Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Rogue1-and-a-half, Nov 10, 2008.
Interesting indeed, but: won the day? Nothing's been settled yet...
You don't think monotheism is the more accepted form of religion today? Compared to polytheism, I mean. Polytheism is still around, of course, but the two largest religious groups in the world today are generally reckoned as Christianity and Islam, both of which have as a foundational creed the idea that there is one true God.
Hinduism is third, it should be said, and its certainly polytheistic (as I grasp it, at least; hinduism is the religion I know the least about, among the large religions at least), but I still think that monotheism is more wide spread and certainly in the Western world, it's taken over from polytheism as the 'default' belief system. As to it being 'settled,' doubtless our issues of faith, along with issues of plenty of other things, won't ever be 'settled.' I just speak of the way things look to me today.
EDIT: I'm just remembering various Hindu texts; it seems that you can read some of them as monotheistic and some as pantheistic, so . . . I need to study more on Hinduism, that's the main thing. But, I think my point stands; but don't take anything I say about hinduism as particularly informed. My understanding of that particular faith is still a work in flux (my understanding of all faiths is in flux, I suppose, but Hinduism more than the others, I think).
I agree that among the Pharaohs, Akhenaten is the most fascinating, as he is also the father-in-law (and probably the father) of King Tut. And he promoted a more naturalistic style of Egyptian Art.
Certainly TPTB made a huge effort to eradicate every record of him. Didn't work, though.
I remember i once saw a documentary about this.
Is the city buit to honor the Sun-God still visible? Do we know where it is? If i remeber correctly it was abandoned shortly after pharaohs death.
,,Interesting indeed, but: won the day? Nothing's been settled yet..."
You are the winner of the year for making a new bannner.
There was some wonderful artwork from Akhenaten's reign in the Tutankhamun and the Gold Age of the Pharaos exhibit.
It was abandoned, but because it was a lot of successful excavation was done on the site.
Ramses II Crowned in Egypt
One of the longest and most significant reigns in world history begins
Ramses II ascended to the throne of Egypt at some point in his twenties and, near as we can tell, reigned for something like 66 years. At the thirty year point of his reign, as was traditional, he was elevated to the rank of a God, his people and himself having no idea that he wasn't even halfway through his time on the throne.
Ramses II was responsible for a period of expansion in Egypt; he carried out many, many military campaigns in neighboring areas, oversaw a lot of building and artistic expansion, was the Pharoah most responsible for undoing the work of Akhenaten and is generally considered to be the Pharoah during the Exodus of the Jews. It was also Ramses II who inspired Shelley's amazing poem, Ozymandias, which is a loose translation of one of Ramses II's throne names.
His legacy has certainly come down to us; his name is familiar even to people who know little about history.
Of course! This is Yul Brynner in "The Ten Commandments"
Well I've always felt that it was a bit funny that his big monument in Kadesh is more or less cover-up that the battle finished with a draw, or even maybe an Egyptian loss.
The rescue/relocation/reconstruction effort for the great temple of Ramses II is an exciting episode of more recent Egyptian history.
Moses Leads His People Out of Egypt
Moses leads the Jews out of captivity across the Sea of Reeds into the eastern desert.
The story of the Exodus is found in the second book of the Old Testament, called, natch, Exodus. Doubtless we all know the story; the Jews are in slavery; Moses escapes death as a baby and is raised in Pharoah's household despite being a Jew himself. After being forced to flee Egypt thanks to committing a murder, he is visited by a vision of God in the desert and returns to Egypt. After laying the ten plagues on Egypt, he leads his people out bondage and toward the Promised Land.
Things go downhill from there, but after forty years of wandering, countless purges by the mighty hand of God's vengeance, the ten commandments and the establishment of the Judaic religion almost entire, complete with rituals, laws, priests and the Tabernacle, the Jewish people enter the Promised Land, land they still claim as theirs to this day, more or less, much to the chagrin of others in the general vicinity.
From this story, countless symbols have come down to us; the parting of the Red Sea, the tablets of Stone on Sinai, the manna in the desert, Moses and Aaron as squabbling brothers, the ten plagues, the story of Moses afloat on the Nile as a baby. These stories are so loved as to be archetypal; something deep in humanity seems to be touched by these stories. Or perhaps its simply that they have real narrative drive and energy. The story has inspired countless books, quite a few movies and at least one opera.
The historical basis for these events are beyond sketchy (as many events of this period, of course, are); outside of the Bible itself, there is little other textual evidence and the methods used to date the event are as varied as the people doing the dating. For all that, the story of the Exodus is one of the most famous in history and at least three religions point back to it as a seminal moment. The establishment of the Jewish people as a people with their own identity, their own religion and their own God . . . certainly a significant moment in the history of this world.
I still have fond memories of the parting of the Red Sea in DeMille's "The Ten Commandments". Saw it on TV when I was little kid.
I have a book that proposes a chronology for the events in Egypt throughout Bible times. Of several bits of evidence it gives, one of the most fascinating was a find of a large number of infant bodies buried in boxes under the slave quarters. There's an article about the premise of the book and some details here. If anyone's interested in Biblical and/or Egyptian archaeology, I would highly suggest it.
The Exodus story is far more important than whether it actually happened. The text remains one of the most influential of all texts in western culture and literature. Moses is a prophet in three major world religions (plus the Bahai Faith of course). The parallels between Judaism and Christianity and the need to latch on to a major civilization to borrow that civilization's prestige through some mythical act of overcoming that civilization's inherent evilness are instructive. The Jews trace the origins of their faith to ancient Egypt. Jesus's birth and death are connected to the whims of the far flung Roman empire. Moses's exodus sets up the Jewish God as more powerful than ancient Egypt. Jesus's resurrection story sets up the Christian God as more powerful than the Roman empire. Besting the ancient Gods, etc. It's evocative, powerful stuff.
That's what I was trying and pretty well failing to say in those last couple of paragraphs. You're exactly right; and of course Christianity has a healthy dose of the Exodus in its own founder's story. Christ represents the lamb of the Passover (talk about an evocative story; the Passover is a brilliant thing) and Christian writers from Paul on down have borrowed the language of the Exodus to talk about the Christian being lead (by Christ) out of bondage to sin. I believe it was in either I or II Peter where the author explicitly talks about the Exodus and the wilderness wanderings and says flatly, "These things are examples for us."
So, yes, not just the thematic material of the Exodus, but even its very detail has trickled down to Christianity. And to society as a whole, of course; it's informed the way we talk about overcoming bondage and stretching toward freedom, whether emotional, political, social or spiritual.
Although I'm not Jewish I celebrate a Seder meal every year with friends, and I have serious Passover envy. The exodus story just goes so well with matzo ball soup. I love the way the Exodus story and Passover is integrated with the theme of the importance of educating children. If only Christianity drilled parents on the value of education the way Judaism does.
One of the best things about the Judaic faith is its incredible emphasis on . . . hmm, how to say this, mental activity? Study as an act of worship gets lip service in some scriptures in the New Testament as well, but modern Christianity has moved so far from it as to be laughable. For me, that's what it is though; the act of expanding the mind, or stretching it, is an act, for me, of reverence toward God and practically a solemn duty.
Divinity as a study isn't much done these days, true enough.
Ji Fa Claims Mandate from Heaven
The Zhou become the longest lived dynasty in any state of China
The Zhou Dynasty defeated the Shang Dynasty and invoked the Mandate of Heaven, which stated that the ruler ruled by divine right. Surprisingly enough, the Mandate also stated that if a ruler was dethroned it was proof that he had lost the mandate; they used this to explain the transfer from the Shang rulers to their own. When the Zhou were displaced by the Qin, the same rationale was used; which makes sense, except probably not a big thrill for the Zhou.
Under the Zhou, the city-states became more centralized and the political and economic systems had quite a bit of growth. The first uses of Chinese hydraulic engineering also date from the period of the Zhou Dynasty and iron was introduced. The Zhou also saw the Chinese script evolve into a more complex form; speaking of literature, the Zhou dynasty also saw the rise of Confucius, Mencius and Laozi, founder of Daoism.
The governing system apparently had parallels to medieval feudalism. After a period of firm control, things proceeded as they generally do; the last Zhou ruler gave way to a period called the Warring States period (do you need to ask?) before control was taken by the Qin Dynasty. The Zhou had a good run from approximately 1045 to 255.
A significant period of rule; probably the reason this is in the book has to do with the Mandate of Heaven which originated here and would continue to loom large in the minds of the Chinese people throughout their history. The idea is more enlightened than many divine mandates; it has built into it the idea that the mandate can be lost if the ruler acts with injustice or cruelty.
I've heard of the Warring States period. Haven't found a highly readable history of China, though.
I don't know as much about as I would like either.
The idea is more enlightened than many divine mandates; it has built into it the idea that the mandate can be lost if the ruler acts with injustice or cruelty.
It's a relatively sublime expression of "might makes right"
I see "The Divine Right of Kings" had a Chinese precedent...