Saturday, September 04, 2010

Babinski's flat-headed higher criticism

Edward T. Babinski said...

That also reminds me of something I read at the Ancient Hebrew Poetry blog concerning the biblical flood narrative...Finally, given that the balance of probability lies with a reconstruction along those lines, it will be surmised that tradition universalized a local occurrence in the process of elevating it to an occurrence of protological and universal import. No wonder then that the ark lands on the “mountains of Ararat,” the highest mountains of the known world from the perspective of people in the ancient Near East. Where else could it have been said to have landed? That is how great literature works, regardless of genre: poetry and prose, parable and history, protological and eschatological narrative. The particular is universalized according to genre-specific techniques."

As usual, Babinski is so bent on attempting to disprove the Bible that the poor sap can’t think straight.

i) To begin with, Mt Ararat is not the highest peak in “the known world.” Both Mt. Elbrus and Mt. Damavand are significantly higher–not to mention Pik Imeni Ismail Samani or the Hindu Kush.

ii) In addition, how does one measure the height of a mountain? In principle, you can either measure it from base to peak or sea level to peak. But it’s not as if ancient observers had the modern techniques of geodetics at their disposal. They couldn’t take absolute measurements of one mountain and then compare that to absolute measurements of another mountain.

I assume, at best, that they could only gauge the height of a mountain by eyeballing a mountain in relation to the surrounding landscape.

If we bracket inspiration, why would a Bible writer think Mt. Ararat was higher than, say, Mt. Hermon or Mt. Sinai? What was his frame of reference?

1 comment:

  1. Steve, First, I didn't write that line, it's straight from the blog entry I was citing by an OT scholar who is himself a Christian. Second, that the "mountains of Ararat" were known for their great height to ancient Near Eastern story tellers was the point, not to some measurable scientific degree that you appear to be introducing into the conversation. Your own modern attempts to find the bible "factual" are the true anachronism in this case.