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Picture of Hic et ubique
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I just now heard this line on the TV drama Law and Order, on the subject of how a pedophile gains the trust of his victims.
    All he wants to do is to please the adult. He doesn't know he's being used as a judas goat.
What is a judas goat? I assume it relates to the biblical Judas, but how?
 
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Via the untrustworthy Wikipedia: judas goat. No doubt from Jesus' disciple, Judas.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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OED has, "Judas goat: an animal used to lead others to destruction; also transf. Its earliest cite is from 1941.
 
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Via the untrustworthy Wikipedia

Now, Zmj...give me a break. Roll Eyes Okay, I know that it is an excellent source.

I remember my uncle saying, as a swearword, "Judas Priest!", or something like that. Is it related? Or am I maybe remembering it wrong?
 
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"Judas Priest!" is a watered-down version of the profanity "Jesus Christ!"


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Wikipedia says, "A Judas Goat is a term used to describe a trained goat used at a slaughterhouse and in general animal herding. In stockyards, a Judas goat will lead sheep to slaughter." Other sources indicate that the animals, agitated in unfamiliar surroundings, become calm in the goat's presence.

If that's the case, the term must surely predate 1941. In past times meat production was largely a local matter, and animals were slaughtered at the local butchershop. But around the 1870s it became centralized, with animals shipped in mass, by rail, to central slaughtering plants. (The industry originated and grew in my home town, Chicago.) So that would be the time when a Judas goat would be needed, when multiple animals were gathered for slaughter at a single place. Surely the term Judas goat arose around then.

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P.S. Wikipedia cites an article which refers to these goats as "caprine employees" of the slaughterhouse.

caprine - of, like or pretaining to goats
 
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Another useful employee is the Tennessee fainting goat. It has a genetic defect that means its legs lock and it falls over when startled. So when a wild dog or something makes for the herd... "Yoo hoo, I'm over here."
 
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From the web: "The origins of the Fainting Goat can best be traced to the hills of Tennessee and the County of Marshall. It was here that a drifter named Tinsley arrived in about the year 1880."
 
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hic: "Its [OED's] earliest cite is from 1941."
shufitz: "the term must surely predate 1941"

Here are cites from 1930 and, if you're willing to stretch the phrasing a wee bit, from 1910.
    The Judas goat of the packing centers has competition ...
    - AP story, taken from Lima (Ohio) News, July 17, 1930, p.11, but probably in other papers too

    The Union Pacific Railroad has discovered a new use for billy goats and every day ..., solemn goats with long white beards act the part of Judas, luring unsuspecting sheep to their doom.
    - Goats Assist Railroad, Sheboygan (Wisc.) Daily Press, June 16, 1910, p. 16
The latter story makes it clear that the practice (and presumably the metaphor) was not new. The writer notes that the railroad is using the goats to help it move sheep in response to new regulations, but he concludes by noting, "The facility of the goat for this work has long been known at the packing houses, where they are utilized to lead animals to slaughter."
 
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I hadn't known the word "caprine" before, Shu. It is so timely...I am doing "animal words" for the Wordcraftjr word of the day.
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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I assume it relates to the biblical Judas, but how?

So how come this rendering of the name gets such a bum rap? Isn't it the same name as Judah, or Jude, both of which are thought of in a positive light? For that matter, aren't Jesus and Joshua (Yeshua) the same?
 
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So how come this rendering of the name gets such a bum rap?

Dante puts traitors, such as Judas Iscariot, Brutus, and Cassius in the very center of Hell. While Judas, Jude, and Judah all come from the same Hebrew name, they do have subtle formal distinctions to keep them strtaight in English. I've never heard of a St Judas, but St Jude is the patron saint of hopeless causes. (I always assumed the name was chosen because Judas is similar to Yehudi 'Judaean, Jew' in keeping with early Christianity's anti-Semiticism and Romanophilism.) The Jesus / Joshua / Yehoshua thing is pretty much the same thing. In the Talmud, Jesus' name is different, based on the Greek form, rehebreicized, so folks don't get him confused with Rabbi Yehoshua around about the time of the macabees.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Originally posted by Hic et ubique:
From the web: "The origins of the Fainting Goat can best be traced to the hills of Tennessee and the County of Marshall. It was here that a drifter named Tinsley arrived in about the year 1880."

Wow! This is interesting to me, since my last name is Tinsley. Here are some links:

The History of the Myotonic goats
http://faintinggoatheaven.com.hosting.domaindirect.com/...history/history.html
Tennessee Fainting Goat
http://www.albc-usa.org/tenngoat.htm
MYOTONIC, THE BREED or DISPLAYING MYOTONIA?
http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com/articles/myotonic2.htm
 
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