Re: Seely's Views

From: <>
Date: Tue Aug 24 2004 - 20:25:18 EDT

Dennis wrote,

> << 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).>>

The Babylonian creation account may well have had a predecessor account, even
an oral account. The dating of Abraham is sufficiently fluid that one could
slip in the idea that the Babylonian account came from him or other patriarchs,
but was corrupted. However, before coming to Palestine Abraham's background
was itself pagan (Josh 24:2) and there is no evidence that he or the other
patriarchs received any revelation about creation while wandering in Palestine.
Also, it is not likely that the Babylonians, who were a major world empire,
would have taken seriously a "wandering Aramean's (Deut 26:5) creation account
even if the patriarchs had one. And once they entered Egypt, there would be even
less likelihood of their influencing the Babylonians. So, possible, yes, but
certainly not probable.

One might also ask, what difference would it make? We no longer accept the
idea that the sky is solid, or that it has a sea above it, or that the world's
oceans came into existence as a result of splitting a primeval sea in two (Gen
1:6-8). So all one gains is that the patriarchs had their science wrong before
the Babylonians corrupted the theology.

Finally, I would not put much faith in Hislop. His book is not dependable.

> << 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_.>>

There is astrological significance to the stars in some ancient accounts, but
there is also a fair amount of simple observation with no interest in
astrology especially before c. 600 BC. As to Revelation, some understand the stars
falling as literal, some understand it as figurative, but in either case the
stars are conceived of as very small.

Received on Tue Aug 24 20:48:25 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Aug 24 2004 - 20:48:26 EDT