Has anyone on the list read GUNS, GERMS AND STEEL by Jared Diamond? It won
the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 1998. I am about half way
through it, and I'm getting bogged down.
This guy is a scientist and a historian, but he keeps explaining how
domesticated plants were developed by man. He also explains how sheep came
to be domesticated. Now he is talking about how the use of writing
I had started to read it several months ago, but didn't get very far. One
of the things that bothered me about it was in his discussion of the
conquest of South America. He based his estimates of the numbers of natives
slain on a series of letters that - to me at least - read as propaganda
tracts to the king of Spain. Now the numbers may actually be accurate, but
when they are combined with statements like "we did this in the glory of
your kingship" they ring a little inflated. That wasn't the reason that I
quit reading it, but is one of the things I remembered from it.
I thought that Cain raised grain, and Able raised sheep? Am I wrong? And
I also thought that the language of Adam was the Adamic language, and that
it is the language that was spoken by all peoples before their tongues were
confounded at the time of the Tower of Babel. What is wrong with this
picture. Are the scriptures wrong? Or is this scientist just making
things up? Maybe the scriptures really are just an ancient collection of
Hebrew folk talks. Is that possible?
The problem with the study of truly ancient languages and cultures is the
lack of real records. A lot of this type of scholarship has to be based on
supposition; personal bias will get in the way. I don't think that there is
really any way around that. If a scholar starts from the supposition that
the Bible is strictly a regional record - and most seem to - then it gets
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