Ancient ritual burial practices

The study of religious or heroic legends and tales. One constant rule of mythology is that whatever happens amongst the gods or other mythical beings was in one sense or another a reflection of events on earth. Recorded myths and legends, perhaps preserved in literature or folklore, have an immediate interest to archaeology in trying to unravel the nature and meaning of ancient events and traditions.

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Postby Ishtar » Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:38 pm

OK, thanks KB for giving me that permission.

So, as I understand it, you're referring to the story in Genesis: At the beginning of the story, Adam and Eve were immortal. But then Adam and Eve sinned, and after that, they were both no longer immortal, and had to be subject to death, as did their children and their children's children. You think this story is literally true.

But the story of Adam and Eve is a very old Mesopotamian story and one of the oldest in the Bible. And it is similar to many other mythological tales that are about immortals (or gods) who become human (mortal). It's just that they don't have the idea of 'sin' attached to their mortality. Then there also many civilisations' myths which contain a serpent and a huge tree.

My understanding of these myths is that they are allegories for the shamanic.

So I go back to my original point. What concrete evidence do you have, on top of your belief, that the story of the Garden of Eden is literally true?
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Postby rich » Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:24 pm

Not so sure they were immortal yet either - neither had eaten of the tree of life! :D
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Postby Ishtar » Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:32 pm

rich wrote:Not so sure they were immortal yet either - neither had eaten of the tree of life! :D


Rich, I may be wrong but I think they ate the apple from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, not the tree of life.
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Postby rich » Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:43 pm

True - but they never got to eat of the tree of life - he said "and now lest they eat of the tree of life and eat and live forever" and he cast them out. :D

No where did it say man was to live forever!
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Postby Ishtar » Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:47 pm

Oh I see, So they weren't even immortal then, according to that bit of the Bible.

You know, this story is told twice in Genesis and each one is told differently.
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Postby rich » Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:55 pm

hmm - can't tell you much on it - but I can say the second is a clarification of the first. Read it carefully. There's also more written into it than meets the eye. My favorite is "and the evening and morning were the -- day." Odd - isn't it?
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Postby Ishtar » Mon Jun 02, 2008 12:10 am

There's a good book on the Garden of Eden myth by Professor of Religion, Elaine Pagels. It's called Adam, Eve and the Serpent and in it, she says:


Most Biblical scholars today agree that the two creation accounts, orginally separate, were later joined up to make the first three chapters of Genesis. The story of Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:4) told in the language of folklore, is considered the older of the two accounts, dating to 1000 - 900 BCE; the account now placed first (Genesis 1:1-2:3) dates to post-exilic theologians (c 400 B.C.E). Jewish teachers in antiquity, like many Christians after them, turned to theological ingenuity rather than historical or literary analysis to account for contradictions in the texts.


So the second story is the older one. Much older ...
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Postby Ishtar » Mon Jun 02, 2008 5:50 am

kbs2244 wrote:Thus, from the start of written history, it is an built in part of all human custom, mythology, etc, etc.


Except this is not true, KB. Original Sin was first developed as an embryonic idea by the second century CE church father, Iraneus, who based it on a couple of things Paul said. It didn't really catch on as a church doctrine until Augustine, 300 years later, adopted it. He did this, imo, in order to reconcile his guilt and inner conflict over his self confessed enormous libido which was at war with his over-domineering mother - who had been praying daily for his sainthood ever since the day she delivered him from her womb. Talk about pushy mother! :lol:

Jesus never mentions Original Sin, and his only reference to the Garden of Eden story is the one in Matthew. This is when he refers to the line about the woman leaving her father's house when she is given to a man in marriage, to underpin his ideas on divorce. That's the only time that Jesus ever refers to Adam and Eve.

Meanwhile, there are lots of 'Garden of Eden' myths. The Greek one is known as the Garden of the Hesperides. The Hesperides were nymphs who tended the goddess Hera's orchard in the west, which had a tree of immortality-giving golden apples. The tree was a wedding gift to Hera from Zeus, when she married him. The Hesperide nymphs occasionally picked an apple for themselves. So to prevent them doing this, Hera placed in the garden a never-sleeping, hundred-headed dragon. For dragon, read serpent.
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Postby Minimalist » Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:25 am

That's the only time that Jesus ever refers to Adam and Eve.



And who is to say that some scribe did not insert that into the story at a much later date?

Bart Ehrman's demonstration that the John story of "the woman taken in adultery" is a perfect example of such tinkering by (much) later editors.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Postby Ishtar » Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:29 am

Minimalist wrote:
That's the only time that Jesus ever refers to Adam and Eve.



And who is to say that some scribe did not insert that into the story at a much later date?

Bart Ehrman's demonstration that the John story of "the woman taken in adultery" is a perfect example of such tinkering by (much) later editors.


Yes, apparently the Jews were quite surprised at Jesus's response, which was that divorce is never justified - never ever. The Jews had very civilised divorce laws.
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Postby Ishtar » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:09 am

Here's the Sumerian Garden of Eden (or Garden of Edinu) story which must predate the OT one by thousands of years:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/sum/sum07.htm

The goddess Ninhursag creates a beautiful lush garden called Edinu as her refuge. The Garden of Edinu is full of wonderful fruit-bearing trees.

One day she has to leave to visit the god An, and she worries that wild animals might destroy her garden. So she asks the god Enki to guard it while she is away.

All is fine for a few days. But then Enki becomes very hungry, and he eats everything in Ninhursag's garden, destroying it, and then he leaves.

When Ninhursag returns she is furious and curses Enki with death.

Eight parts of Enki's body become diseased. But his cannot use his powers to cure himself, and the other gods cannot help him either. So Enki must confess.

Finally Ninhursag forgives him. Then she creates eight goddesses of healing to heal and restore Enki. Curiously, one of Enki's diseased body parts was his rib and the goddess created to heal his rib was called Ninti, which means the Lady of the Rib.

It's noteable that eight is a shamanic number. The figure eight is called the lemiscate and it is reflected in spiraling of chromosones in DNA, as well as the two snakes on the healing staff called the Cadaceus.
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Postby Minimalist » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:52 am

The "woman taken in adultery" is the one about "let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Very picturesque...appears only in the later gospel of John...and not in the earliest extant copies even of that one.

Hence the conclusion that it was edited in at a later date.

http://research.unc.edu/endeavors/spr2006/feature_05.php

Mysterious additions
Remember the classic story about the woman taken into adultery? She’s about to be stoned before Jesus confronts her accusers: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” The men say no more and walk away. Jesus looks up and asks the woman, “Is there no one who condemns you?” The woman says, “No one, Lord.” Jesus finishes the scene: “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” It’s the ultimate story of forgiveness and compassion. Too bad the passage doesn’t exist in the earliest versions of the Bible, Ehrman says. It was added much later by scribes. Why? “A scribe heard the story, and thought that it exemplified Christ’s forgiving nature,” Ehrman says. “Maybe a scribe originally wrote it in the margin, and a later scribe thought that the story had been left out.”

Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Postby rich » Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:04 am

Very nice and appropriate way of saying "if you want to be as gods, then get rid of your petty human bull so it doesn't blind you" I guess.
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Postby Ishtar » Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:24 am

Minimalist wrote:The "woman taken in adultery" is the one about "let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Very picturesque...appears only in the later gospel of John...and not in the earliest extant copies even of that one.


Yeah ... like they used to say on my newspaper: "Why let the facts get in the way of a good story?" 8)
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Postby kbs2244 » Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:43 pm

OK, been out of touch for a while.
In chronological order:

Rich has a good, if subtle, point.
The word “immortal” means haves the “life force” within you. You are not dependent on someone else for life.
That is what the “tree of life” symbolized. And why it was important to keep Adam and Eve from eating of it.
You could live forever, but not be immortal. You just had to stay on Gods good side.

On the original sin doctrine:
I was not referring to it as being part of human history from the start.
I was referring to the concept of death being inevitable.
The reason for the inevitability of death was given to all kinds of reasons. Some more logical than others.

The “let he who has no sin be the first to cast a stone” story is pretty well accepted to be a much later addition.
It does not appear in any of the really old manuscripts.

I don’t know that I would agree that the Jews of Jesus day had “very civilized devoice laws.”
It was a male dominated society to the extent that just by saying three time “I devoice you” a man could throw out a wife for a late or cold dinner.
The wife had no recourse, and no similar abilities.
That was the thing Jesus was referring to in his reinforcing of the marriage commitment. It had become as loose as current Hollywood.
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