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 Post subject: 19th Century Scholars
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:38 pm 
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The Use of 19th Century Scholarship

Here is an issue that we have addressed repeatedly in the past but that always bears revisiting because there is so much of a buzz about it. In addition to my previous remarks, which are scattered throughout my writings, I include here some interesting insights from a well-respected scholar I've recently come across.

In the first place, contrary to the rumors from people who haven't read my work, I don't use only the works of scholars from the 18th, 19th or even 20th centuries. Since my first book The Christ Conspiracy was written - using books in my own humble library - I have studied countless texts from the earliest primary sources to the most recent scholarly publications on a wide variety of related subjects. My studies, in fact, extend from antiquity through the present, without skipping anything in between. And I do this research in a variety of languages as well, both ancient and modern. Outside of the walls of academia, you will rarely find such a broad spectrum of research in so many languages.

Secondly, the ignorance of older scholarship in favor of the newer does not always yield satisfying results, as newer scholars have not tackled all subjects yet in a comprehensive manner. Nor are there the same social environmental factors that will produce the same conclusions, which are often broader and more inclusive in past centuries, because of the increasing specialization of today's scholars. In this regard, it is important to research the opinions of older scholars in order to find out if they had any insights that may be missing from the current equation. These insights can then be checked with more modern research to see if they remain factual. In some instances, the modern research will have ignored or omitted these notions, which means we must verify them otherwise or ourselves attempt to present a cogent argument in their favor based on the evidence to date.

Not only is there nothing wrong with using older scholarship as a starting point, but it is also a mark of superior scholarship to do so, since in order to become an expert on a subject, we must study it thoroughly, including its history dating back as far as possible, extending through to the present, not skipping any ages. Anyone who has attended secondary education such as college or university knows that this expansive research is exactly how scholarship is defined.

In this regard, and despite the contentions of evidently poorly educated individuals, modern scholars in a wide variety of fields frequently cite older scholars wherever necessary, not just confining themselves to the works of the most modern and credentialed authorities. Indeed, if these scholars did not consider the history of their studies, including knowing this older scholarship, they could not be deemed ultimate authorities and experts.

Let us now turn to the remarks of a modern and highly credentialed scholar, Dr. Klaus Karttunen, Professor of South Asian and Indoeuropean Studies, Institute for Asian and African Studies, Department of World Cultures at the University of Helsinki, who, in India and the Hellenistic World (1997) states:

Quote:
A further point I should like to discuss here is my habit of referring to very old secondary sources, of the 19th century and even earlier. There are several reasons for this. Often it is useful to go back and find out when and by whom some commonly quoted opinion was actually originally suggested. This may sometimes give us a surprise. But there are also other reasons. The fact that we have more evidence at our disposal still does not mean that we are wiser than earlier generations of scholars. In some respects they were in an even better situation to understand ancient society than we are....

...with respect to Indology, our knowledge of ancient India is so recent that early scholars have not necessarily much to give us. But in classical philology the situation is entirely different. Here the early scholars also had one more advantage in comparison to us. Nowadays, the classical languages are generally learnt only at a mature age at university, and therefore few can attain the same depth of linguistic skill as those early scholars, who were drilled in their Latin, and often in Greek, too, from childhood. Nowadays a classical scholar who really talks and writes fluent Latin has become something of a rarity. There are some, I know, but only a few, and unfortunately I am not one of them.

Dr. Karttunen therefore relies on older scholarship in terms of philology or the study of literary texts and written records. Indeed, in this regard one will often see references in the most modern books to texts that were translated during the 19th century, when entire libraries from antiquity were thus rendered into English and other languages. In numerous instances, there simply are no later translations, and these early works are frequently quite sufficient or superior.

Like Karttunen, many modern scholars do not read the pertinent ancient languages such as Latin or Greek, when attempting to study the primary sources, and they therefore rely on secondary sources, including not only translations but also commentaries thereon. This process is exactly what I have done throughout my works, although in my case I am often able to analyze primary sources in their original languages as well, if they are in Greek, Latin or at times Hebrew or Egyptian, with a smattering of others. Like Karttunen, however, I need to rely on the secondary sources for ancient texts in other languages, such as the Buddhist writings in Pali, Sanskrit or Chinese. If there is no modern scholarship on these texts, I therefore must search further back. In any case, the effect is the same: Older scholarship is absolutely necessary for a variety of reasons, and the disparagement of same in general is based in ignorance.

Of course, when it comes to more modern discoveries, such as archaeological finds or ancient texts newly translated, we must turn to current scholarship, which we do gladly. Conversely, it should also be remembered that much destruction has taken place over the past couple of centuries, and in certain instances we must rely on older scholarship where an artifact or text has been destroyed, for example.

It should be noted that, in his book in India, Karttunen cites numerous texts from prior to the 1950s, as a thorough scholar must undoubtedly do. He does not hold irrational prejudice against facts simply because they appear in books over half a century ago. He is able to use his own intelligence, rather than rely on the opinions of others, to determine whether or not these facts are based in sound scholarship, and he proceeds from there, secure in his own scholarship because he is well educated.

Moreover, like other professional scholars Karttunen frequently cites his own work so that he does not have to reproduce it. This habit of citing one's own work is part of the scholarly methodology, not some idiosyncrasy, as anyone with a college education or above should certainly know.

See also:

The Use of 19th Century Writings
Freethought Nation Forum search for '19th century' commentary

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:55 pm 
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I think Robert Price also stated something similar, I can't recall where I read it or the exact words, it was probably even in one of your works, but as I recall he said something to the effect that 19th century scholarship has just been pushed aside without ever having been debunked.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:00 pm 
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The general lists like the Osiris/Horus list quoted below exists because, for example, we had people in the 19th century like Gerald Massey (who was heavily peer reviewed by the top Egyptologists of his day) trying to explain these parallels to a mostly Christian audience who knew absolutely nothing about the Egyptian religion. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs weren't translated until after the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. "until the discovery of the Rosetta Stone by Napoleon's troops in 1799 and the subsequent translation of such by Champollion in 1822, no one could read Egyptian hieroglyphs!"

They were trying to explain the pre-Christian parallels in such a way that even Christian authorities would understand. Justin Martyr did something similar around 150ce in his first apology:

"And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you [PAGANS] believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter...."

The parallels do not have to be exact carbon copies and, in fact, it's absurd to expect them to be. These concepts have evolved over time with similarities and differences due to environment, culture and era. The point is that the CONCEPTS existed throughout the Egyptian religion and influenced many religions, including Christianity.

So, what we have today is the same thing that happened to those 19th century scholars connecting the parallels; people like Acharya S and many others getting abused and derogated for trying to explain the Egyptian myths in a format that even Christians could understand. It appears that Christians detest seeing any connections made.

Tat tvam asi explains:

Quote:
"PS It should be noted that Massey was trying to explain these parallels to Christian audiences and so he made reference to the parallels in Christianity such as the Virgin Birth motif and the motif of the 12 which were a part of the Egyptian religion long before Christianity was created. It was his way of trying to explain it in his day and age..."

Quote:
"... In reality, a number of the mythical motifs regarding Horus and other Egyptian deities startlingly resemble characteristics and events attributed to Jesus Christ, indicating that the gospel story is neither original nor historical. As may have been expected, many of these correspondences are not widely and neatly found in encyclopedia entries and textbooks, so they have often been dismissed without adequate study and with extreme prejudice. In my previous work, The Christ Conspiracy, I presented various aspects of the Horus myth out of the hundreds brought to light by Gerald Massey and others. Some of these comparisons are as follows:

• Horus was born on “December 25th” (winter solstice) in a manger.
• He was of royal descent, and his mother was the “virgin Isis-Mery.”
• Horus’s birth was announced by a star in the East and attended by three “wise men.”
• At age 12, he was a child teacher in the Temple, and at 30, he was baptized.
• Horus was baptized by “Anup the Baptizer,” who was decapitated.
• The Egyptian god had 12 companions, helpers or disciples.
• Horus performed miracles, exorcised demons and raised Osiris from the dead.
• The god walked on water.
• Horus was “crucified” between two “thieves.”
• He (or Osiris) was buried for three days in a tomb and resurrected.
• Horus/Osiris was also the “Way, the Truth, the Life,” “Messiah,” the “Son of Man,” the “Good Shepherd,” the “Lamb of God,” the “Word made flesh,” the “Word of Truth,” etc.
• Horus’s personal epithet was “Iusa,” the “ever-becoming son” of the Father. He was called “Holy Child,” as well as “the Anointed One,” while Osiris was the KRST.
• Horus battled with the “evil one,” Set/Seth.
• Horus was to reign for one thousand years.

"... Again, one does not find the Horus myth as above outlined in an ancient Egyptian encyclopedia, such that the creators of the Jesus story merely scratched out the Egyptian names and inserted the Christian ones. Those who have been attempting to explain the creation of the Christ myth have been compelled to back-engineer the story in order to analyze its components and concepts. In other words, in explaining the various mythical motifs used in the gospel story, some have recounted the tale utilizing the original god or gods, in a gospel-like manner in order to express those components."

- Christ in Egypt, "Horus, Sun of God" Chapter, page 43-45

Quote:
"...Osiris is doubly resurrected as his son Horus, too, and he, too, is eventually raised from the dead by Isis. He is pictured as spanning the dome of heaven, his arms stretched out in a cruciform pattern. As such, he seems to represent the common Platonic astronomical symbol of the sun’s path crossing the earth’s ecliptic. Likewise, the Acts of John remembers that the real cross of Jesus is not some piece of wood, as fools think, but rather the celestial “Cross of Light.” Acharya S. ventures that “the creators of the Christ myth did not simply take an already formed story, scratch out the name Osiris or Horus, and replace it with Jesus” (p. 25). But I am pretty much ready to go the whole way and suggest that Jesus is simply Osiris going under a new name, Jesus,” Savior,” hitherto an epithet, but made into a name on Jewish soil. Are there allied mythemes (details, really) that look borrowed from the cults of Attis, Dionysus, etc.? Sure; remember we are talking about a heavily syncretistic context. Hadrian remarked on how Jewish and Christian leaders in Egypt mixed their worship with that of Sarapis (=Osiris)."

- Christ in Egypt, Reviewed by Dr. Robert Price, a biblical scholar with two Ph.D's

Also see, The "Son" of God is the "Sun" of God

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2013 Astrotheology Calendar
The Mythicist Position
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:11 pm 
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The Construction of the Epic of Gilgamesh

Here is an example of how an older scholar was very successful in his analysis, despite not having as much data before him as we do today.

In his chapter "The Evolution of the Pentateuchal Narratives in Light of the Evolution of the Gilgamesh Epic" from Empirical Models for Biblical Criticism (University of Pennsylvania, 1985), UPenn professor of Hebrew and Semitic languages and literature Dr. Jeffrey Tigay discusses the work of Assyriologist Dr. Morris Jastrow discussing the compilation of the Sumero-Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh over a period of 1,500 years, comparing and contrasting this textual construction with that of the Pentateuch, remarking (21-22):

Quote:
Although we can see now that the epic was so extensively revised that no amount of critical acumen could have led critics to reconstruct its sources and early stages as they really were, we can also see that the general outline of development presumed by M. Jastrow on the basis of nineteenth-century critical suppositions was not very wide of the mark.

Tigay further remarks (29-30):

Quote:
Given our interest in the methodology of biblical criticism, it is important to note that Morris Jastrow Jr. (1861-1992) anticipated this conclusion in studies of the Gilgamesh Epic published in 1898 and 1920, before the currently available evidence was discovered. When the Gilgamesh Epic was first discovered in the nineteenth century, only the late version of the first millennium B.C.E. was found, and it was impossible to trace its development empirically by comparing this version to copies of its forerunners. The only method available at the time was the kind of critical analysis that had been developed in the study of classical and biblical literature. Apparently influenced by the results obtained in those fields, Jastrow argued that the Gilgamesh Epic was a composite production, combining originally unconnected tales about Gilgamesh and Enkidu... which Jastrow considered a scholastic addition to the epic.

In the decades following Jastrow's studies, documentary evidence of the original separateness of the tales began to appear. Later in 1898 Jastrow was able to cite the Akkadian Atrahasis Epic and, by 1920, the Sumerian Deluge, in support of his contention that the flood story was originally unrelated to Gilgamesh.

As we can see, the insights of this older scholar essentially were correct, as was proved during the succeeding decades. Jastrow's work was built upon by the later scholars, who could not be considered experts in the field if they had not studied the work of such pioneering Assyriologists. We have engaged in the same scholarly practice, as experts in the field who know the pertinent body of literature dating back hundreds to thousands of years. To dismiss this earlier research and scholarship with a wave of the hand and extreme prejudice is an exercise in unprofessionalism, ignorance and conceit.

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