Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"Julian" Related Video

Entitled - "The End of Monotheism - Cutting down the world's top 3" this video is probably going to be quite interesting for those of us in the Nonbelieving Literati; having just read Gore Vidal's "Julian".

It gives some interesting historical perspective to exactly how the ONE GOD of the Jewish tribes arose directly out of another multi-god mythology.

Ah... Mythology. You gotta love it. At least enough to understand how it has always been with us, evolves, and will continue to.


The Exterminator said...

I wanna know what those Pslams are. The video keeps showing text that refers to them.

Yes, it's snooty and pretentious of me, but ... The narrator presents himself as the voice of authority,
yet it's hard for me to take seriously anyone who can't spell the word for a major source of his evidence. It's kinda like the written equivalent of Bush saying "nucular."

In any case, the video is a stupidly simplistic explanation of a situation that no respectable scholar of ancient history or comparative mythology would dispute. The Hebrew word "Elohim" is a plural form, almost certainly deriving from a multiple-deity Mesopotamian society. By the time the Hebrews wrote even the earliest books of their bible, however, the word was most likely thought of, by them, as singular. The more interesting fact is that Elohim was the god of the northern tribes in Israel, while Yahveh was the god of the southern tribes in Judah. Centuries later, during the Babylonian exile, when the various tales and legends began to be pulled together into their present form, the "editors" had to struggle with the two different traditions. Thus the Hebrew god was frequently -- but not always -- referred to as Yahweh Elohim (translated in English as "Lord God.")

Anyway, I'm no expert, but I can assure you from years and years of reading that a seven-minute video by a guy who can't even spell PSALMS is not to be taken as -- pardon the anachronistic expression -- gospel.

John - Evolutionary Middleman said...

So as a new admirer of his work, I'm guessing you'd like to see MORE of this guy’s videos?

Actually, the part of it that I did find interesting was the fact that the Jewish god was pulled directly from a multiple-god mythology. I'm not so naive as to think that the Jews independently made up Yahweh, or many of the fantastic tales, but it just hadn't occurred to me that they had pinched their "one god" from a group of many.

And I did think (despite the spelling error) that a good bit of verifiable information was given in 7 minutes. I did learn a little something - although I obviously haven't studied it as thoroughly as you have. It frankly doesn't interest me all that much.

For instance, I know the Romans borrowed their gods from the Greeks. If I found out that the Greeks lifted those gods from some more ancient Persian society myths, I'd be pleasantly surprised, but it's not something of which I want to do in-depth study.

ordinarygirl said...

"the video is a stupidly simplistic explanation of a situation that no respectable scholar of ancient history or comparative mythology would dispute"

There are many people that haven't studied comparative mythology and I fail to see how a simple explanation is bad for those people. Sure, he made some mistakes, but that doesn't mean that what he presented was wrong, as you point out.

I'd be interested in learning more about the person who put together the slides.

The Exterminator said...


There's a BIG difference between simple and simplistic. Simple explanations are ones that you and I can understand, although we're not experts in a field. Dawkins's science writings, for instance, are beautifully simple. Years ago, atheist Isaac Asimov wrote Asimov's Guide to the Bible, which is also simple (and contains lots of interesting facts about comparative mythology).

Simplistic explanations, on the other hand, are ones that ignore -- either purposely or not -- facts and details that might change the thesis. Simplistic explanations usually have a propagandistic agenda. Creationism, for instance, is simplistic.

All I'm saying about the video is that it's no big startling revelation to say that the Hebrew god is derived from a polytheistic tradition. The tone of the video seems to be a "so there!" to Christians, Jews, and Muslims. But the "so there" is nothing new and doesn't really matter to the idiots who believe in the Abrahamic god.

And then, there's that ridiculous "pslam" to contend with. The person who wrote that is not one I would tend to trust when he discusses the nuances of ancient languages.

We atheists are supposed to value reason, right? And take nothing on blind faith -- not even a YouTube video.