Saturday, December 6, 2014

Flat Earth theories - Common Sense or Solar Mythology?

On Philologica and New Blog on the kid : 1) Flat Earth theories - Common Sense or Solar Mythology?, 2) Why were Babylonians so sure Apsu and Tiamat were different substances?, 3) Genesis among Myths - were they meant to be understood literally? Yes

On Assorted Retorts : 1) ... on Historical Adam and Eve, 2) ... on Genre of Genesis

We know Egyptians and Babylonians in ancient times thought, mythologically at least, that Sun went over Earth disc at day time and under Earth disc at night.

Dogons seemingly still do, when they aren't too Westernised.

We also know Ancient Egyptians, Babylonians and Dogons too perhaps believe(d) in a Flat Earth.

We have all heard how people before Eratosthenes, and some have even heard how people before Columbus believed Earth to be flat due to "common sense" or over relying on senses as per common sense preference for believing them as long as not proven wrong.

But I have another theory. Flat Earth could be a by product of the solar mythology, the habit of telling just so stories about what the solar spirit (which they mistook for a deity or even the major one, when it's just an angel servant of the true God) did during the night and how this relates to the state of the dead (who live in a cave - according to their mythology - below the Earth disc and see the Sun when he goes down to them each night).

We hope the best for our departed. One way of looking at their fates is they live in the Netherworld (as indeed even the best did before Christ harrowed Hell). Failing to know about Christ coming one Easter, Pagans thought Sun came down to confort them every night. That rather than common sense interpretation might be behind more than one Flat Earth Cosmology. When later round Earth was accepted, Sunworshippers might have invented the Isle of the Blessed in in the West - Tír nan Óg of the Gaels. But we have seen even Americas are peopled by Men, not ghosts.

Apart from that, common sense and primitive humanity, both pre-Flood and post-Babel, may have been undecided as much as Catholic dogma and as previous Hebrew Scripture on shape of Earth.

It is uncommonly sophisticated to not even once clearly state a belief in a flat earth if everyone around Bible authors or everyone around all Church Fathers did. So, presumably as in the one latter case they didn't, which we know, neither did the Hebrews in the former case - or their prophets were stopped by God every time they would otherwise have made a blunder by being too "sophisticated" - according to contemporary human lights.

At Joshua's Long Day Globe-Earth also got a proof in China and Mongolia. West of Sichuan (17 km and onward West) it was a long day. East of it, it was a long night. People from both sides of the 125° E meridian meeting must have been able to conclude Earth was round. Eratosthenes comes 1000 years later.

Meanwhile round Earth knowledge - if any such was gained by the conclusion I think would have been obvious back in Joshua's time around where now we have Sichuan and also Chinese areas south of it - was suppressed in China. Perhaps by migration of those recalling a long night to the Americas. Or perhaps by destruction of documents under Shi Huang Ti. Perhaps some one after two centuries concluded Earth being round had to be in the Middle of the Universe and someone else got it wrong as China being in the Middle of the Earth Disc. And by the great authority attached to one who had said what was misunderstood or even the great authority attached to the one misunderstanding, the China as Land of the Middle of Earth Disc, and not Earth as Mid Point of a Globe formed Universe, was accepted. These three ways are how I can imagine that China remained or became Flat Earth believing.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Nicolas of Myra

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