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Old 03-18-2013, 02:22 AM   #1
slyc_willie
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Cool The Bible (TV Series on History Channel)

I'd really hate for this to turn into a religious discussion about pedophile priests and the evils of organized religion. What I am commenting on is the way the stories in the Christian bible are being interpreted by this particular series.

Personally, I find it fascinating. As a history student a decade and a half ago, I did my concentration on "myth as historical precedent" and devoted a lot of time to the Bible as well as the Rig Veda, the Mahabharata and the various myths and legends of the Celts, the Maya and the ancient Chinese. It's always been my contention that many of the more fanciful stories were grandiose interpretations of actual -- or believed actual -- events.

This series really puts the human "spin" on events as they were described in the Bible. The writers, I feel, have done an excellent job of piecing together the personalities of many key figures, from Moses to Jesus, Mary to Joseph, Pontus Pilate to Paul. They are portrayed as "real" people, and the actors should be given much more credit than they will probably receive.

I can see where devout Christians will be both vindicated and insulted by this series. There are many allusions to more intimate relationships between characters in the Bible than is traditionally attributed. There is also a heavy amount of attention given to the more violent scenes, particularly to those in the Old Testament. Much of it mirrors the History Channel's Battles B.C. program of a few years back. At the same time, the basic beliefs presented -- or attempted to be presented -- in the Bible are supported through the writing and acting.

It all shapes up like a very well produced Greek Tragedy, complete with prophecy, sacrifice, tragic death and mysticism.

It really is fascinating stuff. I personally applaud the producers for presenting what is, for many, cannonical material in a very modern and not always favorable light.

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Old 03-18-2013, 03:23 AM   #2
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Anthropologists view myths as important in society. Myths aren't stories we read on an individual basis but rather stories which we share and which convey truths which we accept about ourselves as a group. Perhaps shifts in society in USA have led to the need for a set of myths - the common one being those in the bible - which are told in a more historically accurate way and which allow for a more human attitude towards certain kinds of relationships. A need is probably being felt too for some thinking about violence; I mean an emotional consideration of violence in a mythical frame, rather than a clinical sociological analysis of facts about it.
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:38 AM   #3
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It is becoming more and more apparent that myths are not just fanciful stories, but a fanciful spin on events that truly transpired. Take the flood myth. Many people in the Western world are unaware that the story of Noah and his commission by God to build an ark was based on much earlier accounts. Sumerian and Indian myths dating back hundreds or thousands of years earlier recount practically the exact same event.

What I find interesting is that there is scientific evidence to support the claims of a global flood . . . or rather, a catastrophic rise in sea-level which would have seemed like a global flood to any witnesses. In fact, such increases in sea-level have occurred three times in the last 20,000 years.
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:57 AM   #4
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A lot of societies where not everyone is literate record history through other means. I remember a study of African ways of recording history through what had been taken for 'just' stories written some time ago, although the title escapes me right now - it had Hippopotamus in it, LOL. (Anthropological books often have great titles: Day of Shining Red, The Raw and the Cooked -the first volume of LÚvi-Strauss's structuralist analysis of myth.)
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
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A lot of societies where not everyone is literate record history through other means. I remember a study of African ways of recording history through what had been taken for 'just' stories written some time ago, although the title escapes me right now - it had Hippopotamus in it, LOL. (Anthropological books often have great titles: Day of Shining Red, The Raw and the Cooked -the first volume of LÚvi-Strauss's structuralist analysis of myth.)
For long periods, the history of India -- the Rig Veda and Maharabhata -- were not physically recorded, and purposefully so. They were extremely accurate oral histories, memorized from one generation to the next. In fact, the idea of writing them down was looked upon with disfavor, as if the idea was that by doing so, it robs the mind of remembering important information.
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:10 AM   #6
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For long periods, the history of India -- the Rig Veda and Maharabhata -- were not physically recorded, and purposefully so. They were extremely accurate oral histories, memorized from one generation to the next. In fact, the idea of writing them down was looked upon with disfavor, as if the idea was that by doing so, it robs the mind of remembering important information.
And I guess we attach a lot of importance to the account of something being exactly recorded so we can go back and say: No, it's x - here it is in writing. We forget that sometimes it might be more useful to reinterpret it according to our own times.
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Old 03-18-2013, 01:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
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And I guess we attach a lot of importance to the account of something being exactly recorded so we can go back and say: No, it's x - here it is in writing. We forget that sometimes it might be more useful to reinterpret it according to our own times.
How about both? Keep the facts, which can be reinterpreted if necessary.
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Old 03-18-2013, 01:55 PM   #8
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How about both? Keep the facts, which can be reinterpreted if necessary.
It's done all the time, even in the face of documentation or evidence. Religious works are even more subject to it than anything else.
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I can see where devout Christians will be both vindicated and insulted by this series...

How can somebody be vindicated by watching baseless, made up shit about baseless, made up shit?

That's not vindication, that is self-delusion!
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
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It's done all the time, even in the face of documentation or evidence. Religious works are even more subject to it than anything else.
Facts are kept even in the face of documentation?
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
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It is becoming more and more apparent that myths are not just fanciful stories, but a fanciful spin on events that truly transpired.
I pretty much grew up (in the States and Europe) believing that Christian "history" was almost entirely myth convenient to give substance and example to pretty good philosophies on how to act and treat each other (not all that well played out by all Christians, of course). But living in the Middle East brought home that much more of it has at least some basis in fact. Some of the places have been continuously occupied and marked from the time of the events--Abraham and Sarah's tomb, for instance--and seem well documented. Some others seem to have become mythical with the coming (and returning home) of the Crusaders. Much is documented as tracking well with the excavation of tells. Above all, though, those in the Middle East seem much more connected with the history and believing in it than Christians in the States are (who aren't just pretending).
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:42 PM   #12
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I pretty much grew up (in the States and Europe) believing that Christian "history" was almost entirely myth convenient to give substance and example to pretty good philosophies on how to act and treat each other (not all that well played out by all Christians, of course). But living in the Middle East brought home that much more of it has at least some basis in fact. Some of the places have been continuously occupied and marked from the time of the events--Abraham and Sarah's tomb, for instance--and seem well documented. Some others seem to have become mythical with the coming (and returning home) of the Crusaders. Much is documented as tracking well with the excavation of tells. Above all, though, those in the Middle East seem much more connected with the history and believing in it than Christians in the States are (who aren't just pretending).
More and more sites mentioned in the Bible and other mythical works are being found practically every year. Some archaeologists think they've found the sites for Sodom and Gomorrah and have even speculated as to the origin of the tale of Lot's wife -- near the site, there is a salt lake with large pillars that, from a distance, could be mistaken for human figures.

It's all incredibly interesting. The more we uncover, the more we learn that what was once considered an allegorical story may have actually happened.
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:09 PM   #13
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Found this article online that matches the book I have.

Sodom and Gomorrah

The theory that the cities were burned as a result of lightning striking natural petroleum deposits is pretty compelling. Certainly, for someone watching from a distance, seeing lightning strike and then fire erupting across the cities could appear to be an act of divine retribution.
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:26 PM   #14
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I get all the Bible I need from John Romer's book, TESTAMENT. Romer autopsies each book of the Old Testament linking it to its historical roots. Then explains what each book is really about. Overall the Bible is a foundation for the Jewish culture, and each book is a lesson.
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:32 PM   #15
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCgA1-XLA9c

HERE WE GO! TESTAMENT
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:34 PM   #16
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I thought Romer's name sounded familiar when you mentioned it. I've seen this series before, but never got his book.
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
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I thought Romer's name sounded familiar when you mentioned it. I've seen this series before, but never got his book.
The book is detailed. I like Romer a lot.
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:38 AM   #18
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Personally, I find it fascinating. As a history student a decade and a half ago, I did my concentration on "myth as historical precedent" and devoted a lot of time to the Bible as well as the Rig Veda, the Mahabharata and the various myths and legends of the Celts, the Maya and the ancient Chinese. It's always been my contention that many of the more fanciful stories were grandiose interpretations of actual -- or believed actual -- events.
I love Euhemerism! It's a pretty nice way to get a quick plot going, too. Just take a myth and bam, turns out it was real!
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:43 AM   #19
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It is becoming more and more apparent that myths are not just fanciful stories, but a fanciful spin on events that truly transpired. Take the flood myth. Many people in the Western world are unaware that the story of Noah and his commission by God to build an ark was based on much earlier accounts. Sumerian and Indian myths dating back hundreds or thousands of years earlier recount practically the exact same event.

What I find interesting is that there is scientific evidence to support the claims of a global flood . . . or rather, a catastrophic rise in sea-level which would have seemed like a global flood to any witnesses. In fact, such increases in sea-level have occurred three times in the last 20,000 years.
Eh, I'd be wary about saying that common stories indicate an actual event. Lots of mythologies have stories about resurrection, but I don't think anyone actually ever came back to life.

Do you have a link to an article about the flood thing? I know about rising sea levels and localized flooding, but I've never heard of anything big enough to affect both India and Sumer simultaneously.
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:50 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Found this article online that matches the book I have.

Sodom and Gomorrah

The theory that the cities were burned as a result of lightning striking natural petroleum deposits is pretty compelling. Certainly, for someone watching from a distance, seeing lightning strike and then fire erupting across the cities could appear to be an act of divine retribution.
Even if you had to make shit up about why retribution in the first place, sure-- you would want to. Just so you could think it wouldn't happen to you.

Edit-- that seems t be a pretty precise account, thank you for the link
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:19 PM   #21
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Eh, I'd be wary about saying that common stories indicate an actual event. Lots of mythologies have stories about resurrection, but I don't think anyone actually ever came back to life.

Do you have a link to an article about the flood thing? I know about rising sea levels and localized flooding, but I've never heard of anything big enough to affect both India and Sumer simultaneously.
I think the Old Testament probably has more grounding than the New Testament. By the time of the New, there was a product to sell. The people of the Old Testament weren't that evangelical.

And, as far as the flood, the known world of the region at that time--the early Old Testament times--didn't extend beyond the region, so their general perspective of "the world" didn't go as far as India (although some trade from India probably already existed). Need to be by the perspective of "the world" in that time frame.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:54 PM   #22
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Eh, I'd be wary about saying that common stories indicate an actual event. Lots of mythologies have stories about resurrection, but I don't think anyone actually ever came back to life.

Do you have a link to an article about the flood thing? I know about rising sea levels and localized flooding, but I've never heard of anything big enough to affect both India and Sumer simultaneously.
All the information I have is in hardback and magazines. Professor John Shaw, formerly of the University of Alberta, published a few articles in Geology after years of studying physical land formations in Canada and reef structures around the world. Along with Paul Blanchon, he developed a theory, backed by considerable evidence, that there were three significant and cataclysmic rises in sea level, the most recent being around 10,000 years ago, due to North American and European glaciers suddenly dumping into the Atlantic. The rise in sea level around the world was between 6 and 10 meters each time.

I did a quick search on Google, and found this.. Page seven has an interesting little graph that mirrors Shaw's findings.

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I think the Old Testament probably has more grounding than the New Testament. By the time of the New, there was a product to sell. The people of the Old Testament weren't that evangelical.

And, as far as the flood, the known world of the region at that time--the early Old Testament times--didn't extend beyond the region, so their general perspective of "the world" didn't go as far as India (although some trade from India probably already existed). Need to be by the perspective of "the world" in that time frame.
Quite a few theories abound as for what "the flood" was. They range anywhere from global sea-level rise to localized river and sea flooding due to earthquakes. But since just about every ancient culture had its own flood myth, and quite a few of them were similar (the flood myth in the Epic of Gilgamesh is practically identical to that of Noah's Ark), I personally lean toward global sea level rise.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:55 PM   #23
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Even if you had to make shit up about why retribution in the first place, sure-- you would want to. Just so you could think it wouldn't happen to you.

Edit-- that seems t be a pretty precise account, thank you for the link
It's in our nature to assign supernatural reasons to things we don't understand.
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:03 PM   #24
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The problem with Judiac-Christian miracle stories, of course, is that when you try to give them scientific explanation, you negate the miracle aspect, which destroys the point of them.
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:04 PM   #25
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It's in our nature to assign supernatural reasons to things we don't understand.

You mean things like talking snakes, seven headed monsters and immaculate conceptions???

Please don't confuse "don't understand" with "don't fucking believe in because it is pure bullshit", K?


EDIT: You also need to go easy on the royal "our". There are millions of humanists, atheists and agnostics that ain't part of your "our" that believes in"splaining away" stuff by making shit up.
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