different meaning. It is a cultural marker: something that sets out your culture from the rest. As a Christian our Shibboleth should be our love for one another. John 13:35 puts it quite clearly: "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
- When you read the word "Gilead" did you think "The Handmaid's Tale"?
- "I wist not whence they were"; isn't that a great turn of phrase?
- What is the Shibboleth of any culture or sub-cultures you're in?
- Is the Shibboleth of Christianity love?