Re: Mythicism, Minimalism, and its Detractors (part 2)

This is a further response that began in my previous post:

Re: Mythicism, Minimalism, and its Detractors

I said: This is where I think Acharya/Murdock has one key to understanding a larger perspective. There are only two baaic factors that all humans in all places and time periods have shared: a basic human nature and psychoological functioning; and a common enviornmental experience.

Verenna said: “I don’t accept that all humans have a common environmental experience.  We all have “environmental experiences” but they are not common.  The degrees by which they vary is why we have jerks and humanitarians and humanitarian jerks.”

I wasn’t talking about common environmental experience as a social factor, but that plays in as well because research shows that social development follows common patterns.  Rather, what I was talking about is the physical environment: sun and moon, stars and planets; seasons along with daily and yearly solar cycles; migration and growth patterns; universal scientific laws.  Et Cetera.  These environmental experiences (including the social aspects as well) are common to “jerks and humanitarians and humanitarian jerks.”  There is nothing overly controversial about my claim.

I said: As for the latter, the most universal experience humans share is the observation of the sky.

Verenna said: “I disagree.  I think the most universal experience is death.  Some cultures looked up and others looked down.  Others still looked in the trees, in the water, in the wind… don’t let Acharya S pull the wool over your eyes.  Not every culture looked up and saw the same thing.  And not every culture looked down and saw the same thing.”

I certainly wasn’t arguing against other universal human experiences.  Whichever is the most universal, both death and the sky are themes found in every culture. 

Your constant condescension is rude and childish.  You’ve already made it clear that you perceive yourself as a scholar whose insight is simply above my head and I’m a mere simpleton who has been duped.  It’s good you have such a high appraisal of yourself.  Personally, I prefer humility.
As I’ve already said, I read widely beyond Acharya/Murdock: other mythicists, comparative mythologists, psychologists and sociologists, socio-historical commentators, and much else.  Not every culture looked up and came up with the exact same myth.  However, every culture observerd the same patterns and there are plenty of examples where they interpreted them similarly.  For example, cultural transmission can’t explain the similarities between myths in Americas with myths in the rest of the world.  Many scholars have noted these types of similarities long before Acharya/Murdock and many scholars still do.

I said: The human mind evolved with people staring at the sky, and it offered a survival advantage.

Verenna said: “No, the human mind evolved when we started eating red meat.”

The human mind had many contributing factors.  I said the mind evolved with people staring at the sky.  I didn’t say that staring at the sky was a sole factor that caused the humand mind to evolve.

I said: The patterns of animals and plants also follow the patterns of the seasons, and knowing these patterns precisely could mean the difference between life and death for the people of the earliest civilizations.

Verenna said: “You don’t need to look to the sky to interpret seasons.  Again, don’t let Acharya S pull the wool over your eyes.  Nature has its own inherited mechanisms that function seasonally.  Interpreting them was just as much a part of the process.  In some cultures, like some Native American cultures, these natural phenomena were more influential than the stars and the skies.”

One doesn’t need to do anything.  However, the seasons go hand in hand with the cycles of heavenly bodies.  If you don’t realize this, then you can lessen your ignorance in two ways.  You could study the appropriate scholars, or you could spend a year outside carefully observing nature and the sky.  Are you serious when you say “Nature has its own inherited mechanisms that function seasonally”?  Duh!  Step outside of your preconceptions for a moment and study some science.  The sun and moon directly influence nature and even human biology.

It is true that different cultures emphasized different aspects of the world.  As you say, some Native Americans may have focused more on terrestrial phenomena, but they didn’t disregard the stellar phenomena.  Other Native Americans, in fact, even worshipped the sun just like other cultures.

I said: As such, Christians didn’t need to borrow mythology from Pagans. The mythology of the heavens was common to the entire ancient world. Any educated person would’ve been familiar with it. Astrotheology was a common framework of knowledge that crossed cultural and linguistic barriers.

Verenna said: “Astrotheology is bs.  Sorry to be so blunt about it.  It rests on too many assumed variables which are, to be honest, more speculation and wishful thinking than anything else.”

Thanks for further demonstrating your ignorance.  No, don’t worry at all.  I don’t mind you showing everybody your confusion and misunderstanding.  I imagine it must be rather refreshing for you to be so open about your lack of knowledge.

I realize within the field of New Testament studies, the focus of scholarship is generally narrow.  However, astrotheology is an academic study  But, outside of New Testament studies, academics would refer to it as either Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy.
I said: There is another aspect that most people forget. Ancient people experienced the world differently, and it isn’t helpful to place our standards and assumptions onto their stories and religions. I think it’s essential to understand cultural development on the largescale.</em>

Verenna said: “But that is just as bad because then you end up generalizing.”

Science generalizes.  So, I guess it depends if you think science is useful or not.  By studying different cultures at different stages of development, theories have been put forth about social development and cultural experience.

Considering all of your comments, I think you need to pull your nose out of your New Testament scholarship books.  There is a larger world out there and knowing about it might offer you much needed insight and perspective.

One thought on “Re: Mythicism, Minimalism, and its Detractors (part 2)

  1. This person was a good example. Like Bedard, Verenna is intelligent (but Bedard was nicer). Another similarity is that both Bedard and Verenna apparently had spent much of their lives focused on New Testament studies and they both demonstrated the problem of specialzing to the point of near tunnel vision.

    Even though these two know New Testament scholarship better than I, my knowledge is more broad. Both were dismissing astrotheology all the while giving evidence of how little they understood the subject. This is understandable for Bedard because he is an apologist, but Verenna claims to be a mythicist.

    The really sad part was Verenna showing how little he knew of science. And his ignorance of the academic scholarship of astrotheology (i.e., archaeoastronomy and ethnoastronomy) was quite telling.

    I can’t say I overall disagreed with Verenna’s view but he kept insisting on being disageeable. He was so identified as being a scholar that my pointing out a different perspective was a threat to the territory he had staked out. I’ve noticed this kind of territorialism with other NT scholars (e.g., John Loftus dismissal of mythicism all the while admitting his own ignorance).

    Verenna’s ignorance about Acharya/Murdock and astrotheology was verging on egotistic belligerance. He just had to be right, and he seemed to underestimate the possibility that I might know something he didn’t.

    This depresses me because it is so common. Venom-spewing assholes like Verenna give a bad name for mythicists. Verenna is self-taught and so obviously is sensitive about having his scholarship questioned. But what advantage does he gain by attacking people like me (and Acharya S) who agree with his basic viewpoint?

    His attacking Acharya S was very strange. He really was acting irrational. He respects both Earl Doherty and Robert M. Price (the latter he called a friend). These two scholars respect Acharya’s work, have written positive reviews of her books, have referenced her in their own work, and Price has even written a foreword to one of her books.

    Doherty and Price have read Acharya’s books and have come to a positive conclusion, but Verenna apparently hadn’t read any of Acharya’s books and was basing his conclusion on details he gathered on the internet. That demonstrates the difference between a real scholar (Doherty and Price) and a pretender (Verenna).

    Interestingly, Price originally had a critical attitude towards Acharya. But he changed his mind and was willing to admit to being wrong about her. If Verenna respects his supposed friend Price, then why doesn’t he follow Price’s example?

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