Reviving Julian Jaynes

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Reviving Julian Jaynes

Postby hyksos on March 23rd, 2019, 6:08 pm 

Thus Spake the Idols

Christian Sunday school will never tell you the real historical basis of what an "idol" means in the Old Testament. Sometimes translated as "graven image", idols had actual names in ancient Hebrew, including tselem and terap. The plural of terap is teraphim. All of these words, and more occur in the Old Testament.

Idols were "consulted" by people in the Old Testament a number of different times. Idols are made of different materials ranging from silver, to gold, to stone and even wood. Their sizes ranged from 1-to-1 mannequin size, gigantic towering stone statues, carved effigies, and even little wooden figurines.

The western world went from a period before Jesus Christ, where its Judeo-Christian traditions were dominated by Old Testament books and Jewish religious mythology. In particular the Greeks and Romans had a polythiestic pantheon of various minor gods. At that point, the word "Oracle" came into European languages. From basic high school history classes, almost everyone knows that an Oracle is something consulted for prophecy. (e.g. the Oracle at Delphi ). While at this point it might seem like "oracle" and "idol" are interchangeable synonyms, they do carry a slightly different meaning by the 16th century A.D. The best way to understand this is that what happened is that small stone statues and wooden figurines are idols and large, expensive, stone effigies of gods are Oracles. Most importantly what is common between both is they talk to people. This is what is meant by the repeated use of the phrase "consulted with". As we will see in the writings of Jose De Acosta, he just flatly states that the idols spoke.

This is of course not what is taught to adolescents in the Christian parts of the United States. They are told instead that "idol" is some kind of amorphous , psychological connection to a graven image. The theory that ancient people literally heard voices coming out of figurines -- and that this is meant literally --- is completely absent from any given midwestern American church doctrine.

In the writings and works of Julian Jaynes, this is vociferously and directly challenged. One might believe (justifiably so) that Jaynes's works are not mainstream history or mainstream archeology. However, as we shall see in flying color, the works of the Spanish missionary, Jose de Acosta, completely confirms the theory of speaking statues/figurines (hereby "idols"). That is to say, by the 16th century A.D. it was still known that oracles, idols, and other small statues were (in ancient times to to then) literally speaking out loud to people, often in complete sentences.

I would prefer the reader of this article read the entire book from cover-to-cover; that would make this situation proceed in a much more fluid and reasonable manner. A demand that the reader consume an entire book before responding to this article is not conducive to quick interactions on the internet ---and my demanding such would be unreasonable. I am left in this venue of having to include only a digestible chunk of Jaynes's writing. (the problem being is that Jayne's appears to be quote-mining the bible and drawing overwheening conclusions. That's the danger of posting only a selection of his book.)

Neverthless, let's get it done.

Julian Jaynes
Born: February 27, 1920, West Newton, Massachussetts
Ph.d, Harvard
jaynes_portraitphoto.jpg

origin_bicameral_cover.jpg


The most important type of idol was the tselem , a cast or molten statue usually fashioned with a graving tool, often of gold or silver, made by a founder from melted money (Judges 17:4) or melted jewelry (Exodus 32:4), and sometimes expensively dressed (Ezekiel 16:17). Isaiah scoffingly describes their construction in Judah around 700 B.C. (Isaiah 44:12). They could be images either of animals or of men. Sometimes the tselem may have been just a head placed high on a pedestal or high altar (II Chronicles 14:3) or even the huge golden tselem which Nebuchadnezzar placed upon a pillar 90 feet high (Daniel 3:1). More often, they seemed to have been placed in an asherah , probably one of the wooden shrines hung with rich fabric that the King James scholars translated as "groves."

Next in importance seems to be the carved statue or pesel, of which very little is known. It was probably chiseled out of wood and was the same as the atsab , which is what the Philistines, who destroyed Saul's army, worshiped. After Saul's death and the defeat of Israel, the Philistines run to tell their atsabim first of their victory and then afterwards their people (I Samuel 31:95 I Chronicles 10:9). That they were painted gold or silver is indicated by several references in the Psalms, and that they were of wood by the fact that David in wreaking his revenge on the Philistines makes a bonfire out of them (II Samuel 5:21). There were also some kind of sun idols of unknown shape called chammanim , which seem also to have been set up on pedestals, since they are ordered cut down by Leviticus (26:30), Isaiah (27:9), and Ezekiel (6:6).

If not the most important, perhaps the most common hallucinogenic idol was the terap. We are told directly that a terap could seem to speak, since the king of Babylon at one point consults with several of them (Ezekiel 21:21). Sometimes they were probably small figurines, since Rachel can steal a group of prized teraphim (to use the Hebrew plural) from her furious father and hide them (Genesis 31:19). They also could be lifesized, since it is a terap that is substituted for the sleeping David (I Samuel 19:13). As we have already seen, the very casualness of this last reference seems to indicate that such teraphim were common enough around the houses of leaders. But in the hills, such idols must have been rare and highly prized. In Judges we are told of Micah, who builds a house of elohim containing a tselem, a pesel, a terap, and an ephod, the latter being usually an ornate ritual robe which, perhaps put over a frame, could be made into an idol. And these he calls his elohim, which are then stolen by the children of Dan (Judges: 17 and 18). We would probably have more archaeological evidence of these hallucinogenic idols of the Hebrews today had not King Josiah had them all destroyed in 641 B.C. (II Chronicles 34:37)

The theory that statues, idols, figurines, (and what have you) were literally speaking out loud to human beings is conspicuously, uncomfortably supernatural. Any person's normal reaction to this theory is to recoil from it. Myself I responded to this claim was to dismiss it as Dr. Jaynes being overly academic and drawing unjustifiable conclusions from ancient texts on words that are difficult or impossible to translate. What eventually happens is that you say "Well.. hmmph. That's interesting to think about late at night." And Jaynes book goes back onto the shelf to collect dust for several years.

De Acosta and the Devil's Statues
We travel back now to the time in which the Spanish were conquering and colonizing a section of Western Peru, some time in the latter half of the 16th century. By 1579, a Spanish missionary finished his magnum opus on the part of world he called "the Indies".

Jose De Acosta
Born: 1538 in Medina del Campo, Spain
education: Jesuit Priest. Medina del Campo, and Ocana.
deAcosta_side.png

.
natural_and_moral_acosta.png

So imagine the following scenario. Some Jesuit Priest is running around in the jungles of Peru, and the natives there are worshiping statues which appear to talk to them in bizarre religious rituals. The priest writes back home that "the natives are being spoken to by idols here. We Europeans used to have this kind of stuff all the time back in the day. Such speaking oracles are very rare for us nowadays, because of the blessings of Jesus Christ. As is documented in the writings of friar Martir, Christ placed a silence on the voice of the devils coming out of idols. But here in Peru, the natives are still engaging in this pernicious witchcraft." And he just plainly states that in his letter like its common historical knowledge back home in the Jesuit convent. "Yeah we all know statues used to talk to people. Everyone does. It is how the Devil works as described in scripture. Nothing to see here. Moving on."

Wouldn't that be peculiar? Such a letter would certainly act as strong evidence in support of Jaynes's thesis about talking figurines. It may even stand as proof of it. I mean, it would be truly strange to find such a letter penned by a man in the 1580s. Strange, indeed.
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Re: Reviving Julian Jaynes

Postby hyksos on March 23rd, 2019, 6:19 pm 

Now watch this.

DivellDidspeakecvisibly.png

.
ChristSilencesVoices.png

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Incas_pantheon.png

So yeah.

The above is taken from The Natural and Moral History of the Indies. Book Five.(V) Chapter 12. Of the temples that have been found in the Indies.

Originally written in Spanish, English translations are very difficult to find on the internet. The best I could find for the above material was a translation from the 1850s shown above, where english words have strannge & archaejk spelling. I had to break this article into two posts due to limitations of this forum's mechanics.

For a larger historical backdrop, google the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire
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Re: Reviving Julian Jaynes

Postby TheVat on March 23rd, 2019, 8:20 pm 

OCBBM is a book I read, and was fascinated by, back in the 80s, and yes, not easily digested by means of a few quotes. IIRC we chatted on it a few years back, at spcf, but not sure what thread.

Writers like Neal Stephenson and Harry Turtledove have worked bicameralism into their novels. One is discussed here, with a useful summary of Jaynes....

http://bactra.org/reviews/between-the-rivers/

Also, Turtledove's short story, "Bluff," has an interesting take on Jaynesian theory...

https://turtledove.fandom.com/wiki/Bluff

For me, Jaynes's theory of bicameralism is one of the most useful wrong theories ever conceived, provoking a lot of growth at the time in research into the nature of human self-awareness and consciousness generally.
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Re: Reviving Julian Jaynes

Postby Brent696 on April 1st, 2019, 6:58 pm 

Oracles and Idols are not the same, Oracles are human beings who speak for a deity or for the dead. Even the Prophets who spoke for God are oracles, in an extended fashion, oracle can refer to inanimate such as a Ouija board, or some form of divination. Idols, OTOH, are manufactured, gold, silver, wood, stone, even straw or what would be considered sacred trees or leaves, generally in the shape of humans or animal. Normally they represent powers within the universe, reproduction, harvest, etc...

In scripture, YHWH, through His oracles the prophets, makes the point over and over that idols cannot walk or talk, that plus the fact they they are fashioned, manufactured, out of whatever material, places them in a category that is NOT GOD. Idols can be simply defined as: Something created/formed that is imbued/invested with power. In scripture God mocks the idiocy of those who worship idols,

Isaiah 44:9-22 New International Version (NIV)
9 All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame. 10 Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit nothing? 11 People who do that will be put to shame; such craftsmen are only human beings. Let them all come together and take their stand; they will be brought down to terror and shame.

12 The blacksmith takes a tool and works with it in the coals; he shapes an idol with hammers, he forges it with the might of his arm. He gets hungry and loses his strength; he drinks no water and grows faint. 13 The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker; he roughs it out with chisels and marks it with compasses. He shapes it in human form, human form in all its glory, that it may dwell in a shrine. 14 He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow. 15 It is used as fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it. 16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.” 17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, “Save me! You are my god!” 18 They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand. 19 No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, “Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?” 20 Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?


As for those who claim Idols speak to them, this is in practice even today, normally it involved hallucinogenic drugs of some kind, or extreme physical activity, dancing to drums, etc... whatever it takes to enter a trance, and it is in the trance where one supposedly hear the idol speak. Or some might suggest their idol speaks through omens of some kind, whether the wind blows from the right or left of the idol or whatever phenomenon is decided as being the predictor.

In the apocrypha book of "Bel and the Dragon" there is another idol story (Wiki summation)

Bel
The narrative of Bel (14:1–22) ridicules the worship of idols. In it, the king asks Daniel, "You do not think Bel is a living god? Do you not see how much he eats and drinks every day?"[6] to which Daniel answers that the idol is made of clay covered by bronze and thus cannot eat or drink. Enraged, the king then demands that the seventy priests of Bel show him who consumes the offerings made to the idol. The priests then challenge the king to set the offerings as usual (which were "twelve great measures of fine flour, and forty sheep, and six vessels of wine") and then seal the entrance to the temple with his ring: if Bel does not consume the offerings, the priests are to be sentenced to death; otherwise, Daniel is to be killed.

Daniel then uncovers the ruse (by scattering ashes over the floor of the temple in the presence of the king after the priests have left) and shows that the "sacred" meal of Bel is actually consumed at night by the priests and their wives and children, who enter through a secret door when the temple's doors are sealed.

The next morning, Daniel calls attention to the footprints on the temple floor; the priests of Bel are then arrested and, confessing their deed, reveal the secret passage that they used to sneak inside the temple. They, their wives and children are put to death, and Daniel is permitted to destroy the idol of Bel and the temple. This version has been cited as an ancestor of the "locked-room mystery".[7]


I'm not sure where this idea comes from that "Sunday School" possesses some form of brain washing curriculum, outside of more cult oriented churches that are few and far between, in most churches the ministers deal mostly with the sermons and Sunday school classes are facilitated by volunteers. Sometimes they use small handbooks to follow certain lesson and scriptures but a great deal of exploration goes on as members of the class interact and give opinions, all sharing their knowledge of different subjects. But I will make allowances for the Catholic Church, as it developed and held itself as a power structure for way too long, censored information, even as they often hid the scriptures in Latin, but those days are long since past in most Catholic churches.
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Re: Reviving Julian Jaynes

Postby hyksos on April 2nd, 2019, 4:44 pm 

Bel
The narrative of Bel (14:1–22) ridicules the worship of idols. In it, the king asks Daniel, "You do not think Bel is a living god? Do you not see how much he eats and drinks every day?"[6] to which Daniel answers that the idol is made of clay covered by bronze and thus cannot eat or drink. Enraged, the king then demands that the seventy priests of Bel show him who consumes the offerings made to the idol. The priests then challenge the king to set the offerings as usual (which were "twelve great measures of fine flour, and forty sheep, and six vessels of wine") and then seal the entrance to the temple with his ring: if Bel does not consume the offerings, the priests are to be sentenced to death; otherwise, Daniel is to be killed.

I'm wondering if Baal is the same deity as Bel here. Baal was a lesser demigod of the early Semitic tribes in the Levant. Consistent with other polytheistic early tribal societies, Baal was a "god of harvest".

In 1 Kings chapter 18, there is something like the above, but when I go read it again, Elijah builds a countering idol to Jehovah. The statue performs a miracle by drinking water out of a mote around it and burns up some "bullock" (pieces of broken furniture?) .
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Re: Reviving Julian Jaynes

Postby Brent696 on April 2nd, 2019, 10:07 pm 

Baal and Bel, generally, are names meaning "lord" or "master", the former centering around the Canaanites, and the later Babylonian. As survival basically depended upon two major factors, food and reproduction, I would think most false gods were to be representative of harvest/rain/storm, as these deal with the food supply, or fertility as this deals with reproduction. Factors effecting the population might be raids from neighboring kingdoms, carrying away women and slaves, and the stress of their subsistence lifestyle can cause women not to be very fertile. Plus just like today, a growing population was good economically all around.

In 1 Kings chapter 18, there is something like the above, but when I go read it again, Elijah builds a countering idol to Jehovah. The statue performs a miracle by drinking water out of a mote around it and burns up some "bullock" (pieces of broken furniture?) .


Elijah does not build an "Idol" rather an Altar consisting of twelve stones, rough stones upon which no tool had touched, no form imposed. There is no statue and there is nothing of such that "drinks". YHWH does not inhabit the stones, rather He sends fire from heaven, a fire so hot, it consumes the whole of the bull's carcass, the wood, the stones (Altar), including the water poured upon the whole thing.

"""30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Now come to me.” So they gathered around him, and Elijah rebuilt the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. 31 He took twelve stones, one stone for each of the twelve tribes, the number of Jacob’s sons. (The Lord changed Jacob’s name to Israel.) 32 Elijah used these stones to rebuild the altar in honor of the Lord. Then he dug a ditch around the altar that was big enough to hold about thirteen quarts of seed. 33 Elijah put the wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces, and laid the pieces on the wood. 34 Then he said, “Fill four jars with water, and pour it on the meat and on the wood.” Then Elijah said, “Do it again,” and they did it again. Then he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it the third time. 35 So the water ran off the altar and filled the ditch.

36 At the time for the evening sacrifice, the prophet Elijah went near the altar. “Lord, you are the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,” he prayed. “Prove that you are the God of Israel and that I am your servant. Show these people that you commanded me to do all these things. 37 Lord, answer my prayer so these people will know that you, Lord, are God and that you will change their minds.”

38 Then fire from the Lord came down and burned the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the ground around the altar. It also dried up the water in the ditch. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell down to the ground, crying, “The Lord is God! The Lord is God!”""


Some translation or possibly just the old king James says something about "licked up the water" but the but it is obvious there is no Idol.
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