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Author Topic:   The Problems with Genesis: A Christian Evolutionist's View
Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 447 days)
Posts: 3811
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 121 of 200 (597742)
12-23-2010 7:10 PM
Reply to: Message 114 by fletch
12-23-2010 5:02 PM


Re: Not a Time-Line
Hi fletch--welcome!

fletch writes:

Hebrew only has about 8,700 words in its vocabulary where as English has about half a million. So translation is not a straight 1 to 1 equation. The word "yom" can mean anything from 12 hours (or the hours of daylight), sundown to sundown (24 hours), a general time period, a point in time, a generation.

Yet, amazingly, the word "day" in English can mean anything from 12 hours (or the hours of daylight), sundown to sundown or sunrise to sunrise (24 hours), a general time period, a point in time, a generation.

Yet when I say I worked one day, then the evening passed and on the next morning I got to work again, no one supposes I worked for a generation ("in their day") or an era ("the day of the dinosaur"), despite those possible uses of the word.

So what about the language of Genesis 1 makes you think the evening-and-morning language does not specify a normal series of days?


I know there's a balance, I see it when I swing past.
-J. Mellencamp

Real things always push back.
-William James


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Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 212 days)
Posts: 2383
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 122 of 200 (597743)
12-23-2010 7:32 PM
Reply to: Message 120 by damoncasale
12-23-2010 6:55 PM


Re: Assumptions Without Foundation
Well, I'm coming at Job (moreso Genesis, though) through the lens of other ancient near eastern literature. Creation literature like the Enuma Elish wasn't intended to be understood literally, but rather it had specific metaphorical meanings.

You are entitled to your view, but I think that you are stating it in a rather over-confident manner here. You don't know that for certain or for all cases. Sometimes, I think, a text simply means what it says. You shouldn't exclude that. It is the simplest explanation after all, so it should strike us as being unparsimonious to discard it so readily.

There are times when it becomes clear that a certain text was not meant to be understood literally, and thus one has to search out what the actual meaning is.

What makes you so sure this is one of those times? My interpretation - that of "God is brilliant!" - seems sufficient to me. The passage makes perfect sense under that explanation. Why complicate matters?

Imagery such as the "foundations of the earth" is actually common throughout ancient near eastern literature, so I'm not just choosing to interpret that non-literally without any precedent.

Sure, but that may very well be because they actually did think the earth rested upon foundations. It's not so silly a belief. It seems pretty solid after all. Ancient Near East cultures did not know that they were dealing with a planet. They had little concept of such things. By their standards, worldly foundations might have made perfect, literal sense. The writer of Job may have thought the same way.

Mutate and Survive

Edited by Granny Magda, : No reason given.


On two occasions I have been asked, – "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" ... I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. - Charles Babbage

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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 181 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 123 of 200 (597745)
12-23-2010 8:29 PM
Reply to: Message 112 by damoncasale
12-23-2010 12:10 PM


Well, let me answer your other question regarding why we should make a division at Genesis 12. It's because the composition of the text drastically changes beginning at Genesis 12. Everything before that is universalist in perspective, with several genealogies, and three major -- but very short -- literary interludes: creation, the flood, and the tower of Babel. All three of these appear to be polemics specifically targeting either immorality or, in the case of the Babel story, something which isn't immediately apparent from the text, but which also has to do with immorality. Everything after this is simply the history of Abraham and his descendants. Morality does play a part, but it's no longer the defining characteristic of the literature.

i don't see any such shift. rather, i see the story of adam and his descendants. genesis 2/3/4 is every bit as non-universal as anything about abraham. and the immorality theme runs throughout. again, the stylistic analysis cuts both ways.

If I understood you correctly, you said earlier that the documentary hypothesis doesn't have an explanation for why there should be a change in the character of the text at this point.

there isn't. the writing style remains the same, though the subjects change a little. this is simply not the kind of change in character that relates to authorship.

I'm positing that one of the reasons for the change (and there are multiple reasons) is because the original medium for recording the text changed at this point. Before, baked clay tablets were used. Afterwards, likely vellum (sheep skin) was used, meaning that more material could be preserved in a much easier fashion.

we would likely see a much more drastic change if that were the case. granted, we have many more stories about abraham, and about isaac, and about jacob and his sons, than we do about adam or noah -- but, once split apart into their sources, each source retains the same style, and the individual stories are all about the same length even across sources. there just isn't a good reason to infer a change in medium, here.

But the documentary hypothesis, as it currently stands, doesn't allow for this, because it posits that the material was interwoven together at a much later date. Right?

no, of course it would allow for such a thing to have happened. J and E likely had their own sources they were working from. in fact, iirc, the documentary hypothesis basically supposes that they must have had their sources, because they agree so frequently, through duplicated stories.

Now, I think looking at the stylistic considerations, the use of different names for God (or no name, in the case of Gen. 1:1-2:4), etc., is indeed a valuable exercise. But I think that using just those considerations for purposes of dating the text is extremely unwise.

oh, of course. and completely useless past exodus 4 or so. as i mentioned, E begins to call god "yahweh" at this point. it's not that this is the only stylistic consideration; it's that it's a fairly easy example to demonstrate.

If I remember correctly, early versions of the documentary hypothesis arose out of the fallacious belief that writing didn't exist in roughly 1000 BC, around the time of the Davidic kingdom.

no, that'd have been quite silly. the earliest versions of the documentary hypothesis stem out of questioning the mosaic authorship of the torah, and the early rabbinical observations that part of the text simply couldn't have been written by moses. but it's not so much about showing that moses couldn't have written the text, but about explaining some of those descrepancies -- and the doublets/triplets, the contradictions, etc.

The documentary hypothesis has since evolved, but my point in bringing this up is that the hypothesis is mainly an artificial construct which was arrived at purely from one specific angle of analysis.

well, if the "one specific angle" is unbiased academic peer review, then yes. but that's hardly one specific angle. this is something that a lot of people in academia put a lot of study into -- and most if not all of the other angles come from outside the peer review process, and are generally extremely religiously motivated.

I'm aware of the editing of Deuteronomy 32:8-9, and even though that may be referring to a council of angels, that doesn't change the correct reading of Genesis 4:23-6:2.

i think it, and the other references to the sons of god(s), helps clarify what the ancient authors probably thought that phrase meant. i agree that going as far as enoch will lead to false conclusions, because tradition evolves. but i don't see any particular reason to think this group in genesis is any different than the clearly divine group of the same name elsewhere in the bible.

Compare Psalm 82. "God stands in the congregation of the mighty, he judges among the gods (elohim). How long will you judge unjustly, and tolerate wickedness?" This psalm is drawing a deliberate analogy between the heavenly court of angels and the earthly judges of Israel. Just as those earthly judges are referred to by verse 6 -- "I have said, you are gods, and all of you are children of the most high" -- the same can be said of the sons of God in Gen. 6:2.

yes, but it's important to distinguish the thing being analogized from the thing it's being compared to. clearly, as you say, psalm 82 is comparing the earthly judges of israel to heavenly court (there's a polytheistic reading here, too, but it's probably wrong). this does not mean that the two are interchangeable.

In fact, what it looks like was really going on in Gen. 6:2 is that the gene pool was being weakened. It looks like there were a very small minority of extremely long-lived humans who then began intermarrying with other people who were living at this time, people whose average lifespans we know from archaeology to be somewhere around 35-40 years.

again, i think it's completely inappropriate to try and use modern science to analyze the text. we are not told anywhere what anyone else's lifespan is around this time, and everyone we are given an age for lives very, very long. there's probably a textual reason for these ages, and they are probably artificially inflated.

Hence, Gen. 6:3 has man's lifespan being limited to 120 years.

i hate to be a stickler for accuracy, but this reading is totally, totally wrong.

we've covered this particular topic here, in depth, before. i won't drag you through it, but i suggest you flip a few pages ahead, to chapter 11, and start checking the genealogies. i don't think we get someone who dies before 120 until around the time of jacob. no, clearly, the 120 years was until the destruction of mankind. it takes noah roughly 100 years to build the ark.

I'm not advocating a Davidic authorship of Deuteronomy either. I'm pointing out the logical fallacy of suggesting that Deuteronomy would only have been written in the context of Josiah's reforms. Why couldn't it have originated with Moses, when the issue of worshipping other gods instead of God was also a problem?

then why exodus, numbers, and leviticus? clearly, deuteronomy is a re-issuing of the law. i mean, that's basically what we're calling it in english. the reasons for the authorship under josiah have to do, again, with certain anachronisms.

Also, both architecture and astronomical observance have had religious significance since prehistoric times. So for instance, Job 38:31-33 seems to have an ancient meaning of which we are generally ignorant today.

i think it's a pretty big jump from astronomical awareness to astrological significance. job is clearly talking about the prowess of god over the cosmos -- but i don't see astrological significance there. and if there is any, it's likely poking a sharp stick at the astrology the neighbours follow, and not actual hebrew astrology itself.


אָרַח

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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 181 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 124 of 200 (597746)
12-23-2010 8:33 PM
Reply to: Message 115 by damoncasale
12-23-2010 5:14 PM


Re: Not a Time-Line
damoncasale writes:

Non sequitur. Just because *parts* of Genesis are non-literal has nothing to do with Jesus' genealogy. In fact, the genealogies of Genesis are markers that indicate that at least parts of the early chapters *are* literal, and must be so.

indeed. however, it should be noted that there is some thought that the inflated ages in the genealogies probably had symbolic meanings. perhaps as base as signifying "greatness" and perhaps as complex as numerological (gematria).

i don't think it's so easy to split apart the symbolic and the literal. they're clearly very intertwined. the slightly more modern jewish readers operate under a system where the two are just different levels of meaning (but must not contradict).

I think you're trying to wade into a discussion that's over your head, no offense intended.

ouch!


אָרַח

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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 181 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 125 of 200 (597749)
12-23-2010 8:43 PM
Reply to: Message 116 by damoncasale
12-23-2010 5:22 PM


damoncasale writes:

Regarding the context of Job 38:31-33, the whole chapter is steeped in metaphor. The earth doesn't have literal "foundations" (verse 4). The sea doesn't have doors (verse 8).

sure it does! remember, these books were not written with modern scientific understanding. that was, literally, the shape they believed the world had -- and it fits with the rest of ancient near-eastern cosmology.

however, i'll give you an example of what i mean about different levels of meaning, from a source that's only slightly less religious. i had the opportunity to see the new narnia movie recently, the voyage of the dawn treader. now, i haven't read the book since i was a child, but the movie went about how i remembered the book going. at the end (spoiler alert) they reach the end of the world, just a few steps away from aslan's country.

now, this is physically what happens in the story. they reach a literal end of the world. the planet stops. but of course, this whole thing is steeped in metaphor -- aslan being christ, of course, and his country being the kingdom of heaven. the end of the world, i suppose, is death. but we understand these themes, and this symbolism, through creative imagery, all without negating what literally happened in the story. lucy and edmund and eustace and caspian still actually go to the end of the world in the story.

now, we don't get worked up about this, because we know it's just a story. nobody's attached to proving the word of cs lewis inerrant, or holy, or even inspired. we have no problem reading the story literally, but still getting the symbolism, because it's just a story.

genesis is the same way.


אָרַח

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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 181 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 126 of 200 (597754)
12-23-2010 9:07 PM
Reply to: Message 114 by fletch
12-23-2010 5:02 PM


Re: Not a Time-Line
hi fletch, welcome to the forum.

fletch writes:

If Genesis is not literal as you say, then the account of Jesus' lineage must not be literal either.

as damon pointed out, this doesn't follow. the bible is simply not a monolithic text. damon and are debating about the internal differences between sources in genesis, which is a relatively subtle thing i know, but surely you recognize that genesis and matthew or luke are totally different books, with different goals in mind.

Which then means that you just "throw out" anything that you don't want to research enough to get a clear answer.

i assure, many of us here have researched it far more than you could imagine. the clear answers come from nodding your head in church, listening to your pastor, and not questioning it too much. if you actually put in the time and effort to really dig into a book like genesis, examine the cultural connotations, and the history, and the structure, and the language... the answers only get less and less clear.

A quick thing on creative "days". The Hebrew word "yom", which is translated as day in Genesis has many meanings.

oy vey, not this again! יוֹם has precisely five usages in biblical hebrew. here are some examples

  1. וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים לָאוֹר יוֹם
    "and God called the light 'day'."
    the period of daylight, between dawn and dusk, as opposed to לָיְלָה "night"
    (genesis 1:5)

  2. וַיְהִי-עֶרֶב וַיְהִי-בֹקֶר, יוֹם אֶחָד
    "and there was an evening and there as a morning; one day."
    the sum of "day" and "night", a 24 hour period.
    (also genesis 1:5)

  3. בְּיוֹם, עֲשׂוֹת יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים--אֶרֶץ וְשָׁמָיִם
    "in the day that yahweh god made earth and heaven,"
    an idiomatic expression for "when" and implies no particular time limit.
    (genesis 2:4b)

  4. הֵן גֵּרַשְׁתָּ אֹתִי הַיּוֹם
    "behold, you have driven me out this day"
    "today" or "now"
    (genesis 4:14)

  5. וַיִּהְיוּ יְמֵי-אָדָם
    "and the days of adam were..."
    another idiomatic usage, the days of someone's life means how many years they lived. (note: there is another word that means "year" literally, שָׁנָה, generally used in the same verse.)
    (genesis 5:4)

Hebrew only has about 8,700 words in its vocabulary where as English has about half a million. So translation is not a straight 1 to 1 equation.

nor is it "do whatever we please, the words don't mean anything". context, and knowledge of grammar (construct states, etc), and cultural understanding count for quite a lot. while english has many words, you might be interested to know that your own vocabulary is probably quite small. most english-speaking people only use about 2000 words.

So in short the creative "day" could have been millions of years. (And probably were).

this is not the case, and it utterly betrays the whole point of genesis 1 to think so. genesis 1 is specifically about the demarcation of time. not only does it give you the first two definitions of "day", but it defines the week. it's the reason for celebrating the sabbath.

further, you might be interested to know that יוֹם שֵׁנִי (verse 8) is the name for "monday". יוֹם שְׁלִישִׁי (verse 13) is "tuesday". יוֹם רְבִיעִי (verse 19)... well, you see where this going, i'm sure. the modern hebrew names for the week are modeled on genesis -- because genesis is the etiology for the modern week.

After all we are still in the 7th creative day and its been over 6000 years since that started....

the seventh day can be found genesis 2:2.

Edited by arachnophilia, : No reason given.


אָרַח

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damoncasale
Member (Idle past 3663 days)
Posts: 41
From: Seffner, FL, USA
Joined: 12-09-2010


Message 127 of 200 (597779)
12-23-2010 11:35 PM
Reply to: Message 122 by Granny Magda
12-23-2010 7:32 PM


Re: Assumptions Without Foundation
Sure, but that may very well be because they actually did think the earth rested upon foundations. It's not so silly a belief. It seems pretty solid after all. Ancient Near East cultures did not know that they were dealing with a planet. They had little concept of such things. By their standards, worldly foundations might have made perfect, literal sense. The writer of Job may have thought the same way.

Actually no, ancient peoples knew how to calculate latitude and even longitude, so they definitely had an awareness of the circumference of the earth.

See "Civilization One" by Christopher Knight and Alan Butler. Ignore the Freemasonic bias; their information is accurate. (I have multiple other books which describe basically the same thing.)

Damon


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 Message 122 by Granny Magda, posted 12-23-2010 7:32 PM Granny Magda has responded

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damoncasale
Member (Idle past 3663 days)
Posts: 41
From: Seffner, FL, USA
Joined: 12-09-2010


Message 128 of 200 (597780)
12-24-2010 12:25 AM
Reply to: Message 123 by arachnophilia
12-23-2010 8:29 PM


no, that'd have been quite silly. the earliest versions of the documentary hypothesis stem out of questioning the mosaic authorship of the torah, and the early rabbinical observations that part of the text simply couldn't have been written by moses. but it's not so much about showing that moses couldn't have written the text, but about explaining some of those descrepancies -- and the doublets/triplets, the contradictions, etc.

Err...I think you need to do some research into the origins of the documentary hypothesis. Here's a good summary.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_tora1.htm

Yes, what you're saying is also true, but it also arose out of the fallacious belief that writing didn't exist in Moses' day.

well, if the "one specific angle" is unbiased academic peer review, then yes. but that's hardly one specific angle. this is something that a lot of people in academia put a lot of study into -- and most if not all of the other angles come from outside the peer review process, and are generally extremely religiously motivated.

Not what I mean. The "one specific angle" involves only textual criticism. It doesn't bring other factors into play, like literary content or cultural context. And I know you say you don't see a big difference between before and after Genesis 12, but I honestly do. For instance, Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden of Eden isn't simply their own expulsion, but everyone's. All of the biblical genealogies essentially spring from Adam, therefore his story is a universal story. Genesis 10's genealogy explains the then "modern" countries and peoples in terms of Noah's descendants. Etc.

I'm not still trying to convince you, as I know you have your own opinion, but rather simply explaining what I meant.

again, i think it's completely inappropriate to try and use modern science to analyze the text. we are not told anywhere what anyone else's lifespan is around this time, and everyone we are given an age for lives very, very long. there's probably a textual reason for these ages, and they are probably artificially inflated.

I'm not using modern science to analyze the text. I'm using modern science to supplement what the text itself tells us. Remember, when this text was originally written, the context would've been perfectly clear to anyone reading it. But now, thousands of years later, it's not. We know through science what the average lifespan was back then. We know from what the text tells us that the lifespan of the patriarchs was said to be much longer. The way this passage is written is thus. Just like Jacob/Israel is said to "struggle" with God, this passage describes God's spirit as "striving" with man. But the text puts this in the negative: God's spirit will not continually strive with man. Why? Because he is flesh, and his days will be 120 years. But as you pointed out, it takes several more generations before his lifespan finally does get that short. The alternative -- that there are roughly 120 years until the Flood -- doesn't fit the context of what's being said. Both before this verse and after this verse, the subject is intermarriage. It would make very little sense for this not to be referring to the end result of that intermarriage.

In any case, it looks like Noah waited until he was about 500 years old to marry, likely because there wasn't anyone left who hadn't already intermarried with people not descended from Adam. His sons were the first to die younger than the average at the time, and it kept going down from there.

then why exodus, numbers, and leviticus? clearly, deuteronomy is a re-issuing of the law. i mean, that's basically what we're calling it in english. the reasons for the authorship under josiah have to do, again, with certain anachronisms.

How about the fact that Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers are all given in the context of the 40-year wanderings, and Deuteronomy is supposed to address how they are to live once they're in the promised land?

And what anachronisms? Anything that can't be explained instead by later editing by Josiah? For instance, comparing Deuteronomy 16:1-8 with Exodus 12:1-28, we can see that at first, the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were separate observances. By the time of Josiah, they had merged together and were collectively called the Passover. We know that Deuteronomy 16 wasn't originally referring to the Passover, but to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because Exodus 12:9 forbids the Passover from being boiled in water, but Deuteronomy 16:7 tells us to boil and eat the "Passover." Josiah had every reason to edit this section of the Pentateuch simply because his national Passover observance necessitated clarifications and updates to the original terminology (compare with 2 Kings 23:21-23 and 2 Chronicles 35:1-19).

i think it's a pretty big jump from astronomical awareness to astrological significance. job is clearly talking about the prowess of god over the cosmos -- but i don't see astrological significance there. and if there is any, it's likely poking a sharp stick at the astrology the neighbours follow, and not actual hebrew astrology itself.

Also compare Job 9:8-9 and Amos 5:8. I find it very interesting that Egyptian mythology connects the seven stars of the Pleiades with the "way of Horus" (represented by the constellation Orion) that leads back to the place where creation occurred. This place was destroyed in some cataclysm, from which a new creation arose from the watery depths, in the place of reeds. It looks to me like both Job and Amos were referring to these myths -- even if only by polemic -- when they used these astrological symbols.

Damon


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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 181 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 129 of 200 (597781)
12-24-2010 1:32 AM
Reply to: Message 127 by damoncasale
12-23-2010 11:35 PM


Re: Assumptions Without Foundation
Actually no, ancient peoples knew how to calculate latitude and even longitude, so they definitely had an awareness of the circumference of the earth.

well, which ancient peoples? the greeks certainly knew. i'm not convinced that anyone in the near east knew, prior to their contact with the greeks.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 181 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 130 of 200 (597782)
12-24-2010 1:49 AM
Reply to: Message 128 by damoncasale
12-24-2010 12:25 AM


damoncasale writes:

Err...I think you need to do some research into the origins of the documentary hypothesis. Here's a good summary.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_tora1.htm

properly stated, the documentary hypothesis is a very modern thing, formulated by wellhausen in 1870's. however, he was influenced in part by rabbinical observations of peculiarities in the text, and in part by scholarly thought that already existed.

other than this particular reference on religioustolerance.org

quote:
The belief, centuries ago, by archaeologists and linguists that writing among the ancient Hebrews only developed after the events portrayed in the Pentateuch. Thus, Moses would have been incapable of writing the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures.

i'm not aware of any such argument. religioustolerance.org is a somewhat useful site for basic information on things, but this is hardly scholarly work here. and it's incredibly vague. which archaeologists or linguists? how many centuries ago? specifics, please.

and, to be fair, modern archaeology isn't even quite "centuries" (plural) old. it's mid 19th century... just like the documentary hypothesis, the discovery of gilgamesh, etc. but to my knowledge, wellhausen's claims weren't even particularly new, just collecting bits that had already been known into a coherent theory.

the earlier enlightenment scholarly work, and rabbinical commentary, (all pre-archaeology) was entirely based on textual criticism. "they didn't know how to write back then!" might be something you hear (uninformed) people say on the internet, though, which is likely why it appears on religioustolerance.org. wikipedia has a much more comprehensive and specific rundown. and for the real arguments, i suggest pretty much anything by friedman ("who wrote the bible" or "the bible with sources revealed" are fairly good, iirc).

Not what I mean. The "one specific angle" involves only textual criticism. It doesn't bring other factors into play, like literary content or cultural context.

err, any good textual criticism pays attention to literary content, cultural content, cultural context, historical context, socio-political context, etc...

And I know you say you don't see a big difference between before and after Genesis 12, but I honestly do. For instance, Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden of Eden isn't simply their own expulsion, but everyone's.

how do you figure? they're simply the first in the genealogies of the hebrew people. as evidenced by the story itself, once they leave the garden, there are already other people around.

All of the biblical genealogies essentially spring from Adam, therefore his story is a universal story.

doesn't follow. it's still a very personal story, about one man and his wife (and a talking snake). you're reading universality from implication, because what adam does affects all of his descendents (who just happen to be everyone). the same could be said for noah. but the problem is that the authors of the text aren't concerned with everyone. they're concerned with the ethnographic history of the hebrew people -- see how the promises get passed down from abraham, to isaac, to jacob? they're not concerned about ishmael, or esau, and go to great lengths to justify why that promise doesn't apply to them and their descendants. this is the same with adam and his son -- what ever happened to cain? nothing's ever heard from him again. the author is only concerned with the happenings of the patriarchs in the line to the (then) modern hebrew people.

i'm not sure, exactly, how you can force this implicit difference, but fail to see the explicit difference between the universal "mankind" in genesis 1 and the personal "the man" in genesis 2.

I'm not using modern science to analyze the text. I'm using modern science to supplement what the text itself tells us. Remember, when this text was originally written, the context would've been perfectly clear to anyone reading it. But now, thousands of years later, it's not. We know through science what the average lifespan was back then. We know from what the text tells us that the lifespan of the patriarchs was said to be much longer.

what conclusions would the ancient reader draw from this? what conclusion would the ancient reader have drawn from the immortal utnapishtim?

The way this passage is written is thus. Just like Jacob/Israel is said to "struggle" with God, this passage describes God's spirit as "striving" with man. But the text puts this in the negative: God's spirit will not continually strive with man. Why? Because he is flesh, and his days will be 120 years. But as you pointed out, it takes several more generations before his lifespan finally does get that short. The alternative -- that there are roughly 120 years until the Flood -- doesn't fit the context of what's being said.

sure it does.

Both before this verse and after this verse, the subject is intermarriage. It would make very little sense for this not to be referring to the end result of that intermarriage.

yes, the offspring of the sons of god, and the daughters of men. the "giants" or men of great renown. there's obviously something about this that god finds troubling, i agree. but it doesn't seem to be about limiting their lifespans -- it seems to be in context of the flood. god is repentant that he made man, and aims to right that wrong.

In any case, it looks like Noah waited until he was about 500 years old to marry, likely because there wasn't anyone left who hadn't already intermarried with people not descended from Adam. His sons were the first to die younger than the average at the time, and it kept going down from there.

but you don't get a figure less than 120 until the very end of genesis. it's clear that god wasn't talking about that. he said, "let there be light" and there was light. he said, "mankind gets 120 years to their lives" and has to wait more than a thousand years for his commandment to be fulfilled?

How about the fact that Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers are all given in the context of the 40-year wanderings, and Deuteronomy is supposed to address how they are to live once they're in the promised land?

...yet largely repeats exodus, leviticus, and numbers? clearly, the laws given in exodus weren't just meant for the sinai, they were supposed to not honor other gods when they got to the promised land, too. well call it "deuteronomy" because so much of it just re-hashes what's already been said in other books of the law. the issue, though, is that there are a few conspicuous additions.

And what anachronisms? Anything that can't be explained instead by later editing by Josiah?

no, they're all explained by editing under josiah. as is the rest of the book. deuteronomy is very obviously using source material we're familiar with: something very much like the rest of the torah that we have today. so, of course, the parts we're interested in are the parts that would have been editted under josiah. the rest is essentially old hat.

but this is not to say that these sources were copied in whole cloth, no. clearly all or nearly all of deuteronomy was re-written from those sources as a new document. it was not simply redaction that went on. the argument for that comes from the writing style, and comparison to the other texts (and, i believe extra-biblical texts). dueteronomy has a much more evolved writing style than really any of the other sources in the torah.

Also compare Job 9:8-9 and Amos 5:8. I find it very interesting that Egyptian mythology connects the seven stars of the Pleiades with the "way of Horus" (represented by the constellation Orion) that leads back to the place where creation occurred. This place was destroyed in some cataclysm, from which a new creation arose from the watery depths, in the place of reeds. It looks to me like both Job and Amos were referring to these myths -- even if only by polemic -- when they used these astrological symbols.

perhaps. i think that might be reading too much into it, though.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 128 by damoncasale, posted 12-24-2010 12:25 AM damoncasale has not yet responded

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 212 days)
Posts: 2383
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 131 of 200 (597796)
12-24-2010 7:51 AM
Reply to: Message 127 by damoncasale
12-23-2010 11:35 PM


Re: Assumptions Without Foundation
Hi Damon,

Actually no, ancient peoples knew how to calculate latitude...

Sure. But which ancient peoples? We only know for certain that the Greeks knew the Earth was spheroidal by the 5th century BC (although they may have known earlier). Even then, it did not become firmly established until much later, in the 3rd century BC. The Book of Job was only written around the 4th century BC. How can you say for sure that the knowledge had filtered through to Jewish scholars? How can you be so sure that the author of Job in particular knew of it and believed it? Obviously you can't.

... and even longitude,

Wooah! Hold on there Damon! Citation needed. I do not believe that people in the 4th century BC could accurately determine longitude.

so they definitely had an awareness of the circumference of the earth.

That is either very sloppy wording or another highly dubious and unfounded claim. The actual circumference? That was not known until the 3rd century BC. Again, citation very badly needed.

Another problem here is that you seem to be engaging in a mistake that is apparent in much of what you have posted here. You seem to be treating "ancient peoples" as being far too homogeneous, as if what was known to one group was known to all. "Ancient peoples" knew of the spheroidal Earth, so the author of Job must have known it too. "Ancient peoples" injected hidden astrological meaning into Gilgamesh (in your view), so the author of Job must have done the same. You are, in my opinion, over-simplifying. The reality would have been that differing cultures and individuals would have had very different knowledge bases, customs and opinions.

If you want to pursue this line of argument, it would probably be better off here; The Bible's Flat Earth.

See "Civilization One" by Christopher Knight and Alan Butler. Ignore the Freemasonic bias; their information is accurate.

Freemasons... what the f...? No offence Damon, but I think I'll give that one a miss. It sounds completely insane. If you think that it contains specific information that refutes what I've said, either here or on the Flat Earth thread, please present it.

Mutate and Survive


On two occasions I have been asked, – "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" ... I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. - Charles Babbage

This message is a reply to:
 Message 127 by damoncasale, posted 12-23-2010 11:35 PM damoncasale has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 133 by arachnophilia, posted 12-26-2010 5:32 AM Granny Magda has acknowledged this reply

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20005
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 5.4


Message 132 of 200 (597797)
12-24-2010 7:59 AM
Reply to: Message 116 by damoncasale
12-23-2010 5:22 PM


damoncasale writes:

In much the same way, "the ordinances of heaven" are intended to be understood as the spiritual principles of heaven as symbolized by these constellations.

We *do* know the meanings associated with the constellations from other cultures. For instance, Orion represents kingship. But that doesn't necessarily mean Job intended them to be interpreted the same way.

You could say the same thing about any ancient passage, that it wasn't necessarily meant as we are interpreting it today. Do you have any particular reason for singling out Job 38:31-33 as having lost meaning as opposed to the rest of Job 38?

What Granny Magda says about Job 38 is obviously true:

Granny Magda writes:

All they are trying to do here is repeatedly point out how brilliantly cool God is and how crappy humanity is by comparison. They're just using the device of saying "Can you do perform this amazing feat? No? God can! He's brilliant!", over and over again. The actual examples chosen to illustrate this point are almost immaterial.

--Percy


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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 181 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 133 of 200 (597964)
12-26-2010 5:32 AM
Reply to: Message 131 by Granny Magda
12-24-2010 7:51 AM


Re: Assumptions Without Foundation
Freemasons... what the f...? No offence Damon, but I think I'll give that one a miss. It sounds completely insane. If you think that it contains specific information that refutes what I've said, either here or on the Flat Earth thread, please present it.

this is perhaps one of the better discussion i've had the opportunity of participating in here. damon seems genuinely intelligent, well-read, and informed in a great many matters that your average religious participant here is wholly ignorant of. he's read (and compared!) ancient literature, and read quite a few interpretations, and come up with some interesting, if unorthodox, ideas.

...but man, are some of these sources he cites wacky.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 131 by Granny Magda, posted 12-24-2010 7:51 AM Granny Magda has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 134 by Dr Adequate, posted 12-26-2010 9:57 AM arachnophilia has not yet responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 54 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


(1)
Message 134 of 200 (597985)
12-26-2010 9:57 AM
Reply to: Message 133 by arachnophilia
12-26-2010 5:32 AM


Re: Assumptions Without Foundation
I too am a fan of Mr Casale, and if I have not contributed to this discussion it is not so much from a want of interest as from an awareness that I couldn't keep up with you two if you gave me a hundred yards start.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 133 by arachnophilia, posted 12-26-2010 5:32 AM arachnophilia has not yet responded

  
granpa
Member (Idle past 1179 days)
Posts: 128
Joined: 10-26-2010


Message 135 of 200 (599617)
01-09-2011 10:48 AM
Reply to: Message 126 by arachnophilia
12-23-2010 9:07 PM


Re: Not a Time-Line
quote:
while english has many words, you might be interested to know that your own vocabulary is probably quite small. most english-speaking people only use about 2000 words.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_english

quote:
Ogden tried to simplify English while keeping it normal for native speakers, by specifying grammar restrictions and a controlled small vocabulary which makes an extensive use of paraphrasis. Most notably, Ogden allowed only 18 verbs, which he called "operators". His General Introduction says "There are no 'verbs' in Basic English", with the underlying assumption that, as noun use in English is very straightforward but verb use/conjugation is not, the elimination of verbs would be a welcome simplification.[4]
Word lists [edit]

Ogden's word lists include only word roots, which in practice are extended with the defined set of affixes and the full set of forms allowed for any available word (noun, pronoun, or the limited set of verbs).[5]

The 850 core words of Basic English are found in Wiktionary's Appendix:Basic English word list. This core is theoretically enough for everyday life. However, Ogden prescribed that any student should learn an additional 150 word list for everyday work in some particular field, by adding a word list of 100 words particularly useful in a general field (e.g., science, verse, business, etc.), along with a 50-word list from a more specialised subset of that general field, to make a basic 1000 word vocabulary for everyday work and life.

Moreover, Ogden assumed that any student already should be familiar with (and thus may only review) a core subset of around 350 "international" words.[6] Therefore, a first level student should graduate with a core vocabulary of around 1350 words. A realistic general core vocabulary could contain 1500 words (the core 850 words, plus 350 international words, and 300 words for the general fields of trade, economics, and science). A sample 1500 word vocabulary is included in the Simple English Wikipedia.

Ogden provided lists to extend the general 1500 vocabulary to make a 2000 word list, enough for a "standard" English level.[7][8] This 2000 word vocabulary represents "what any learner should know". At this level students could start to move on their own.


with so few words basic english turns out to be easy to understand but hard to speak because it requires elaborate Circumlocutions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumlocution

quote:
Circumlocution (also called periphrasis, circumduction, circumvolution, periphrase, or ambage[1]) is an ambiguous or roundabout figure of speech. In its most basic form, circumlocution is using many words (such as "a tool used for cutting things such as paper and hair") to describe something simple ("scissors"). In this sense, the vast majority of definitions found in dictionaries are circumlocutory.

Circumlocution is often used by aphasics and people learning a new language, where in the absence of a word (such as "abuelo" [grandfather]) the subject can simply be described ("el padre de su padre" [the father of one's father]). It is also used frequently in Basic English, a constructed dialect of non-regional English.


Now think of all the times you've had to resort to 'hey, I know it when I see it'.

Basic english isnt as easy as it looks.

2000 words is not really enough for easy communication

Edited by granpa, : No reason given.

Edited by granpa, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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