Discover more from Rationalist Judaism
Giants and Dwarfs
Some of the information in Sacred Monsters just became outdated!
In the chapter on giants, I listed Leonid Stadnyk as the tallest living person, at 8 feet 4 inches. He is currently not recognized as the tallest person due to his refusal to be measured; it is believed that he is "only" around 7 feet 8 inches. Instead, the record is currently held by Sultan Kösen, who made the headlines this week when he received treatment to his pituitary gland in order to prevent his growing beyond his current height of 8 feet 3 inches. The reason for the intervention was that the human skeleton is simply not strong enough to support such a large figure. (Which is a problem for those who insist that the Levi'im were all fifteen feet tall. But I don't think that there are many people who believe that anyway; I've never seen illustrations that depict them as being so tall.)
In the chapter on dwarfs, I listed Gul Mohammed of India (1957-1997) as the shortest person ever measured, at 22.5 inches tall. But a few weeks ago, a 72-year old Nepali villager, Chandra Bahadur Dangi, was measured at 21.5 inches tall. Pharaoh certainly theoretically could have been eighteen inches tall, as the Gemara says; but as I explained in Sacred Monsters, I don't think that this is what the Gemara meant.
Baruch meshaneh habriyos.