Let us be clear. The Maya “never, ever, said anything about the world ending at any time – much less this year,” says professor David Stuart of the University of Texas at Austin. The Maya recognized 12-21-12 not as the end of the world, but rather as the end of one time cycle and the beginning of another. They weren’t trying to predict a date for some sort of apocalypse. That kind of thinking is just so… primitive.
And btw, when referring to the ancient people, the correct term is “Maya”, not “Mayan.”
The Bible’s Buried Secrets was a very informative NOVA program. Taught me quite a few things I hadn’t known.
So, we all know the story. Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land and Joshua conquers Canaan from the outside. (And the walls of Jericho came tumbling down.) But the archaeological record suggests the Israelites were, in fact, Canaanites themselves who merely evolved with changing times. Indeed, that there was no such thing as an “Israelite” until groups of Canaanites got together and invented this new identity — and an Exodus story to go with it.
The Egyptian-controlled Canaanite city-states of Jericho, Hazor, Ai and others today reveal archaeological evidence of Israelite-type houses, but no evidence of major warfare or invasion that can be attributed to Israelites. Rather, the evidence shows areas of disrepair and abandonment, signs of a culture in decline and rebellion from within. Archaeology and ancient texts agree that a long period of decline and upheaval swept through Mesopotamia, the Aegean region and the Egyptian empire around 1200 B.C. As the oppressive social system declined, families and tribes of serfs, slaves and common Canaanites abandoned the city-states and made new homes in the surrounding hills and countryside.
While there is no evidence to support the story of hundreds of thousands of people leaving Egypt in a mass migration, some scholars now believe that a small group of slaves may have escaped or left. Some ancient Egyptian texts do refer to a small band of people leaving the area. But these were Canaanites returning to their homeland. On their way they passed through southern Canaan, an area the Bible calls Midian, where they encountered a people known as the Shashu and their god “Yahu”. The book of Exodus says that Moses first encountered “Yahweh” in the form of a burning bush in Midian. These former slaves eventually reunited in the hills of Canaan with the tribes who had recently fled from the crumbling city-states. The liberated slaves attributed their freedom to the god they met in Midian, and the story of deliverance resonated with the other Canaanites who themselves had left oppressive conditions in the city-states. These peoples were a combination of disenfranchised Canaanites, runaway slaves and nomads. The story of deliverance and conquest solidified a new common identity as “Israelites”.
An interview with program contributor professor Carol Meyers
Out of curiosity, I went on the interwebs to find out who else shares my birthday. While looking, I saw that April 22 is the feast day of Saint Epipodius and Saint Alexander.
A Wikipedia article revealed that Epipodius and his companion Alexander were Christians living in the second century, under the reign of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. Epipodius is said to have been a confirmed bachelor, though he never joined a religious order. He devoted his time to Christian works and was betrayed to imperial authorities by a servant. Both men were subsequently imprisoned, tortured, and condemned to be devoured by wild beasts in the amphitheater, thus becoming Christian martyrs. Epipodius is the patron saint of bachelors. The wiki entry provides a link to a Catholic website with an article entitled (unironically) Two Inseparable Friends. The editors of the Catholic site write: (unironically):
The example of two Christians who lived in the second century will help us to perceive the value of a truly Christian friendship. One was called Epipodius, the other Alexander. They had been close friends since childhood. Epipodius was born in Lyon. Alexander was of Greek origin. But they had grown up together, studied together, and known, loved and served our Lord Jesus Christ together. Their relatives were among the most powerful people in the Empire; but the two friends had resolved to live their lives in poverty, chastity, and devotion to relieving all the misery of their fellow men. They had therefore refused to marry or to accept the fine positions offered to them.
Translation from Catholic-ese to Reality-ese:
In all likelihood, Epipodius and Alexander were in love and lived together as a married couple in every way except on paper. Had they not both come from well-connected families, either man may have felt pressure to marry a higher-stationed woman for political or financial gain. Marriage was, after all, a political and financial union for the upper Roman classes, not a romantic one. Thus, marriage was probably not “refused” out of piety, but rather simply ignored as irrelevant. They two men may very well have been devout Christians and lived openly as a couple within their community. Openly homosexual couples were not uncommon, of course, in Greek and Roman culture of the era. And Professor John Boswell has pointed out that some records suggest that homosexual unions may even have received a sanctioned blessing from the early Christian church. Centries later, the history of Epipodius and Alexander, like so much of Christian history, would be white-washed and rewritten by the Church to serve its political needs.
“The Titanic suffered such huge casualties for many reasons. The crew was improperly trained for an emergency, there were not nearly enough lifeboats on the ship, and the ship’s builders arrogantly considered the vessel unsinkable…. Within weeks of the disaster, Congress had ordered all ships docking in the United States to carry enough lifeboats for everyone on board. Compulsory drills were ordered as well.” – Book of Odds
There they go again. Big government trying to ram their agenda down our throats. If only the modern TEA Party had been around in 1912. They would have been brave enough to block that Marxist socialist attack upon an individual’s right to drown however he damn well pleases.