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Some times I am reminded of just how much doubt is integral to me.

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the final bahamut 4 months ago#1
So today I've been thinking for the story of the Noachiamn flood in Assyria mythology. Or more accurately, I've been thinking about the story of how we came to learn about it.
Ysee, what happened was that the head Assyrologist at the British Museum, a certain George Smith, had received a tablet unearthed at Nineveh. As he was translating it, he came to realize that he was reading a flood story that was a complete echo of the biblical flood story, but likely predating it. Smith then dropped the tablet and took of all his clothes. The revelation had made him go quite a bit mad, you see. Smith presented his translation - after he'd recovered his composure and his clothes - and the result was a public outcry. The mere revelation that maybe the biblical flood story was ripped off a different religion's flood story was apparently so much that a lot of people couldn't deal with it.

Even though I'm sure theist, I can't conceive of believing in anything so whole heartedly that I'd have a reaction like that. Can you? I'm not sure if it's a fault with me or not.
"The US military is not an effective proxy for humanity" ~ Folding Ideas
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User Info: MagicOracle

MagicOracle
4 months ago#2
Cognitive dissonance is normal; it's how you resolve it that determines what I think of your character.
Not a funny joke Dimentio. If I wanted to laugh your face is inspiration enough. - Mr. L
the final bahamut 4 months ago#3
MagicOracle posted...
Cognitive dissonance is normal; it's how you resolve it that determines what I think of your character.


I don't think you understand what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about cognitive dissonance. I'm talking about believing something so firmly that a piece of text can drive you mad or start a public outcry.
"The US military is not an effective proxy for humanity" ~ Folding Ideas
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User Info: kts123

kts123
4 months ago#4
From what I've heard, the materials outlined in Scripture used in the Tower of Babel were also water-proofing agents. Now, we can make some inferences about why the immediate descendants of Noah and his family might want to water proof a tower, but it's safe to assume that tales of what had happened were in circulation. Now once the languages were confused, and the people scattered, by all rights that flood story had the chance to evolve over the years in every culture in the region. I just don't see why lots of regional variations of the same story would be seen as odd whenever the Bible made it pretty clear the whole region knew about what happened. The fact the story would change over time is not surprising. What would be surprising is if there were no other flood stories, since it would be surprising everyone would band together to build a water proof tower, be scattered across the land, and magically forget the whole world was flooded without any mention of it in local lore.

Also, if the historical claim is that "Assyrians were around before the flood..." then the contents of the tablet do not matter! The very claim Assyrians predated the flood - and survived it - should have caused "outcry." The reality is, people like making stinks about sticky thoughts. The idea the flood story was "stolen" after a mysterious new tablet was discovered is sensational and interesting. The idea that years of pieced together archaeology conflict with timelines in the pentateuch, well that's not so sensational, even though it's far more difficult to address.

Again, there are other issues someone might raise, like issues with biodiversity - which is more compelling - but "the survivors of the flood couldn't possibly have developed regional variations of the flood story!" - not so much. Also, it's pretty damning that everyone assumes that stories in Scripture "ripped off the other culture" instead of the other way around. It's definitely a nice narrative that the big, well known religion stole from the lesser known one, but it's also possible an Assyrian may have ripped off the Jews they took into captivity.
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User Info: dhalsimrocks

dhalsimrocks
4 months ago#5
kts123 posted...
Also, it's pretty damning that everyone assumes that stories in Scripture "ripped off the other culture" instead of the other way around. It's definitely a nice narrative that the big, well known religion stole from the lesser known one, but it's also possible an Assyrian may have ripped off the Jews they took into captivity.

The problem here is dating. There are several flood myths in the Levant and Mesopotamia, including Greek, Akkadian, Babylonian and Sumerian. The Akkadian, Babylonian and Sumerian sources all predate the earliest Biblical sources by anywhere from centuries to millenia. The Sumerian especially. It would seem the flood story is a mythical trope in Ancient Near Eastern cultures.

Now, somebody is borrowing from somebody for certain. This is exactly how stories change over time, as cultures adapt foreign stories to their own culture and time. But you're going to be really hard pressed to find someone who thinks William Shakespeare borrowed from West Side Story when he wrote Romeo and Juliet. Because Shakespeare lived 400 years before West Side Story was written.

The earliest Biblical manuscripts we have are the Dead Sea Scrolls, which can't be much earlier than the 2nd century BCE, and some think that's dating them too early. Beyond that, the best we can do for dating when the texts were originally written is by using internal evidence.

The Flood Story is thought to be an interwoven composite of two Flood stories written at different times. One (the J source) at 800-900 BCE at the earliest, the other either (the Priestly source) during the Exile or post-Exile. Some consider the J source to also be a post-Exilic writing. There are even Old Testament minimalists who think the whole thing was written during the Hasmonean period. But the point is, none of them date to anywhere near as early as the other Flood accounts. The evidence for literary borrowing is in the direction from earlier to later.
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User Info: SockThief

SockThief
4 months ago#6
the final bahamut posted...
The mere revelation that maybe the biblical flood story was ripped off a different religion's flood story was apparently so much that a lot of people couldn't deal with it.


That's quite an overreaction to a maybe, especially since if the Biblical account of the flood is true, there shouldn't be any surprise to other cultures having written records of it prior to Moses writing the book of Genesis hundreds of years later. The flood would have happened around 2500 BC, while Moses wasn't alive until 1400 BC (I'm using rounded dates). Why would someone expect no other culture to have written about the destruction of the world during that 1100-year period? It seems silly to go insane over that.
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the final bahamut 4 months ago#7
SockThief posted...
the final bahamut posted...
The mere revelation that maybe the biblical flood story was ripped off a different religion's flood story was apparently so much that a lot of people couldn't deal with it.


That's quite an overreaction to a maybe, especially since if the Biblical account of the flood is true, there shouldn't be any surprise to other cultures having written records of it prior to Moses writing the book of Genesis hundreds of years later. The flood would have happened around 2500 BC, while Moses wasn't alive until 1400 BC (I'm using rounded dates). Why would someone expect no other culture to have written about the destruction of the world during that 1100-year period? It seems silly to go insane over that.


Because according to this version, it was Enki who told the dude to so the thing. And no I don't get the reaction either and that's why this fascinates me. Clergy went out of their way to denounce this thing.
"The US military is not an effective proxy for humanity" ~ Folding Ideas
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the final bahamut 4 months ago#8
kts123 posted...


Again, there are other issues someone might raise, like issues with biodiversity - which is more compelling - but "the survivors of the flood couldn't possibly have developed regional variations of the flood story!" - not so much. Also, it's pretty damning that everyone assumes that stories in Scripture "ripped off the other culture" instead of the other way around. It's definitely a nice narrative that the big, well known religion stole from the lesser known one, but it's also possible an Assyrian may have ripped off the Jews they took into captivity.


As anotger poster said there's some reason to believe that the Bible one is the one ripping others off. There's also a couple of things in the Biblical version that make more sense when you consider it might be a error in "translation" from the Babylonian myth.
"The US military is not an effective proxy for humanity" ~ Folding Ideas
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User Info: Dagorha

Dagorha
4 months ago#9
the final bahamut posted...
MagicOracle posted...
Cognitive dissonance is normal; it's how you resolve it that determines what I think of your character.


I don't think you understand what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about cognitive dissonance. I'm talking about believing something so firmly that a piece of text can drive you mad or start a public outcry.


Since I tend to read a lot of Lovecraft I tend to find myself asking the question of what sort of revelation would it take to drive me literally insane. Something akin to Stephen King's Revival would probably do it but not much else I can imagine.

I think ultimately it depends on how any piece of writing can effect and challenge a fundamental belief within you
Songs that the Hyades shall sing, Where flap the tatters of the King,
Must die unheard in Dim Carcosa.

User Info: kozlo100

kozlo100
4 months ago#10
I can't imagine what beliefs I hold that seeing them in doubt would literally make me take my clothes off. Though I guess you wouldn't really know until it happens.

I kind of wish I had some. That seems like such a unique and interesting experience to have your world so turned upside down that your brain just stops working for a little while. That kind of random output seems fascinating.
Time flies like the wind,
and fruit flies like a banana.
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