O.T. espouses flat earth?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Optional, Aug 5, 2002.

  1. Optional

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    This statement amazes me. Greek discovery of a round earth? haha. Perhaps you mean verified by the Greeks through trigonometric means? Bible writers used the "language of appearance," just as people always have. Without it, the intended message would be awkward at best and probably not understood clearly
    To say the O.T. espouses flat earth is ridiculous. You have to take obvious poetical/allegorical sayings (some of which we still use today) such as "4 corners of the earth" or "sunrise" and "sunset" or "ends of the earth". Give me a break. Guess my local newspaper and local t.v. weatherman are flat-earthers, then.
    You have to deny so many obvious refs to get a flat earth:

    Job 26:7
    Job 26:10
    Isaiah 40:21-22
    Proverbs 8:27
    Luke 17:31

    To suggest that people from Job's time through N.T. times could not observe a ship sail over the horizon or observe an eclipse shadow and not realize circularity is patently arrogant and smacks of an agenda. Pythagoras only used common sense observation - something the Greeks Roman conquerors did not accept.
     
  2. bro jeff

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    well done
     
  3. post-it

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    Writers are always limited in their meaning by language and general assumptions of the readers.
     
  4. BWSmith

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    This statement amazes me. Greek discovery of a round earth? haha. Perhaps you mean verified by the Greeks through trigonometric means?</font>[/QUOTE]No, I mean that the Pythagoreans (5th c.BC) were probably the originators of the idea of a flat earth.

    Thales of Miletus (6th c.BC) believed that the flat earth floated on water only a century earlier. The Babylonians considered the earth to be a flat continental mass surrounded by ocean under a vaulted physical sky-dome whose edges rested on the ocean. The Egyptian model was similar, except that the shape was a rectangle, rather than a disk, with the goddess Nut stretched across the sky.

    Israel was no exception. The article I linked provides many references to a flat-earth cosmology, and the noncanonical book of Enoch describes the universe in more explicit flat-earth terms.

    So words don't mean what they say? Just because a piece of writing is poetic, that doesn't mean that it presupposes a fantasyland universe as its setting.

    By this logic, it doesn't really matter what is said in the text, because one can always claim "language of appearance" and assert what Israel "really" believed, correct? Perhaps the Hebrews understood particle physics and general relativity, even though they were careful to conceal this belief in the "language of appearance"?

    All of those people would balance out their figures of speech with references to actual geography that indicate their true understanding. There is no such balance of terms in the OT.

    - Job 26:7: 1 Enoch clarifies this as the nothingness that lies outside the dome of heaven.
    - Job 26:10: How does this support a round earth?
    - Isaiah 40:21-22: This is the dome of the heavens.
    - Proverbs 8:27: This has clear flat-earth language.
    - Luke 17:31: Huh?

    :rolleyes:
    That's like saying, "The Hebrews believed in genes and dominant/recessive expression long before Mendel supposedly 'discovered them' in the 19th century. To suggest that they could not observe how black mice mating with white mice produced 3:1 ratios of dominant gene expression smacks of an agenda."

    In short, hindsight is 20/20 when it comes to conducting the subtle experiments that reveal unintuitive details about the world around us. The Hebrews had few natural ports, and hence didn't spend as much time on the seashore as the Greeks did. Also, if one believes that the moon is a light (Gen 1), then the shape of an eclipse will have no apparent bearing on the shape of the earth.

    How remarkable it is that there was no one in all of Egypt or Babylon that possessed common sense...
     
  5. Johnv

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    Genesis describes the creation of a flat earth. The Hebrews at the time of the writing of Genesis believed in a flat earth. This is not a matter of opinion, this belief of the ancient hebrews was a historical reality. I studied this intently in my younger days. Ask any Jewish historian. This belief was widely accepted by Christians until the 1400's.

    Of course, we no longer interpret Genesis in the fashion, because we no longer believe the earth is flat.
     
  6. BWSmith

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    Amen, JohnV! Thanks for the comments.
     
  7. Optional

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    Really? Then show me. How would a flat earth contain in totality water without it running off. Your predisposition to make the Hebrews a bunch of simple, nomadic sheepherders is where this flat earth stuff comes from. Just because other more (supposed) advanced civilizations believed in idiotic stuff, why put that burden on the Jews?
    Weren't the Jews consulted astronomically by both Egypt and Babylon? 2 way more (supposed) advanced civilizations?
    Also, while Egypt at the time of Moses was the most (supposed) advanced civilization on earth, they were light years behind medically, mixing fly, human, crocodile, etc. dung into potions and ointments and killing people on a regular basis. Whereas Moses was laying down medical laws for the Hebrews that weren't put into practice in this country until the early 1900's - i.e. washing hands after autopsies - washing hands after deliveries, etc.
    So you really believe these dumb sheepherders looked up in the sky at a full moon and believed the earth was flat? What a stretch!
     
  8. Helen

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    An additional point regarding the silliness of thinking the ancient Hebrews believed in a flat earth:

    We have archaeological evidence of trade between Egypt, Sumeria, and the Indus River civilization(s). The Fertile Crescent, where the Semites were, is in the middle of these trade routes.

    Is the suggestion honestly being made that the Semites would not have known the earth was not flat when their area was criss-crossed continually by traders from over the horizons?

    By the time of ancient Israel's establishment as a nation, trade was already going on with China.

    Yup, definite flat earth..... NOT
     
  9. Rev. Joshua

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    Helen,

    Are you or anyone else in posession of evidence that anyone in the fertile crescent - thousands of years before Christ - believed the world was round? If not, then the fact that the scriptures and myths of the peoples of that region described the carving out of a space of land between the waters above and the waters below would seem to argue strongly against you.

    Joshua
     
  10. Bugman

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    "He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in" (Isaiah 40:22).

    From what I have read by many people the Hrbrews didn't have a seperate word for Cirlce and Sphere. So when they said cirlce of the earth it could also have ment sphere of the earth.

    Bugman
     
  11. Helen

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    No problem. It is extremely well-documented in Charles H. Hapgood's "Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings" that knowledge of the entire world was well-known to the ancients as far back as the ice age of Job (the last ice age).

    Hapgood "has found the evidence in many beautiful maps long known to scholars: the Piri Reis Map that shows Antarctica, the Hadji Ahmed map, the Oronteus Finaeus and other amazing maps. ...Hapgood concluded that the ancient mapmakers were in some ways much more advanced scientifically than 16th century Europe." (from part of the back cover.)

    I have the 1966 copy of the book. It is extraordinarily carefully documented and the ancient maps reproduced faithfully. Evidence is given that even these maps were reproduced from much more ancient maps.

    Yes, the Israelis knew. The entire flat earth thing is a hoax, by the way, concocted to discredit the Bible:
    http://www.arn.org/docs/hartwig/mh_flat.htm
     
  12. BWSmith

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    Where would it go?

    Did Israel not believe in anything idiotic?

    No.

    Anything besides "cleanliness" that represents a more advanced concept in Hebrew law than what was found in Egyptian practice?

    How does one use a full moon to determine the shape of the earth?
    :confused:
     
  13. BWSmith

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    Do you concur that Babylon and Egypt believed in a flat earth, and the only issue is whether Israel did?

    Ask the same question to any other civilization. Unless you spend a lot of time at the ocean, it will appear that far-away people get smaller and smaller, not that they sink over the curvature of the earth.

    I find it hard to believe that any Chinese traders ever came to Palestine in the time of King Saul. Got any evidence of this?
     
  14. BWSmith

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    That's the whole crux of the problem here. The Bible has a number of passages whose plain reading implies belief in a flat earth and a few isolated verses that require mental gymnastics to imply a round earth. Yet, the conservative approach is to assume that the "flat earth" verses are written in informal or symbolic speech "of appearance", with the obscure verses and their unorthodox interpretations are "proof" of what Israel "really believed".

    What is really at work is the commitment to the idea that Israel could not have officially believed in a flat earth. If Israel believed in a flat earth, then it must be true that Gen 1 (with its 3-realm structure and use of terms like "deep" and "firmament") is written in literal, precise flat-earth terms and is not just an "informal" account of literal spherical creation events using informal "appearance" terms. (In other words, Genesis describes something that is factually incorrect.) Naturally, if Gen 1 is not literal history, the Bible cannot be "inerrant" as a history source, and worldviews start to change.

    According to fundamentalists, this is the point at which one "throws out the Bible" and starts living as he sees fit (presumably at the local strip bar), which revokes one's own salvation. Therefore, if we are to believe that Christianity is true, we have to believe that 1) the Bible is historically accurate in all assertions, hence 2) the language of Gen 1 is a loose account of historical creation written in "appearance" language, hence 3) Israel must have understood this language as informal while believing in the true shape of the spherical earth...
    :D

    The alternative is to let the truth work itself out and accept that the Bible doesn't have to be perfect in every way for Christianity to be true.
     
  15. Helen

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    BW, does the sun rise in the east today? It does!!! What do you know! You must believe in a stationary earth! Or maybe it's just the newscasters?

    And you want me to even think halfway vaguely that people who lived in the middle of international trade routes were not aware of the maps involved?

    Right.

    Did other cultures learn from the Israelites? You bet your booties they did! Zoroastrianism incorporated Daniel's prophecies. Why else did the Magoi journey to Jerusalem looking for the King of the Jews?

    The entire flat earth thing is a bunch of garbage! It was dreamed up in the early 19th century in an effort to get rid of the Bible and continues because of people like you today who are propagating a myth! No one believed in a flat earth!

    Is there evidence of trade with the Orient? Yes, tons of it. Subscribe to an archaeological magazine or start playing around with your search engine on the net. Educate yourself before you make some of the statements you have made.
     
  16. BWSmith

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    Here we have an ambiguity that can be translated in different ways. How you choose to translate it from the Hebrew reflects how you interpret the verse.

    Three things are given in the first clause: God, the "circle" and the earth. It is unclear whether "chuwg ha'arets" (circle of the earth) means "the earth, which is a circle" or "circular thing which-is-associated-with the earth". Equally unclear is whether God sits above the "circle" or directly upon it. As such, the translation of "God above the circular earth" or "God upon the circular thing (i.e. dome) above the earth" are equally valid. (In other words, is "circle" a noun separate from the earth or an adjective describing the earth?)

    In the 3 other cases where "chuwg" appears (Job 22:14 "walks on the circle of heaven", Prov 8:27 & Job 26:10 "inscribed a circle on the face of the deep"), the emphasis is on something physical and bounding. The "chuwg" is the boundary of the waters and "chuwg shmayim" the circle (surface) of the heavens. Hence, "He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth" means "above the circular boundary 'OF' the earth", either the earth itself or something associated with it.

    Turning to the second clause, why would the people appear as grasshoppers if he were sitting on the boundary of the earth itself? This narrows the meaning down to one of two things: 1) "Sitting on the dome above the earth" or 2) "Sitting above the circularly-bounded earth below".

    Turning then to the third clause, how does one stretch out a "tent canopy" over a sphere? That indicates to me that while the "circle of the earth" may be a dome over the earth or the two-dimensional circular boundary of the flat earth itself, it cannot mean "sphere of the earth". Hence, the context of the whole verse negates the notion that this verse is validating a spherical earth.

    Comments?
     
  17. BWSmith

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    And that information was obtained (and lost) by whom and using what methods?

    I never cease to be amazed at the extent to which Helen convinces herself that people in the ancient world had such a wealth of knowledge about everything and yet somehow "lost" that knowledge over time, rather than accepting that the accumulation of information is a progressive process. (But it is consistent with her theology that antediluvian man was much more advanced than us, and it is the advent of sin that afflicted our technological sophistication...)

    OK.....If you say so.... Sure. I'm sure that's a fine conclusion to make...

    Well, you do have your "hoax detector" up and running, but from my perspective, you're pointing it in the wrong direction...
    :D
     
  18. BWSmith

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    The sun doesn't "rise" at all. The earth rotates. Words mean things. The Bible doesn't use figures of speech in sections where it describes precise, technical doctrine (like Gen 1).

    Would any of those rediscovered ancient maps happen to be on a "globe" or on some flat media? Cartographic technology is irrelevant in a discussion about the perception of the shape of the earth.

    Because the stars told them to go looking in the west, not because they needed to get advice from those "learned ones" in Palestine.

    Finally, the basis of your opinions comes forward.

    No one at all? Anywhere? Care to make a wager on that?

    I'm not talking about "trade with the orient" in general. You made the statement that Chinese were coming into Saul's kingdom from over the horizon and that got the Israelites' mental juices flowing about how the earth must be round because such a faraway place could not be seen from the highest mountains.

    The problem is, we don't even have archaeological evidence that Saul's kingdom even existed, much less records of Chinese traders with Israel during his time. As such, we only have hard evidence of ancient Israel interacting with its immediate neighbors, which doesn't lend itself well to ideas about a vast earth (that must be spherical to account for its unseen vastness).

    But then again, "educating oneself" means something very different to you than it does me...
     
  19. Depuis 1919

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    A lunar eclipses is when the Earth's shadow is cast upon the moon because the alignment is:

    Sun-----------Earth----Moon

    And you can clearly see the Earth's round shape through the shadow on the moon.
     
  20. BWSmith

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    A lunar eclipses is when the Earth's shadow is cast upon the moon because the alignment is:

    Sun-----------Earth----Moon

    And you can clearly see the Earth's round shape through the shadow on the moon.
    </font>[/QUOTE]I know, I was being facetious. What he meant to say was a 'non-full' moon. Naturally, a full moon isn't going to have any shadows on it, so it won't give any indication of the shape of the earth. (I should have smileyed that better.)
    ;)
     

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