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Philosophical Timeline Through Art
Posted: 13 January 2008 01:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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Having one of my infrequent bouts of insomnia, I have decided to compose a reply.

First off, I see no need to continue with a discussion about the religious beliefs of Akhenaten. All it would be is a scholarly version of he said, she said. Every book and website seems to have something else to say about the nature of the heretics kings belief, and you seem to have something else altogether. We could argue thusly until we are blue in the face, and not reach a true understanding of his philosophies.

What I am more interested in is your notion of the distribution of ideas. You have mentioned the notion of Akhenaten/Moses, and I suspect I already know where you are going here.

I believe that you are going to reference the Aegyptica of Manetho, are you not? He relates a story about how a priest, whom he calls Osarseph, seized the throne of Egypt and desecrated the temples, suppressing the people and it‘s religions. In his telling, the deposed ruler of Egypt and his son returned after 13 years to drive this heretic into exile, dragging his followers with him to Jerusalem. Or, at least this is what is claimed he said, according to Josephus.

But I see a problem with relying to much on the Aegyptica. It’s much the same issue I have with Christian scholars who rely too much on the hypothetical “Q” document. The problem is that we are receiving the Aegyptica from second, third, or even fourth handed sources. Unless we can find an actual copy of Manetho’s text, we are only piecing together the bits of literary fragments that have been distributed by the authors of antiquity. And Josephus, Eusebius, and Africanus don’t always agree on what was written therein. There’s no way to judge if the story, as told by Josephus, complete with the notion that the heretical priest name change to “Moses,” is what was written by Manetho.

The other problem is that the tale doesn’t match the historical record. Akhenaten wasn’t a priest. He didn’t usurp the throne from another king. There is no evidence that he was driven into exile. Hell, even the supporters of the tale claim that it is a mythic rendering of the story. Gary Greenberg, who is one of the stories staunchest supporters, claims that it was adapted from the tales of the rivalry of Horus and Set.

The contention that you seem to be making is that Akhenaten, or a follower of his, was the Jewish lawgiver Moses, and that the ideas were passed from region to region in much the same way that a baton is passed from runner to runner in a relay race. Correct?

I see it differently. While I don’t deny that Egyptian beliefs had an influence, I see them as being diffused like a jazz riff. One musician starts a riff, another picks up on it and modifies it to their taste. The connections are more fluid rather than concrete. there is more of a inference, rather than influence.

In fact, another scenario has come to mind. The archaeological record seems to suggest that the Hebrews became a distinct sect during a time of drought in Palestine. They were Palestinian wanderers, who went into the mountains, stopped eating pigs, and apparently whittled down the number of deities to one. Where they got the idea to do that, I don’t know, and as far as I can tell, any suggestion is purely hypothetical. Eventually, they left the mountains to resettle in Palestine.

Later, scribes, such as Manetho, are writing a list of kings in Egypt. They know that there was a period of apostasy on the history, but due to the devises of the priest to abolish all evidence of it, they don’t know all the facts. But they know that our heretical king was a monotheist.

Then, out of Palestine, comes tales of these nutty Hebrews, who claim that there is only one god. Aha, cries Manetho, there must be a connection! Thus he concocts the story as detailed above, wherein the heretic brings his faith unto the Hebrews.

Later, Hebrew scribes are attempting to write their history, and have heard this tale. Must be true, they think, it came out Egypt. They are aware that their ancestors had migrated into Palestine, but perhaps have forgotten from whence they came. So, they addopt the notion of Manetho, but modified the tale into one not of a heretic king, but one of a slave that rises up to the power of a king. (This notion is a popular one, as Sargon the great himself was said to have been placed in a bitumen coated ark in his infancy. There are many tales of abandoned children who were adopted and later grew into great kings and leaders.) This then comes down to Josephus, who reads the Aegyptica, and comes to the conclusion that heretic priest is the Egyptian version of the story of Moses, and proceeds to claim it as such.

Is this all pure conjecture. Yes, it definitely is. Is it plausible? I believe so. Is it provable? Of course not!

But near as I can tell, no one else’s theory is either.

[ Edited: 13 January 2008 01:31 AM by Celsus]
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Posted: 13 January 2008 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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Celsus - 13 January 2008 06:25 AM

Having one of my infrequent bouts of insomnia, I have decided to compose a reply.

First off, I see no need to continue with a discussion about the religious beliefs of Akhenaten. All it would be is a scholarly version of he said, she said. Every book and website seems to have something else to say about the nature of the heretics kings belief, and you seem to have something else altogether. We could argue thusly until we are blue in the face, and not reach a true understanding of his philosophies.

What I am more interested in is your notion of the distribution of ideas. You have mentioned the notion of Akhenaten/Moses, and I suspect I already know where you are going here.

I believe that you are going to reference the Aegyptica of Manetho, are you not? He relates a story about how a priest, whom he calls Osarseph, seized the throne of Egypt and desecrated the temples, suppressing the people and it‘s religions. In his telling, the deposed ruler of Egypt and his son returned after 13 years to drive this heretic into exile, dragging his followers with him to Jerusalem. Or, at least this is what is claimed he said, according to Josephus.

But I see a problem with relying to much on the Aegyptica. It’s much the same issue I have with Christian scholars who rely too much on the hypothetical “Q” document. The problem is that we are receiving the Aegyptica from second, third, or even fourth handed sources. Unless we can find an actual copy of Manetho’s text, we are only piecing together the bits of literary fragments that have been distributed by the authors of antiquity. And Josephus, Eusebius, and Africanus don’t always agree on what was written therein. There’s no way to judge if the story, as told by Josephus, complete with the notion that the heretical priest name change to “Moses,” is what was written by Manetho.

The other problem is that the tale doesn’t match the historical record. Akhenaten wasn’t a priest. He didn’t usurp the throne from another king. There is no evidence that he was driven into exile. Hell, even the supporters of the tale claim that it is a mythic rendering of the story. Gary Greenberg, who is one of the stories staunchest supporters, claims that it was adapted from the tales of the rivalry of Horus and Set.

The contention that you seem to be making is that Akhenaten, or a follower of his, was the Jewish lawgiver Moses, and that the ideas were passed from region to region in much the same way that a baton is passed from runner to runner in a relay race. Correct?

I see it differently. While I don’t deny that Egyptian beliefs had an influence, I see them as being diffused like a jazz riff. One musician starts a riff, another picks up on it and modifies it to their taste. The connections are more fluid rather than concrete. there is more of a inference, rather than influence.

In fact, another scenario has come to mind. The archaeological record seems to suggest that the Hebrews became a distinct sect during a time of drought in Palestine. They were Palestinian wanderers, who went into the mountains, stopped eating pigs, and apparently whittled down the number of deities to one. Where they got the idea to do that, I don’t know, and as far as I can tell, any suggestion is purely hypothetical. Eventually, they left the mountains to resettle in Palestine.

Later, scribes, such as Manetho, are writing a list of kings in Egypt. They know that there was a period of apostasy on the history, but due to the devises of the priest to abolish all evidence of it, they don’t know all the facts. But they know that our heretical king was a monotheist.

Then, out of Palestine, comes tales of these nutty Hebrews, who claim that there is only one god. Aha, cries Manetho, there must be a connection! Thus he concocts the story as detailed above, wherein the heretic brings his faith unto the Hebrews.

Later, Hebrew scribes are attempting to write their history, and have heard this tale. Must be true, they think, it came out Egypt. They are aware that their ancestors had migrated into Palestine, but perhaps have forgotten from whence they came. So, they addopt the notion of Manetho, but modified the tale into one not of a heretic king, but one of a slave that rises up to the power of a king. (This notion is a popular one, as Sargon the great himself was said to have been placed in a bitumen coated ark in his infancy. There are many tales of abandoned children who were adopted and later grew into great kings and leaders.) This then comes down to Josephus, who reads the Aegyptica, and comes to the conclusion that heretic priest is the Egyptian version of the story of Moses, and proceeds to claim it as such.

Is this all pure conjecture. Yes, it definitely is. Is it plausible? I believe so. Is it provable? Of course not!

But near as I can tell, no one else’s theory is either.

You presume too much. I am not claiming that Thutmosis shared the exact same views as Ikhenaten and Nefertiti or that Buddha, Lao Tzu, Pythagoras, Yeshua, Mohammed and others influenced by the movement set in motion by Ikhenaten and Nefertiti all viewed things exactly the same way. To do so would be naive as ideas take different forms as they pass through different languages and cultures. All I am saying is that they all stem from one revolt/revolution (or whatever we are to call it) and share similarities because of this.

Actually I wasn’t thinking of it at all as a baton in a foot race. I was thinking more along the lines of the experiment that takes place in a college lecture room in which the professor gives a sentence to one person and then that sentence gets passed around the room from person to person until it reaches the other side, altered almost to the point of not being recognizable outside of the meaning behind the sentence.

It was definitely a very complex process with many minds drawing from their own cultural experiences and influencing the various religions. If one man teaches his two sons one message and then those two sons split up as adults and grow up in two different countries and they have children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren and die and their children and children’s children die then the generations down the line will have formed very different ideas about the same view and will approach it from very different cultural ways because different types of minds are carrying it on.

That is all I was saying. There is a common thread which binds all of these people together and that is the concept of enlightenment, inner awareness, consciousness, the higher self or whatever one wishes to call it as well as similar views of God, Tao, Won, Dhamma, Etc. Of course their views of this monistic unity of all dualities will have different outward appearances, but inwardly they are all experiencing the same connection and the only reason they cannot come to terms with one another is that they cannot understand the way that the others perceive it.

Ikhenaten and Nefertiti’s exact views will never be known (and even if they are this is irrelevant because it isn’t the point). The point is that if they have the same origin and can be taken back to that same origin then their individual claims to their individual origins collapse and bringing them together is possible . . . peace becomes possible.

Let me be clear, I do not share the crusading Atheist mentality. I do not find a war against Theists to be in the benefit of logic and reason. In fact, I find it to be the complete opposite because rational people are far outnumbered and will lose very quickly if these two Lions face off (would actually be more like an angry Hyena [Atheists] facing off with a cocksure male Lion [Theists]). The Atheists would be devoured with little to no struggle. Kinda like this:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=aIVgKIuISx4

I do support reason and logic, but I don’t support them under any specific ideology or anti-ideology. I find the world’s organized religions worthless and crippled when it comes to establishing peace and carrying human beings into the future. But, I don’t see Atheists with any rational solutions. All I see in Atheists is a bunch of bitchy, annoying, kackling Hyenas preying on strays who wander from the herd.

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Posted: 13 January 2008 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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Yahun, I would like to delve into this a little more from the Egyptian point of view. Are you familiar with the author Moustafa Gadalla?

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Posted: 13 January 2008 08:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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mcalpine - 13 January 2008 06:23 PM

Yahun, I would like to delve into this a little more from the Egyptian point of view. Are you familiar with the author Moustafa Gadalla?

Vaguely, why?

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Posted: 13 January 2008 10:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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Yahun - 13 January 2008 03:03 PM

http://youtube.com/watch?v=aIVgKIuISx4

Cool video.

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Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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Posted: 13 January 2008 11:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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I ran across his name and website while searching Google Books. Just wondered.

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Posted: 01 February 2008 04:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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Re lions outside Africa:

‘The Asiatic Lion is rated the most endangered large carnivore globally. And India has the distinction of being the last earthly refuge of the Asiatic lion. The Gir National Park and Lion Sanctuary is the one and only remaining habitat of this proud and majestic species.’

http://www.wildlife-tour-india.com/indian-wildlife/indian-lion.html

Lions exist outside Africa. If they exist in India, they almost certainly existed in the Middle East. Many of Aesop’s fables involve lions. Why, if they did not exist in Greece?

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