Saturday, July 29, 2017

Abraham of Ur, Egypt and Exodus

I so enjoyed today listening to Dr. Maguire giving a lecture to the students at the Catholic Institute. I have this from ITunes U, finding it in the Off Campus Series of Lectures from Christendom College.
I love history and literature nearly as much as I do chemistry so was delighted by the brilliance of Dr. Maquire's lecture.  With the invasion of Islam under the guise of migration, or as 5th Column or as capitulation by western leadership or to replace the aborted babies in purgatory, or in exchange of cold cash to the likes of the Saudi Wahhabi creation or Dubai monetary influence or Packistani power grab, it does not really matter, the fact is suddenly Muslims are in everyone's face today.
I once thought that of the Jews.
Another time I thought that of the Hindi's.
Another time I thought that of the Indigenous native folks with their burning sage and  Creator talk.
Why can't people leave me alone with my comfortable Christianity.
So these people invariably have me questioning my religion, though probably not my faith. I often think that the godless or apostates or simply stupid person I'm talking wth does this unknowingly. They have shared some propaganda they've learned and won't question it but I'll now be required to go and clarify or refute or question what I'd believed till I heard what usually turns out as downright nonsense.
Being a scholar I delve into history to learn what I can about some question this 'outsider to me' has raised.  I loved my studies of Yoga and India and Hinduism and Buddhism as they helped me eventually deepen my awareness of meditation and eventually understand better the teaching of Benedictine and Thomas Merton.  I love the Bodram and communal chanting of my aboriginal brethren with thier small group sweat lodge studies.  The Baptists had been happy to purify me in dunking baths but the native elders introduced me to the sweat long before I was doing Hamas with my Muslim scholar friends.  My Israeli mentor by contrast had me dousing myself with hyssop. One can never be too pure or for that matter too learned.
So when my Muslim friend said that the great religions were all the same all coming from the wisdom of Abraham, I was somewhat taken aback.  Surely Judaism has come from Abraham. Islam takes it's roots from there. But Christ was different I wanted to say.  Except Jesus was a Jew and he took his history from Judaism. Jesus wasn't at first a rebel but rather wanted to fulfill the Covenant with God given too the Jewish people with the New Accord of Christianity.
Dr. Maguire's lecture, serendipitously,  was on Abraham.  I've grown fat with pain and sloth and Hagen dad Ice Cream so have been forcing myself against all the temptations of demonic possession to run with my less than enthusiastic cockapoo dog Gilbert in the morning. I find that if I shut off the screams and derision of my mind with the incredible sound system of the Apple IPhone 7 I can drag myself along the trail with less focus on the tortuous pain of my screaming muscles and joints.
Yesterday country singer Reba MacIntyre with her complaints about men and love of God did the distract trick but today I tried I Tunes U.    Dr. MaQuire as a lecturer was extremely engaging and entertaining, even if he wasn't a beautiful country and western singer
Abraham, also know by the nick name, Abram, was the patriarch in the second millennium, the so called 'patriarchial age'.  Job was considered to be of this time too.  Dr. Maguire showed how the chronology of the Bible and chronology of Egyptian records were difficult but not impossible to compare.  Abraham was the third dynastic period of Ur. Ur was an important Sumerian city of Mesopotamia. The ruins of Ur are not far from Baghdad Iraq today at a site known as Tall al Mugayyar, Iraq. Mesopotamia is within the Tigris-Euphrates River system corresponding today with Iraq, Kuwait, eastern Syria, south eastern Turkey.  The Sumerians and Akkadians (Assyrians and Babylonians) dominated the region from the beginning of written history 3100 BC to the fall of Babylon 539 BC.

Abraham was Semitic. Semitic means off spring of Shem or of Noah.  2000 years BCE Ur was an advanced civilization in what has in recent years been called the Fertile Crescent, this area where the greatest accomplishments of technology, agriculture, war, science, culture and religion originated. The argument is that human kind originated here and spread to the rest of the world.  Naturally the Chinese would argue this point but they have always felt they were the centre of the universe.
Abraham was also of the Akkadian Empire
Our ancestors have been around 6 million years but civilization only began about 6000 years ago with humans as we know them evolving only about 200,000 years ago.  Dr. MaQuire mentioned that as Europeans we have Neanderthal genes so they were about back in the day.  Even today parents are trying to keep their teenagers from having sexual congress with the Neanderthals of the neighbourhood so not much changes.  
From Wikipedia I just learned that the Third Dynasty of Ur was also known as the new-Sumerian empire and referred to the 2112 to 2004 BC.  This area is the area of modern day Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Iran.  It's significant to me that ISIS is destroying all the non Muslim culture and artefacts wherever they go.  True ignorant barbarians that make the actors in the  "Dumb and Dumber"  movie look brilliant.  The hillbillies of the Deliverance movie are more cultured civilized and intelligent than the ISIS in breeds.  One suspects ISIS followers have more Neanderthal genes than the rest of us.
Sadly much the income of this area depended on tourism from people like me who really would have been interested in seeing what architecture of the day was like rather than seing yet another mosque with mosque's as prevalent as MacDonald's franchises.  Young men and women never appreciate till it's too late the wonders of the ancients, including old men and old women. I was like the these thugs when I was a teen but thankfully I've learned a wonderful appreciation  for archeology. I am saddened at the losses to the people of the region economically and to historians.
Dr. Maguire said that droughts and famines caused migrations and that a common destiny was tthe 'fertile' delta of Egypt.  Abraham had moved his people from Ur to Canaan (Canaan is roughly the area of Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and western Jordan and western Syria)  and then from there to Egypt. The Bible tells us his wife was Sarah, his concubine Hagar and his second wife was Katsura.   Dr. Maguire referred to the Genesis tale as well as to archeological materials and the Jewish historians of later periods such as Josephus.  There appears to have been migration not just fof Abraham but other Semitic peoples and in the day they may have come as labourers and mercenaries.
Another great racy story in the Bible that female Sunday school teachers don't dwell on is  about Sarah being like the Marilyn Monroe Sophia Loren Angelina Jolie of her day and Abraham being less than Brad Pitt or Colin Firth or Gregory Peck and offering Sarah to the Pharoh claiming that she's his sister not his wife. The Pharaoh takes her into his Harem then rejects her when he realizes she's Abraham's wife and not his sister. Better than Day's of Our Lives.  Abraham was the happening event in Egypt around 1900 BC.
Moses is around 1400 BC.  The Hyksos Invaders reigned in Egypt in the 15th dynasty around 1650 BC.
The Hyksos was  translated from the Egyptian hieroglyphs as 'foreign kings' .   The Native Pharaoh's were from the time before and after them and Dr. Maguire wondered if the 'falling out' of the exodus period was related to Abraham being friends with the former 'native pharaoh's' and now Moses was at odds with Hysksos invaders or some such thing that I didn't really follow because my cockapoo Gilbert chose that moment to poop in the middle of the path and I had to stoop and scoop avoiding on coming cyclists.
I remember seeing the Hysksos artefacts in the Athens museum.  Very impressive.
The interesting insights that Dr. Maguire gave about Moses and the Egyptians were the plagues. Moses turned the river into blood. The Egyptian hieroglyphs couldn't be understood till the Rosetta Stone finding because the hieroglyphs were phonetic language with the pictures representing 'sounds like' images of parts of words.  But today they can be read fairly accurately and show the migrations. As a result today we also know that their religion was a zoological paganism.  In deed the war between the northern delta Hysksos Dynasty and the southern native dynasty began because in the south they started killing Hippopotamus which were the gods of the Hyksos.  Moses plague of locust was the plague of the land turning the worshipped land against the Egyptians.
When Moses lead the people out of Egypt into Canaan Dr. Maguire argued that much of the requirements of the Moses religion were to get the Egyptian out of the people.  Egyptians could eat pork but not a whole lot of other animals because they were sacred. So by making pork taboo and forcing the Israelites to eat what had once been sacred to Egyptians he was purifying them.  The Golden Calf wasn't something new but the fertility god of Egypt as the people were reverting back to the Egyptian god whenever they lost faith in the monotheism of Moses.
Great lecture. I just touched on points that I remember.  It kept me running rather than walking as well as Reba MacIntyre.

Referring to my original discussion,  I had thought Abraham was the patriarch the religion of Judaism and the religion. The religion of Christianity is fundamentally different from Judaism.   The new almagamation religion of Islam is something altogether different again.  It's like the Mormon's in that sense. They have elements of Christianity but a whole lot of other 'stuff'. As the Bahai are an amalgamation religion with a whole lot of other stuff too.
Tribal religions are different from Universal religions.  Both Judaism and Islam began as tribal religions but Christianity by contrast was not.  The great discussion of genital mutilation of men between Paul and Peter brought it to the level of universal religion. Genital mutiliation of men has tended to keep the Jewish religion at a more tribal level.   Islam has attempted universality in later years but continues to have fetish issues with tribal genital mutilation while Judaism remains routed in it's tribal history.  Hinduism long left it's tribal origins but mostly maintained an ethnic association while Buddhism had a universal construction.  Confuscianism isn't so much a religion but a broader form of Robert's Rules of Order with serious life implications.   Buddhism more than Hinduism has spread from its eastern basis.  Communism the aetheist religion which has a short history of abject failure was like the militaristic Islam formulated as a totalitarian earth conquering construct. "Workers of the world unite."  The god there was the worker state, with it's special dictator class like the priest class of other religions.  Today totalitarian religions are mostly driven by money which can be generalized from Marx as the religion of the world. Money is truly worshipped in high places.
Dr. Magure's lecture was thought inspiring and I would not suggest my thoughts are his. What I've written was just my thoughts after an enjoyable lecture taken while running with my dog.  Great way to start a day.


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