Dead Sea Apes

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The Dead Sea Apes is a fable of dwellers by the Dead Sea who, according to the Muslim tradition, were transformed into apes because they turned a deaf ear to God's message to them by the lips of Moses. It is also a metaphor used, for instance by Carlyle, describing people in modern times to whom the universe, with all its serious voices, seems to have become a weariness and a humbug. See "Past and Present", Bk. iii. chap. 3.