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Children of Light vs Children of Darkness


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#16    The Gremlin

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 01:17 PM

View PostBen Masada, on 15 September 2012 - 09:08 PM, said:

That's okay to say OT. It is not a Christian reference. If a New Covenant was established with the House of Israel and the House of Judah soon after the return of the Jews from Babylon through Ezra, it is only obvious for the Old Covenant to be referenced to as the OT. (Jer. 31:31)

All laws that imply anthropomorphism in God are supposed to be interpreted metaphorically as to point to man and not to God. Only the historical part of the OT can be taken literally. All the poetic and prophetic books are by definition metaphorical.

Right, all so called Divine commands to kill in wars either of agression or defense are to be taken metaphorically. God would not create and destroy His creation. It was common and natural for groups of peoples at that period of History to look for a place to settle down and they would kill all in order to prevent insurrection later on. Of course, being religious, they would attribute their conquests to their own gods. The Hebrews were only one of those peoples. It was called the time of migration of nomads in search of a place to quit their lives of wandering aimlessly.

God is not jealous nor vengeful. That's human transference of their own feelings to acquire Divine legality to their actions.

About the Egyptian plagues, research has been on the making to explain them as natural events. To anything that needs faith to be believed, time is the only thing we have to count with for verification.

Ben


So by your reasoning.......

Joshua did not cross the Jordan with God's intervention....he used sappers to divert the course upstream?
God didnt bring down the walls of Jericho......Joshua's sappers (engineers) undermined the walls with tunnelling?

Moses did not literally speak to God via the burning bush......
The Israelites were not really given the Holy Land by God literally, but it was a way of using a patron deity to legitimise a land-grab.

I rarely talk about such things but I once shoveled 18 tons of material in 11 min-
utes. It was under ideal conditions which allowed use of the legs and gravity
but I know no one who could have matched it and I do know work
.
...Cladking
If you were a dragon wouldn't you rather eat fat, alocohol fill, Nordic giants, than stringy little Chinamen?   Draconic Chronicler.
You claim you do research and then disregard the fact the Pyramids were built by God, which is why no man-made computer can replicate it.  The Interpreter

#17    Ben Masada

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 08:49 PM

View PostThe Gremlin, on 17 September 2012 - 01:17 PM, said:

So by your reasoning.......

Joshua did not cross the Jordan with God's intervention....he used sappers to divert the course upstream?
God didnt bring down the walls of Jericho......Joshua's sappers (engineers) undermined the walls with tunnelling?

Moses did not literally speak to God via the burning bush......
The Israelites were not really given the Holy Land by God literally, but it was a way of using a patron deity to legitimise a land-grab.

Hey Gremlin, believe it or not, you are on the right track. Joshua did not cross the Jordan with literal intervension of God and neither did Moses back in the Exodus.  If you read Number 12:6, you will understand that the conversation of Moses with God at the burning bush happened in a vision or lucid dream. And last but not least, how could God have literally given the Holy Land to the Israelites? God works through the laws of nature and not like a man who makes a gift of land unto another.

Ben


#18    The Gremlin

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 09:25 PM

View PostBen Masada, on 17 September 2012 - 08:49 PM, said:

Hey Gremlin, believe it or not, you are on the right track. Joshua did not cross the Jordan with literal intervension of God and neither did Moses back in the Exodus.  If you read Number 12:6, you will understand that the conversation of Moses with God at the burning bush happened in a vision or lucid dream. And last but not least, how could God have literally given the Holy Land to the Israelites? God works through the laws of nature and not like a man who makes a gift of land unto another.

Ben

So in theory, Palestinian folk can convert to Judaism en masse and Israel would accomodate them without prejudice?
all of them?
what if they all did? what if everybody in the world did?

I can see that you are pretty rational, but not everyone is. Plenty believe in the divine intervention, and direct contact with a God or his angels........in the mythic past......

some folk are pretty fanatical about it.

I rarely talk about such things but I once shoveled 18 tons of material in 11 min-
utes. It was under ideal conditions which allowed use of the legs and gravity
but I know no one who could have matched it and I do know work
.
...Cladking
If you were a dragon wouldn't you rather eat fat, alocohol fill, Nordic giants, than stringy little Chinamen?   Draconic Chronicler.
You claim you do research and then disregard the fact the Pyramids were built by God, which is why no man-made computer can replicate it.  The Interpreter

#19    Ben Masada

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 09:37 PM

View PostThe Gremlin, on 17 September 2012 - 09:25 PM, said:

So in theory, Palestinian folk can convert to Judaism en masse and Israel would accomodate them without prejudice? all of them?
what if they all did? what if everybody in the world did?

I can see that you are pretty rational, but not everyone is. Plenty believe in the divine intervention, and direct contact with a God or his angels........in the mythic past......some folk are pretty fanatical about it.

Conversion has nothing to do with God or with the State. This is in the realm of religion. It is extremely hard to be accepted for conversion to Judaism.
Yes, many believe in the literal intervension of God with the afairs of man. IMHO, they prefer not to exert their minds by thinking of God anthropomorphically.

Ben


#20    The Gremlin

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 11:22 AM

<p>re: the Essenes and their &#39;children of light vs children of darkness&#39;</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>I can appreciate your desire to attach this essentially Zoroastrian theme to the Beginning in Genesis; and view the text in a metaphoric sense to &#39;enlightenment&#39;......ie. those enlightened become children of light, whilst all who dont get it, havent heared, or dont want to follow are children of darkness.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>But I dont think that this theme sits as well on Genesis as metaphor as you would like.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>Genesis is a mix of early stories, most of which have a Mesopotamian/Assyrian and Cannanite root. The rewriting of these stories to fit a monotheistic mould, as Judaism developed into a monotheistic state religion left a few rough edges; other strong influences into Judaic metaphysical thought (like the dualistic Zoroastrianism) affected groups within Judaism.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>That the Judaic story of Creation ties in with one theory connected to the universe (the big bang) is not particularly remarkable nor unique. Most primitive tribal religions, indeed most religions have some creation myth where the world was made. Most involve bringing some order to chaos...its a leftover from when man was able to &#39;tame&#39; the wilderness with farming, and further detaching himself from the chaos of nature with collective settlement and urbanisation.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>Aristotle&#39;s Metaphysics takes these primitive inclinations to another level of sophistication....and may in the end, be more correct than any other metaphysical thought on the matter.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>until we know the exact nature of the universe, that might have to wait.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>


I rarely talk about such things but I once shoveled 18 tons of material in 11 min-
utes. It was under ideal conditions which allowed use of the legs and gravity
but I know no one who could have matched it and I do know work
.
...Cladking
If you were a dragon wouldn't you rather eat fat, alocohol fill, Nordic giants, than stringy little Chinamen?   Draconic Chronicler.
You claim you do research and then disregard the fact the Pyramids were built by God, which is why no man-made computer can replicate it.  The Interpreter

#21    Ben Masada

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 08:15 PM

View PostThe Gremlin, on 20 September 2012 - 11:22 AM, said:

<p>re: the Essenes and their &#39;children of light vs children of darkness&#39;</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>I can appreciate your desire to attach this essentially Zoroastrian theme to the Beginning in Genesis; and view the text in a metaphoric sense to &#39;enlightenment&#39;......ie. those enlightened become children of light, whilst all who dont get it, havent heared, or dont want to follow are children of darkness.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>But I dont think that this theme sits as well on Genesis as metaphor as you would like.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>Genesis is a mix of early stories, most of which have a Mesopotamian/Assyrian and Cannanite root. The rewriting of these stories to fit a monotheistic mould, as Judaism developed into a monotheistic state religion left a few rough edges; other strong influences into Judaic metaphysical thought (like the dualistic Zoroastrianism) affected groups within Judaism.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>That the Judaic story of Creation ties in with one theory connected to the universe (the big bang) is not particularly remarkable nor unique. Most primitive tribal religions, indeed most religions have some creation myth where the world was made. Most involve bringing some order to chaos...its a leftover from when man was able to &#39;tame&#39; the wilderness with farming, and further detaching himself from the chaos of nature with collective settlement and urbanisation.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>Aristotle&#39;s Metaphysics takes these primitive inclinations to another level of sophistication....and may in the end, be more correct than any other metaphysical thought on the matter.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>until we know the exact nature of the universe, that might have to wait.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>

I don't believe we will ever know the "exact" nature of the universe. But, while we wait, learning is all that life is about.

Ben


#22    Tutankhaten-pasheri

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 07:10 PM

View PostBen Masada, on 24 September 2012 - 08:15 PM, said:

I don't believe we will ever know the "exact" nature of the universe. But, while we wait, learning is all that life is about.

True, and I think we would be incapable of properly understanding the true nature of the universe, unless we ourselves had become capable of saying the words "Let there be light", and it became so. Hmm, to me it seems short sighted to look back to the Jewish god. He is a newcomer and has borrowed much from what is, IMO, the original, Ra :nw:


#23    Ben Masada

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 08:05 PM

View PostAtentutankh-pasheri, on 25 September 2012 - 07:10 PM, said:

True, and I think we would be incapable of properly understanding the true nature of the universe, unless we ourselves had become capable of saying the words "Let there be light", and it became so. Hmm, to me it seems short sighted to look back to the Jewish god. He is a newcomer and has borrowed much from what is, IMO, the original, Ra :nw:

If all it takes is to say the words, here it goes:

  LET THERE BE LIGHT, AND THERE WAS LIGHT

It has been an a "tohu vavohu" among many questioners, especially Christians, even many Jews, to come up with an explanation for that kind of light in Genesis 1:3 wen the sun, which gives light by day was created only on the 4th day of creation. The embarrassment is that at both, Atheists laugh. And not because they know any better in terms of an adequate answer, but for two other reasons: First, because they look for answer only in Science; and of course it is not there but in Theology. And in Theology, they laugh at us for they think that we are all speaking about an anthropomorphic god, which, as I don't blame them: It indeed never existed.

But what light is indeed the Torah writer referring to when he reports of God as declaring, "Let there be light?"
Since before the creation of the universe it was already in the designs of God to provide for salvation of Mankind a People whom salvation would come from, in the words of Jesus himself in John 4:22, that salvation comes from the Jews.

When for good, the Assyrians removed Israel from existence by replacing the Northern population of the Galilee with Gentiles, and after the Jews or Southern pupulation was taken for an temporary exile of 70 years in Babylon, and the time had arrived for their return to the Land of Israel, Prophet Isaiah said that the people who walked in darkness, he meant the Gentiles in Galilee, had seen a great light as the Jewish People was returning to the Land of Israel. (Isa. 9:2)

Then, later, he confirms that light of Genesis 1:3 when he explained that Israel had been assigned as light to the nations. (Isa. 42:6) But the light was to remain divided from the darkness, so that both should exist in the same world; although, in the language of the Essenes, there would always be a conflict between the children of Light and the children of darkness. Between Jews and Gentiles. Just as light cannot coexist together with darkness. Wheneverlight is come, dakness is gone.

Jesus was aware of this Light as he delivered his famous Sermon of the Mount to a crowd of Jews, when he said to them: "You are the Light of the world." (Mat. 5:14) The reason why he said "you are" and not "you have" is that what one has, it can be taken away, but what one is, he is no matter what. Individually, we have the light the world needs to know God. But as a People, we are that light of Genesis 1:3, which the world needs for salvation.

Ben


#24    The Gremlin

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 02:05 PM

I dont think that this revisionist theory works, your just reinterpreting Genesis to make it less fantastical and unreal.

I can understand why ethnocentric Jews of today would like their Book to be revised in this way, since now the book is recognised as being derivative of other earlier stories and myths, scientifically unsound etc. They would like to restore some authority to it.

To be frank it is a primitive, and unoriginal text, that is itself an attempt to revise the culture-group's history and origins, and owes more to foreign influences than anything definitively Israeli.

It is the moral aspect of the work that is particularly Jewish, it sets the book apart from its influences, the merit of this should be seen in its proper context rather than undermined by revisionist attempts.

Edited by The Gremlin, 26 September 2012 - 02:08 PM.

I rarely talk about such things but I once shoveled 18 tons of material in 11 min-
utes. It was under ideal conditions which allowed use of the legs and gravity
but I know no one who could have matched it and I do know work
.
...Cladking
If you were a dragon wouldn't you rather eat fat, alocohol fill, Nordic giants, than stringy little Chinamen?   Draconic Chronicler.
You claim you do research and then disregard the fact the Pyramids were built by God, which is why no man-made computer can replicate it.  The Interpreter

#25    Tutankhaten-pasheri

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 05:48 PM

The light is simply the sun. No sun, no life. This was recognised many many millenia ago. All gods are the sun, or from the sun. Call them Ra, Horus or Aten, they are all one, all the life giving sun. Akhenaten was perhaps the first to untangle the mess caused by so many aspects of the sun being given human(ish) form, and control of various aspects of the world they saw around them. Perhaps even call them saints, it is the same process. Shows how retrograde some religions are 3,400 years after the nonsense was swept away, for a short time.... There are no children of darkness, we are all the children of light. Even in a duality there is no dark and light side in the sense of good and evil. This duality is, to me, simply a way ancient peoples rationalised day and night, life and death. Horus of the two horizons is a duality contained in one being. Not good and evil, simply different phases of one being, Ra, or Aten if you wish, which many don't....
True monsters, children of the dark, without redeeming features, like dangerous powerful gods, are all constructs to frighten the children into submission. Monsters such as Hitler are simply people who are damaged, not agents of some sentient evil force. There is only light, and we are it's children.

Edited by Atentutankh-pasheri, 26 September 2012 - 05:51 PM.


#26    Ben Masada

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 08:02 PM

View PostThe Gremlin, on 26 September 2012 - 02:05 PM, said:

I dont think that this revisionist theory works, your just reinterpreting Genesis to make it less fantastical and unreal.

I can understand why ethnocentric Jews of today would like their Book to be revised in this way, since now the book is recognised as being derivative of other earlier stories and myths, scientifically unsound etc. They would like to restore some authority to it.

To be frank it is a primitive, and unoriginal text, that is itself an attempt to revise the culture-group's history and origins, and owes more to foreign influences than anything definitively Israeli.

It is the moral aspect of the work that is particularly Jewish, it sets the book apart from its influences, the merit of this should be seen in its proper context rather than undermined by revisionist attempts.

Do you know something, Gremlin? I am going to give you the benefit of the doulbt, if you explain to me why light was created in the first day of Creation and the sun was set in the sky only in the 4th day of Creation. If the days are figured according to the rotations of the earth around the sun, how could the report speak of first, second and third days? If you can't, there is no option but to go for metaphorical language with reference to that light in the first day.

Ben


#27    Ben Masada

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 08:11 PM

View PostAtentutankh-pasheri, on 26 September 2012 - 05:48 PM, said:

The light is simply the sun. No sun, no life. This was recognised many many millenia ago. All gods are the sun, or from the sun. Call them Ra, Horus or Aten, they are all one, all the life giving sun. Akhenaten was perhaps the first to untangle the mess caused by so many aspects of the sun being given human(ish) form, and control of various aspects of the world they saw around them. Perhaps even call them saints, it is the same process. Shows how retrograde some religions are 3,400 years after the nonsense was swept away, for a short time.... There are no children of darkness, we are all the children of light. Even in a duality there is no dark and light side in the sense of good and evil. This duality is, to me, simply a way ancient peoples rationalised day and night, life and death. Horus of the two horizons is a duality contained in one being. Not good and evil, simply different phases of one being, Ra, or Aten if you wish, which many don't....
True monsters, children of the dark, without redeeming features, like dangerous powerful gods, are all constructs to frighten the children into submission. Monsters such as Hitler are simply people who are damaged, not agents of some sentient evil force. There is only light, and we are it's children.

Thank you Atentutankh for the vote to my metaphorical interpretation of light. Now, although I don't know if you are a Christian, I would like to remind you that in his  Sermon of the Mount to a crowd of Jews, Jesus declared: "You are the light of the world." (Mat. 5:14) Of course, this is metaphorical. But so was that light created or prophesyed in the first day of Creation. Perhaps Jesus took that from the Essenes' Theology.

Ben


#28    The Gremlin

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 10:02 PM

Ben, despite my provokative tone you remain gracious. :tu:
I stand by the nuts and bolts of my post though, and see metaphor being applied retrospectively to a jumbled and primitive attempt to explain the creation of the heavens and earth by a god which, at the time of writing, had only just become the official monotheistic patron deity of the jewish people.
I believe that it is an interesting book, which offers us much today, but think that to read it metaphorically is a mistake. Single points in isolation can be pondered metaphorically, just as christian priests now do with both OT and NT, but when viewed in context the metaphor is often undermined. Im not saying that there is no metaphor present in the OT, only that exercises in subjective interpretations do not always bear fruit with every line and passage....so how and where do we differentiate?
I admit, Im unlikely to have poured over the text with the same vigour and dedication as yourself, so maybe you can show me more about what you mean. Are there layers of metaphor that fall within a meta-scheme?
take the following for example....


Quote

chpt1

    1: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3: And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4: And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5: And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6: And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7: And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8: And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9: And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10: And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11: And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12: And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13: And the evening and the morning were the third day.
14: And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16: And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17: And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18: And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19: And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20: And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21: And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22: And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23: And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24: And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25: And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
26: And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28: And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29: And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30: And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31: And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

do we divide the text into various, but related metaphors? or are parts literal, and others deeply metaphoric?



Quote

chpt2


    1: Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2: And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3: And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
4: These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
5: And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
6: But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7: And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
8: And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9: And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
10: And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
11: The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
12: And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
13: And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
14: And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
15: And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16: And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
18: And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19: And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20: And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21: And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22: And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23: And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24: Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
25: And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

I view the work as a product of the author, a man of his own time and place....with everything that that entails. I am not beyond the idea that there are levels of understanding to be reached, as with Greek mystery religions, within the story largely intended for the education of the masses (bums on seats and all that)....but struggle to see it as highly sophisticated and having a metaphoric unity. Instead I view it as a collection of different stories, elements and influences that are stapled together, sometimes badly, to form a reasonably coherent narrative.

If you are up for it, perhaps we could dissect the above, and examine it in various ways.....
How would you read the first chapter metaphorically?

I rarely talk about such things but I once shoveled 18 tons of material in 11 min-
utes. It was under ideal conditions which allowed use of the legs and gravity
but I know no one who could have matched it and I do know work
.
...Cladking
If you were a dragon wouldn't you rather eat fat, alocohol fill, Nordic giants, than stringy little Chinamen?   Draconic Chronicler.
You claim you do research and then disregard the fact the Pyramids were built by God, which is why no man-made computer can replicate it.  The Interpreter

#29    Tutankhaten-pasheri

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 11:14 PM

View PostBen Masada, on 29 September 2012 - 08:11 PM, said:

Thank you Atentutankh for the vote to my metaphorical interpretation of light. Now, although I don't know if you are a Christian, I would like to remind you that in his  Sermon of the Mount to a crowd of Jews, Jesus declared: "You are the light of the world." (Mat. 5:14) Of course, this is metaphorical. But so was that light created or prophesyed in the first day of Creation. Perhaps Jesus took that from the Essenes' Theology.

Ben

I was mostly being direct. The light really is the light of the Sun, though of course the word can be used to mean goodness. I am from a Christian culture, though it is not part of my world. To me the Old Testament is simply the creation myth and garbled history of just one tribal group in Middle East. It is an accident of history that this book has made an impact on human history that it should never have had. In my opinion, Judaism/Christianity have created an artificial barrier between us in the modern world and the ancient, pre Judaic/Christian world. It is difficult to properly understand what the ancients really thought because, no matter no hard we try, the mind glogging filters and propaganda of our cultures still exert an influence. Though to me one thing is very clear, the Judeo/Christian god is man made, he is less a god than Ra or Perun. Hmm, or Яр, and then it gets complicated......


#30    Ben Masada

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:45 PM

View PostThe Gremlin, on 29 September 2012 - 10:02 PM, said:

Ben, despite my provokative tone you remain gracious. :tu:
I stand by the nuts and bolts of my post though, and see metaphor being applied retrospectively to a jumbled and primitive attempt to explain the creation of the heavens and earth by a god which, at the time of writing, had only just become the official monotheistic patron deity of the jewish people.

I believe that it is an interesting book, which offers us much today, but think that to read it metaphorically is a mistake. Single points in isolation can be pondered metaphorically, just as christian priests now do with both OT and NT, but when viewed in context the metaphor is often undermined. Im not saying that there is no metaphor present in the OT, only that exercises in subjective interpretations do not always bear fruit with every line and passage....so how and where do we differentiate?

I admit, Im unlikely to have poured over the text with the same vigour and dedication as yourself, so maybe you can show me more about what you mean. Are there layers of metaphor that fall within a meta-scheme? take the following for example....do we divide the text into various, but related metaphors? or are parts literal, and others deeply metaphoric?

I view the work as a product of the author, a man of his own time and place....with everything that that entails. I am not beyond the idea that there are levels of understanding to be reached, as with Greek mystery religions, within the story largely intended for the education of the masses (bums on seats and all that)....but struggle to see it as highly sophisticated and having a metaphoric unity. Instead I view it as a collection of different stories, elements and influences that are stapled together, sometimes badly, to form a reasonably coherent narrative.

If you are up for it, perhaps we could dissect the above, and examine it in various ways.....How would you read the first chapter metaphorically?

Fantastic work Grimlin you went through to copy all this. I do not refer to God Himself as the official Monotheistic patron of the Jewish People but Abraham who discovered that truth. God has been always One from eternity to eternity. We owe to Abraham to have discovered that truth and shared with his descendants throughout their generations.

I don't see the mistake in reading the Bible metaphorically. The opposite is rather true that, the literal interpretation would be detrimental to the credibility of  Monotheism. IMHO, the key to differentiate between what must be interpreted literally and metaphorically is in the diference between history and poetry.

To answer your question of how I read the first chapter of Genesis metaphorically, why not give you my metaphorical way to look at the whole account of Criation?

  THE DOUBLE ALLEGORY OF CREATION

There are three stages for the account of Creation in Genesis: Two allegories and the Reality which the allegories point to: Man as the theme of Creation.
The first allegory in the Genesis account of Creation is in the letter of the account, and here abide the masses of religious people for taking the account at its face value. I mean, Adam and Eve in the Garden being provided for by God with all their needs, being told what's allowed and forbidden in the Garden, being misled by the serpent into eating of a forbidden tree, and eventually being punished with different kinds of punishments respectively on all three of them, etc. Just literally as it is written.

The second allegory has still the same elements and God is still figured anthropomorphically, but the meaning of the actions and behaviour depicts a more logical version of what happened in the Garden. And here abide those who can think more logically, abbeit not in the archtype level of Reality. In this phase of the account of Creation in Genesis, after God created Adam and Eve, He granted them with free will and expected to be served and sought after by them, but the thing was not working. God would have to search for them and that was not the right method. They would have to become proficient and leave the Garden in order to seek for God in terms of growing in knowledge out in the greater world.

Then, among the many fruit trees in the Garden, God planted a most beautiful of all the trees with fruits much more alluring, and right in the middle of the Garden, so that it would easily call their attention. It was the tree of knowledge. But it was not working. Then, God told them that the fruit of that tree was forbidden under penalty of death, but just in the hope that the warning would make them curious and go for it. It was not working either.

Next, God doubled in Eve the emotion of curiosity so that she would go for it and entice Adam into eating of that tree. However, God had underestimated Eve's emotion of love. She had fallen in love with her man and she would never risk loosing him for no stupid fruit even if it looked the most appetitizing of all. Obviously, it didn't work.

The next step was to use the services of the serpent to persuade Eve that she had misunderstood the prohibition. That what would die in them was not themselves but their stupid innocence and naivete. Then, the serpent showed up on the very tree and somehow called for Eve's attention. As she approached, the dialogue started. To instigate the conversation, the serpent started with a question which surely would require an explanation. "Is it that you guys cannot eat from the trees in the Garden?" Bingo! Eve was locked in. The serpent got Eve to talk by explaining that only from the tree of knowledge, they were forbidden. "Why?" the serpent retortted. "Because we would die," she said. "Nonsense!" said the serpent. "You have misunderstood the whole thing. God meant to say that you two will become like gods, knowing good from evil."

Now, imagine, Eve must have thought, her man like a god! Without much ado, Eve reached for the fruit, ate it and told Adam that it was okay. Adam thought for a second and came to the conclusion that even if it were not okay, he would rather die with her beloved who had just enjoyed half of a fruit. Then he ate the other half and went on eating more. The serpent was right. They did not die. And the first knowledge they acquired was of how much they did not know. I mean, that they were naked, completely destitute of knowledge.

It didn't take too long for God to appear in the Garden to collect the fruit of His enterprise. It had finally happened what He wanted without His having to do anything against man's free will. Then, He formally defined some punishments to everyone according to their nature anyway, and got them out of the Garden into the greater world out there, so that they would grow in knowledge by seeking for God, which would be the right method.

Now, the third phase or Reality, the account of Creation is supposed to point to. I mean, the Humanistic approach, which is the purpose of the double allegory. The riddle points to the three phases in the development of man: Childhood, adulthood, and old age. Here, only the enlightened with Philosophical training dwells. I mean, the Theist who is big enough not to let him or herself be intoxicated by blind faith. In this class we can find also Atheists and Agnostics but under the subclass of sarchasm for not being able to harmonize enlightenment with the conception of God free of anthropomorphism.
Childhood is understood by that phase in the Garden when God would have to provide man with everything. That's the phase when we are dependent on our parents or on others for all our needs. That's the phase of walking on our four legs.

Adulthood is applied to that time when man ate of the tree of knowledge and became conscious of himself. That's when we actually become an adult and responsible for our own actions. I mean, when we can stand on our own two legs, so to speak.

Regarding the phase of old age, the allegory of Creation does not go into details, but it's when we become dependent again on others, especailly our children to take care of us. I mean, the phase of walking on two legs and a cane.

Ben





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