I take it this spoof of Bultmann is an implied criticism of his methods and
those of modern biblical commentators in general. In fact, Lundquist's mock
scholarship on "The Cat and the Fiddle" is quite tame when compared to the
real thing. See the entry in _The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes_,
Iona and Peter Opie, eds. (Oxford: University Press, 1951) pp. 203-205,
which I reproduce below. Scholarship is a scholarship.
Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
Probably the best known nonsense verse in the language, a considerable
amount of nonsense has been written about it. One of the few statements
that can be authenticated is that it appeared in print c. 1765. A quotation
which may possibly refer to it is in _A lamentable tragedy mixed ful of
pleasant mirth, conteyning the life of Cambeses King of Persia_, by Thomas
Preston, printed 1569.
They be at hand Sir with stick and fiddle ;
They can play a new dance called hey-diddle-diddle.
Another is _The Cherry and the Slae_ by Alexander Montgomerie, 1597,
But since ye think't an easy thing
To mount above the moon,
Of your own fiddle take a spring
And dance when you have done.
Earlier in the poem a cow had been mentioned. There seems little foundation
for JOH's oft-quoted deduction that the unmeaning _Hey diddle diddle_ is a
corruption of AD ADHLA, DHLA D' ADE. Probably he knew he was being hoaxed
when he was presented with a parallel verse in 'ancient' Greek. He omits
the statement in his 1853 edition. Some of the other 'origin' theories
which may be safely discounted are: (i) that it is connected with Hathor
worship; (ii) that it refers to various constellations (Taurus, Canis minor,
&c.); (iii) that it describes the flight from the rising of the waters of
Egypt (little dog, the Dog Star, or 'Sohet', fiddler, beetle, hence scarab;
(iv) that it portrays Elizabeth, Lady Katherine Gray, and the Earls of
Hertford and Leicester (v) that it tells of Papist priests urging the
labouring classes to work harder; (vi) that the expression 'Cat and the
fiddle' comes (a) from Katherine of Aragon (Katherine la Fidele), (b) from
Catherine, wife of Peter the Great, and (c) from Caton, a supposed Governor
of Calais (Caton la fidele). There are grounds, albeit slight, for
believing the expression comes from the game of cat (trap-ball) and the
fiddle (i.e., music) provided by some old-time inns. The sanest observation
on this rhyme seems to have been made by Sir Henry Reid, 'I prefer to think'
, he says, 'that it commemorates the athletic lunacy to which the strange
conspiracy of the cat and the fiddle incited the cow.'
[Illustrations and publication notes omitted.]