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Itching aitching [was Re: SV: [ANE-2] Exile and return -- dating questions

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  • Ariel L. Szczupak
    ... [...] ... I m waiting for FC s spelled out argument, and then I ll do my best to take the Indian perspective (reversing the roles of Ahura Mazda and the
    Message 1 of 15 , Jul 31, 2009
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      At 09:56 AM 7/31/2009, Ariel L. Szczupak wrote:
      >At 09:34 PM 7/29/2009, frankclancy wrote:

      [...]

      >>The question you should ask now is simple - why didn't the
      >>Icelanders match the extraordinary intellectual production of the
      >>Judeans? Were they lesser or sub humans?
      >
      >Serious? Could you please restate clearly the argument you make
      >about Persian-time Judeans? Are you arguing that Persian-time
      >Judeans couldn't have written the HB from scratch? Couldn't as
      >differentiated from unlikely?

      I'm waiting for FC's spelled out argument, and then I'll do my best
      to take the Indian perspective (reversing the roles of Ahura Mazda
      and the daevas) even though I personally think that the HB
      originating in the Persian period is highly unlikely. [and I'll do it
      with one hand behind my back - no UFO's :)]

      But we all know that it's like discussing the artistic merits of
      "deep throat" - historicity by nature if not by name.

      Personally I think the issue is undecidable. Even Occam's Razor fails
      at the Samsonian unwashed dreadlocks complexity (and the
      Delilah/Gordian solution isn't really applicable). So personally I
      limit myself to the literary aspects of the HB.

      But many (some of my best friends ...) can't calm the aitching itch.
      There's nothing wrong, scientifically, with trying to figure out the
      HBH (HB's historicity). But what happens, and drives us non-itchers
      (ANitchers?) into the whole gamut of clinical psychiatric conditions,
      is that partial argumentation and uncontrolled generalizations seem
      to be a pre-requisite to discussing biblical historicity. Most
      arguments are equivalent to undeniable proofs that the Egyptian Nile
      valley is a desert, based on the average yearly rainfall there :( Help ...

      The basic situation is unavoidable. Just like black holes have an
      event horizon, HBH has NPL's horizon, the terminus ad quem beyond
      (backwards in time) which there is no evidence, no usable evidence.

      That doesn't mean that scientific inquiry is impossible. Astronomers
      predicted accurately how the terrain of the dark side of the moon
      looks like before we got visual confirmation. But like the
      astronomers could not predict the actual topography of the dark side
      of the moon, some things simply can't be determined, especially those
      that concern unusual or unique factors, like events and people.

      Just like the astronomers use the laws of physics to deduce the
      characteristics of unobservable objects and phenomena, "human laws"
      can be used. E.g. human groups, from the nuclear family to nations,
      including professional or class cross-sections, tell epic & mythic
      "tales of the past" of their group. I'm not aware of any exception.
      The existence of such tales can be assumed whenever humans are
      present. But unfortunately, this generally applicable principle can't
      be applied to individual tales and determine which tales are
      historically accurate or which tales will become unchanging,
      "canonized", and when. [Israelis will recall the tall tale of of the
      surprising appearance in the mid 20th century, followed by a rather
      quick extinction, of a third kind of bat besides the fruit bats and
      insect bats - the Cheese-Bat ...]

      And sub-argumentation, addressing a specific sub-problem, is also
      valid. E.g., to choose an example which I don't recall being
      mentioned in the latest HBH itch crisis, trying to determine what,
      if, can be inferred from the Ketef Hinnom priestly blessing amulet.

      But partial argumentation, a few arguments connected by rhetoric, and
      the elevation of a few historical, cultural or social cases into the
      status of general laws of human nature without checking for counter
      examples, is a waste of everyone's time, like scratching an itch with
      goose down ... Has the recent mishmashing of literacy, literary
      culture and the creation of unique literary masterpieces helped in anything?

      If proper sub-argumentation can be presented (like hopefully the
      possibility or impossibility of the HB dating to the Persian period),
      then yes, it's something worth examining. If not, please give the
      ANitchers a break and make an appointment with a dermatologist ...


      Ariel.

      [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

      ---
      Ariel L. Szczupak
      AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
      POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91406
      Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
      ane.als@...
      ---
      http://yvetteszczupakthomas.blogspot.com/
      http://undiamantbrut.blogspot.com/
    • Graham Hagens
      ...    --- On Fri, 7/31/09, Ariel L. ...     ... I personally think that the HB  originating in the Persian period is highly ...   Ariel:  Sorry about
      Message 2 of 15 , Aug 3, 2009
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        --- On Fri, 7/31/09, Ariel L. Szczupak <ane.als@...> wrote:



         
         --- On Fri, 7/31/09, Ariel L.
        > Szczupak <ane.als@...> wrote:
         
         >... I personally think that the HB  originating in the Persian period is highly
        > unlikely. ... Personally I think the issue is undecidable.
        > ...There's nothing wrong, scientifically, with  trying to figure out the  HB's historicity ...
        > ... what ...drives us non-itchers   ... into the whole gamut of clinical
        > psychiatric conditions, is that partial argumentation and uncontrolled
        > generalizations seem  to be a pre-requisite to discussing biblical
        > historicity.
        >....If proper sub-argumentation can be presented (like
        > hopefully the possibility or impossibility of the HB dating to the
        > Persian period)then yes, it's something worth examining. If not,
        > please give the ANitchers a break and make an appointment with a
        > dermatologist
         
        Ariel:  Sorry about all the snips.
         
        But I suggest that things may not be as bleak as you suggest.  
        One approach to exploring the historicity  of complex layered historical-fiction such exists in the Hebrew Bible, may be to explore the probability of alternative answers to specific limited questions. Elsewhere (PEQ 2007) I have suggested that  one can use extra- and intra-biblical  information to estimate  whether the probability  of  a particular layer or theme in the narrative being historically  authentic is above or below 50%. 
        (Which in many practical cases is the best we can do anyway).
         
        For example,  if one was to consider the date at which the Torah was completed., one might  use such a technique to address two questions:
        (1) was there a particular date when the Torah was ceremonially unveiled to the populace (e.g. as per  Nehemiah 8),  and (2): if so did this occur during the mid-Persian period as stated in the HB, or a century or two later during the Hellenic period?
         
        Since the more contentious question generally involves the dating,  let’s focus on that.
        In spite of the fact that we have no direct extra-biblical information from which to test e hypothesis that 'The Torah was completed during the Hellenic period,'   there is considerable intra-biblical, and circumstantial  extra-biblical material which could be used to address this question.  These data derive from the fact that the HB was composed in a multicultural environment, and syncretic elements are to be found in both the Torah and the later books of the canon.  Also  the nature of  the  foreign material found in the Torah  differs from that of later books.  For example, Genesis contains both Babylonian creation myths and  Zoroastrian creationist theology (the concept of linear time and a single universal Creator).  The Torah also contains a number of other Zoroastrian doctrines such as the purity laws (complex rituals the inclusion of which Mary Boyce attributed to Nehemiah's stint as cupbearer to Artaxerses).   However the
        Torah does not embrace a number of other foreign ideas which were making the ANE rounds during the 5th century.  Wisdom literature – a feature of Babylonian, South Asian (the Dhammapada), Greek (e.g. aphorisms of Democritus) as well as later Hebrew literature is absent.  Also absent are a number of other  Zoroastrian concepts some of which  appear in later Hebrew literature.  These include deistic dualism which appears in Job (and of course Christian theology  where Angra Mainyu = Satan).  Also eschatology (a  consequence of   the Zoroastrian doctrine of limited time) which is present in  II-Isaiah and some of the other written prophets is missing.
         
        (It may also be suggested that one of the driving forces for consolidation of the Torah was to cut down on the syncretic assimilation of foreign ideas of this type.  In Ezra 10 the need for defined doctrine is attributed to the problem of foreign wives;  but in the HB sex and marriage are frequently used as an allegory for any cultural or doctrinal contamination).
         
        The objective here is not to argue for either the early or later dating of the Torah – the number of examples which could be cited may indeed be too numerous for this medium of exchange.  The objective here is rather to suggest that a rational process may well exist by which the dating of the Torah might at least be given a probability rating.
         
        Graham Hagens 
         




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Ariel L. Szczupak
        ... Actually I think your edited version makes more sense than my original :) ... Which is what I called sub-arguments , so yes, I agree. And exploration is a
        Message 3 of 15 , Aug 4, 2009
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          At 10:30 PM 8/3/2009, Graham Hagens wrote:
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >--- On Fri, 7/31/09, Ariel L. Szczupak
          ><<mailto:ane.als%40gmail.com>ane.als@...> wrote:
          >

          >Â --- On Fri, 7/31/09, Ariel L.
          > > Szczupak <<mailto:ane.als%40gmail.com>ane.als@...> wrote:

          >Â >... I personally think that the HBÂ Â originating in the Persian
          >period is highly
          > > unlikely. ... Personally I think the issue is undecidable.
          > > ...There's nothing wrong, scientifically, with trying to figure
          > out the HB's historicity ...
          > > ... what ...drives us non-itchers  ... into the whole gamut of clinical
          > > psychiatric conditions, is that partial argumentation and uncontrolled
          > > generalizations seem to be a pre-requisite to discussing biblical
          > > historicity.
          > >....If proper sub-argumentation can be presented (like
          > > hopefully the possibility or impossibility of the HB dating to the
          > > Persian period)then yes, it's something worth examining. If not,
          > > please give the ANitchers a break and make an appointment with a
          > > dermatologist

          >Ariel:Â Sorry about all the snips.

          Actually I think your edited version makes more sense than my original :)


          >But I suggest that things may not be as bleak as you suggest. Â
          >One approach to exploring the historicity of complex layered
          >historical-fiction such exists in the Hebrew Bible, may be to
          >explore the probability of alternative answers to specific limited
          >questions. [...]

          Which is what I called "sub-arguments", so yes, I agree. And
          exploration is a good word, because there's an analytic stage before
          any arguments are presented, a stage in which the relevant evidence
          has to be selected and evaluated. It is the manner of exploration
          that exasperated me. For example an important aspect (including to
          your Torah example) was mentioned (by NPL, I think), "composition",
          but it drowned in what was mostly useless verbiage.

          >[...] Genesis contains [...] Zoroastrian creationist theology [...]
          >absent are a number of other Zoroastrian concepts [...]

          A comparative Genesis/Zoroastrian concept analysis can provide
          insight (and I would find it very interesting). But even major
          similarities do not imply temporal causality, who influenced whom, if
          at all. Just like comparing Egyptian and Meso-American pyramids can
          provide insight (into the nature of pyramids and the men who thought
          of building them), but doesn't imply a causal link between the two.
          For causal links you need "indicative" evidence (I'm borrowing from
          the use of period-indicative pottery types in archeological
          seriation), like the lexical similarity coupled with semantic
          reversal in the case of some Zoroastrian and Hindu words/concepts.

          [...]

          >The objective here is rather to suggest that a rational process may
          >well exist by which the dating of the Torah might at least be given
          >a probability rating.

          The rational process does exist - there's no methodological
          interdiction to these methods of dating. It is the evidence needed to
          fuel the process, in this specific case of the BH, that is, so far, lacking :(



          Ariel.

          [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

          ---
          Ariel L. Szczupak
          AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
          POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91406
          Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
          ane.als@...
          ---
          http://yvetteszczupakthomas.blogspot.com/
          http://undiamantbrut.blogspot.com/
        • Graham Hagens
          ...   ...   Ariel:   Your point is well taken, and the example given a good one. A significant amount of indicative evidence (if that is the correct
          Message 4 of 15 , Aug 8, 2009
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            --- On Tue, 8/4/09, Ariel L. Szczupak <ane.als@...> wrote:
             
            >A comparative Genesis/Zoroastrian concept analysis can provide
            >insight (and I would find it very interesting) . But even major
            >similarities do not imply temporal causality, who influenced whom, if
            >at all. Just like comparing Egyptian and Meso-American pyramids can
            >provide insight (into the nature of pyramids and the men who thought
            >of building them), but doesn't imply a causal link between the two.
            >For causal links you need "indicative" evidence (I'm borrowing from
            >the use of period-indicative pottery types in archeological
            >seriation), like the lexical similarity coupled with semantic
            >reversal in the case of some Zoroastrian and Hindu words/concepts.__,_
             
            Ariel:
             
            Your point is well taken, and the example given a good one.
            A significant amount of 'indicative evidence' (if that is the correct phrase) is required to consolidate syncretic arguments.  And it is not always easy to gather such evidence.
            However there is some concern is that this degree of difficulty has contributed to this field  not receiving the attention it deserves.  Syncretic studies remain something of an academic backwater.   I am for example unaware of any in depth research into the short remarks related to this topic which Mary Boyce made thirty years ago.
             
            The example you give is probably but one of several reasons for this  lack of attention.  Syncretism is also something of a taboo subject.  None of us likes to admit that our intellectual or ideological heroes either overtly or subliminally borrowed their ideas from someone else. (Or that we ourselves do the same). Plagiarism after all is a crime in many countries.  But the sharing of ideas has arguably played just as important a role as the trade in material goods during the long evolution of what we whimsically refer to as civilization.  
             
            Graham Hagens 




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Ariel L. Szczupak
            ... This case has a high probative (borrowing again) value. Avestan and old Sanskrit belong to the same language family, so you can expect that similar words
            Message 5 of 15 , Aug 8, 2009
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              At 04:18 PM 8/8/2009, Graham Hagens wrote:
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >--- On Tue, 8/4/09, Ariel L. Szczupak
              ><<mailto:ane.als%40gmail.com>ane.als@...> wrote:
              >
              > >A comparative Genesis/Zoroastrian concept analysis can provide
              > >insight (and I would find it very interesting) . But even major
              > >similarities do not imply temporal causality, who influenced whom, if
              > >at all. Just like comparing Egyptian and Meso-American pyramids can
              > >provide insight (into the nature of pyramids and the men who thought
              > >of building them), but doesn't imply a causal link between the two.
              > >For causal links you need "indicative" evidence (I'm borrowing from
              > >the use of period-indicative pottery types in archeological
              > >seriation), like the lexical similarity coupled with semantic
              > >reversal in the case of some Zoroastrian and Hindu words/concepts.__,_
              >
              >Ariel:
              >
              >Your point is well taken, and the example given a good one.
              >A significant amount of 'indicative evidence' (if that is the
              >correct phrase) is required to consolidate syncretic arguments.

              This case has a high "probative" (borrowing again) value. Avestan and
              old Sanskrit belong to the same language family, so you can expect
              that similar words will have similar meanings. It is the reversal of
              meanings in the role of similarly named deities that indicates a high
              likelihood of volition, of a conscious decision. And it's a concrete,
              definable, example of a larger, but less definable, conceptual
              difference, reversal, where Hinduism (and later Buddhism) embraced
              fuzzy and multivalent concepts compared to the Zoroastrian strict
              dualism. [i.e. a rift, not syncretism]

              >And it is not always easy to gather such evidence.

              Indeed. Such cases are rare.

              >However there is some concern is that this degree of difficulty has
              >contributed to this field not receiving the attention it
              >deserves. Syncretic studies remain something of an academic
              >backwater. I am for example unaware of any in depth research into
              >the short remarks related to this topic which Mary Boyce made thirty years ago.
              >
              >The example you give is probably but one of several reasons for
              >this lack of attention. Syncretism is also something of a taboo
              >subject. None of us likes to admit that our intellectual or
              >ideological heroes either overtly or subliminally borrowed their
              >ideas from someone else. (Or that we ourselves do the same).
              >Plagiarism after all is a crime in many countries. But the sharing
              >of ideas has arguably played just as important a role as the trade
              >in material goods during the long evolution of what we whimsically
              >refer to as civilization.

              The problem is that both the sharing of ideas and independent
              development have case examples that support them, and there's no
              methodological reason to prefer one over the other.

              A case "closer to home" - the Mesopotamian and biblical flood myths.
              The stories are different but have some similarities. What's involved?

              First, are we reading the texts correctly. E.g. the initial
              interpretation of the Ebla texts.

              Second, are the similarity patterns we perceive real (significant) or
              imaginary. E.g. the documentary hypothesis vs. the Torah codes.

              Now, the crucial one - is there a causal link. Many civilizations and
              cultures all over the world have flood myths and to assume they all
              have a common origin implies some Velikovskian catastrophe and
              entails world wide revisions to geological, paleontological &
              archeological timelines. I.e., with very very high likelihood, flood
              myths do appear independently. So what evidence can indicate that the
              biblical & Mesopotamian myths do have causal links? [not trivial]

              Assuming a causal link is indeed established - what is its direction?
              Who "begat" who? Do both myths stem from a common ancestor? Did the
              Mesopotamian myth influence the biblical one? Or did the biblical one
              influence the Mesopotamian? [A possible scenario for the later - a
              group of pastoralists, with its flood myth, migrates (over
              generations) north-west from southern Arabia (Tilmun etc) through
              Mesopotamia until it reaches the high mountains, then travels south
              to the Levant.]

              Point is twofold - analyzing such cases is tricky but it provides insight.



              Ariel.

              [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

              ---
              Ariel L. Szczupak
              AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
              POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91406
              Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
              ane.als@...
              ---
              http://yvetteszczupakthomas.blogspot.com/
              http://undiamantbrut.blogspot.com/
            • Ariel L. Szczupak
              And now let s see if this cognitive-magic trick worked :) This ... ... ... is false. Ask yourself if you fell for it. The problem was presented as a
              Message 6 of 15 , Aug 9, 2009
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                And now let's see if this cognitive-magic trick worked :)

                This ...

                At 10:20 PM 8/8/2009, Ariel L. Szczupak wrote:
                >Assuming a causal link is indeed established - what is its
                >direction? Who "begat" who? Do both myths stem from a common
                >ancestor? Did the Mesopotamian myth influence the biblical one? Or
                >did the biblical one influence the Mesopotamian? [A possible
                >scenario for the later - a group of pastoralists, with its flood
                >myth, migrates (over generations) north-west from southern Arabia
                >(Tilmun etc) through Mesopotamia until it reaches the high
                >mountains, then travels south to the Levant.]

                ... is false. Ask yourself if you fell for it.

                The problem was presented as a branch/node tree-like problem, with
                strict dualism (excluded middle) used to define the elements. It's a
                very useful way of dealing with problems and it seems one of the
                hard-wired ways in which the human mind solves problems. But not all
                problems can be expressed this way.

                From what we know about the formation of story cycles, folk tales,
                epics, myths, etc, the appearance of a radically new tale is the rare
                exception, not the norm. In most cases it's a process involving many
                variations of the tale which, sometimes, results in one, or a few,
                "frozen in time" versions.

                An example of this process taking place today is Christmas stories.
                The stories have a few key elements that identify them as Christmas
                stories but the variations range wide. These versions "interact" with
                each other by exchanging ideas & motifs. Only a few of these stories
                are remembered after a few years and we can't tell which of these
                will survive (will have an audience interested in hearing them) 100
                years or more.

                The most likely origin of the flood myths is one or more events of
                people surviving a water-danger event of some sort, minor or major.
                Since it's an appealing story, something to be told in gatherings
                etc, the process of the tale being retold in various ways begins. And
                with a literary framework that is known to be interesting, some
                authors can use it to express ideas and ideologies that have nothing
                to do with the basic tale. We even have some hard evidence of this
                process taking place in the differences between the Atrahasis and
                Gilgamesh versions of the tale.

                So it's likely, at least to a better-than-average degree, that the
                similar key elements in the Mesopotamian & biblical myths indicate
                they both belong to the same tale-creation process, but the model is
                a network, not a tree. The causality is not one of who "begat" who,
                but one of being products of the same process.

                "Triki, triki, triiiiiki, triiiki, triki, Mon Amour, triki, triki,
                triki, triiiiii" said Demis Roussos :)

                [If you're wondering where I got the idea to try this cognitive
                trick, it started with a documentary on TV a few days ago. It was
                about the recent theory that the neolithic Atlit-Yam village was not
                abandoned but hit by a major tsunami, one caused by a flank of mt.
                Etna sliding into the sea. This reminded of one time I was at
                Neve-Yam (not far from Atlit), probably aged 6 or so. I was in the
                water, not far from the shore when suddenly I was sucked into a wave,
                lifted, and deposited on the beach sand, several meters from where I
                stood before. It was probably a mini-tsunami caused by some minor
                tremor, nothing to be written in human annals but very impressive to
                me. I still have the raw sensual memories of this event, I can "re-live" it.]



                Ariel.

                [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

                ---
                Ariel L. Szczupak
                AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
                POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91406
                Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
                ane.als@...
                ---
                http://yvetteszczupakthomas.blogspot.com/
                http://undiamantbrut.blogspot.com/
              • Graham Hagens
                ...   One should be careful not to imply that there s no methodological reason to prefer one over the other   is a universal condition. One good
                Message 7 of 15 , Aug 13, 2009
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                  --- On Sat, 8/8/09, Ariel L. Szczupak <ane.als@...> wrote:

                  >>And it is not always easy to gather such evidence.

                  >...Indeed. Such cases are rare.

                  >>... the sharing of ideas has arguably played just as important a role as the trade
                  >>in material goods....

                  >>The problem is that both the sharing of ideas and independent
                  >>development have case examples that support them, and there's no
                  >>methodological reason to prefer one over the other (.
                  ...
                  > the Mesopotamian and biblical flood myths.
                  >The stories are different but have some similarities. What's involved?
                  ...
                  >...are the similarity patterns we perceive real (significant) or
                  > ...imaginary. E.g. the documentary hypothesis vs. the Torah codes.

                  > ...Now, the crucial one - is there a causal link. Many civilizations and
                  >cultures all over the world have flood myths and to assume they all
                  >have a common origin implies some Velikovskian catastrophe and
                  >entails world wide revisions to geological, paleontological &
                  >archeological timelines. I.e., with very very high likelihood, flood
                  >myths do appear independently. So what evidence can indicate that the
                  >biblical & Mesopotamian myths do have causal links? [not trivial]...

                  >...Assuming a causal link is indeed established - what is its direction?
                  > Who "begat" who? Do both myths stem from a common ancestor? Did the
                  >Mesopotamian myth influence the biblical one ....

                  >Point is twofold - analyzing such cases is tricky but it provides insight.
                   
                  One should be careful not to imply that 'there's no methodological reason to prefer one over the other'  is a universal condition.
                  One good example of the process by which a search for syncretic insight seems to have succesfully overcome the sort of challenges to which you refer, may be found in recent research into the origins of Greek philosophy. 
                   
                  I am thinking of the monumental effort which M. West, W. Burkert and others undertook  to demonstrate that early Greek philosophers were deeply influenced by oriental thought.  
                  However hesitant and grudging was the reception of that effort,  their ideas are now widely respected. One author who did accept them (I roughly remember the quote, but forget his name) conceded that 'West convinces by exhaustive persuasion' - that is to say the vast number of examples he provided finally made denial of the hypothesis untenable. 
                  This quote from West's Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient, is frequently cited :“Anaximander’s concepts cannot be derived from Greek antecedents, and to suppose that they chanced to burgeon his mind without antecedents, at the very moment when the Persians were knocking on Ionian doors, would be as preposterous as it is pointless.” (1971: 97).
                  A particularly interesting aspect of this particular process was the fiercely nationalistic fervor with which many western European  ('it was so invented here') lobbyists opposed the idea. And some still do.
                   
                  Graham Hagens




                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Jean-Fabrice Nardelli
                  Dear Graham, West and Burkert met with much opposition, and still are undervalued in France, for a great many reasons not all of which stem from bigotry and
                  Message 8 of 15 , Aug 14, 2009
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                    Dear Graham,

                    West and Burkert met with much opposition, and still are undervalued in
                    France, for a great many reasons not all of which stem from bigotry and
                    old prejudices. In the past, hellenists such as Victor Bérard and Franz
                    Dornseiff, both of whom unearthed scores of Greco-Semitic parallels
                    which still stand, Orientalists of the calibre of Cyrus Gordon and
                    Michael Astour who ventured to link the culture of protohistoric Greece
                    with the Levantine civilisations, did more harm than good by their too
                    obvious passion and what appeared, in the eyes of Greek scholars, to be
                    a fondness for extempore generalisation in their works, not to say the
                    lack of theoretical reflection. Bérard in particular went so
                    spectacularly wrong in his notion that, behind the Odyssey Phoenician
                    "Instructions nautiques" and Periploi stood, that he durably compromised
                    the quest for non-Greek clues in Homer, in the same way that Peter
                    Jensen, in his two-volume work on the Gilgamesh, led the panbabyloniansm
                    to its collapse. These defects were made good by Burkert, thanks to an
                    unusual gift of exposition and a sharp eye for details, and by West
                    through sheer productivity ; their models do not claim to account for
                    each and every datum, they show what the evidence is, what problems
                    still dog the field, and call for further interdisciplinary research.
                    How revealing of the contrast in quality with Bernal's "Black Athena" it
                    is that, when at long last its final volume appeared, its massive
                    linguistic and lexical evidence for Greek as deeply influenced by the
                    Egyptian language utterly failed to impress those qualified to judge
                    it ! We don't need rhetoric and biased erudition to conceal the
                    well-founded fact that Egyptian seldom left any mark on Greek ; what is
                    required is observation, coupled with philological care (something which
                    Bernal has yet to acquire). The net shall not be cast too large, lest we
                    only catch garbage ; for example, the comparative study of mental
                    processes, such as love and affection, has much to teach us provided
                    that we never forget we compare texts in need of specialized scrutiny,
                    not detached snippets of Greek and Semitic languages which can be
                    treated in a crude way through lexica and concordances.

                    J.-F. Nardelli
                    Université de Provence
                  • Ariel L. Szczupak
                    ... [...] ... [...] ... I m not sure what you mean by universal condition . When you have case examples supporting two opposing options and no way to define
                    Message 9 of 15 , Aug 14, 2009
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                      At 04:19 AM 8/14/2009, Graham Hagens wrote:
                      >--- On Sat, 8/8/09, Ariel L. Szczupak
                      ><<mailto:ane.als%40gmail.com>ane.als@...> wrote:

                      [...]

                      > >... the sharing of ideas has arguably played just as important a
                      > role as the trade in material goods....
                      >
                      >The problem is that both the sharing of ideas and independent
                      >development have case examples that support them, and there's no
                      >methodological reason to prefer one over the other (.

                      [...]

                      >One should be careful not to imply that 'there's no methodological
                      >reason to prefer one over the other' is a universal condition.

                      I'm not sure what you mean by "universal condition". When you have
                      case examples supporting two opposing options and no way to define
                      criteria that will tell you which of the two options to prefer,
                      you're left with "undecidable". The only way to have one option
                      likelier than the other is to have some other type of evidence,
                      besides the conceptual similarity, that supports either influence or
                      independence.

                      [...]

                      >This quote from West's Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient, is
                      >frequently cited : "Anaximander's concepts cannot be derived from
                      >Greek antecedents, and to suppose that they chanced to burgeon his
                      >mind without antecedents, at the very moment when the Persians were
                      >knocking on Ionian doors, would be as preposterous as it is
                      >pointless." (1971: 97).

                      That reminds me of a "Geraldo argument". E.g. a few months ago there
                      was this plane that crash-landed (safely) on the Hudson river. A few
                      hours after it happened I saw Geraldo on Fox claiming that it was
                      unthinkable that geese had hit *both* engines, hinting at something
                      sinister, vowing emotionally to investigate ... [Geraldo, bless him,
                      is a constant source of examples for faulty reasonings]

                      Following the same reasoning, the Persians had to get these concepts
                      from someone before them, and so on and on and on ...

                      Personally I favor a Persian influence, but without some supporting
                      evidence it's still undecided. Note that the principle I find most
                      telling, strict dualism, was used by the Persians in their theology
                      but by the Greeks in their "secular" philosophy while their theology
                      remained based on natural powers - it wasn't a simple transfer (if
                      there was influence). AND, we're talking about expressed, verbalized
                      strict dualism, because strict dualism, as a mental process, was
                      being used long before - you can't have complex architecture without
                      yes/no decisions and some math/geometry.



                      Ariel.

                      [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

                      ---
                      Ariel L. Szczupak
                      AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
                      POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91406
                      Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
                      ane.als@...
                      ---
                      http://yvetteszczupakthomas.blogspot.com/
                      http://undiamantbrut.blogspot.com/
                    • Graham Hagens
                      ...   ...   Really Ariel.  I would have expected more from you.  This statement is unsustainable. Certain individuals do come up with completely original
                      Message 10 of 15 , Aug 14, 2009
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                        --- On Fri, 8/14/09, Ariel L. Szczupak <ane.als@...> wrote:
                         
                        >Following the same reasoning, the Persians had to get these concepts
                        >from someone before them, and so on and on and on ...
                         
                        Really Ariel.  I would have expected more from you.  This statement is unsustainable.
                        Certain individuals do come up with completely original thoughts.
                        Who before Einstein seriously considered the consequences of riding on a sunbeam?
                        So, the tradition preserved by the Magi that one sunny morning Zoroaster encountered an angel called Good Intentions (Vohu Manah) who took him for a walk and taught him astonishing things, could just be true.

                        >Note that the principle I find most
                        >telling, strict dualism, was used by the Persians in their theology
                        >but by the Greeks in their "secular" philosophy while their theology
                        >remained based on natural powers -
                         
                        This is a bit over simplified: different schools of Greek philosophy utilized the same imported concepts in a variety of ways.  Some of their interpretations were quite deistic (perhaps even monotheistic, e.g. Xenophanes),  while other (the materialistic atomists)  were commited atheists. The dualism of Heraclitus appears to have been deistic, that of Anaximander was clearly secular.
                         
                        >it wasn't a simple transfer (if
                        >there was influence). AND, we're talking about expressed, verbalized
                        >strict dualism, because strict dualism, as a mental process, was
                        >being used long before - you can't have complex architecture without
                        >yes/no decisions and some math/geometry.__
                         
                        What I find interesting about the Persian period is the evidence that a variety of concepts crossed cultural boundaries with different consequences.  The belief in reincarnation - which was apparently a post-Vedic south Asian (and definitely not a Zoroastrian concept)  made its way to Ionia very early on (Pythagoras, Pherecydes), but it would be centuries before hints of this idea appear in the Judeo-Christian records.  On the other hand the Zoroastrian purity laws appear to have been adopted by the Hebrews and no one else by the 5th century (if one accepts the conventional chronology). And as you point out dualism made an appearance in various guises. 
                         
                        Graham Hagens
                         
                         
                        _
















                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Ariel L. Szczupak
                        ... Am I missing something? Isn t that the point I was trying to make? ... Yes, it s very simplified. One reason is that I haven t dealt directly with the
                        Message 11 of 15 , Aug 15, 2009
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                          At 12:11 AM 8/15/2009, Graham Hagens wrote:
                          >--- On Fri, 8/14/09, Ariel L. Szczupak
                          ><<mailto:ane.als%40gmail.com>ane.als@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > >Following the same reasoning, the Persians had to get these concepts
                          > >from someone before them, and so on and on and on ...
                          >
                          >Really Ariel. I would have expected more from you. This statement
                          >is unsustainable.
                          >Certain individuals do come up with completely original thoughts.
                          >Who before Einstein seriously considered the consequences of riding
                          >on a sunbeam?
                          >So, the tradition preserved by the Magi that one sunny morning
                          >Zoroaster encountered an angel called Good Intentions (Vohu Manah)
                          >who took him for a walk and taught him astonishing things, could just be true.

                          Am I missing something? Isn't that the point I was trying to make?

                          > >Note that the principle I find most
                          > >telling, strict dualism, was used by the Persians in their theology
                          > >but by the Greeks in their "secular" philosophy while their theology
                          > >remained based on natural powers -
                          >
                          >This is a bit over simplified: different schools of Greek philosophy
                          >utilized the same imported concepts in a variety of ways. Some of
                          >their interpretations were quite deistic (perhaps even monotheistic,
                          >e.g. Xenophanes), while other (the materialistic atomists) were
                          >commited atheists. The dualism of Heraclitus appears to have been
                          >deistic, that of Anaximander was clearly secular.

                          Yes, it's very simplified. One reason is that I haven't dealt
                          directly with the source materials for some years now. That may
                          change soon, as my son will start his philosophy minor in a couple of
                          months :) [though it's sad father/prof Marcel Dubois is no longer
                          here to thunder "to ti en enai" in young ears ...]

                          The other reason is that "Greek philosophy" is not something that is
                          easily defined (except for belonging to a certain time/space locus).
                          The topics cover most of the current philosophical issues, and so do
                          the methods of dealing with them. And when you deal with metaphysics
                          and ethics, you can't really avoid encroaching on the domain of the
                          gods ... But the overall picture is that the Greeks did "reason
                          applied to the universe" while the Persians did "religious dogma"
                          [yes, major simplifications], and if some concepts were imported,
                          they were not imported "as is".

                          >What I find interesting about the Persian period is the evidence
                          >that a variety of concepts crossed cultural boundaries with
                          >different consequences. The belief in reincarnation - which was
                          >apparently a post-Vedic south Asian (and definitely not a
                          >Zoroastrian concept) made its way to Ionia very early on
                          >(Pythagoras, Pherecydes), but it would be centuries before hints of
                          >this idea appear in the Judeo-Christian records. On the other hand
                          >the Zoroastrian purity laws appear to have been adopted by the
                          >Hebrews and no one else by the 5th century (if one accepts the
                          >conventional chronology). And as you point out dualism made an
                          >appearance in various guises.

                          Reincarnation is a good example of the methodological problem. You
                          have it, as one of many possibilities, in Greece, and you have it in
                          the SE Asia. In the middle you have the Persians with
                          post-judgement-day resurrection of the righteous.

                          Was there Asian/Greek (causal) influence? There is no non-conceptual
                          evidence (e.g. linguistic) to support it (that I know of).

                          Is there evidence that would support independent appearance of such a
                          concept? 10 google minutes and I have e.g.:

                          Antonia Curtze Mills & Richard Slobodin (ed), "Amerindian rebirth:
                          reincarnation belief among North American Indians and Inuit"

                          Bronislaw Malinowski, "The Family Among the Australian Aborigines: A
                          Sociological Study"

                          [both accessible on google books, but I can't get working URLs that
                          can be pasted here]

                          I.e. arguing that the reincarnation concept has a unique point of
                          origin is basically arguing something like "out-of-Africa
                          reincarnation" [which would probably make Clyde Winters very happy
                          :)]. Lucy walks among us! ...

                          And reincarnation is not a "natural" concept, one that is easily
                          observable, or one that routinely comes up in the minds of curious
                          children in various cultures.

                          This is an important point. A concept like strict dualism cannot be
                          avoided even if it is not consciously, explicitly, defined -
                          Heraclitus' flux may keep changing, but a pillar either stands or,
                          ouch, falls ... But reincarnation is not a "necessary" concept and
                          yet it (very likely) appears independently in various cultures.

                          I.e. identifying something (similarity, pattern, etc) is a mental
                          activity and doesn't necessarily imply it's real. It's an example of
                          the Platonic falsity ("I know something, therefore there is a
                          something to be known") which leads to ethereal, ideal chairs which
                          no one can sit on ...



                          Ariel.

                          [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

                          ---
                          Ariel L. Szczupak
                          AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
                          POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91406
                          Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
                          ane.als@...
                          ---
                          http://yvetteszczupakthomas.blogspot.com/
                          http://undiamantbrut.blogspot.com/
                        • Ariel L. Szczupak
                          At 11:47 AM 8/15/2009, Ariel L. Szczupak wrote: [...] ... It s been pointed to me offlist that physical likeness and behavioral similarities to dead relatives
                          Message 12 of 15 , Aug 15, 2009
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                            At 11:47 AM 8/15/2009, Ariel L. Szczupak wrote:

                            [...]

                            >And reincarnation is not a "natural" concept, one that is easily
                            >observable, or one that routinely comes up in the minds of curious
                            >children in various cultures.

                            It's been pointed to me offlist that physical likeness and behavioral
                            similarities to dead relatives could be not-so-rare observable causes
                            for coming up with the idea of reincarnation. I stand corrected.



                            Ariel.

                            [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

                            ---
                            Ariel L. Szczupak
                            AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
                            POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91406
                            Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
                            ane.als@...
                            ---
                            http://yvetteszczupakthomas.blogspot.com/
                            http://undiamantbrut.blogspot.com/
                          • David Chibo
                            ... You’ve touched upon an interesting point. Modern nationalism is a relatively modern concept that initially swept Europe during the 18th century. The
                            Message 13 of 15 , Aug 16, 2009
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                              > A particularly interesting aspect of this particular process
                              > was the fiercely nationalistic fervor with which many western
                              > European ('it was so invented here') lobbyists opposed the idea.
                              > And some still do.

                              > Graham Hagens

                              You’ve touched upon an interesting point.

                              Modern nationalism is a relatively modern concept that initially swept Europe during the 18th century. The modern nation state was compelled to define a shared and homogenous culture, language, religion and even romanticised history.

                              It was during this colonial period that the European powers – with Darwin’s survival of the fittest concept in mind - fell back on antiquity to define their romanticised histories.

                              The European powers traced their cultural descent as far back as ancient Greece and then deliberately drew a sharp defining line between the progressive, enlightened and democratic West and its Other, the regressive, despotic and religious East in a deliberate policy that came to be termed Orientalism. Edward Said refers to this Western version of Eastern history when he describes how the East was conquered culturally before it was ever conquered militarily.

                              This sharp defining line originally looked quite reasonable considering that ancient Greek writing unlike cuneiform or hieroglyphics were easily deciphered by Europeans at the time. However over the course of the last 150 years as the ANE texts have been slowly discovered and translated a remarkable picture has emerged. Many of the building blocks of civilisation were discovered to have their antecedents in the East.

                              Faced with overwhelming evidence Western scholars trained within this Orientalism framework began to grudgingly acknowledge the Eastern building blocks of civilisation. However they continued to insist, some deliberately, some inadvertently, that it was the West that took these building blocks and made them truly sublime.

                              Ariel said:
                              > Personally I favor a Persian influence, but without some supporting
                              > evidence it's still undecided. Note that the principle I find most
                              > telling, strict dualism, was used by the Persians in their theology
                              > but by the Greeks in their "secular" philosophy while their theology
                              > remained based on natural powers - it wasn't a simple transfer (if
                              > there was influence).

                              Your remarks are reminiscent of other well known examples such as, the ANE may have developed collective governance but it was the West that developed democracy. The ANE may have developed Astrology but it was the West that developed Astronomy. The ANE may have invented the Abjad but it was the West that developed the Alphabet etc.

                              This should not be an attempt to revive the now discredited pan-Babylonisim but an attempt to trace back our shared culture back to the geographical location at the confluence of three continents that has been aptly described as ‘The Cradle of Civilisation.’

                              Regards,
                              David Chibo
                              www.gilgameshgames.org


                              __________________________________________________________________________________
                              Find local businesses and services in your area with Yahoo!7 Local.
                              Get started: http://local.yahoo.com.au
                            • Niels Peter Lemche
                              Only one correction: nationalism swept Europe during the 19th century. Niels Peter Lemche ... Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På
                              Message 14 of 15 , Aug 17, 2009
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                                Only one correction: nationalism swept Europe during the 19th century.

                                Niels Peter Lemche

                                -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
                                Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af David Chibo
                                Sendt: 17. august 2009 08:54
                                Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                                Emne: [ANE-2] Re: Conceptual "begat"s


                                > A particularly interesting aspect of this particular process
                                > was the fiercely nationalistic fervor with which many western
                                > European ('it was so invented here') lobbyists opposed the idea.
                                > And some still do.

                                > Graham Hagens

                                You've touched upon an interesting point.

                                Modern nationalism is a relatively modern concept that initially swept Europe during the 18th century. The modern nation state was compelled to define a shared and homogenous culture, language, religion and even romanticised history.

                                It was during this colonial period that the European powers - with Darwin's survival of the fittest concept in mind - fell back on antiquity to define their romanticised histories.

                                The European powers traced their cultural descent as far back as ancient Greece and then deliberately drew a sharp defining line between the progressive, enlightened and democratic West and its Other, the regressive, despotic and religious East in a deliberate policy that came to be termed Orientalism. Edward Said refers to this Western version of Eastern history when he describes how the East was conquered culturally before it was ever conquered militarily.

                                This sharp defining line originally looked quite reasonable considering that ancient Greek writing unlike cuneiform or hieroglyphics were easily deciphered by Europeans at the time. However over the course of the last 150 years as the ANE texts have been slowly discovered and translated a remarkable picture has emerged. Many of the building blocks of civilisation were discovered to have their antecedents in the East.

                                Faced with overwhelming evidence Western scholars trained within this Orientalism framework began to grudgingly acknowledge the Eastern building blocks of civilisation. However they continued to insist, some deliberately, some inadvertently, that it was the West that took these building blocks and made them truly sublime.

                                Ariel said:
                                > Personally I favor a Persian influence, but without some supporting
                                > evidence it's still undecided. Note that the principle I find most
                                > telling, strict dualism, was used by the Persians in their theology
                                > but by the Greeks in their "secular" philosophy while their theology
                                > remained based on natural powers - it wasn't a simple transfer (if
                                > there was influence).

                                Your remarks are reminiscent of other well known examples such as, the ANE may have developed collective governance but it was the West that developed democracy. The ANE may have developed Astrology but it was the West that developed Astronomy. The ANE may have invented the Abjad but it was the West that developed the Alphabet etc.

                                This should not be an attempt to revive the now discredited pan-Babylonisim but an attempt to trace back our shared culture back to the geographical location at the confluence of three continents that has been aptly described as 'The Cradle of Civilisation.'

                                Regards,
                                David Chibo
                                www.gilgameshgames.org


                                __________________________________________________________________________________
                                Find local businesses and services in your area with Yahoo!7 Local. Get started: http://local.yahoo.com.au


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                              • George F Somsel
                                Perhaps I m being a bit picky, but it seems you have a wrong understanding of Western civilization s relation to Greek (and Hebrew).  It was not a matter
                                Message 15 of 15 , Aug 17, 2009
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                                  Perhaps I'm being a bit picky, but it seems you have a wrong understanding of "Western" civilization's relation to Greek (and Hebrew).  It was not a matter of "deciphering" the languages.  They were always known even if not widely known. 
                                   george
                                  gfsomsel


                                  … search for truth, hear truth,
                                  learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
                                  defend the truth till death.


                                  - Jan Hus
                                  _________




                                  ________________________________
                                  From: Niels Peter Lemche <npl@...>
                                  To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                                  Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 2:13:54 AM
                                  Subject: SV: [ANE-2] Re: Conceptual "begat"s

                                   
                                  Only one correction: nationalism swept Europe during the 19th century.

                                  Niels Peter Lemche

                                  -----Oprindelig meddelelse-- ---
                                  Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups. com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups. com] På vegne af David Chibo
                                  Sendt: 17. august 2009 08:54
                                  Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups. com
                                  Emne: [ANE-2] Re: Conceptual "begat"s

                                  <snip>

                                  This sharp defining line originally looked quite reasonable considering that ancient Greek writing unlike cuneiform or hieroglyphics were easily deciphered by Europeans at the time. However over the course of the last 150 years as the ANE texts have been slowly discovered and translated a remarkable picture has emerged. Many of the building blocks of civilisation were discovered to have their antecedents in the East.


                                  Regards,
                                  David Chibo
                                  www.gilgameshgames. org
                                  .






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