Studying Antiquity

Discussions toward a better understanding of LDS doctrine, history, and culture. Discussion of Christianity, religion, and faith in general is welcome.
Post Reply
User avatar
deacon blues
Posts: 1429
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:37 am

Studying Antiquity

Post by deacon blues » Sat Jan 02, 2021 3:04 pm

I have been reading two books in tandem: Cleon Skousen's The First Two Thousand Years and Will Durrant's. Our Oriental History.

I know it sounds crazy, but I am learning stuff. For example, my missionary scriptures (c. 1979) gave dates in the Bible Dictionary for things like the ministry of Enoch (3000 BC) the flood (2400 BC) and the tower of Babel (2200 BC) which were removed in my newest scriptures (c. 2000) Bible Dictionary. Apparently LDS recognized the shakiness of Genesis genealogies. According to Amazon people are still reading Skousen (around fifty reviews) so evidently there are still TBM's who take the Genesis chronology seriously. The Book of Mormon is obviously dependent on it, but it is irrational in so many ways, for example-- Archaeologically, how do we reconcile a 2400 BC universal flood with the ancient records of Egypt showing an uninterrupted history from c. 3100 BC?

There must be dozens of other absurdities as well. :roll:
God is Love. God is Truth

User avatar
Culper Jr.
Posts: 244
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 6:28 pm

Re: Studying Antiquity

Post by Culper Jr. » Sat Jan 02, 2021 3:54 pm

I have a copy of the First 2000 Years on my bookshelf. It was my grandmother's, and I got it after she passed away last year. She loved that stuff... all the crazy claims in that book, and all of the Ezra Taft Benson anti-communist stuff was her view of Mormonism (as it was called back in the day). Evidently, Noah's ark was launched from my home state! In fact, it could have been launched from my backyard for all I (and Skousen) know! I look up at that book every day and think of her and smile.

That recent podcast on Mormon Stories with Matt Harris about ETB was fascinating, and talks about how Skousen came to be a religion professor at BYU.

User avatar
Palerider
Posts: 1883
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:44 am

Re: Studying Antiquity

Post by Palerider » Sat Jan 02, 2021 9:40 pm

deacon blues wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 3:04 pm
Apparently LDS recognized the shakiness of Genesis genealogies.
Just wanted to mention something I learned awhile back regarding the ancient genealogies and how they possibly were kept.
As we know, most of the Biblical stories were passed down by rote memory long before they were committed to lambskin vellum. So it might be reasonable to assume that long genealogies might have been abridged (there's a word we're all too familiar with) to just include the important guys. So when it states that Methuselah was the "son of" Enoch, it might actually be saying that Methuselah was a descendant of Enoch and there may have been numerous generations between the two men.

A good example of this is found in Matthew 1:1 where it states:
"The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."

Everyone one knows that David was not the direct son of Abraham but if you wanted to make the big connection in a concise and impactful way how would you do it?

For me this ancient practice has the ability to push the Biblical time lines back thousands of years if not many more. Is it possible that not everyone was included in the genealogies and that perhaps we only have a record of the more impactful people of antiquity who those of that time felt compelled to include? Why bother memorizing twenty generations of father's and sons that are in between the critical lineages if the big connections are the ones that count?

Just something to consider.
Last edited by Palerider on Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

User avatar
moksha
Posts: 3635
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:22 am

Re: Studying Antiquity

Post by moksha » Sat Jan 02, 2021 11:21 pm

deacon blues wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 3:04 pm
Archaeologically, how do we reconcile a 2400 BC universal flood with the ancient records of Egypt showing an uninterrupted history from c. 3100 BC?

There must be dozens of other absurdities as well. :roll:
Around 1,200,823 additional absurdities, but who's counting?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_ ... prehistory

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timelines ... ld_history

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pengtoushan_culture
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 5182
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Studying Antiquity

Post by Hagoth » Sun Jan 03, 2021 12:26 pm

I always imagine a guy sitting by the campfire: "...my grandfather was Enoch, and his grandfather was Mahalalel, and his grandfather was Enos, and his grandfather was Adam... and I can't think of anybody before that, so let's just say that Adam was the first man."
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

User avatar
wtfluff
Posts: 2913
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:20 pm
Location: Worshiping Gravity / Pulling Taffy

Re: Studying Antiquity

Post by wtfluff » Sun Jan 03, 2021 4:16 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 12:26 pm
... and I can't think of anybody before that, so let's just say that Adam was the first man."
It literally makes me laugh out loud when biblical apologists say things like "I think people 'back then' had better memories than we have today, because..." (insert laughable apologetic argument here.)

So... Life expectancy, and pretty much everything about being human just continues to get better/improve... Except our human memory, which has just gone downhill like crazy. :lol:
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

The Beauty of Gray

User avatar
Just This Guy
Posts: 1172
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:30 pm
Location: Almost Heaven

Re: Studying Antiquity

Post by Just This Guy » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:19 am

wtfluff wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 4:16 pm
Hagoth wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 12:26 pm
... and I can't think of anybody before that, so let's just say that Adam was the first man."
It literally makes me laugh out loud when biblical apologists say things like "I think people 'back then' had better memories than we have today, because..." (insert laughable apologetic argument here.)

So... Life expectancy, and pretty much everything about being human just continues to get better/improve... Except our human memory, which has just gone downhill like crazy. :lol:

There actually is some truth to the idea that human memory has gone down over the generations. Maybe not actually going down, but due to the need for memory to be good for much of human history, various techniques have developed throughout history to make the most of human memory. Things like poetry evolved for the purpose of helping people remember materiel. Setting text to a particular rhythm and rhyming is one example of ways that something can be modified to make it easier for the brain to remember. There are discussions of various other methods of how to improve memory that go back to ancient Greece and Egypt.

However, starting in the Renaissance, with the invention of economical printing (Gutenberg's moveable type) and the explosion of books and other printed materiel, this lead to a rise in literacy and in general, the need for these memory improvement techniques faded over time. Why go to the trouble of learning these involved techniques when it became much easier to just write stuff down or to look it up in a book?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_of_memory
https://wsimag.com/culture/28090-the-art-of-memory
"The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

User avatar
wtfluff
Posts: 2913
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:20 pm
Location: Worshiping Gravity / Pulling Taffy

Re: Studying Antiquity

Post by wtfluff » Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:30 am

Just This Guy wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:19 am
wtfluff wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 4:16 pm
It literally makes me laugh out loud when biblical apologists say things like "I think people 'back then' had better memories than we have today, because..." (insert laughable apologetic argument here.)

So... Life expectancy, and pretty much everything about being human just continues to get better/improve... Except our human memory, which has just gone downhill like crazy. :lol:
There actually is some truth to the idea that human memory has gone down over the generations. Maybe not actually going down, but due to the need for memory to be good for much of human history, various techniques have developed throughout history to make the most of human memory. Things like poetry evolved for the purpose of helping people remember materiel. Setting text to a particular rhythm and rhyming is one example of ways that something can be modified to make it easier for the brain to remember. There are discussions of various other methods of how to improve memory that go back to ancient Greece and Egypt.

However, starting in the Renaissance, with the invention of economical printing (Gutenberg's moveable type) and the explosion of books and other printed materiel, this lead to a rise in literacy and in general, the need for these memory improvement techniques faded over time. Why go to the trouble of learning these involved techniques when it became much easier to just write stuff down or to look it up in a book?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_of_memory
https://wsimag.com/culture/28090-the-art-of-memory
The fact that human memory doesn't work anywhere near the way we "think" it does is what I'm really trying to point out here. We think our memories of our life experiences are like a "video recording" when they are nothing of the sort. Our brains just don't work that way. "Eye witness testimony" being incredibly flawed is a good example of this.

Books, poetry, etc. cannot fix the inherent flaws of our memory of our "human experience": The memories are already flawed when they are "written in the brain" before they are regurgitated and "written down." Using poetry, art and print to help our brains regurgitate facts about math or science, or "remembering" the lyrics to a song does not change the fact that our "memories" of the way real experiences in our lives happened are not video recordings.

So, when an apologist claims that "oral histories" in the bible were more accurate because "humans had better memories back then".... Again, lets talk about how bad eye witness testimony is: And "oral history" is no different than eye witness testimony.

That function of the human brain (the "recording" of the human experience) has not evolved/devolved the way apologists claim in the few thousand years that the bible has existed.
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

The Beauty of Gray

User avatar
Palerider
Posts: 1883
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:44 am

Re: Studying Antiquity

Post by Palerider » Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:18 pm

Just This Guy wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:19 am


There actually is some truth to the idea that human memory has gone down over the generations. Maybe not actually going down, but due to the need for memory to be good for much of human history, various techniques have developed throughout history to make the most of human memory. Things like poetry evolved for the purpose of helping people remember materiel. Setting text to a particular rhythm and rhyming is one example of ways that something can be modified to make it easier for the brain to remember. There are discussions of various other methods of how to improve memory that go back to ancient Greece and Egypt.

However, starting in the Renaissance, with the invention of economical printing (Gutenberg's moveable type) and the explosion of books and other printed materiel, this lead to a rise in literacy and in general, the need for these memory improvement techniques faded over time. Why go to the trouble of learning these involved techniques when it became much easier to just write stuff down or to look it up in a book?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_of_memory
https://wsimag.com/culture/28090-the-art-of-memory
I would agree with this.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

Cnsl1
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:27 pm

Re: Studying Antiquity

Post by Cnsl1 » Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:55 pm

Good stuff here and I don't mean to jack it with a stupid story, but I'm embarrassed to say that I once believed that the earth was no more than maybe 8 or 9 thousand years old. I even spouted that piece of wacked wisdom in a memorable conversation about 30 years ago to a co-worker I was ever so slyly book of mormoning to. He was commenting about archeology and civilizations and I mentioned the one that so very few people knew about--these folks living here in America before anybody else got here. He was intrigued and a bit skeptical, especially when talking about when this all went down, and when some of the bible stuff occurred, and then he just flat out asked me how old i thought the earth was. I figured I shouldn't rattle his feeble gentile mind too much so I fudged my true feelings a little high and said, "only around 10 thousand years or so.. 10 to 15". He was still flabbergasted. Imagine that.

How I wish I could rewind and just say, "ha! I'm kiddin'! Who knows? I think it's pretty freaking old man. Let's get a beer."

User avatar
Palerider
Posts: 1883
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:44 am

Re: Studying Antiquity

Post by Palerider » Tue Jan 05, 2021 12:32 pm

Cnsl1 wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:55 pm
Good stuff here and I don't mean to jack it with a stupid story, but I'm embarrassed to say that I once believed that the earth was no more than maybe 8 or 9 thousand years old. I even spouted that piece of wacked wisdom in a memorable conversation about 30 years ago to a co-worker I was ever so slyly book of mormoning to. He was commenting about archeology and civilizations and I mentioned the one that so very few people knew about--these folks living here in America before anybody else got here. He was intrigued and a bit skeptical, especially when talking about when this all went down, and when some of the bible stuff occurred, and then he just flat out asked me how old i thought the earth was. I figured I shouldn't rattle his feeble gentile mind too much so I fudged my true feelings a little high and said, "only around 10 thousand years or so.. 10 to 15". He was still flabbergasted. Imagine that.

How I wish I could rewind and just say, "ha! I'm kiddin'! Who knows? I think it's pretty freaking old man. Let's get a beer."
I think there are some Evangelical Biblical literalists who still think the world is only 6-7 thousand years old. But even they are slowly accepting the science on earth age.

But I think anyone in LDS leadership now would be embarrassed to say that's what they thought back in the 50's-60's. Even if you could pin an apostle down with a question on earth age they would try to fudge their way around it with a nonresponse response.

The only one I've heard lately speak definitively on Adam and Eve was Holland and he neglected to take it any further than that they had actually existed. No telling when that might have been.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

User avatar
1smartdodog
Posts: 440
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2017 5:51 pm

Re: Studying Antiquity

Post by 1smartdodog » Wed Jan 06, 2021 12:39 pm

Ever play telephone as a kid. You tell one person something, they tell another and another, and so on. By the time you get to the last person the message is all messed up. Humans will always add and subtract from a story as they pass it along verbally. I doubt anything in the bible represents actual history very well.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
“Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”
― Thomas A. Edison

User avatar
deacon blues
Posts: 1429
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:37 am

Re: Studying Antiquity

Post by deacon blues » Wed Jan 06, 2021 9:52 pm

One thing about Skousen, even though he wasn't a G.A. he committed to trying to deal with reality. He worked hard and wrote his books that explained the Church's majority(?) view of history and reality. He bravely created straw man versions of evolution and anthropology and then gunned them down with bogus science in real, undeniable, unretractable print. Now it seems apologists tell Church members: "You could believe in the Church fitting into several different realities (from young earth creation to the big bang and evolution) and still be a good follower of-- the brethren. Then the brethren, specifically Elder Holland, says "I don't know when Adam and Eve lived" implying: "who would expect us to know anything about that? We're too busy traveling and administrating to deal with theology or history." Then the G.A.'s will write books consisting of "feel good" homilies and inspiring stories and they will turn around and say "but you should still trust that I/we have special power and authority, and you should do and believe whatever we leaders say."

It just seems like current G.A.'s don't even try anymore. It seems they're worried that succeeding generations will be exposed to their B.S. if they try to say anything substantial.
God is Love. God is Truth

Cnsl1
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:27 pm

Re: Studying Antiquity

Post by Cnsl1 » Thu Jan 07, 2021 1:02 am

Keep a journal.
Unless you're a GA.

Don't say anything that can be disproved.
Keep it light, keep it happy, quote yourselves a lot. Don't forget to talk about Jesus.

Rinse and repeat.

User avatar
moksha
Posts: 3635
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:22 am

Re: Studying Antiquity

Post by moksha » Thu Jan 07, 2021 8:24 am

deacon blues wrote:
Wed Jan 06, 2021 9:52 pm
One thing about Skousen, even though he wasn't a G.A. he committed to trying to deal with reality.
That "international conspiracy of bankers using communism to control the world" certainly added to an unusual mindset for LDS people, making us an extraordinarily peculiar people to this very day. There was even one of us flying a flag with a Captain Moroni verse from Alma during the Treason Weasel Insurrection at the US Capitol.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

User avatar
deacon blues
Posts: 1429
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:37 am

Re: Studying Antiquity

Post by deacon blues » Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:07 pm

I was reading an article (Pew report) that stated that a large percentage of today's children follow their parents religion. It varies by religion and culture, but almost always more than half of children adopt their parents religion. In this case how do we find so many different religious traditions in antiquity when presumably Adam (4000-3070 BC) and more particularly Noah (circa 2900-1950 BC) taught the LDS gospel to their children, and many generations to follow. Well, I went back to my antiquarian studies, particularly Cleon Skousen, I'm scratching my head. Why is the LDS religious tradition missing from the earliest Near East (Egyptian and Sumerian) cultures? Instead we find Osirus, Isis,Horus, Anu Enil, Enuki, etc.
The LDS church could use some revelation to help us understand what was going on right before and after the flood, because it just doesn't add up.
God is Love. God is Truth

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 25 guests