just thinking

History is not about the knowledge of the events, it is about the ability to recognise the continuum of the resulting influences on our consciousness, carried through to the present day.

I have been reading a book, Civilised to death, recommended by my good friend, Mary and it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, the bible considered not as god speak but as a response to a changing a world. Consider the garden of Eden as the natural habitat of the first humans where they lived as hunters and gathers and the fall as the beginning of agriculture.

The many wars are not really about god’s chosen ones but intertribal wars over land and watering points.

The book of kings can then be seen as state formation with their rigid rules and demands. For example taxes and all. In this way, the author of kings is not writing about things to come but things already experienced.

Jesus, then represents the archetype of the socialist or anarchist opposed to big government (here I kid) but you see where this is going.

I think Schopenhauer, that pessimistic philosopher, already tried to give the bible a very generous reading. Devoid of the claims of god inspiration and what nots, the bible begins to make sense as a response of those living in the crescent to the changes in lifestyle from hunters ad gatherers to farming and all.

What are your thoughts? Am i making any sense?

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

10 thoughts on “just thinking

  1. Carmen says:

    Years ago, when I read it, (and keeping in mind that I was an English major in school)I thought, “It reads like The Odyssey – a great myth”. ..I have never thought of it as anything else since.
    So your ‘take’ on it is as good of an interpretation as any, Mak!


  2. Tish Farrell says:

    I like your train of thought, Mak.


  3. Makes sense to me. 🙂


  4. I definitely think there’s a lot of value in seeing Biblical content as a reaction to the times in which it was written. For instance, all the attacks on idol worship and other gods makes a lot more sense in light of archaeology showing the common folk in pre-exilic Israel were far more polytheistic than the Biblical authors wanted them to be.

    But we have to be careful about projecting what we know unto their material, in essence, retconning their worldview. For example, I haven’t read anything indicating ancient people knew about their hunter-gatherer ancestors. It was a transition many thousands of years in their past, the extent of which they didn’t seem to comprehend, and long past the staying power of oral traditions.


    • makagutu says:

      You are on to something Mike and I agree we shouldn’t be projecting what we know into an unknown time and place. This said, oral histories have a way of staying with us. And if human lives has been a continuum, then oral stories have a long history, some of it made up of course


      • Thanks Mak. The thing about oral stories, is they evolve. After a few centuries they tend to be unrecognizable. We can see this in the snapshots we get of the story when someone writes down their current version.

        If cultures lose the details after only a few centuries, what hope can we have that stories from 8000-10,000 years earlier survive in any meaningful sense?


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