A Biblical Exegesis:

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276 Tzetze15th Mar 2010 03:54:39 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
I meant that Shem's family would migrate in the same way we know humans did. We know for a fact the humans originated in one place, which menas we already know the human migration pattterns.

Except that they would have started around the Middle East (or wherever the Ark is supposed to have been) and moved out. And if they had descendants first, then you have all sorts of new problems, like why Arabs aren't a combination of all the races and why the different peoples split up.

The larger number of Asians is a cross between having a lot more land and just straight up luck.

You're missing the point. Why does "Asia" have more land? Why didn't Japheth expand further south into Africa or further east into what we call Asia?

And I'm no anthropologist but I know for sure that Oceanic people's didn't rise out of the sea like Athena.

I was actually referring to evolution but whatever.

You know, if the whole of the human race is inbred, that would explain a lot

We might have been. You don't need The Bible to think that: [1]
277 Myrmidon15th Mar 2010 03:59:16 PM from In Antartica
The Ant King
I heard something similar. For every human being you need two parents. For every two parents you need 4 grandparents. For every 4 grandparents you need 8 great-grandparents. And so on until it becomes apparent that you would need more humans than have ever existed to justify today's numbers. Huge amounts of incest is the best solution.
Kill all math nerds
278 Tzetze15th Mar 2010 04:02:48 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
I actually worked that out once! It was fun. I just redid the calculations and I think that it would take just about 36 generations back to need a hundred billion ancestors. (log2 1.0e9)
[quoteblock] Barring a miracle, it's impossible. [/quoteblock]

With God, all things are possible. Miracles are kind of his thing, you know?

edited 15th Mar '10 6:42:19 PM by SpaceJawa

Taller than Zim
For every human being you need two parents. For every two parents you need 4 grandparents. For every 4 grandparents you need 8 great-grandparents. And so on until it becomes apparent that you would need more humans than have ever existed to justify today's numbers. Huge amounts of incest is the best solution. '

It doesen't work like that though. After a few generations you can start marrying your cousins. And each pair can have several children. (Indeed, for population growth to happen they need to have more than two, probably lots more than two to replace thos ewho for various reasons end up without children)

More specifically, the migration patterns just don't work that way. Madagasques are form Polynesia, for one think, while, IIRC, australians are not. And then we get to the fact that everyone outside africa (asians, europeans, americans, australians) are relatively closely related to each other, while there are huge differences genetically between eg. San and Bantu people of southern africa.

Englishmen are closer genetically to chinese than say, Kikyu to Somalians.
"No, the Singularity will not happen. Computation is hard." -Happy Ent
281 S.exe16th Mar 2010 03:46:34 PM from YOUR SOUL!
I'm back, bitches!
Why does "Asia" have more land?

It just does, continental drift, I'm assuming that they probally all just pciked directions and Shem just lucked out.
282 Tzetze16th Mar 2010 03:59:15 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
But it's not as if the descendants of Ham are somehow restricted to Africa, or Japheth's to Europe, or Shem's to Asia, which are just human-made categorizations anyway.

And once again: These "races" are hardly homogeneous.
283 S.exe16th Mar 2010 04:37:29 PM from YOUR SOUL!
I'm back, bitches!
This is just detailing the original spilt; even now we can see that the "races" tend to stick to continental areas. The intermixing happened later, otherwise there would be nothing to intermix. Sub-categories developed for the same reason the races did, different people for different environments.
Gerald Zosewater

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Gerald Zosewater

Sorry guys.
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vigilantly taxonomish
Hey folks. Sorry about the long hiatus. I've been feeling a bit funny about religion lately, but I think I'm mostly over that.

So... first off, a general update to the OP. Still coming at this from a basically agnostic perspective, although I went through a period of deism between my last update and now. I still have my Good News Bible with me and I will still be principally using that, but I'm at university accomodation, and the only other edition I have immediate access to in this room is a Gideon Revised Standard Edition.

On another note, I'd like to add to my previous updates by noting a couple of interesting things which I overlooked before in Genesis 4-6.

Firstly, those "living creatures" in Genesis 4, a.k.a. the Cherubim. They're actually fairly well known legendary entities, and I figured a description might be appreciated. According to legend, they have four wings, covered with eyes. They have the feet of oxen, and four heads, those of a man, an ox, an eagle and a lion. They are not to be confused with putti, which are those little winged Cupid-like angels that crop up a lot in European religious artwork from the Renaissance onwards. Cherubim are traditionally guardians, and were originally believed to lack humanlike emotions. Putti are traditionally Valentine's card decorations.

Secondly, on the subject of both Noah's ancestors and of the heavenly beings otherwise known as the Grigori, both are important elements of a work called the Book of Enoch, which was once controversial but is now commonly regarded as apocryphal. The Enoch in this instance is Noah's great-grandfather, not Cain's son. He was a pious, holy man.

His book contains a great deal of information about angels, and goes into more detail about the "Watchers", the Grigori, and their chidren the Nephilim.

The Book of Enoch was followed by two sequels of even more dubious canonicity. The second of these, the Third Book of Enoch, claims that Enoch ascended to Heaven where he became Metatron, an extremely important angel in the apocrypha.

Enoch is a figure of some prominence in various Kabbalistic works, and is referenced several times in the New Testament. The Book of Enoch is part of the canonical scripture of the Beta Israel and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and Enoch is a prophet in Islam, in which he is called Idris. He is also held in high esteem by the LDS movement.

So anyway, after that tangent, onwards to Genesis 15!

Heading in the Good News Bible: "God's Covenant with Abram".

After the events of the previous chapter, the Lord tells Abram not to be afraid; the Lord shall shield him from danger and give him a great reward.

Abram answers that he has no children, and his only heir is his slave, Eliezer of Damascus.

The Lord replies that Eliezer will not be Abram's heir; Abram will have as many descendants as there are stars in the sky.

Abram puts his trust in the Lord. This pleases the Lord, who accepts him and says, "I am the Lord, who led you out of Ur in Babylonia, to give you this land as your own."

Abram asks how he will know that the land will be his, and the Lord replies by demanding to be brought a cow, a goat, a ram (all of them three years old), a dove and a pigeon. Abram does so, cutting the larger animals in halves, arranging them in rows, and driving off some hungry vultures.

The idea of bringing something to an omnipresent deity seems strange, but perhaps the Lord means to bring them to that exact spot?

Abram falls into a deep sleep as the sun descends. Fear and terror come over him, for reasons which aren't specified. Awe of the Lord, perhaps? The Lord talks to him, possibly in his sleep.

The Lord informs Abram that his descendants will be slaves in a foreign land (Egypt, presumably) for four hundred years, where they will be treated cruelly. The enslaving nation will be punished and Abram's descendants will leave with great wealth.

Abram himself will live a ripe old age, die in peace and be buried. Four generations will pass before his descendants return (to Shaveh, maybe? Or is Abram back in Hebron? It's not clear), because the Lord will not drive out the Amorites (amirite?) until they become so wicked that they must be punished. Interesting here that the Lord is able to predict future events, but still appears reluctant to interfere immediately.

That night, oddly enough, a smoking fire-pot and a flaming torch appear and pass between the pieces of animals. Spooky. Divine power, perhaps?

Then the Lord makes a covenant with Abram, promising his descendants all the land from the border of Egypt to the river Euphrates (in Mesopotamia, remember), including the lands of the Kenites, the Kezzinites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites (amirite?), the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.

Verily! So much for all that.

Next time: Hagar and Ishmael. Not that one.

edited 20th Oct '10 11:50:06 AM by BobbyG

287 SalFishFin21st Oct 2010 01:33:41 PM from A respectful distance away , Relationship Status: I get a feeling so complicated...
Ace in a Hoodie
Finally caught up with this. Well, I know the story and stuff, but you know what I'm saying.

Anyway, as to the "animal cut in four" thing, walking through the bath between the four parts basically means "If I don't hold up my end of the bargain, may I be cut into pieces."
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vigilantly taxonomish
In halves, you mean? That's actually kind of creepy. Although I suppose it needn't be moreso than "cross my heart and hope to die".

So, Genesis 16: "Hagar and Ishmael".

We skip forward again to the point when Abram has been living in Canaan for ten years. His wife, Sarai, hasn't borne him any children. Sarai owns an Egyptian slave girl - that seems a little ironic, doesn't it? - named Hagar, and Sarai suggests that Abram take Hagar as a concubine in the hope that she'll prove more fertile.

So Abram shags Hagar, who becomes pregnant - and proud. She despises Sarai, who is none too happy with Hagar's newfound haughtiness and blames Abram for it (Mr. Footnote suggests that she may even wish suffering upon Abram for this).

Sarai says, "May the Lord judge which of us is right, you or me!" Abram, however, points out that Hagar is Sarai's slave and says that she may do whatever she wants with her.

So of course, Sarai proceeds to treat Hagar cruelly. So cruelly, in fact, that Hagar flees into the desert.

At a spring on the road to Shur, Hagar meets with the angel of the Lord. Interesting that the definite article was used there; this isn't just an angel, but the angel, although unnamed.

In a rather striking display of Values Dissonance, he angel tells Hagar to go back and be Sarai's slave, and that if she does she will have so many descendants that nobody will be able to count them all. She will name her son Ishamel, meaning "God heals", and Ishmael will live apart from his family like a wild donkey, and will oppose and be opposed by all.

Hagar wonders if she has really seen God and lived to tell the tale, which raises the question of whether the "angel of the Lord" wasn't a direct manifestation of God. Hagar calls Him "A God who Sees", and the well between Bered and Kadesh is henceforth known as "The Well of the Living One who Sees Me".

So Hagar goes on to give birth to Ishmael. At this point Abram is 86, which by my calculations makes this between 2034 years and 2169 years since the creation of Adam.

Genesis 17 now, which in this edition is entitled "Circumcision, the Sign of the Covenant". Oh dear. At this point I think it's only fair to put in a warning, which is that the Bible actually concerns itself with male genitalia surprisingly often.

So, when Abram is 99, the Lord appears to Abram again, identifies Himself as "the Almighty God" and commands Abram to obey Him and always do what is right.  Abram bows to the ground while God promises him that he will be the father of nations and kings, and renames him to "Abraham", which means "ancestor of many nations" in Hebrew. This is God's everlasting covenant, and he will be Abraham's God and the God of Abraham's descendants. He will give them the entire Canaan, and it will be theirs forever.

Now there's a prophecy that's had some pretty bloody consequences.

As Abraham's part of the bargain, he and every male among his descendants, slaves included, must cut off part of their penis. This circumcision must be performed on every baby boy among them at the age of eight days, and any male who has not been circumsised will not be considered one of God's people.

Um, yeah. I get that this was probably a hygiene-related issue back in those days when people hardly ever bathed, but still, this was before the development of decent anaesthetics. I can't help but wince.

God then proceeds to rename Sarai "Sarah", meaning "princess", and blesses her, promising that she will be the mother of nations and that there will be kings among her descendants.

At this, Abraham laughs, because he and Sarah are so old that he doesn't believe they can have children. He asks God why he can't just name Ishmael his heir.

God insists that Sarah will give birth to a son, who is to be named Isaac (meaning "he laughs", says a footnote). Since Abraham requested that Ishmael be his heir, Ishmael too will be blessed and have many descendants, including a great nation and twelve princes. However, God will keep His covenant with Isaac, who God predicts will be born to Sarah around that time the following year. God then leaves, again appearing to indicate a physical manifestation of God rather than an omnipresent being.

That same day, Abraham circumcises himself, Ishmael and all the other males in his household, including the slaves. Ishmael is thirteen at the time.

Ow. D:

Looks like we're approaching the Sodom and Gomorrah story. I should make a start on that with my next update.

edited 21st Oct '10 4:33:51 PM by BobbyG

Just caught up with the last two updates. Hope you update again soon, mate.

Just read through the whole thread up to this point. It has seemed like a rather engaging discussion and I'm really looking forward to taking part in some discussion. It is too bad that the updates are coming slowly — I'm really craving more discussion on these topics. I'm really proud of everyone for not having this erupt into a flamewar, too!

I hope I have something interesting to ad to the discussion — I have a bachelor of arts in Biblical Studies, where I emphasised in Biblical semantics. I also majored in music business, but I can't see how that would play a role in this conversation.

edited 22nd Nov '10 12:16:18 PM by AJesterOnly

291 Tzetze22nd Nov 2010 01:10:47 PM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
Uh.... well, Bobby likes music a lot?
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