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]