Re: Fable telling

mortongr@flash.net
Sat, 06 Nov 1999 20:58:38 +0000

At 02:40 PM 11/06/1999 -0600, John_R_Zimmer@rush.edu wrote:
>Glenn said on 11/03/99:
>
>>I am going to give you some examples of actual legends which are known to
>be associated with known geologic events which occurred prior to writing
>and prior to history. I will show that your conception of how legends were
>treated by the ancients is not what the actual case is.
>
>Glenn then gave some examples of legends which contained details that
>corresponded to aspects of events that had occurred long ago.
>
>My comment:
>
>At the other end of the spectrum of course, are legends like the legend
>of King Arthur. Here, the details of the legend do not correspond to
>the aspects of events. Why? Because the story has been changed through
>transmission.

Now, with the flood narrative, we are dealing with a story about a natural
event which is every bit analogous with the Australian examples. The odd
thing is that the stories seem to change more rapidly when there is
writing, than when there isn't writing.

>
>Thus I think that this statement is acceptable: The actual event
>cannot be fully reconstructed by examination of the legend
>and the archaeology of the event. The archaeology anchors
>the event as an occurrence in prehistory. The legend provides
>details that may or may not correspond to details of the event.
>
>For example, in the Australian tale, we are provided with details
>of Ngurunderi that the archaeological record cannot corroborate. We
>can only say that the details of the story do not conflict (or
>rather, agree) with the geological record.
>
>At the same time, by associating Ngurunderi with geological
>data, we increase our depth of appreciation of the
>stories. Geological events are being remembered through
>these legends. Thus, we are inspired to examine
>the archaeology of those periods more closedly for cultural
>changes that might correspond to the Ngurunderi legend.

Frankly I am not inspired to examine those periods for cultural changes.
Since there was no writing during those periods your task will be difficult
if not impossible. And why exactly does associating Ngurunderi with
geologic data increase our appreciation of the story? To me the
association of a semi-deity with the story lessens the appreciation.

>
>So the 'details in legends' correspond to 'details in actual events'
>to different degrees. For the story of Noah, the degree
>depends on whether you look at the Flood story as more like King
>Arthur's or more like Ngurunderi's legend. That, in turn, depends
>on what event in prehistory that you associate the legend with.

What I showed was that your suggestion that myths would have more modern
baggage along with it was wrong. Can you tell us what happened rather than
analysing appreciation and inspiration?

>
>Mallowan claimed that the Biblical and the Sumerian flood stories
>pertain to the same local flood in prehistory. As seen in the stories,
>this flood was catastrophic in terms of the perception of the people
>who experienced it. In terms of archaeology, the flood brought a
>period of civilization to a close. To me, Mallowan's perspective seems
>perfectly legitimate, especially given the spectrum of 'detail
>correspondence' exhibited by various legends.

The thing you keep avoiding is concrete data. Which civilization was ended
as a result of the Mesopotamian flood? When did it happen. You make claims
like the above but then never tell anyone what actually happend. If the
flood brought a civilization to a close tell us which civilization and how
widespread the flood was, and when this occurred. These are all
concordistic questions and data that is required of you because you claim
that something notable in history occurred. I am wanting to test your
hypothesis to see if it matches the facts.

>
>
>
>So let me comment on each of the four claims Glenn made:
>
>1 > It is a fact that not all perspectives are as good as others. I prefer
>the historic viewpoint just as ethnology has found that events
>long ago are remembered in fairly good detail.
>
>As far as I can see, there are only two perspectives for the concordist
>view of the story of Noah's flood:
>
>One perspective is to find an event where the details recorded in the
>legend most precisely correspond. That is Glenn's approach.
>
>The other perspective is Mallowan's approach (which is also, most likely,
>similar to the approach of the authors that Glenn cited). Note that
>Mallowan also adhered to the idea that events of long ago are remembered.
>
>
>2 >My point in all this is that legends usually were based upon real events
>and their memory can be traced quite some distance in time.
>
>However, legends vary in the accuracy with which details correspond
>to real events. There is a spectrum of correspondence.

So one has a completely unfalsifiable view then. If the legend corresponds
poorly to real events then we simply allow less concordance; if it
corresponds well, then we allow more concordance. By this technique you
can never risk falsification and that is what is very desparately wrong
with christian apologetics. No one will risk their necks or reputations for
the cause! Everyone creates a viewpoint which can't be proven false.

>
>
>3 >Logic of legends can pick the ones they find easiest to correlate and
>ignore the rest
>
>This is true in both perspectives. Glenn picks some details and ignores
>the rest (in particular, the very details that Mallowan uses in his
>correpsondence). Mallowan does the same with the details that Glenn
>found important.

I would suggest that you see http://www.flash.net/~mortongr/mflood.htm
which gives lots of reasons why the flood can't be in mesopotamia.
Mallowan ignores the details of the Biblical account in order to place it
in Mesopotamia. If we are allowed to make up our own Biblical story and
then make it correspond to some event, claiming of course, that our made up
story and event fit each other and therefore the Bible is true, we would
be fooling ourselves. Mesopotamia does not fit any of the details of the
Genesis Flood except for the fact that both had water!

>
>
>4 >The historical view must deal with all the details.
>
>Yet, Noah's Flood occurred in prehistory. Glenn and I differ in what
>we mean by the word 'historicity' within the framework of concordism.
>I desire to associate a Genesis story with an event in the evolutionary
>or archaeological record. The key is not to deal with all the details,
>but to match the 'gestalt' - or the entirety - and then see what comes
>from the match.

One can't match the entirety without first matching the details. To attempt
to match the entirety without paying any attention to the details is like
building a house without a foundation.

>
>Thus I return to ask, in the context of your concordist vision,
>how do the Genesis stories and the evolutionary record complement each
>other in answering the four questions that philosopher Leslie Stevenson
>says underly every world view:
>
>Where did nature come from?

God created the universe 10-15 billion years ago. To use your terminology
"We are thus inspired to appreciate the power and majesty of God.
>
>Where did humans come from?

web page.
>
>What went wrong?

Sin

>
>What is the cure?

Jesus' sacrifice.
>

I can't figure out why you think my view doesn't answer these questions.
My answers are rather basic to any christian's view point.

>The Biblical Genesis stories and the life of Jesus answer these questions.
How
>does your concordist 'match' allow us to see that their answer complements
>what we know about the evolutionary record - and visa versa? Where is the
>insight your match provides?

As I have said before. My insight makes the account real rather than a
fairy tale suitable only for those who leave their brains and their science
at the church house door!
glenn

Foundation, Fall and Flood
Adam, Apes and Anthropology
http://www.flash.net/~mortongr/dmd.htm

Lots of information on creation/evolution