Senate 1001 Days That Shaped the World! Disc. Gauls Attack Rome & Lay Siege to the Capitol (July, 390 BCE)

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Rogue1-and-a-half, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    Dinosaurs are the ancestors to the birds, right?
    So, anybody know... did they or didn't they have feathers?
  2. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Yes, SW, there were.

    [image=http://www.igreens.org.uk/archeopteryx_bavarica.jpg]

    Also, there's been birds with teeth in the fossil record, and modern day genetic experiments that created birds with teeth.
  3. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Glad to see this kept going during my absence.

    "Let There Be Light"
    The Bishop of Armagh examines the Bible to pinpoint the date of Creation

    (October 22, 4004 BCE)

    James Ussher was the Archbishop of Armagh in Ireland in the early 1600s and is most famous for publishing a Biblical chronology that set the date of Creation as you see above. Even though most Christians no longer hew to the exact date set by Ussher, it is from this date that the theory that the earth is approximately 6,000 years old springs. The theory still has lots of mileage in modern society, still being held by some Creationists and being trotted out by evolutionists intending to show how idiotic Creationists are.

    Personally, despite my Christianity, I don't hold this particular point as a matter of doctrine. Christian scholars (to say nothing of secular ones) are divided on the point of Creation in about every way possible, from those who believe the seven days in Genesis are seven twenty-four hour periods to those who believe the word 'day' symbolizes a much longer period of time. There is also some debate about two (at least) seperate Creations, divided by the phrasing about the earth being without form and void.

    From where I stand, this has little do with my belief that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and that His sacrificial death on the cross purchased my atonement. I firmly believe God created the universe; the methods He used would have been His own and I couldn't understand it, I'm sure, if He explained it to me personally, so I'll leave that aside as more or less unimportant in the scheme of my spiritual growth.

    Still, the setting of the date by Ussher was a significant moment; but it does seem that the book simply wants to have it both ways by including both the Big Bang and the moment God spoke the world into existence. Regardless, my poetical side loves this one a bit more; the power of the spoken word to begin the entire universe is a fabulous image. But as to the date, I don't particularly care. Also, I don't particularly understand the pinpointing method that Ussher used; if anyone cares to enlighten us on that, feel free, as I'm interested.

  4. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    I don't much care about fixing the exact date, to be frank about it.

    He made a decent try at it.
  5. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    When I read the way Rogue writes about Genesis - very evocative, with God starting up the universe with spoken word - I wonder about two things:

    2. What did he really say?
    He wouldn't have said "Let there be light", would he? I mean, the Old Testament was written long before there was Standard British English. So, would he have spoken... Aramaic? I'm looking at the Wiki page for Aramaic, and it says the language is 3000 years old... So I click the 'Semitic languages' group it belongs to. The proto one is 4000 years BC... Should be about right.... But then that group belongs to the larger Afro-Asiatic group, of which the proto one is estimated to date back to 8000BC. Now that's all very confusing.
    1. And who's he saying it to?
    I mean, "let" is a command, isn't it? It almost sounds as if he's... praying. But to whom?
  6. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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  7. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Given the doctrine of the Trinity, and perhaps just given the natural tendency, God speaks to "Himself" quite a bit in the Bible; "Let us make man in our image," he says not long after this passage, as I recall and that's not an isolated incident.

    As to what language He spoke . . . that's a theological question, not a linguistic one. You're asking essentially what is God's 'natural' mode of speaking; the Bible again has an intimation, namely that there's a heavenly language entirely divorced from any earthly one. It would have been, I suppose, that one; the religionists among us, some of them at least, argue that we have but one word of that otherworldly language here on earth: that word being 'Hallelujah.'

  8. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    it does seem that the book simply wants to have it both ways by including both the Big Bang and the moment God spoke the world into existence.


    I'm kinda thinking this.
  9. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    Ah, political correctness.
  10. king_alvarez Jedi Knight

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    Evidence suggests that the creation accounts of Genesis were originally viewed as mere poetic mythology, meaning that it wasn't until more recent times that people felt it should be taken literally, or even allegorically. But that's a discussion for a different thread...
  11. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    Is it?
    I would assume Rogue doesn't mind.

    What's the evidence? I'm interested.
  12. Emperor_Billy_Bob Chosen One

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    The Big Bang is probably the biggest bone science has ever thrown religion.

    There is a moment when the Universe began to be - leading rational people to believe there must be some sort of "cause".
  13. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    The belief in a 'cause' predates the 'Big Bang Theory' by, oh, give or take a few thousand years, I think.
  14. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    I think Emperor_Billy_Bob's point was that with the Big Bang Theory, as by its current nature, leaves open the interpretation that something must've caused the Big Bang, whereas the previous steady state universe theory didn't have that opening to put a creator in. Though, in that interpretation, usually it involves an element of not understanding the theory, at least when people talk about "before the big bang" in a conventional sense.
  15. king_alvarez Jedi Knight

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    Basically the idea is that the account of Genesis 1 was adapted from the Enuma Elish, a Babylonian or Mesopotamian myth of creation recounting the struggle between cosmic order and chaos. Karen Armstrong makes the argument that the Enuma Elish "story was not a factual account of the physical origins of life upon earth, but was a deliberately symbolic attempt to suggest a great mystery and to realease its sacred power.... Myth and symbol were thus the only suitable way of describing them [creation]."* The Isrealites were never very concerned with prehuman historical detail, which is why Genesis hurries through prehistory until arriving at the start of the history of the people of Israel.

    It wasn't until the time of Isaiah that the Israelites became interested in Yahweh's role in creation. "They were not, of course, attempting a scientific account of the physical origins of the universe but were trying to find comfort in the harsh world of the present. If Yahweh had defeated the monsters of chaos in primordial time, it would be a simple matter for him to redeem the exiled Israelites." And it wasn't until this time that Yahweh won out as the one and only God. Which is interesting because it is likely that Yahweh wasn't even Abraham's god, as Abraham's likely god was El, the High God of Canaan.

    Granted, this isn't exactly a provable issue, so any evidence is at best going to be merely subjective, but there are a lot of reasonable arguments made that much of the history of the Israelites was purposely related as myth.

    * An example of history purposely being related as myth is the ziggurat tower, which was obviously built by humans but in myth was attributed to the gods. "They knew perfectly well that their own ancestors had built the ziggurat, but the story of the Enuma Elish articulated their belief that their creative enterprise could only endure if it partook of the power of the divine."
  16. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    I wouldn't mind at all; this thread is for any discussion as relates to the topic at hand.

    I'll just say that one can certainly make assumptions and draw conclusions based on the Biblical texts and comparisons to other ancient texts, but as stated above, these aren't things that can be 'proved;' nothing in art can be 'proved,' even if the art in question is historical art.

    As a devout Christian, I believe that the Bible is True, in the highest sense of that word, but what some people fail to understand is that a work of art can be True without being entirely factual. Whether the stories in the book of Genesis happened exactly as they are recorded (I believe that they happened more or less as they are recorded) they have something deeply True to say about human nature and life as a human being. Whether, for one example, Jacob and Esau fell out as the Genesis account says that they did, whether that story is entirely factual or not, one can hardly find a more 'true' account of sibling/parental relationship.

    As to the debate over literal interpretation versus figurative interpretation, I think the Bible is fairly clear, as any great book is, about what is intended to be literal and what is to be figurative. When the Bible tells us that God breathed into Adam's nostrils it is entirely obvious that we are not intended to picture a human figured God giving a dusty model of Adam CPR. I find the debate over poetic interpretations of the Scriptures a little silly; if the Bible was divinely inspired, as I believe it was and as many great works of art have been to a greater or lesser degree, surely God has the requisite talent to speak in poetic terms and expect us to understand that. Some Christians seem to believe, however, that if the Bible is divinely inspired, that this then means that it must be entirely factual and entirely literal.

    In fact, if the Bible is divinely inspired, then it may be more or less factual, given that God is intending the Bible to stand, not as a work of history, but as a work of teaching and philosophy; behind every 'story' in the Bible, there is something God intends us to learn; this is more important to Him, I think, than that the story be entirely historically accurate. Compare to the parables of Christ; no one argues that these parables are factually true, that there was a literal prodigal son, for example. Every theologian I know excepts their nature as stories intended to teach; the same could very easily be more or less true of the histories of the Old Testament, though again I personally believe that the histories of the Old Testament at least have their roots in fact.

    I realize that for people who do not believe in a divine inspiration for the Bible, these arguments are a little strange and maybe even insular, but as an educated Christian, it is incumbent on me, I feel, to express what I feel and think about things like textual criticism of the Scriptures. I think the same sentiments exist regarding the idea of other sources, like the Enuma Elish or the Epic of Gilgamesh or the hymns of Akhenaten, inspiring portions of the Bible. That the Bible could have take some form, or in some cases, almost exact turns of phrase from other ancient artworks in no way intrudes on the idea that it is divinely inspired; as any great author incorporates ideas and inspiration from other sources, so, I feel, could the inspiring spirit of God.

    The bottom line, for me at least, is that I feel that textual criticism isn't a threat to my faith; other Christians feel different and I wish sometimes I could get them to understand the things I've talked about in this post. Whether you believe in the authorship of the Bible as springing from God or not, I think it's completely obvious that the Bible as it stands today is intended as a work of philosophy first and history second; that I believe it is God breathed (to use a Scriptural turn of phrase) makes this e
  17. Obi Anne FF admin Celebrations, Europe

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    I really liked your posts, and it totally sums up my views as well.
  18. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Hammurabi's Code
    Hammurabi sets down his 282 laws, creating an enduring legal system

    (1760 BCE)

    This is the oldest surviving example of a code of law; it was set down around 1760 BCE by Hammurabi, king of Babylon. There is only one surviving example of the code, a seven foot stele with the code inscribed on it. The stele was discovered in what is now Iran in 1901; the stele is currently on display in the Louvre.

    I find several things interesting about this; like a lot of ancient laws, this one was supposedly given to the lawgiver by the Gods, as explicitly stated on the stele, which also contains a carving of the gods giving Hammurabit the code. The laws are, in some places, strange to our modern eyes (as in one example where a matter will be settled by having an accused leap into a river; if the river spares his life, he is innocent). But in other places, they're incredibly prescient; if a man, for instance, gives his orchard to another man to manage, the manager will keep a third of the produce and give two-thirds to the owner, the beginning of all share cropping.

    Regardless, this stands as something qutie significant; the beginning of civilization governed by laws and not personalities.

  19. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    The first codified rule of law? Yes, very important indeed. But it's also the first code of a totalitarian system (see also: the USSR) Which means: good words, not so good enforcement.
  20. Hammurabi Force Ghost

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    Of course it sets the precedent for Stalinist totalitarianism; it sets the precedent for government itself.

    And I don't think totalitarianism can really be used to describe the ancient Babylonian government. For one, the term is fairly new, and I wouldn't be comfortable applying it to a group of people from four thousand years ago who turned to a strong leader out of the need to organize their society effectively. A more appropriate word might be despotism, but even that has taken negative connotations in the past century. And while it wouldn't be considered an appropriate form of government now, four thousand years ago, it was the only form of government.

    And it's not as though Hammurabi's Code radically changed the political structure of ancient Babylon - rather, it codified the conditions regarding governance and the basic use of law. What we're seeing here is more a predecessor of constitutionalism than anything else.
  21. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    You do have a point, of course. :)
  22. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Many ancient cultures and civilizations were probably much more sophisticated than we often give them credit for. They had complex systems of international trade that required sophisticated social tools to function properly, one of those of course being the rule of law and an ability to get legal redress for contract disputes. Many of the elements of the code may have predated the stele by more than a thousand years.
  23. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    Another good point; culture and religion are extremely important; probably more important than politics.
  24. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    I think there was actually an earlier code, but yeah, this is the more important one.

    And the stele itself is awesome and an important work of art.
  25. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    Is there a picture?