Re: Seely's Views

From: Innovatia <>
Date: Fri Aug 20 2004 - 00:41:01 EDT


  In an article reviewing the various claims that Genesis was dependent upon Babylonian sources, W.G. Lambert, one of the most respected names in ancient Near Eastern studies, set out to cut the claims down to size; but when he came to the waters above the firmament he concluded from the fact that only the Babylonian and biblical stories of creation have the splitting of the primeval waters that Genesis 1:6-8 was dependent upon the Babylonian. (There actually are two other creation accounts that mention the splitting of the primeval waters but for reasons other than the splitting of the waters, they are judged to have been corrupted by biblical input via missionaries.)

  So, the Babylonian conception of a solid sky with a sea above it matches the Hebrew conception.
The assumption in Lambert's argument is that there were no other sources for the biblical writer to draw from than the babylonian. This leads to my question, Paul. Might it be that the biblical material is not really dependent upon pagan sources at all, but that both draw from earlier works of the biblical patriarchs? Alexander Hislop takes the approach in his The Two Babylons ( that pagan origins in Old Kingdom Babylon were but a corruption of the history passed down from the biblical patriarchs, and that in paganism are the seeds, though hidden, of the true religion. If this were the case, it would certainly appear to us, given the existing limited corpus of ancient texts, that babylonian borrowing went on when it might instead be that both Bible and Babylon drew upon more ancient source(s).

> An example of ancient science near the end of the Bible is found in Rev 6:13 which says, "the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind." These stars are not just meteors for the next verse tells of the rolling up of the sky itself. This is the dissolution of the universe, with the stars falling literally INTO (Greek, eis) the earth. The language is taken from Isaiah's judgment on the nations (34:4), but here refers to the end of the age as Mk 13:25/Matt 24:29 bear out. Lucan (1st century AD) illustrates the fact that people of that time distinguished meteors from stars: in his historical work Pharsalia 5:560, he says, "By now the wind was blowing so hard that it seemed not only to change the course of the meteors as they streaked across the sky, but to shake the very stars." In Book 2, Lucretius (1st century BC), On the Nature of Things, also distinguishes stars from meteors.
As far as actual stars hitting the earth in the end times, the idea is found also in the Sibylline Oracles (2nd BC to 7th AD). Book 2:202 speaks of the heavenly vault being destroyed and "_all_ the stars will fall from heaven" Book 5:512 ff. speaks of the stars battling until heaven in anger "cast them headlong to earth" and "stricken into the baths of the ocean they quickly kindled the whole earth. But the sky remained _starless._" Book 7:124-5 tells of the last days when "men, burning badly will look on heaven, _void of stars."_

Is there no astrological significance to stars in the ancient accounts? I would have expected this to dominate, given the eschatological nature of the texts, as it seems to in _Revelation_.

Dennis Feucht
Received on Mon Aug 23 16:54:32 2004

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