Some thoughts begin to gather for a study of biblical farts, as part of my ongoing ‘earthy Bible’ interest.

To begin with, Isaiah 16:11 reads: ‘Therefore my bowels (מֵעַ֣י) play like a harp for Moab and my innards (וְקִרְבִּ֖י) for Kir-heres’. Given that instruments have traditionally been regarded as replacements for the music of the body, here we have the musical bum at work.

And then, according to the venerable Augustine, once upon a time we were able to play that bodily instrument at the direction of our will:

Hence man himself too may once have commanded even from his lower members [membra inferiora] an obedience that by his own disobedience he has lost … Certain human beings … can at will do with their bodies some things that others find utterly impossible to imitate and scarcely credible to hear. For some people can actually move their ears, either one at a time or both together … Some people produce at will without any stench [sine paedore ullo] such rhythmical sounds from ‘down there’ [ab imo] that they appear appear to be making music [ut … cantare videantur] even from that quarter (City of God 14.24, 4).

Thus, both the involuntary nature and the noted odour of anal bugling is actually a result of the Fall. One imagines Adam and Eve playing sweet music together as they rest in the shade of the evenings. But it also means – given that the Fall is overcome in heaven – that people such as Mr Methane or Roland the Farter provide glimpses of what the choirs of angels in heaven might actually be doing.

A title?  How about ‘The Music Album Musical Bum of the Bible’