reply to post by charles1952
I use the same definition of empirical evidence as you do. The reason being that anything which can not be observed, measured, or tested by any
willing participant can never be satisfactorily described as "existent."
To the contrary of your claim though, empirical evidence can be acquired at any time. All it would take would be for the omnipotent, omnipresent being
known as God to manifest in an open, public place for every living being on the planet. Or, for Jesus to return and publicly address the nations of
the world, followed by demonstrations of the miracles her performed in the Bible. These would not be difficult for beings such as God and Christ.
Since no such demonstrations have occurred outside of ancient, unprovable accounts, many recorded hundreds of years after the supposed actions, I have
no empirical evidence on which to believe in God anymore than in Baal, a contemporary of God's.
As for proving plagiarism by empirical evidence, while I cannot say that it had to have happened, exactly as I described
, we do have an
We have physical evidence which points to the Hebrew's Babylonian captivity between 600 and 580 BCE. At the same time we have tangible cuneiform
inscriptions of Sumerian and Babylonian mythology dates from as early as 3500 BCE, and as late as 669 BCE (and probably even later).
Now, here we have nearly 3000 years of frequently recorded mythology, which occurs right up to, and most likely beyond, the Jewish captivity when the
Hebrews began writing their own mythology. Among the myths popular in Babylon during the captivity?
1) Two creation myths: one where the god Enki and the goddess Ninmah (Ninhursag) create human beings out of clay, and then breathe life into them.
These humans are then instructed to look after the flora and fauna of the paradise garden, called Dilmun, where they will never age, suffer, or die.
The second creation myth, of the state-god Marduk, details how he built man out of clay, mixed with blood and spit, then breathed life into man.
Marduk then sets human beings to tending to the needs of the earth. Whichever account you prefer, it leads directly to...
2) A flood-myth. In this myth humans have gotten too noisy, too rude, or have stopped being faithful to the gods (differs depending on if it's a
Sumerian, Babylonian-Akkadian, or Chaldean account). The result? The god Enlil decides to have a host of storm gods flood the entire planet, killing
every human being for their offensive ways. Before this can be completed though, Enlil's brother, Enki, communicates with a single inhabitant of Sumer
named Utnapishtam. Enki warns Utnapishtam of the coming calamity and instructs him to build a boat which he, his family, and his livestock may use to
survive the coming disaster. After the rains, Utnapishtam releases a bird to find solid land and offers sacrifices to the gods. This leads to a new
species of human beings, who end up in great suffering. A particular writing remains of a figure known as Tabu-Utul-Bel.
3) In his writing, known as the Ludlul Bel Nimeqi (c. 1700 BCE), we have the story of a man who tries to be righteous and faithful to his gods, but
begins to see evil, suffering, and despair take hold of his world. Eventually, this same evil consumes Tabu himself, and he cries out to his gods, his
personal deity, even his priests and enchanters for the answer to why he suffers, though he is faithful and upright. At the end, the messengers of
Marduk come and release Tabu from his torments and rewards him for his faith.
Those are just three myths, all from Sumer, which parallel the creation of man in Genesis, the flood and Noah's ark, and the book of Job. There are
numerous other myths from Egypt, Babylon, the Hittites and Hurrians, the Canaanites, and various others which also match the Hebrew and Christian
It can be said that these older myths do not mention Yahweh, or Jesus, or Noah himself, etc., and cannot be the same. This is a mistake though,
because the Jews were attempting to differentiate themselves from the pagans who they were enslaved to. They wanted their myths to project a personal,
cultural identity. It is, however, not unreasonable to assume that the Jews took the myths they were familiar with, added their own legendary figures,
and repacked them, claiming them as as their own, while they were in developing their identity during the captivity.
Judaism and Christianity are not the only place where this happens either. The myth of Teshub and Ullikumi is an older version of the myth of Zeus and
Typhon. The Descent of Ishtar and the Death of Dumuzi gets retold, with slight changes each time, as Osiris and Isis; Baal and Anat; Attis and Kybele;
Demeter and Persephone; Orpheus and Eurydice; Odin on the Yggdrasil; and then even as Jesus Christ's crucifixion.
[EDIT TO ADD]
So, the myths are not the exact thing, but they would not be. The Jews were attempting to become a different people, with a different philosophy. But
they could not escape their history. Likewise, this undermines God's originality, because it is apparent that He is based upon these older gods, these
older myths, and these older precepts. As the Jews continued to wage war against the pagans and wander about West Asia they simply reformed the myths
of the pagans they encountered into their own mythology.
[EDIT TO ADD]
edit on 27/11/12 by Wandering Scribe because: (no reason given)