Breaking Christian News and Nereus=Noah

In my Breaking Christian News e-mail today the headline story was Depictions of Noah, the “Wet One”, Discovered in Ancient Greek Art.

This sort of thing makes me crazy. The article will leave many Christians with the impression that somehow Greek archeology or [tag]Greek Mythology[/tag] has now produced some sort of proof for the stories in Genesis. But if one follows the links to images, which anyone with an acquaintance with the cultures involved and having a basic understanding of comparative mythology can recognize a contrived parallel.

Apparently this author, Robert Bowie Johnson, Jr., has written a number of things on this topic, all of which appear equally without merit. There’s a good review of a prior book here:

Athena and Kain is a silly book with a pernicious message. It seeks to rob the ancient Greeks of their uniqueness, to taint their contribution to the formation of western culture, and to replace both with a fundamentalist cant that does no service to Genesis. . . .

I’m so glad when competent people take the time to read trash, so that I don’t have to take the time. “Silly” was the first word that came to my mind as well.

Now what is it that prevents Breaking Christian News from recognizing the same thing? Either claiming this sort of thing in support of Christianity, or even presenting it in such a way that one can get that impression can only reflect badly on Christianity and Christians.

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  1. Hayden says:

    What’s contrived here sounds more like your own anecdotal arguement.

  2. And precisely what are you calling an anecdotal argument? Perhaps you need some practicing recognizing types of arguments.

  3. Hayden says:

    Let me use a generalization to explain. We easily accept the transfer/reabsorption of mythology from, for example, Greeks to Romans. With that comparison in mind, why -all out deny that any indication that it would occur cross culturally between an early monotheistic religion and the Greek pantheon worship? I will speculate that part of the reasoning behind such denial is partly bias.
    To further solidify my line of thought , why is the idea that historical survivors of a world-wide flood being deified in one way or another by a pagan theology be so far fetched? Whether or not one takes the biblical account as true I think it is reasonable with even the most minute indication produced, that a handful of key figures/ancestors could and would be deified and showing up in various lore.

  4. Hayden says:

    This is a reply to my own point I wanted to elaborate on.
    1.You may take the biblical account as the infallible Word of God, or lesser remnants of an actual world-wide or ‘known-world-wide’ event or, even levels of the lesser esteem. Let me assume you have it now, good. For arguement sake, consider the hostility/opposition between the two religion’s theology.
    1.1Now add to the mix a Greek mentality/philosopic nature to ‘reason’ between itself and the judaic/monotheists a.k.a the ancient Abrahamic covenant in effort to integrate the ‘then-accepted-fact’ of a flood, a noah, and survivors, with the planned result of producing an ever so well reasoned supremecy of their pantheon.
    Let me interject that the following may have been pondered(How in the world are these people still surviving in a world where monotheism is ‘radical’/not the norm -and- why do they have such advanced beneficial health guide-lines and How-To guides on how to treat land. Plainly said, how do a bunch of bedouins have knowledge that rivaled Greece?

  5. First, I asked you in what way my response was anecdotal. You did not respond to that.

    Further, I do not deny the possibility of mythologies being absorbed. In fact, my own graduate work in ancient near eastern language and literature consisted largely of proposing such parallels. At the same time I learned that one must be careful to see the dissimilarities as well as the similarities.

    I do not deny the possibility. What I deny is the reality of the particular proposal involved.

    Further, in response to your second paragraph, while I regard survivors of a world-wide flood as extremely improbable, largely because there is no evidence in favor of, and much evidence against such a flood, I don’t regard the idea of survivors of a substantial cataclysm as being unlikely nor do I assume they will not become legend in time and then perhaps be deified.

    Again, it is the specific parallels between Greek and Hebrew mythology that are not plausible in this case. They are accomplished by accepted the similarities and denying the differences.

    I would suggest that you have proposed bias on my part without having examined much of what I have written, and thus without adequate evidence. Is it your bias to assume the only reason one might deny the specific parallels proposed in the literature I cited a bias against parallels in general?

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