Why So Many Great Flood Traditions?

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by Arne Saknussemm, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Reputable biblical scholars would dispute this. In fact, when ancient peoples copied something, they would often change it. Furthermore, many of these stories were transmitted orally before they were ever written down.


    "Ancient scribes made errors or alterations when copying manuscripts by hand.[1] "
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textual_criticism
     
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  3. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    The earliest written precursor of the Old Testament is estimated to date from around 1000 to 900 BCE. The Noah story is supposed to have occurred thousands of years before. So instead of precise written copying there was only an old oral tradition to rely on.
     
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  5. Arne Saknussemm trying to figure it all out Valued Senior Member

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    While other reputable biblical scholars would tell you the exact opposite. And while some ancient peoples were known to change things and not see 'truth' as something one could pin down very easily, the Hebrew scholars, I have always read, were not like that at all. I have also been taught that Hebrew oral tradition was very exacting (like Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451) and that the audience had the right to correct errors should the speaker make them. So am I right? Are you two right? Who knows? The point I was making is that if the'apocryphal gist', to coin a phrase is in order than all is well.

    Did Noah take two of each kind of animal into the ark, or was it seven pairs? Was there ever really an ark? Was there ever really a great flood? None of this is as important as what we learn from it; what we are trying to understand fro such a story. I think wellwisher captured the gist of all flood stories:

    I was looking at my link Flood Stories from Around the World: , and I see that the stories are so diverse and different that the chart I placed in post #! is sort of like a kiddie fast-food restaurant place mat serving as a correct topographical map of all of Asia. The link is 88 pages long in MicrosoftWord! here is just one sory from Cameroon.

    How does this match up with the Genesis story? Not very well - unless we consider wellwisher's take on it.

    How about this from the Cook Islands in the south, central Pacific:

    This story bears little resemblance to the Noah story or the Cameroonian goat story, and yet we can see the common thread. (Well, I can, and I will guess that Carl Jung and wellwisher can). So for the reasons wellwisher gave, perhaps we have our answer to why there are so many flood stories, but hey! Keep those cards and letters coming! Maybe someone else can do even better, or elaborate further on some of the ideas we've shared so far.
     
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  7. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    We have two sides of the brain with the left brain more rational and differential in terms of how it processes data. The right side of the brain more holistic, spatial and integral in terms of how it processes data. Science uses the left brain more exclusively. Specialization is about differentiation. Religion is more right brained and tend to generalize with basic concepts. Science and atheism is looking for a one-to-one connection or slope on the curve at a given point, through a differential filtering process. But religion uses symbols which are spatial concepts.

    As a practical example, the right brain integrates data, like oriental facial features into a common concept. This integration allow one to pick out almost any oriental person out of a crowd, even though there are billions of unique people in this class. The left brain is more differential and will notice how two oriental people differ, by noting subtle differences, at the slope of a point on this oriental curve.

    Like in math, if I gave you an equation and told you to integrate it and then later differentiate it, these will never match. Someone who is objective to both operations will accept this as the inevitable result, with each result having a different meaning and purpose. The concept of God is a spatial concept of a being that integrates knowledge, matter and energy, time, life and death. Different religions have a different person in this role, mostly due to the impact of the left brain seeking a differential expression of the same thing.

    The Statue of liberty is both a sign and a symbol, with signs more left brain and symbols more right brained. As a left brain or differential sign, this is a statue in New York harbor that was given by the French to the USA for its 100th birthday. This is very specific, verifiable, and left brained. This statue is also a symbol of liberty as personified by this goddess lady liberty. As a goddess she has more to her than the differential limits of human perception; She is 3-D. Liberty is an esoteric concept that is not easy to put into words, in a way that conveys all the subtle implications, connected to the long human struggle. The right brainer senses this extended connection and accepts the nebulous link to the unknown with a sense of intuition. The left brainer thinks that is dumb and prefers to see this as statue at a given location.

    In practical terms, consider a 3-D object like a tennis ball. This can be approximated with a large number of rational planes, with a common center, but at various angles to each other. The flood myth is the 3-D ball with each culture using one of the planes (for the left brain). But since these all have a common center, they all intuitively sense the same underling thing. The 3-D center appeared simultaneously across many cultures due to the commonality of the human personality firmware in light of social changes in evolution. Each differentiates this center and form its own left brain myth plane.

    Jung is more concerned with the 3-D symbol and not specific myth planes geared to the left brain.
     
  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    The gist is blindly obey God or messages you think are coming from God (basically, your leaders), however absurd they may seem. It's a horrible message.
     
  9. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    The entire premise of this thread is to hide the defense that the flood myth of the Bible was not a corruption of an earlier myth invented in Mesopotamia.

    This is a deliberate lie. It is done to preserve what you just said above, that people have a blind faith and that blind faith is designed to preserve a horrible message. The flood is a perfect example since it is designed to instill fear of the worst most severe punishment imaginable for failing to do the stupidest most trivial thing such as failing to remove the foreskin. It's a psychological version of slavery and you see how effective it is in the way the believers construct their many lies. In particular this lie which forms the basis of this thread.

    As you well know but which the believers will deny to their death the flood myth of the Bible is an adaptation of the earlier Mesopotamian versions. Those versions have nothing to do with Yahweh or any of the particulars of the Hebrew religion.
     
  10. Arne Saknussemm trying to figure it all out Valued Senior Member

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    Why comment when you've clearly not understood or learned nothing?
    It's also clear that you have absolutely no interest in learning anything.
     
  11. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    I'm kind enough to bless you with my wisdom. Sometimes learning only involves rejecting stupidity.
     
  12. Arne Saknussemm trying to figure it all out Valued Senior Member

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    Right... you just go on thinking that.

    And earlier, you said,"It's a horrible message." The link I provided has this many stories. Most of which have nothing to do with the Genesis story you seem so intent on hating. Have you read them? Do thye all have a horrible message?
     
  13. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    I told you, it's pretty obvious. Floods happen and people develop myths about them. The fact that they are both varied and ubiquitous means there's nothing special about it. If they all told the same story about the same time which was corroborated by geological data, then I would believe there was a global flood.
     
  14. Arne Saknussemm trying to figure it all out Valued Senior Member

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    You've missed the boat, pardon the pun, we were never talking about the purported global flood. Please refer to the original question (s) in post number one.
     
  15. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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    Wasn't Abraham from Mesopotamia before he moved to Egypt? He would have heard those flood stories when he was a kid. It's believed that the flooding of the black sea during the last ice-age-ending melt rose the oceans another 20 meters or so, flooding that area that was then a below-sea-level valley with agriculture, displacing peoples and developing flood stories. It's likely that some moved to Mesopotamia (not that far), with the stories growing greater over time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sea_deluge_theory
     
  16. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Floods are traumatic events for a society. The make a huge impression on people. Back during a time when no one understood ecological disasters and blamed them on personal failings or the cosmic adventures of Gods. Am I missing something? It's not hard to understand.
     
  17. Arne Saknussemm trying to figure it all out Valued Senior Member

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    This has already been discussed.

    No, I would guess it is not hard to understand when you refuse to read through or consider any one else's opinion but your own. What you are missing is that you haven't understood wellwisher's comments, my follow-up on them, nor have you looked at the link to the various stories.
     
  18. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Wellwisher's ramblings are that of a lunatic. He is never right about anything except once in a while by accident.
     
  19. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not convinced that flood stories as a class all convey the same message, any more than fire stories or thunder stories do. About all that they seem to have in common is the use of flooding to represent wholesale destruction. Why that destruction occurs and what it means seems to vary quite a bit from myth to myth.
     
  20. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    There was no global flood.
     
  21. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    The emergence of language (I don't think that it was an invention exactly, it was more of an evolutionary development) probably dates back well before the time of anatomically modern Homo sapiens. It's probable that Homo erectus used spoken language of a sort, even if it was grammatically and conceptually simpler than language of today. Maybe even earlier hominids did too. My guess is that spoken language has been around for something like a million years.

    Civilization, in the sense of life in large (tens of thousands of people) cities, first appeared about 3,500 BCE in Mesopotamia (Iraq). In other words, it's only a few thousand years old (about 5,500 before the present). Writing first seems to have appeared roughly contemporaneous with the cities and that's when history begins.

    Smaller agricultural villages (not unlike southwestern American Indian pueblos), some the size of significant towns, trade among them and probably small kingdoms and confederations of various sorts, were already ancient by that time, dating back to the appearance of settled agriculture as far back as 7,000 BCE (9,000 BP). This increasingly settled but pre-literary and pre-urban 'neolithic period' shouldn't be sneered at. They developed agriculture, stock-raising, weaving and textiles, fired ceramics and even experimented with copper metallurgy. In some cases they had multistory houses with furniture and painted interiors where they created complex and sophisticated art and religious myths to go with it.

    I don't understand. Are you suggesting that some of the human instincts that gradually evolved in paleolithic hunting-and-gathering bands started to be disfunctional in urban environments? It's plausible, but we probably need examples.

    What purge?

    Again, I'm not sure I understand. Are you hypothesizing that early urban man longed for, perhaps without being consciously aware of it, an older nomadic pre-urban existence, wandering the earth and enticing nature to provide game and edible plants?

    The idea has some plausibility. Even today there's still a widespread cultural idealization of nature untouched by man and the idea that civilization represents kind of a 'fall' from a primordial state of oneness with nature. The idea that this is some deep-rooted racial nostalgia for the old-stone-age is interesting, if not entirely convincing.

    You lost me there and it's the heart-and-soul of your thesis. Unconscious mind gaining potential? Mass psychosis? Overwhelming the conscious mind? A collective unconscious exists that has its own goals?

    And there's the problem that if civilized life is fundamentally incompatible with natural instinct and caused the "firmware" get "mutant", then why would restoring natural instinct make civilization progress properly?

    Finally, I'm still unclear on what these speculations have to do with flood-myths. Most of the flood myths in Arne's link aren't from large-scale urbanized literate cultures at all. Many seem to be from the last of the roughly neolithic small-agricultural-village cultures that fascinated 20th century anthropology (and sadly have largely diappeared today).
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Humans live near large bodies of water, historically and evolutionarily. Organisms that live near large bodies of water suffer from catastrophic floods, sooner or later - not only heavy rains in river basins or storm surges on coasts, but statistically there has almost certainly been at least a couple of large meteor ocean impacts and a half dozen truly major earthquake tsunamis during prehistoric human colonization of the Atlantic coast. Add in the half dozen geologically unique catastrophes like the jokulhaup forming the NA Badlands or the flooding of the Black Sea basin, and the prevalence of catastrophic flood accounts transmitted by generations of storytellers in most human cultures is not at all surprising.

    It would be odd if there were only a few such accounts. It would be like a bunch of human cultures without a monster story, or a battle hero legend, or a tale of taboo-breaking sex, or an account of murder, or a story in which the protagonist has a meaningful and prophetic dream.
     
  23. cornel Registered Senior Member

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    @post #16 from wellwisher:
    We have a lot of firmware, often i play a realy agressive game where i kill people, and although environmental influences sometimes force me to "blow off steam" i don't believe they create this particular need in me, maybe just feed it.
    I could give more like-wise examples, but, i can't give one regarding flooding, and i doubt i 'm an exeption.

    To add to this, understand that the word "world" and many of it's (older) translations don't necessarily mean "the planet earth" but rather the (habitable?) area that one person is aware of.
    When Europe went to war, we called it World War 1, because the Europeans were dominant.
    When your loved ones die, your world ends.

    So it is hardly surprising a serious flood(that happened) is talked about to be "flooding the world."
     

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