From the Errancy Discussion list, 5-4-97:
The tower of Babel and the dispersment of the people after changing
their speech which can be confirmed by several language scholars and
archeological finds as the remains of the Tower of Babel can still be seen.
Yep, I'm believing more and more that AA just has to be Aubrey Matthews.
If not, I will say again that Aubrey and AA should try to get together. They
will get along famously.
The greatest oriental language scholar Dr. Max Mueller declared that all
human languages can be traced back to one single original language.
Wow, this Max Mueller must be more than just the greatest ORIENTAL
language scholar. He must know ALL of the thousands of languages in
the world. Else how could he possibly know "that all human languages
can be traced back to one single original language"? However, let's just
assume that this is a true statement. Why would that prove the Tower of
Babel story? It would seem to me that it would disprove the story and
confirm instead that linguistic evolution accounts for the diversity of
languages. Humans had to begin somewhere, and all scientific evidence
now points to Eastern Africa as the place where the first humans evolved.
We would reasonably assume that humans evolved in an isolated
population that prevented interbreeding with related primates, so if
language developed in this group, it would undoubtedly have been
one language that all spoke. As humans migrated over the earth,
however, their isolation into different tribes would have prevented
intercommunications with the parent stock, and so different languages
would have gradually evolved. These languages, however, would
have retained characteristics of the original parent language, just as
humans and the other primates retain related genetic material even
though interbreeding doesn't occur. On the other hand, if the different
languages resulted from a god's coming down and confounding the
tongues of a people who all spoke the same language, we would
have reason to believe that the languages would have been made
entirely different so that no linguistic interrelationships would be in
evidence. This is a ridiculous approach to proving the historical
accuracy of the Bible. It is doubly ridiculous to believe this story
now that we know that geographic isolation can cause a language
like Latin to evolve into Italian, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese,
French, Provencal, Sardinian, Rhaeto-Romanic, and Rumanian.
The bricks with the story of Nebuchadnezzar can be confirmed as it
has been engraved on the bricks, which were translated by professors
Oppert and William Loftus, confirming it's first abandonment at the time
of Nimrod(Al-Namrood), and the confusion of the languages described
in Genisis 11:1-8 as Nebuchadnezzar declared "Since a remote time,
people had abandoned it, without order expressing their words."
Is this indeed Aubrey Matthews trotting out his ridiculous Ziggurat
"evidence" again? If so, this argument was blasted to pieces earlier on the
errancy list. A ziggurat was a towerlike structure that was built by early
civilizations in the Mesopotamian region. Over thirty of them have been
discovered, and the particular one that Aubrey Matthews was so thrilled
about was less than 300 feet high, which hardly qualified for a tower that
would scare Yahweh into thinking that the people building it might make it
high enough to reach into heaven, as the T of B story alleges in Genesis 11.
The discovery of a particular Ziggurat, even one with the name Nimrod
inscribed in the bricks, as AA claims, would hardly constitute proof that
(1) the people building it thought that they could build it high enough to
reach heaven, (2) that there is a god named Yahweh who also thought that
they would reach heaven with the tower, and (3) this god Yahweh came
down and confounded the tongues of the people building it. AA claims that
Nebuchadnezzar engraved the name Nimrod on the Ziggurat that he is so
excited about, but Nebuchadnezzar lived in the 6th century B. C., so even if
AA's information about an inscription that Nebuchaddnezar left on some
bricks is true, that would hardly constitute proof that the tower of Babel
story is historically accurate. This story was set shortly after Noah's
flood, so there would be no way that Nebuchadnezzar could have been
an authority on what happened 2,000 years before he was born.
Even the seven the historical account of Joseph and the seven years of
famine in Genesis 41 can be confirmed today as a marble tablet surfaced
on the seashore of Hadramaut in Yemen from around 1,800 B.C translated
in Arabic by Professor Schultens and translated by Reverand Charles
Foster which states: "Then came years barren and burnt up: when one
evil year had passed away, then came another to suceed it..."
And this confirms that there were seven years of plenty and seven years of
famine in the land of Egypt during the time that Joseph was allegedly there?
How? Does the inscription mention Egypt? Does it mention Joseph? The
inscription as AA has cited it refers only to "one evil year" and "then
another." Does the inscription say that there were seven "evil years"
altogether? Does it say that there were "good years" before these evil
years? Also, is AA going to argue that "evil years" had never happened
anywhere except in Egypt when Joseph was there, and so this inscription
couldn't have been referring to any other place?
Other inscriptions were found to confirmed Josephs(Yusuf), careful
management of the food reserves during the seven years of famine
in Egypt. Even the name of Joseph was mentioned in one of these
"Other inscriptions" were found where? Were these "other inscriptions" in
the same documents that AA referred to above? It is interesting to note
that (1) AA gave no source to support his claim, and so we have no way to
check the claim, and (2) the translation was done by REVEREND Charles
Johnson. I'd definitely need much more information about this before I
could even consider accepting AA's claim, especially since this translation
work was done by a REVEREND Johnson. I personally think that this is all
fundamentalist hogwash, and the reason why I think so is simple. If any
reliable evidence like this had been discovered that gives extrabiblical
corroboration of the biblical account of Joseph's service to Pharaoh, all
major biblical reference works like Bible dictionaries would contain it, and
Bible fundamentalists would have publicized it all over the land. Certainly,
in my extensive debating with biblical fundamentalists, I would have had
this information thrown at me already. I'm going to call AA's bluff and
dare him to produce the specific reference works that have published this
information so that I can check it.
The story of the "Walls of Jericho" also was considered for many years as a
fairy tale until Professor John Garstang found one of the most emazing
discoveries of the century as he writes: "As to the main fact, then, there
remains no doubt: the walls fell outwards so completely that the attackers
would be able to clamber up and over their ruins into the city.". While all
digs confirm an inward falling of any excavated city as armies pushed the
walls, the only walls found to be pushed outwards was the walls of Jericho.
Yet confirming the Bible in the Book of Joshua chapter 6 verse 20 which
read: "And the walls fell down flat, so the people went up into the city
every man straight ahead, and they took the city.". To confirm check:
(John Garstang, Joshua Judges,[London:Constable,1931]
Jason Steiner has already posted a rebuttal of this, which shows that
extensive excavation of Jericho by Kathleen Kenyon in the 1950s led
to an entirely different conclusion. Holman's Bible Dictionary says the
following about the archaeology of Jericho:
"The archaeology of Jericho is closely associated with the name of
Kathleen Kenyon, an Oxford University scholar who excavated there
between 1952-1959. The earliest recognizable building on the site
dates apparently (based on radiocarbon dating) from about 9250 B.C.,
a time marking the change from the Paleolithic to the Mesolithic period
in Palestine. By 8,000 B.C. a walled town (the world's earliest) of about
ten acres had been built. About 6000 B.C. pottery appeared in Jericho.
About 4000 B.C. a period of abandonment began, but by 3300 B.C.
Jericho was coming into her own again into what Kenyon calls the
"Proto-Urban" age. Jericho came to have solid defense ramparts and
walls. From about 2200-2000 B.C. the mound of Jericho was a campsite
rather than a town, when some 346 excavated tombs show its
occupants to be from various tribal units. From about 1400 to possibly
slightly after 1300 B.C. Jericho was a small settlement. The town at
Joshua's time was small and may have used some of its earlier walls for its
defenses. Thus more critical scholars underline the conflict between
archaeological data and the biblical conquest narrative, while more
conservative scholars have recently tried to redate the archaeological
evidence or deny that tell es-Sultan is biblical Jericho without giving a
satisfactory alternative. See Archaeology; Conquest; Joshua. "
So it turns out that AA's wonderful archaeological evidence amounts to
nothing. He said that someone (unidentified) who had said, "We cannot trust
the Bible," was "full of Bolony" [sic]. Well, I don't know whom AA was
referring to, but it is evident that AA's baloney has been sliced far too
thin to prove anything about the historical accuracy of the Bible.