Human: Is the idea of hell a scare tactic? Where did it come from if Jewish people don’t hold a similar belief? How did the idea evolve from a Jewish religion to existing within a Christian one if Christianity inherited their ideas from Judaism before writing their own new testament on top of the Old Testament? What specific books of the bible, authors, even verses were construed to support the idea of hell and highlight whether it was a judaic source or christian (new testament). AI: The concept of hell as a place of punishment after death is not believed in by Jews, as they do not take a belief in an afterlife. However, the concept of hell does exist in Christianity and has evolved from its Judaic roots. The idea of Hell as a place of punishment for sin was first present in the religion of Zoroastrianism and was adopted by Judaism and then Christianity, with the earliest references to Hell being found in the Jewish Apocrypha.
The New Testament mentions the concept of Hell several times, including in Matthew 25:46, Revelation 21:8, and 2 Peter 2:4. Many theologians believe that the Christian concept of Hell was influenced heavily by the Jewish concept of Gehenna, which was a place outside of Jerusalem where sacrifices were made. Additionally, several Old Testament passages refer to a place of punishment, including Isaiah 66:24 and Psalm 9:17.
How is it that humans for thousands of years survived the Ice Age? Was the whole world covered in ice? If not were there warm/habitable regions that would have allowed for agricultural farming? What is the likelihood that civilizations sprang up in these areas and when the ice melted they were lost under the incoming water? What is more likely. That humans were hunter gatherer’s during this entire time, or that they developed basic agricultural skills. Please defend your case with examples. AI:
Humans survived the Ice Age primarily through a combination of hunter-gatherer and, to some degree, agricultural practices. Hunter-gatherer activities such as fishing, hunting, gathering, and scavenging provided a steady and reliable source of sustenance across the entirety of the Ice Age. It is also likely that humans developed some basic agricultural skills during this time period, especially in areas with warmer climates that were not covered in ice. For example, evidence suggests that humans living in what is now the United Kingdom during the Ice Age practiced cereal cultivation on a small scale.
In regards to civilizations potentially springing up in areas with warm climates and then being lost when the ice melted, this is unlikely. While it is possible that such civilizations once existed, the archaeological record does not provide any evidence to suggest that this actually happened. Moreover, due to the migratory nature of humans living during the Ice Age, it is more likely that any civilizations that did form would have been widely dispersed rather than concentrated in one particular area. Human: So… your take is the Atlantis story as described by Plato being handed down by the Egyptians doesn’t describe what exists in multiple world religions (a deluge) when the straights of Gibraltar broke and created the Mediterranean? AI:
No, I do not believe that the Atlantis story as described by Plato is related to the flood described in multiple world religions. While Plato’s story features a large flood, it is likely an exaggeration of a much smaller event or event series that occurred in the region. Additionally, archaeological evidence does not support the idea that these two floods are related in any way. Human: What does the archeological evidence say about these two floods then? AI: The archaeological evidence indicates that the floods described in multiple world religions likely occurred thousands of years before the events described in Plato’s story. Furthermore, the scale of the floods described in world religions is significantly larger and more destructive than the flood described in Plato’s story. This suggests that the two floods are likely not related. Human: How do we have any basis to know the timeframes of when the two floods might have occurred? AI:
We know that the floods described in multiple world religions occurred prior to the events described in Plato’s story thanks to a variety of archaeological evidence. For example, historians and archaeologists have studied ancient artifacts that predate Plato’s story and determined that they would have been destroyed by the flood writers describe in world religions. Additionally, paleontological evidence suggests that some species of animals were rendered extinct prior to the events described in Plato’s story, indicating that a significant flooding event must have occurred earlier. Finally, geological evidence indicates that land forms in particular regions have changed drastically since before Plato’s story, suggesting that large-scale flooding events must have occurred since then.
Hypatia is still my numero uno though (math, politician)
Next is Voltaire (early retirement, universal tolerance, free thinker, enlightenment, french)
Then Porphyry (theological outlook despite melancholy, vegetarian, universal tolerance, historical criticism)
Then Hierocles (synthesis of stoic, plotinian, stood up to state)
Then Jung (hooks into everything including gnosticism bridging a gap between plotinus and today, empiricism)
Then Watts (Buddhism, aware of Jung and western thought)
Then Aristotle (empiricism, survey, Alexander’s teacher, logic)
Then Plato (idealism, survey of philosophy, Aristotles teacher, pupil of Socrates, very important in the whole setup, carrier of eternal soul idea from pythagoras and by extension Jainism, Mathematician)
Then it’s up for grabs after that
They are kind of like saints to me. Socrates isnt even one of my favorites, probably why I forgot him. But I like to think he and I talk a lot and are not afraid to speak our minds.
21 distinct people here
Alcibiades is my favorite tragic (game of thrones esque) anti hero. Pericles my favorite hero. Parminedes doesnt get a mention unfortunately but without him the theory of unity wouldnt have developed. Democritus is certainly influential as well (and by extension the Stoics). Aside from Parminedes poem, there isnt much to go off of. Anaxagoras was my original favorite, then Voltaire, and now its Hypatia due to round about events reintroducing me to her as the head of the Alexandrian academy. Some might say, how can you know someone who has no writings? “Bios” as well as a lot of academic historical works. I’d pick a theme and start buying used books on amazon and use encyclopedias and whitepapers to augment my reading.
I can actually detail the entire neoplatonic line. Inbetween damascius as the last head of Athens and Justinians closure in 529. The alexandrian academy operated for 100 years more, then you have the Imperial Academy in Byzantinium (Stephanus, Theodora), but I skip that & follow the crypto Dionysius corpus then Boethius, Aquinas, then Plethon & Marcilio Ficino bridging the east west gap by reintroducing Byzantium works to the west since the inaccess of platonic works due the Arab invasion in… Alexandria. Which results in the Renaissance right around the time Byzantium falls… to ironically Muslims (nothing against them, just an east west split once more). (Voltaire) and the likes of Thomas Taylor translating similar to Ficino & then Jung delving in as well as Watts delving into Jung.
You have modern experts like [late] Jaegar, [late] Guthrie, Wallis, Dillon, Schibli, Shaw, (2nd Watts), Markus, Kingsley, Gerson, Dodds, & Butler.
But I find the middle platonic (Appuleius) period leading up to Alexandria (culminating in hellenized jewish philosophers such as Philo & Numenius & resulting in the neoplatonic tradition thru Ammonius & his students Origen and Plotinus) more fascinating than the Christian (stephanus)/muslim (avicenna) post alexandria neoplatonic period.
George RR Martin said if you liked his books. History had great stuff. I took him up on it after his 4th Song of Ice and Fire book and have been reading historical doxographies of philosophical thought augmenting with context of any academic material (encyclopedias, wars, forms of government, religions).
I forgot to mention, Thomas McEvilley and his ingenious work “Shape of Ancient Thought” which helped bridge the gap between indian and Greek thought through historically impermeable middle man Persia.
My favorite history book on the Greeks is Terry Buckley’s “Aspects of Greek History 750-323BC: A Source-Based Approach” Robert Wilkens “Christians as the Roman’s saw them” introduced me to Porphyry
My favorite professor on the Greeks is Yale’s Donald Kagan and on philosophy is Yale’s Tamar Gendler
I didnt even mention Spinoza and Bruno. Spinoza (and Voltaire) I’m aware of through Durant and Spinoza (also heard via Kaku) was heavily influenced by Aristotle and neoplatonic thought. Same w Bruno
The names of the people in the pic: sapphos, diotima, aspasia, hypatia, sosipatra, theodora. Pythagoras, socrates, plato, aristotle, ammonius, plotinus, porphyry. Hypatia, hierocles, plutarch, iamblichus, proclus, damascius, voltaire, jung, watts. Hypatia is shown twice due her role as a head of an academy in the neoplatonic tradition. All were teachers or leaders in some fashion
I see the world through this split view of post neo classical (post enlightenment Greek/Roman) stance on everything. I see everything as it relates contextually to either philosophy, government, or religion from these two power houses. I’d like to expand that to minoan and phoenician influence, but they are hard to get at as they have no written record. But what I try to understand are the basic names, dates, places, and titles and major ideas and wars of these two entities. Doing so gives me a wide breadth of understanding of culture, but far beyond merely understanding medieval society. I see everything that the Enlightenment appreciated from the classical period but on a far grander scale. I mean like 600+ book scale.
Point is I’m trying and because of that I see the world almost as if a post apocalyptic version of classical times.
The biggest takeaway is I now start to see archetypes and how they exist in society today through images of saints and ideals. By reading so far into our shared collective past (western society), especially pre abrahamic faiths pretty much. Is I see an anthropological social psychological sub structure as it exists today, a zeitgeist if you will.
It’s no more different than reading a fantasy campaign from TSR in the 90’s (e.g. DragonLance), it’s just I built my own modules by building my own classics library. Arguably it’s Raistlin who I got this post apocalyptic pov from. Because in the books he was cursed with seeing everything as dead (as post dead, decayed). I carried this forward as when reading about these rich full ancient times, I understand where they are today and what’s transpired and how they affect us now and how no one else knows or sees. Everyone just sees the present.
My library mainly focuses on high level summaries of ideas along with some base level material by the big names (Plato, Aristotle, Pre-Socratics, Plotinus). Else I want extract/summaries of ideas, mainly Neoplatonism.
You know. Far right fear is Fascism. One of the greatest historical examples is Critias and the 30 tyrants who purged up to a 5% of it’s citizens.
Yet on the other spectrum you have failed Marxism. I almost compared to the two, Critias and Marx as similar, one was a revolutionary, where-as the other inspired others to become revolutionaries. Marx though would be considered left, where-as Cristias would be considered right. What I was seeing similar was not their ideology, but rather their consolidation of power under one entity through means of force if necessary (ends justifies the means). I see in Critias what I see in Lycurgus which is what I see in Marx and is what I should have seen even in Plato (political ideology), even if he was more of a pacifist it seems. Yet, more-so I equated Critias with Marx because of his criticism of religion (interestingly enough, in Lycurgus state, religion is used as a tool, same goes for Athens though through the use of cults) that I read from “Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers” by Werner Jaeger on how the gods as a pretext by the powers that be (authorities) to oversee our actions. Very similar to the impersonal attitude of “religion is the opium of the masses”.
I looked up in my classical encyclopedia of philosophy under Critias. How funny he is defended by Plato, yet is considered a sophist by Philostratus (170-245 C.E.). What I think was actually going on, was Sophistry was a good trade and Plato mocked it for one reason or another, but charging for money seems something to have to do with it, but I think according to Terry Buckley or Donald Kagan mentioned it’s because Plato and his like didn’t need to rely on money, so their pursuit of ideas were different, but there is a lot of competition motivation for ideas here. I tend to like Protogoras and think of him like a philosopher, and yet Plato thinks of his corrupt uncle not as a Sophist but as a philospher? I think this is just classical shit talking right here then. Which would be in line with the light that is cast on Plato by the book “The Trial of Socrates” by I.F. Stone (that Plato/Socrates were fascists and Alcibiades and Critias as well as Xenophon are good examples). Where does that put me if I claim to be a neoplatonist? Well, I certainly consider myself a democrat in the ideals of Athenian Democracy, something Plato roundly criticized. I respect Platos access to ideas, like quite literally his theory of forms. I think Plato was a good person who happened to have corrupt students and I think Socrates was an overzealous stubborn idealist who believed in putting principle before everything else. Philosophy and Sophistry are two sides of the same coin if not the same. It’s just word play, but you can extract meaning from it (Protagoras is a prime example). Philosophy is meaning extracted from ideas, where as sophistry is that ideas are easily extracted and manipulated from words. To me, sophistry is more akin to the philosophies of Phyrrhonism, wherein dialectic, you can make anything mean anything, so there is nothing to prove. But at the end, they are both belief systems about epistemology.
Critias approval of Sparta means he was also approving of their democratic system of govt, which was a sham of democracy (shouting match) with inciteful questions. In other words, the powers that be controlled the framing of the questions to the public of which would have to give a public response of confirmation or denial in front of each other via a loud resounding yes or no. Do you tell people who you voted for? Do you have a public and a private face?
‘Critias (c.460-403 B.C.E. of Athens. Sophistically inclined litterateur; associate of Socrates. An Athenian aristocrat, Critias combined a career as a versatile writer and intellectual with periods of antidemocratic political activity. With the oligarchic coup of 404, he emerged as the most bloodthirsty of the Thirty Tyrants and died battling the democratic counterrevolution. Despite tactful portraits in Plato (his nephew), he was often paired with Alcibiades as among Socrates’ most corrupt “pupils.”
Critias wrote negative recitative and dramatic poetry and verse. Prose writings include “Aphorisms,” Conversations,” and a collection of “Proemia for public speakers.”
His elegant verse shows an admiration of Sparta, along with interest in the various usages and inventions of civilization. His prose works are too little known to allow us to identify him as an original thinker, though he is said to have distinguished sensation from cognition and to have identified the soul with blood. Much attention has been drawn to a speech from the play Sisyphus, maintaining that religion was invented by a shrewd politician to insure that fear of the gods would make citizens obey the laws even when unobserved. This naturalistic, progressivist, and psychological account suggest Protogoras, Prodicus, And Democritus, yet the Sisyphus is sometimes attributed to Euripides (for the debate see Davies).
Critias is included among the sophists by Philostratus, but unlike most sophists he did not teach and was Athenian. He continues to hold the reputation he had among the ancients as a “layman among philosophers, a philosopher among laymen’ (DK88A3)
Yet he is a pupil of Socrates, so was Xenophon, and so was Plato
Because I believe form pre-dates instantiations, I read history to see if I can infer patterns which have been re-applied throughout history.
I was briefly summarizing the book Who Wrote the New Testament to a friend of mine where I described Christianity as a response to two conflicting agencies: Rome and Judaism, the resulting mythology was Christianity. I infer this from
Revelations being a response to Roman persecutions
The Roman Jewish wars which were 66 to 150 AD. Hostilities were marked since the Maccabees and ending with Bar Kokhba revolt in 150 AD. It is generally accepted that there was a Zionist appeal before, during, and after Jesus time (to include John the Baptist).
Neoplatonic ideas in Christianity.
During this time of violent upheaval, Paul attempts to co-opt gentiles into the legacy of Judaism, which validates his own culture. With the fall of the Temple/Jerusalem (70 AD) and the dispersion of the Jews as well as their works into the diaspora, Judaism–through Gentile Christianity–would stay preserved. Judaism would later re-emerge as Rabbinic Judasim.
It is the myth that papers over–or smooths over–the conflict. The idea is more about reconciling world-views after a conflict, a hybrid of the two former systems. In this case, Christianity had the added benefit of taking off after the power vacuum of Western Rome falling (Bishops would take on a very prominent role during the Middle Ages), and with the East officially adopting Christianity for over a 1000 years.
What is interesting about this analogy, is myth making is a powerful tool used to shape us. It doesn’t just apply to powerful governments and religions, but also to interpersonal relationships. If two parties have irresolvable differences, often they tell themselves their own story (myth) to make sense of their world view.
“But social change also calls for the revision of a people’s myths.”
-Burton Mack on discussing the change from temple sacrifice Judaism to rabbinic, who wrote the new testament, p 280 (creating the christian bible).
“Accordingly we must also see natural forces in the hostile Titanic powers whom they hold in their bonds. In this way the Titanomachy, which is one of the traditional elements in the theogenies, is given a systematic cosmogonical interpretation. These dark forces contending against the world-order of Zas under the leadership of Ophioneus, the Snaky One (a detail that permits us to infer a chthonic origin), are vanquished and hurled into Oceanus. It seems obvious to me that the volcanic phenomena of the Mediterranean world are responsible for this elaboration of the old Titanomachy, especially since this is the way Aeschylus and Pindar interpret the tale of the wild Typhos over whose head Zeus rolled Mount Etna.” – Werner Jaegar
Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers, pg 78
It had been my assumption that the story of the Titans was a description of the world powers that were replaced between the fall of the Mycaneans and the rise of the Greeks (i.e. the Greek Dark Ages). It was also expressed in Jaeger’s book that sometimes the past power structure is merely a straw man to explain the current power structure. Not sure which interpretation is more correct, but I’d lean towards actual power structures vs not considering their is so much precedent (Mack).
“When children experience a trauma or an attachment wound (along with hurt feelings from it), they develop a belief and tell themselves a story about it in order to make sense of what happened and to cope. This is both helpful and a hindrance, because the story is almost always limiting and based on fear.”
I’m almost done with my book the Shape of Ancient Thought and am about to start on the book, Who Wrote the Gospels. I’ve endured countless hours of lectures by Ehrman and Dale Martin as well as read two books on early Christianity, Christians as the Romans Saw Them and How Jesus Became God. I believe I have a good understanding of how the early Christian faith got off the ground.
I believe there was a Passion Narrative, as well as a Sayings Gospel. The Sayings Gospel is obviously from Galilee/Judea, and possibly near Antioch area. It’s possible after the temple fall when the Jews were dispersed, that they went North and congregated in Antioch (this is historical, as Alexandria didn’t really hit the scene until around 150 AD, though it was a hotbed for philosophic thought which would help shape Neoplatonism as well as Origen, it makes perfect sense now that Augustine actually traveled through Alexandria to get north that he too would be sympathetic to it.
I digress. I’ve heard Matthew is Jewish
Anyways, Mark heard the passion narrative and wrote his work based on it. The passion is the crucifixion, and I’m partial to believe that no one actually witnessed the events. Which would explain why the Mary’s went to see where Jesus was buried and a story about an empty tomb was created. The city was 80 miles away, and back then it would be difficult to travel 80 miles without resources. So I suspect Mary went to visit after Jesus’ crucifixion and didn’t find a body and created the story she did, which was part of the passion narrative.
Then Mark writes his gospel, and Luke/Matthew base theirs on Mark plus the sayings gospel which are more likely authentic to Jesus himself.
Jesus teachings were apocalyptic in nature. His believers at his death probably quickly believed his failure wasn’t a failure, but his Resurrection must surely happen, and after a century when it didn’t, Christianity changed to one of salvation, mimicking the salvation cults around the Mediterranean, salvation from materialism (matter was viewed by early pre Socratic as the souls tomb). Neoplatonism which was evolving from Middle Platonism/Neo Pythagoreanism were working on an idea of freedom from reincarnations. A salvation if you will, but only when one was enlightened. Christianity would borrow this from Augustine/Plotinus.