Religion, Science, Understanding, and Tolerance, Part 2
May 11th, 2013
My previous post shared a little of my past, and the experiences which caused me to delve into our religious roots. Let us continue following the trail, and make our way to the astronomical backbone hidden in the biblical Samson story.
Unraveling the upcoming details took almost eighteen years, and, to finish, required the rationality of an engineering training. I know many religious people may be troubled by these discoveries because they reveal that religion isn’t based upon exactly what they believe it is. Some atheists will also be troubled since the following shows the roots of our scientific understandings are firmly planted in religious investigations.
Stated plainly, the basis of modern science is historical religious thinking. Religion and science were intimately connected three-thousand years ago, before starting to part ways in about 500 BC.
The item which opens up this forgotten past is still a fundamental aspect of our lives: the ‘sixty’ used on our watches and in our angular measurement systems.
I am not going to repeat everything in my book; if you are drawn to a fuller understanding, it is very affordable. And, I dare say, easy to read considering the subject matter! As I stated before, nothing else like it currently exists. All the astronomy behind the Samson story is revealed there, instead of this comprehensive teaser.
Like I mentioned earlier, my journey began with Hamlet’s Mill. It implied the wisest of our ancestors had a ‘mythical,’ secret knowledge of the heavens throughout the previous six-thousand years, if not more, which has now been forgotten. Part of de Santillana and von Dechend’s writing indicated our historical ‘wisdom’ was tied to a series of meetings between the two slowest visible wanderers: Jupiter and Saturn.
Paying attention to their claim may have shaved some time off my quest for understanding, but unfortunately Hamlet’s Mill was in a terrible editorial state. I quit reading before comprehension came.
Even though they were in large part wrong, their fundamentals were correct. Our ancestors did pay deep attention to the sky, including Jupiter and Saturn’s ‘conjunctions.’ But six-thousand years is a little too early; the first historical indication of such a celestial knowledge is found in documents eight-hundred years later, around 3200 BC.
‘Sixty’ became the basis of our numbering system near that time, as testified to by archaeological records from then (see page 106). The most prominent part of Uruk, where the discoveries were made, was a precinct called the ‘Anu district.’ ‘An,’ the deity this was named after, was the Sumerian god of the sky, and, according to Morris Jastrow’s The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, explicitly linked to ‘sixty.’ (The hyperlink should take you to page 465, where this is stated towards the bottom.)
Other hints reinforce the celestial basis of this system. For instance, ‘geš’ (should have a ‘~’, called a ’tilde,’ over the ‘g’ in this case, but the combination doesn’t seem to be available in browsers or elsewhere) is Sumerian for ‘60,’ and one meaning of ‘ge’ (no tilde) is ‘to return, come back…,’ according to John Halloran’s Sumerian Lexicon
Sumerian was originally a language of syllables, where each one often stood for a concept. The ‘returning’ aspect of ‘ge’ makes sense when Jupiter and Saturn’s conjunction cycle is understood.
These two planets come together every twenty years, and every third meeting occurs near the same part of the sky as the one sixty years earlier. For instance, here are some current locations:
‘Returning Aspect’ of Jupiter/Saturn Conjunctions
Another item worth considering: the word for Saturn is listed as ‘gena, genna, ginna, or gina,’ and in part means “constant; regular; small…”
One last point: the sexagesimal system was counted in three ‘twenties.’ The Sumerian word for ‘forty’ is listed as: “nimin, nin5: forty (niš, ‘twenty’, + min, ‘two’).”
All of this, in addition to the fact that the Samson story hinges upon the sixty-year meetings of these planets two-thousand years later, pretty solidly proves the celestial basis of our time-keeping system. For a little more on this topic, read Laughing at the Devil.
With that, we’ve reached a logical point for a break. Join me tomorrow for a dive into another aspect of Western religion which has been forgotten for millennia!