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Religious Pron - Syncretism 2 - Floods
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Religious Pron - Syncretism 2 - Floods

emoji_events [6]
Mar 11, 2022, 12:08 PM
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Religious Pron – Syncretism II – Floods

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So how do we know all this stuff? In addition to text written directly on temples, tombs, and monuments, ancient libraries are a great source of information. And they are free of charge, if you know where to dig.

Sample of the Mari Texts found in Syria. 25,000 clay tablets dating back to 2900 BCE, 500 years before the pyramids. Discovered in 1928. Cuneiform writing was a big step up from pictographs like Egyptian heiroglyphics. They were faster to write, smaller, more portable, and far more versatile than clunky pictures. The twitter of its day. Technology baby. Yeah!



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The Amarna letters. 358 Tablets dating from 1300 BCE. Discovered in Amarna, Egypt in 1878. Most ancient texts are incredibly mundane. Like, “You paid me 10 donkeys and I owe you 20 goats and a cow.”

But the one thing all these texts have in common is that they are always very human. Like this king griping to his vassal that his tribute statuette was gold-plated, not solid gold, as per their agreement. Ancient cheapskates. People will be people. Circa 1300 BCE.


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Occasionally there is some real interesting stuff like a poem or a story. Or even just poetic prose like “King Hezekiah is like a caged bird within Jerusalem [during my siege.]” Very vivid. You can read all about it in Kings or Isaiah in the Bible. Or on this clay prism in the British Museum.

It’s the exact same story told two different ways. The Assyrian perspective on this clay prism, the Israelite perspective in the Bible.

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Here’s more. The Ugarit Texts. 1500 tablets dating from 1200 BCE. From Syria in 1929. Notable for having more than 50 ancient poems, as opposed to boring old accounting and inventory stuff. There are more than half a million cuneiform tablets scattered around world museums, with the British Museum having almost 150,000 alone.



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The Ebla Tablets. 6,000 tablets dating from 2500 BCE. From Syria, in 1974. These tablets are incredibly valuable because they proved that the early northern Canaan civilizations were as developed as Egypt and Mesopotamia. For centuries the Canaanites were considered to be rubes compared to their cultured neighbors. But not since 1974. A huge, huge, discovery. Sorry we dissed ya.



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The Ashurbanipal Library. More than 30,000 tablets from the Royal Library of ancient Assyria, 700 BCE. The mother load. From Mosul, Iraq, in 1849. Their predecessors, the Sumerians, even told us how we got writing:

“Because the messenger's mouth was heavy and he couldn't repeat his message, the Lord of Uruk patted some clay and put words on it, like a tablet. Until then, there had been no putting words on clay.”

—?Sumerian epic poem Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta. Circa 1800 BC. That settles the question about writing Thanks, Lord of Uruk!



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This is possibly the earliest example of “writing” in existence, the Kish Tablet from 3500 BCE, found near Ur and Uruk. It represents a mental transition from scratches and marks used for counting, to picture representations, to abstract symbols that can be combined for different words. A big leap for human intellect. But no bewbs pigs.



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Development of 3 language systems from pictograph to abstract.


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But on with the show. Last time we got into syncretism, the inevitable mixing of ideas as cultures and times change.
Without it, we wouldn’t have culinary delicacies like Tex-Mex Quesadilla Hamburgers.


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or Chinese-Korean Mouse Wine.

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or African-Indonesian Fruit-Bat Soup.

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Musical genres like Cute Metal wouldn’t exist.

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And forget about Folk-tronic and Techno-Folk.

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And as for domestic fusions, car-truck classics like the El Camino….well, let’s just be thankful we lived to see it. Tough enough to haul lumber, and still suave enough for that special night on the town with the little lady and her dog...and its jockey.

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The Bible is full of this syncretism fusion. That’s a part of what makes it so awesome. Just on the surface, anyone can see that the New Testament God behaves very differently than the Old Testament God. Not nearly as much wrath, or as many insect plagues...

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or as much smiting.

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And the focus for believers changes from unyielding obedience with 600+ commandments (for Jews), to simple belief and faith (for Christians).

But it’s when you get in deeper, to the detailed document analysis, that the Bible really sings as a text.


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It’s the detailed analysis that shows the amazing amount of cultural and political complexity in the Bible. Four Gospels, 2 creation stories, 2 sets of instructions to Noah - just for starters. And it gets way better from there. Spirituality aside, the Bible reads like a great mystery novel about the people who wrote it, and who it was written about. Like this Noah fellow...


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There are tons of doublets, or different versions of the same story with slightly different details, all through the Bible. And the reason they are told twice, and why they are both are included, is the really interesting stuff. We’ll save most of those juicy mysteries for later.


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But here’s a sample. Once we get to Mesopotamia, which literally means, “land between the rivers” in Greek, there’s gonna be a lot of flood stories. Lots of flood stories. Everybody who lived along the Tigris or Euphrates had a flood story. And like minestrone soup, they all got mixed together.

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In the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, a guy named Utnapishtim is told by his god Ea to build a giant boat and get ready because a flood is coming that will wipe out all life.

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Utnapishtim on his boat, saving mankind, and a few lucky animals.


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And 300 years before him, a Sumerian king named Zuisudra got the same warning from his god – Build a boat and save your axx.

***Severe Weather Alert – Flash Flood Warning ***

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The Zuisudra Flood Tablet. From the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.


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And a guy named Atra-hasis got the same instructions even before Utnapishtim and Zuisudra. And these are only some of the different flood stories in ancient Mesopotamia alone.

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Everybody on board! This ship is shoving off! Don’t worry. This’ll probably just be a three-hour tour.


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The bottom line is, if you live near turbulent water, it will affect your life.


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The flood story of King Atra-hasis. From the British Museum.


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Even Led Zeppelin got in on the act and tried to warn us about the levee breaking, in more contemporary times. And Memphis Minnie before them. Syncretization.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM3fodiK9rY
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Now, if you’ve ever traveled to the Judean desert, you might have to wait a few thousand years for a flood. There’s not a lot of water, or green, to be found there. There’s a reason it was called “the land of milk and honey.”

It could have meant a land of prosperity. But then again, there is nothing green about either milk, or honey.


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Kinda white and milky, I guess…


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Honey is sort of brown, if you squint.


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Years ago I visited the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem, and I was expecting to see a lush, green jungle just like in the medieval paintings I had seen of it.

Looking around at all the rocks and scrubs, I whimsically commented, “this isn’t much of a garden.” Our guide replied, “Here, if something grows, we call it a garden.”

Point taken.

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900 year old olive trees, rocks, and a lot of dirt, in the Garden of Gethsemane.


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900 years old would put them being planted just about the time the Crusaders were in Jerusalem. Cool.


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So a flood story didn’t, and still doesn’t, make a lot of sense in bone dry Israel. But if you lived say, at the mouth of the Euphrates 4000 years ago, you might have wanted to have a life jacket handy all the time. Because you never knew when the river was gonna rise up and wash your world away.

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So terrain mattered, just as it did in Egypt by the peaceful and easy Nile, and the impact it had on ancient writers influenced what they wrote about, in a big way.

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Now, to tie all this stuff together...floods, and syncretism, and writing, next time, we’ll take a look at one of the most famous stories in the Bible, Noah and that famous flood.

Then we'll take a look at tradition, a very big part of all of this, before moving on to Mesopotamian civilizations and their religions and floods.

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There are tons and tons of other sources of ancient information. Literally hundreds of ancient cities, only a fraction of which have been excavated to any degree.

Tell Lysta, in Turkey. Paul healed a man and was stoned here, per the Bible. Acts 14:8-20. Looks like it has remained untouched since then.


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The Alalakh Texts. Over 500 tablets from 2000 BCE. Discovered in 1937 in southeast Turkey. Some even come with clay envelopes. Clay postage not included.


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And it doesn’t even take uncovering buried cities to make historic discoveries. These caves, near Qumran just outside of Jerusalem, are where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947.

Kind of a big deal. And a great story about human politics and machinations, too.

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Not always, Ron. Not always. It’s rarely that simple. Not when people are involved.


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The Nag Hammadi Library. Thirteen papyrus codices from 100 AD. Found in 1945, in Egypt. Nice hands for a dirt-digging archaeologist. Palmolive, I presume?


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And here’s the current Holy Grail of Mesopotamia. The missing city of Akkad. Oh it’s there, just like Troy was, and is.

Akkad was a major, major civilization on the timeline between the Sumerian Empire and the Babylonian Empire. Most of its client and vassal cities are known and have been discovered, but the capital city itself remains hidden.

It would be like digging up America in the future, but not being able to locate Washington, D.C. Everybody talks about it, you find statues and letters and pottery that came from there, but you just can’t pinpoint the place. It’s a real life Indiana Jones mystery.


We know when and where the empire was, but where was the capital city itself? Nobody knows.


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The great King Sargon II of the missing city of Akkad. With a beard groomed for a king. He sat with his court there, but didn’t leave directions on how to get back to the place. So we have to find it the hard way. Lots and lots of digging.



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Re: Religious Pron - Syncretism 2 - Floods

[3]
Mar 11, 2022, 12:34 PM
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"The Bible is full of this syncretism fusion. That’s a part of what makes it so awesome. Just on the surface, anyone can see that the New Testament God behaves very differently than the Old Testament God. Not nearly as much wrath, or as many insect plagues..."

Same God, different covenant or deal intended to be an agreement if you would agree to it. As for the wrath of God today...for some of us it was taken out in its entirety on God's Holy Son, Jesus (1). The same God will deal with the rest when He's good and ready. Think 'Green Mile.'

"For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted..." Psa 22.

1. That was Christ's prayer on the cross. If studied rather than skimmed Psa 22 denotes even the swings of mood and attitude of our Savior while on that cross. It's a heartbreaking, pride crushing read.

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Re: Religious Pron - Syncretism 2 - Floods

[2]
Mar 11, 2022, 12:55 PM
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>Same God, different covenant or deal intended to be an agreement if you would agree to it.

A very salient point, and one that I will return to over and over again in both Western, and Eastern, religions. For believers, there is nothing to say that God, if there is one, can't wear different hats to different people.

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Re: Religious Pron - Syncretism 2 - Floods

[1]
Mar 12, 2022, 9:58 AM
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It's not that God changed his plan. A Christ was coming from before the world was created. Still referring to Chpt 22 of the Psalms...

'Our fathers trusted in thee, they trusted and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee and were delivered, they trusted and were not confounded.'

It is not coincidental that today there are three ways a contract can be ended. It can be replace with another contract, it can be amended or it can be fulfilled. Both parties agreed to The Mosaic Contract which included some harsh penalties. Who am I to say it was a bad deal.

God had taken half a million people out of slavery, delivered them and all the spoils of Egypt to freedom. They wanted to establish a relationship with The Almighty, a relationship which included vast wealth, a free land with great safety from enemies.

God led them by day with a cloud, by night with a flame, fed them with sweetbread and birds which fell when they cried for meat and always provided water to drink. Their clothes didn't wear nor did the shoes on their feet. The contract required of them a strict code of conduct, burdensome, but they wanted it.

That contract is still in effect for the Children of Israel. An amendment was offered at Calvary to which they refused. That amendment included The Son of God fulfilling the old contract by paying for their failures to execute their duty to the old contract.

The payment for all failure to the old contract was the Life and Blood of God's Only Begotten Son. Now, rather than only the COI being forgiven their obligations to a contract which they entered for all mankind, all mankind is offered pardon.

God's whole plan was revealed at Calvary and so stands today. It's a simple choice, not near as complicated and the old deal. Trust and obey.

'Our fathers trusted in thee, they trusted and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee and were delivered, they trusted and were not confounded.'

I don't always trust and I don't always obey. The difference between they and I is that my lack of trust and obedience is forgiven. I don't have to sacrifice a goat to acknowledge a coming Savior. I look back on the Cross and recognize Him as the sacrifice.

Imo, it's quite simple and not something confounding.

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Re: Religious Pron - Syncretism 2 - Floods


Mar 12, 2022, 5:26 PM
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Good post 88. Always good discussion...

>A Christ was coming from before the world was created.

This is one of the major differences between Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and other religions. They all expected a messiah, eventually. But there are important differences, and the timing is different. And how the Biblical text is interpreted of course, relies on personal faith. Here comes another book <img border=">">">">">

Actually, I'll have a post or two, or several, to specifically to address Messianism. Here's a sampler though.


For Jews, while there was long the idea of "post-world" perfection, no individual was expected to do that alone. Yahweh would deliver it, without a messiah needed. Keep in mind that in Judaism, "Biblical" means the first 5 books of the Bible, the Torah. Post-Biblical means the period after their partial destruction by Assyria in 722 BCE through their captivity in Babylon in 586 BCE to the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome in 70 AD. So "Post-Biblical" to them means that 500-700 year period between Assyrian and Babylon and Rome. All the prophets, etc. And of course, they don't really follow the New Testament.

In their belief, the idea of a messiah, as a person, developed during this time. They have their evidence all through the post-Torah books, but this is the gist of it:

Psalm 18:50 "He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing love to his anointed, to David and to his descendants forever."

So they are looking for a man to win "victories", just like the Bible says, and to be a descendant of David, just like the Bible says. That's in the context of them recently getting smashed by foreign powers. They actually considered Cyrus of Persia to be a messiah because he delivered them from Babylonian captivity with "victories." After Rome smashed them, they were, and are, looking for another Cyrus.

In Christianity, "victories" means something other than military victories.

And then there's the rub over the Davidic hereditary line. Jesus, being the son of God (and God himself via the Trinity concept) isn't of the human, Davidic, line. They point the to words of God himself, in the Bible.

So the Jews say "God said David's descendant would be the messiah", and the Christians say "God said Jesus would be the messiah", and they are both right. God said both.

After Jesus's death the Christians did trace Jesus back to David through Mary, since Joseph doesn't really apply here. But the Jews say matrilineal doesn't work, even if the Christians can show that lineage.

In Islam, Jesus is sort of an administrator. They have another expected messiah, called the Mahdi (who is unknown at this point), who will do all the heavy lifting and combat while Jesus watches over him and guides him. Then, like MacArthur returning to the Philippines, Jesus will return to earth and reign over the peace:

"The Hour will [of redemption] will not be established until the son of Mary (Mariam) (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you as a just ruler."


In Buddhism, messianism is slightly different still. There, the "Maitreya" or successor to the Buddha himself, will descend to earth and aid people in their quest for spiritual enlightenment, not save them militarily or bring them salvation in any way.

So you can see that although the idea of a man "saving" others is common, how he saves them, and what he saves them from, is all very different. And once again, which history you grew up in, or which one you follow, affects why you think what you think. <img border=">">">">">

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But:

[1]
Mar 13, 2022, 9:18 AM
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I've met God the Father, I've met Jesus, His Only Begotten Son and I have the Holy Spirit residing in my heart today. I bear witness and testify to things I know. I don't really know if you're a person, you appear to me to be more than pixels on a screen so it is only my concept of you that you be, and that you therefor have a father.

God is my Father, Christ is my love, my master and savior and God's Spirit resides in my heart. Give me the same consideration which I give you.

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Re: But:


Mar 13, 2022, 3:26 PM
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>Give me the same consideration which I give you.

Oh, absolutely. I don't question anyone's beliefs. As I said in my "Faith" post early on, I know absolutely nothing. That is a fact. And I won't know anything till I know everything. And by that point I won't be in the human/earthly phase of existence anyway.

So I'm in no position to not give others consideration. I assume everyone is correct in what they believe.

I simply find what mankind has believed through the centuries, and how they connect, and how they have developed, and where they lead to, absolutely fascinating.

I was a practicing, Protestant Christian for more than 20 years. I was an Atheist for more than 10 years. My best friend in my childhood was Mormon. My girlfriends have been Protestant, and Catholic, and Jewish, and even Russian Eastern Orthodox. My wife is as Southern Baptist as it gets. I'm not sure if I was ever truly a Buddhist but one of my best friends was and we spent many, many hours through the years meditating at the temple and discussing Eastern religions and philosophy.

My point is that I have been surrounded, intimately, by people who have invested their whole lives into their beliefs. So naturally, as an intimate friend, lover, or spouse, I'd be interested in what they are interested in. And they are all very different.

The one common thread through my entire life is that I have never, ever, stopped asking questions, about any and everything. My mom tells me now that she nearly threw me out of the house on several occasions as a child because I was driving her insane. I'm just glad all she ever did was hand me another book to shut me up and never actually booted me out the door.

I suspect I have some Abelard in me..."Now that I have professed my faith, it is my duty, more than ever, to rigorously question every aspect of it." But where I am different from him is that I enjoy examining every faith, not just one.

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Superb work

[2]
Mar 12, 2022, 7:30 PM
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Absolutely outstanding!

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Re: Superb work


Mar 12, 2022, 7:50 PM
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Glad you enjoyed it!

Stay tuned for more. I try to get 1, sometimes 2 religious pron posts in every week. Still a ton of stuff to cover. About 4000 years worth. I put military pron over in the lounge if you have any interest in military history; ancient to revolution, civil war, ww1, ww2, and everything in between and after.

And do toss in some comments as you see fit. The discussion is the really fun stuff. I'm always interested in how people see things. About 7 billion people, about 7 billion viewpoints.

TheCURing07

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I watched the dog/puppy clip a dozen times.

[4]
Mar 11, 2022, 12:39 PM
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Very interesting stuff, as always. Thanks.

If one assumes the biblical account is right - that's another subject, am assuming it for this - there are some interesting aspects that relate to this subject. One is that if the flood occurred, one would expect the story to be found in various cultures: WWI was covered by many outlets in many places. The other is that something dramatic happened there, something besides, well, a flood: (1) One of the reasons Noah was made fun of is that they hadn't seen rain like that, and (2) the rainbow was created afterward. We know what rainbows are, so the conditions that create them didn't previously exist. Fun to think about what all that means.

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Re: I watched the dog/puppy clip a dozen times.

[2]
Mar 11, 2022, 1:19 PM
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There are actually flood stories from all over the world, at all different times. But you might expect that from people who live near rivers, which has been all of human history.

To keep this focused though I'll stay in the Middle East for now, but there are even flood stories from Native American and Indian/Chinese cultures. Anywhere there is water.

There's even a fringe theory about the Black Sea topping over and flooding the Mediterranean and Middle East.

There's a lot of evidence for multiple floods, less so for one major one. But, absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence. The city Troy was thought to be a fable found only in the pages of the Illiad until it was discovered and dug up in 1871 by Heinrich Schliemann, right where it was supposed to be on the Aegean coast of Turkey. So you never know.

As to the Bible, I'll try to show in future posts just how complex it really is. And again, not in terms of the spirituality anyone finds in it, which is a matter of personal faith, but as purely a historical, and quasi-historical document. Layers upon layers of history, fable, and, as with all things human, politics, in the words. It's called the greatest story ever told, and with good reason.

It's a cultural, historical, and religious record like none other that I know of. Just an amazing, amazing document. And most of it fairly new, as far as ancient texts go.

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You would have earned a TU for Baby Metal alone but it’s all

[3]
Mar 11, 2022, 4:39 PM
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quality as usual


https://youtu.be/WIKqgE4BwAY

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“When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?”
John Maynard Keynes
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
Isaac Asimov


Re: You would have earned a TU for Baby Metal alone but it’s all

[1]
Mar 11, 2022, 4:54 PM
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"Love it" is not a strong enough term

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