UFO Conjecture(s)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Glitch in Historical Methodology

The History Channel continues to run pieces on the UFO alien presence in early historical accounts (The Bible, The Mahabharata, Egyptian hieroglyphics, etc.).

But the Channel’s use of an “historian” (who shall remain nameless here) insists that historical witnesses either misunderstood their experience or elaborated upon them in imaginary ways. That’s the historical glitch.

One can’t attribute to early writers (those who documented various events) the mind-set of contemporary writers (including historians); writers who do infuse accounts with personal spin or imaginary ramblings.

Early writers, devoid of the Machiavellian need to fudge facts, reported what they saw and heard exactly as they saw and heard things.

The Channel’s resident “historian” for example said that Ezekiel (in the Hebrew Bible) didn’t see a strange craft as he, Ezekiel, reported but, rather, came across a strange tribe and mistook their masks and movements for the creatures that manned the wheel-in-a-wheel vehicle described by him (Ezekiel) in Ezekiel 1:4 ff.

Early writers didn’t have an agenda. Ezekiel didn’t take his “vision” and use it to further the Hebrew cause. He merely recounted the strange event, and that was it. Besides, the episode was so bizarre that it couldn’t be used in any practical or propagandistic manner.

Medieval accounts of strange objects seen over Zurich or Europe, apparently in contention or pretending to be so, don’t allow for insertion in any imaginary tale or any purposeful writing. To what end are the accounts due? None. They merely are.

The imputation that early writers lied or were mistaken or had an agenda is applying, anachronistically, motivations that are “modern” in nature.

When the column(s) of light and/or fire guided Moses and the Hebrews in the wilderness, the apparitions were described in Exodus as they appeared, not as they were imagined (as they are hardly imaginary in the literary sense) or mis-visioned. The guiding  manifestations were as they were described. The writer(s) of Exodus made up nothing in their accounts of what they saw or experienced. They may have attributed the guiding elements to God, but the description of that God was as it was, unadorned and rather mundane actually. This makes the documentation appear to be real, not creative or bogus.

Early accounts of unusual events (UFO sightings, monsters, a risen God) have to be taken at face-value, without the imposition of modern attributes: lying, deceit, vivid (neurotic) imagination, and propagandistic thrusts to further a cause.

Historians need to empathize with that and those whom they a studying, and not malign that and those with a modern projection that is marred by the human flaws that have crept in to writing and history, life in general. That’s not how it was way back when…

RR [From the RRRGroup blog, 2005]

10 Comments:

  • Where the myth is 'alive', nobody has to explain the myth. It is understood without needing explanation. Once the myth dies out, it becomes more and more difficult to explain the underlying meaning -- especially to people of a more 'modern' mindset.

    We know that these people wrote mythology.

    By Blogger Parakletos, at Saturday, January 31, 2015  

  • No, Parakletos...

    They wrote what became mythology.

    They were "journalists" -- people recording what they saw and experienced first hand.

    We can't understand what they saw but their recording of what they saw was exactly what they saw: God was seen, Ezekiel's "thing" was as he saw it, Herodotus's snakes with wings and gold-digging ants were as he recorded them.

    No one was playing with language or "facts."

    It wasn't the mind-set of mankind then.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, January 31, 2015  

  • ``They wrote what became mythology.``

    You are merely restating your thesis, not proving it.

    There is nothing to suggest that every piece of mythology was taken as a scientific account of history. Enki and Enlil were not real people, and the accounts of them were not from the POV of a witness. It's literature -- fiction with a moral and/or mythological lesson to be learned.

    By Blogger Parakletos, at Saturday, January 31, 2015  

  • I'm not talking about fiction, as that is an evolutionary process.

    While Homer and the Biblical writers often inserted fictive elements in their works, just as present-day fiction writers place real events in their fictional efforts, the core realities remain as they were: actual observations, as seen, but interpreted as best the writer could interpret.

    For example, Ezekiel's wheel was as he saw it and as he interpreted it.

    We get the best of what he could offer, in the context of his world and mind-set at the time.

    We can't extrapolate our meaning from his account. We are muddled by all that has transpired since Ezekiel's time.

    Ezekiel saw something. He recorded the seeing.

    Was he hallucinating? Perhaps.

    Did he actually see a real "thing" as he recorded it? Perhaps.

    Either way, we have an honest account of what he saw or thought he saw.

    The equivalent for our time is the Lonnie Zamora account of what he saw in Socorro (1964).

    We have to accept that he, Zamora, like Ezekiel, is telling us exactly what he saw or experienced.

    There is no prevarication by either man.

    They had no reason to fabricate their stories, Ezekiel less so that Zamora as the idea of lying was less evolved for Ezekiel in his 580 B.C. time-frame.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, January 31, 2015  

  • Æsop is not a liar, Rich. Mythology is not that much more complex than fables.

    What you call 'lying' can just as well be described by those who understand the esoteric meaning as simply '(en)coded information'. There is an underlying meaning to the myths. And while some of them may well have been inspired by visions of some sort or other, that's not to say that the author wanted them interpreted in such a way. The author may well be using a fable-like metaphor to deliver a deeper message which cannot be delivered any other way.

    As I said earlier, the meaning is clear while the myth is alive in a culture. Once the myth dies and the meaning is lost, it's not lost because the meaning of the words have been lost. It's lost because the meaning of the underlying message has been lost.

    By Blogger Parakletos, at Saturday, January 31, 2015  

  • ``The most radical critical position was that of Charles C. Torrey who in 1930 published his Pseudo-Ezekiel and the Original Prophecy. Torrey’s view was that the book comes from a writer who lived c. 200 b.c. and that the prophet Ezekiel never existed as a historical person. The book is a pseudepigraphon presenting a fictitious Ezekiel who is imagined to have lived in the reign of Manasseh. The Babylonian setting is the result of still later editing, according to Torrey.``

    https://www.biblicaltraining.org/library/book-ezekiel

    By Blogger Parakletos, at Saturday, January 31, 2015  

  • I don't disagree with you (or Joseph Campbell).

    What I'm trying to say is that what was recorded by persons not overtly trying to create a "story" was as it was told or recorded.

    That is, what was communicated was what the person experienced or saw.

    That's all.

    I don't shrug off recorded observations by trying to interpret what was told.

    I accept the accounts as real, despite that some persons had a difficult time trying to make sense of what they saw.

    This is what's so good about Zamora's Socorro account: He told his story, without accretions or additions.

    He merely reported what he saw and experienced.

    I think Ezekiel did the same.

    There are other recent events, and many past events, as enumerated in Wonders in the Sky, that are what they are, nothing more, nothing less.

    That we have received mythological treatment, after the fact of real events, goes to the heart of the problem with ufology (Roswell et cetera).

    Some accounts, historically recorded, are just what they seem to be, more so in earlier times before mankind learned how to fabricate for various reasons.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, January 31, 2015  

  • Torrey is wrong and, indeed, radical.

    A better view of the Ezekiel problem may be found here:

    https://books.google.com/books?isbn=9004113622

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, January 31, 2015  

  • "The book of Ezekiel can be described as an historical narrative about the activity of an exilic prophet. While some scholars do not think that a prophet Ezeliel actually existed (e.g. Becker) or doubt that we can know anything about this prophet for certain, even whether he existed (e.g. Pohlmann), most scholars agree that the book reflects the ministry of a prophet."

    Absolutely. But that begs the question as to what a prophet actually IS.

    By Blogger Parakletos, at Saturday, January 31, 2015  

  • Now you're taking the topic and discussion into areas where I do not wish to go, here.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, January 31, 2015  

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