Julian Jaynes Society Discussion Forum: Exploring Consciousness and the Bicameral Mind Theory since 1997

Bible Evidence to Support Jaynes' Theory
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Author:  shrimperdude [ Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Bible Evidence to Support Jaynes' Theory


Making sense of Julian Jaynes is a phrase which one would tend to make some sense from by equating his name in that phrase with his theory; the theory that ordinary consciousness, which we all too readily assume is something we have in common with all, or at least most, of the men who lived, and then died, in earlier times (each providing his own criteria for how far back in human 'history' we may be willing to specify), has in fact evolved quite recently. Recently, with regard to Jaynes, means that prior to that consciousness having evolved (from some pre-conscious state), there had existed many highly organized civilizations that were built by societies of men whose minds functioned quite differently from their more modern equivalents.

It has been helpful for me, while considering the implications of such a radical change in viewpoint, to regard also the phenomenon that Jaynes and his theory are; considering the significance of, or role being played by that phenomenon within the framework of a growing understanding of human consciousness which has required or accompanied the convergence of so many disparate disciplines as they all move steadily closer to a 'truth;' perhaps even a truth that the scholars and academicians had originally set out to disprove.

We have been revising our common understanding of 'pre-historic man,' or more precisely the concept we have of such beings, for about three hundred years. Those 'explorers' who unearthed the raw data, that can be considered evidence useful for establishing a more correct concept, went into the field with an image of a hairy, unattractive and probably smelly individual with some very primitive stone tools at his disposal firmly set in their minds. Much of what they have been able to retrieve from sites that have been extensively excavated is still warehoused in various museums across the globe, and in many cases has never even been cataloged in such a way that less prejudiced modern investigators can begin to reinterpret it.

Julian Jaynes would require of us the understanding of a much more complex, and yes, more modern-looking (and probably better smelling) individual as pre-historic man. However, we can draw no sharply differentiating lines that divide the civilizations that produced (and left behind) a written history for our scholars to attempt to transcribe/translate/understand from those that (for whatever reasons) did not. Due to breakthrough research which has so completely revised our understanding of the many neurological structures involved in what we understand as thought or thinking, we are at no disadvantage when evaluating the radical changes which must have occurred when consciousness gained ascendance over whatever organizing principles were prevalent beforehand. These two very different 'types' of man, once we have created the two concepts to guide our thinking, beg for just such a bold demarcation (in time, as well as place) between the former and the latter; a recognizable 'separator' that I fear does not exist and therefore will never be found.

Jaynes has searched among many ancient texts for what he believes we can consider evidence which will (or could) support his theory. While the translations of these early written 'records' are probably adequate to support such revisions in exegesis, the various written traditions do not compare well one with another. The Iliad for instance, while containing plenty of data that clearly describes a type of men who invested unusual (by our post-consciousness standards) authority in voices that they frequently only heard, and then doing exactly as they had been bidden by the 'gods' speaking to them, seems to describe just such a time/place where 'pre-conscious' men were prevalent and figured prominently in the political structure of their society. The stories recorded seem to be generally faithful 'copies' of oral traditions ascribed to aoidoi; their poetic structure perhaps hinting at versions that were probably 'sung' by them as an entertainment vocation.

While Jaynes may find somewhat similar 'evidence' in the Biblical books of Genesis and Exodus, there seems to be an agenda present; a desire to preserve a critical knowledge that may indeed be intimately connected to a general state of consciousness that no longer prevails among the descendants these stories were written for; a new form of literature which was imbued with an authority which leaves them in stark contrast to Homer's epics or The Epic of Gilgamesh. However, these Biblical sagas may indeed contain some palpable evidence. For instance, in Genesis Chapter 14, Verse 14 where Abram's retinue which departs for Canaan on the Lord's command includes 318 trained servants can be contrasted to Chapter 16, Verse 21 which prophesies that Hagar's son (who is of 'mixed blood') will grow up a wild man. I would argue here that Abram's household was somewhat beyond any gradual transition to 'consciousness,' but still retained a memory of/still lived among people who had not undergone any such transformation of their mental state.

There is no mention in these stories of the earliest patriarchs having already become 'people of the book,' though there is archaeological evidence for written forms both in Ur where they had come from, and in Egypt where they will end up some 400 years before their Hebrew history records Moses' delivery of the Law. So, if they lived among pre-conscious groups of people in the fertile crescent, they also spent extended periods among peoples whom we may assume were post-conscious (if we assign the same importance to writing as a causative agent that Jaynes has). While a revised exegisis of these Old Testament passages which is based on Jaynes' theory gives new footing to all these 'the Lord said' passages as accurate historical 'facts;' perhaps even making the appearances 'the Lord' and his Angels made seem more plausible as well to modern folk who are so far removed from any everyday experience of similar modern communion with 'ethereals;' still we find no instance of large scale transformations of consciousness delineated, no precipitive natural disasters and no specific time frame which will jive with Jaynes' preference for his very late dating of a Thera eruption that may have had consequences for societies in the crescent area.

It seems plausible to me that conscious individuals or groups of individuals would have been targets for oppression in the kinds of highly organized societies Jaynes has theorized as largely pre-conscious; I say largely because his arguments admit that some societies may have been governed by a conscious elite. Also, if clever enough, conscious individuals may have clandestinely infiltrated those ruling structures where they may have enjoyed some distinct advantages due to a more evolved consciousness. This sort of fits with Joseph's becoming vizier under Pharaoh, and also the subsequent enslavement of all Jacob's descendants living in Goshen. Perhaps the 'arguments' that led to the digging of a new well at Rehoboth (Genesis26:22) were not just clashes of separate groups over water rights.

If we really look at the Old Testament 'evidence,' we have a large group (probably a group in transition if there were over 300 literate servants as well as many more who were not so 'trained') coming into an already 'organized' fertile crescent around 2100 BC; controversy 'over water rights' which occurred probably around 1950 BC, by which time this group would have increased considerably in size (and need for adequate pasture); Joseph wielding uncommon political power in Egypt around 1875 BC (an infiltrator with highly evolved consciousness); then another 400 years later we have Moses, raised from infancy in Pharaoh's household and dwelling thereafter in some effective isolation among the Midianites (probably one of those pre-conscious prophet-types Jaynes says might rise to power in middle periods when societies hearkened to individuals with access to divine authority they have now lost) leading a whole nation of variously educated kinsmen to the place where a written law will be derived from their now distant God; a law which further enforces the transition to consciousness while an entire generation perishes during their wanderings.

Another aspect of Old Testament evidence that I have yet to touch upon is the unique correspondence between the spatial function so necessary to the ascendance of the analog 'I' (and evidenced by the kind of language used to describe one's mental activity), and the peculiar habit these Hebrews continually exhibit whereby they always build up an 'altar' to mark the place where God spoke or appeared (see for example the language expressed in Genesis 28:16-17). I'm not qualified to speak to the presence or absence of such 'evidence' which could be found in the Homeric literature.

Another kind of evidence, in my mind at least, exists in the facts surrounding the acceptance and/or criticism of Jaynes' theories (there are actually four of them). His Origin of Consciousness has vigorously remained in print (a third edition is now widely available); a feat quite remarkable in today's publishing environment; and a fact that I believe begs a logical explanation. His ideas have become a sort of guiding light for much of the research that has been initiated since he was first published while little has been found by a vociferous gang of detractors to discredit his basic thesis. I feel that we are witnessing an effect that is caused by the subconscious apprehension of a truth that the greater part of the human mind wants and needs to defeat that pernicious little dictator that ego has become; and simultaneously witnessing the self-appointed representatives of that little dictator that make up most of what remains of academia's bastions of repression locked in a futile battle with intellectual forces that are greatly over-matched.

Those of us who anxiously await an outcome in this contest between vaguely quantifiable forces that I'm sure Susan Blackmore would understand as self-replicating memes in open conflict, should realize that while on an individual level, the ascendance of the analog 'I' is revolutionary that at the much more significant societal level, these changes (those that must have occurred; and those that many of us hope sincerely will begin to occur in the very near future) always take place at a cautionary and sometimes painfully slow evolutionary pace. So, pace yourselves!

Author:  shrimperdude [ Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bible Evidence to Support Jaynes' Theory

The sun is the living source of that from which knowers and knowledge are spawned. Light is a transport. And organismal reality arises in, and thrives due to the local consistent presence of this transport. The Sun is the source of those beings who assemble knowledge from form, and the more their method of assembly is alike with their source...the faster and more miraculously they ‘work.’ The Sun, is some sort of ‘trans-organism’. Its local presents results in organisms.

Author:  adam1848 [ Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bible Evidence to Support Jaynes' Theory

Interesting post.

Also, if clever enough, conscious individuals may have clandestinely infiltrated those ruling structures where they may have enjoyed some distinct advantages due to a more evolved consciousness.

Ever think Aaron and Eleazar did exactly that?

Also, I personally think they built alters constantly because the peoples' fledgling memory was so bad they needed visual reminders. A social structure based upon the fear that god will punish you if you step out of line doesn't work unless people remember that god is watching them, so they needed these visual reminders to trigger their memory and alter their behavior. This would also explain why they need to be constantly reminded who their god is and that he brought them up out of Egypt, and why they continually forget their god and worship other gods and need to be punished. Not a "stiff necked people" ... just really bad memory, I think.

Author:  JBrubaker [ Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bible Evidence to Support Jaynes' Theory

adam1848 wrote:
Interesting post.
Also, I personally think they built alters constantly because the peoples' fledgling memory was so bad they needed visual reminders. A social structure based upon the fear that god will punish you if you step out of line doesn't work unless people remember that god is watching them, so they needed these visual reminders to trigger their memory and alter their behavior. This would also explain why they need to be constantly reminded who their god is and that he brought them up out of Egypt, and why they continually forget their god and worship other gods and need to be punished. Not a "stiff necked people" ... just really bad memory, I think.

A simpler explanation for the erection of altars is for boundary and property markers. Signs to tell others (and remind oneselves) that this is our land. If you read the book of Joshua, there are many instances where altars and special sites of historical significance were used to delineate the boundaries between the tribes of Israel. See also Rethinking the Neolithic by Julian Thomas concerning the placement of cairns, tors, and barrows in the British landscape as property markers.
Your argument contradicts itself, as why did they forget their god if there were plenty of visual aids to constantly remind them? It is true that the Israelites became increasingly forgetful as they became more self-conscious - just read Kings and Chronicles - but Jaynes would say that was because they no longer heard god from the right hemisphere, not because they lacked altars.

Author:  shrimperdude [ Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bible Evidence to Support Jaynes' Theory

Welcome back all you Jaynes scholars!
If you feel I could use some pointers for better utilizing the forums, go ahead and post them to this topic; I'm certainly in the 'lacks experience' category.
The latest comments(which I assume will be read just above the current post/reply) have generated PM's to each of you; this reply is for those who may join in this discussion SOON!

Subsequent developments among the 'tribal' Hebrew peoples(plural should convey additional meaning here; also provide special KEYS for understanding later Biblical histories in fresh new ways[like the 'special' status that the Levites would assume much later on]) like the careful construction of a Tabernacle so the 'place' where God resides(on Earth) can travel with them & the later erection of a 'fixed' Temple, which could have only occurred in a land they control/own(both new concepts that rest on a consciousness foundation) offer convincing evidentiary 'proofs' for the general acceptance of Jaynes' basic theories(while admittedly complicating his preferred time frame somewhat) as well as placing in 'modern' hands powerful new KEYS for unlocking the deeper meanings contained in Biblical scripture.

I find more useful(as evidence for JJ's theories) the idea that in Chapter 28 of GENESIS, for instance, the erection of a stone pillar(that was then consecrated with oils) in a land Jacob was clearly just passing through(no need YET for a boundary marker) was not only the acting out of place demarcation in the new(for these early Hebrews) memory-making process, but had the additional consequence of producing/creating a powerful magical object(especially for the bicamerals who had already occupied this place) as well.

It was the Greek's(not necessarily in Greece) appreciation for(combined with distrust of) the powerful Hebrew magic that led to(under some very mysterious circumstances) the translation of the Hebrew 'holy books' into Greek in the first place!

Author:  JBrubaker [ Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bible Evidence to Support Jaynes' Theory

..in Chapter 28 of GENESIS, for instance, the erection of a stone pillar(that was then consecrated with oils) in a land Jacob was clearly just passing through(no need YET for a boundary marker)...

Jacob was not just passing through; the land of Canaan was promised to his grandfather Abraham by his god. Jacob marked the spot where he wrestled with an angel with a pillar, perhaps as proof that he and his god were on equal terms, and that the whole land belonged to him - clearly Jacob in this passage was in a bicameral mode, and confirmed by his subsequent anointing of the pillar, suggesting that he regarded the pillar itself as the god.

It was the Greek's(not necessarily in Greece) appreciation for(combined with distrust of) the powerful Hebrew magic that led to(under some very mysterious circumstances) the translation of the Hebrew 'holy books' into Greek in the first place!

Ever since Seleucus established his Empire over the Mid-east in the late 4th century BC, Greek was the lingua franca of the region, and it was common for educated persons to have ancient books translated into Greek. Even later when the Romans held sway over the Levant, Greek was the preferred language for trade, government, and learning. When Christianity began to blossom, most of its early adherents spoke or were familiar with Greek, so it is no surprise that they would use the Septuagint or the Pentateuch (which were already translated into Greek). Of course, the Jews predominantly kept their Torah in Hebrew, and do so to this day. The translation of the Hebrew books was merely a matter of practicality and usage among Hebrews at the time who spoke Greek in their daily lives; I don't think we can ascribe any other ulterior motives to such translation.

Author:  shrimperdude [ Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bible Evidence to Support Jaynes' Theory

THE SEPTUAGINT (Gr. oa 0', Lat. LXX.), or the "Alexandrian version of the Old Testament," so named from the legend of its composition by seventy (Lat. septuaginta), or more exactly seventy-two, translators. In the Letter of Aristeas to Philocrates 1 this legend is recounted as follows: Demetrius of Phalerum, keeper of the Alexandrian library, proposed to King Ptolemy II. Philadelphus (285-247 B.C.) to have a Greek translation of the Jewish law made for the library. The king consented and, after releasing 10o,000 Jewish captives in his kingdom, sent an embassy with rich presents to the high priest Eleazar at Jerusalem asking him to send six ancient, worthy and learned men from each of the twelve tribes to translate the law for him at Alexandria. Eleazar readily sent the seventy-two men with a precious[ 1 Edited by H. St J. Thackeray in H. B. Swete's Introd. to the Old Testament in Greek (1900), and by P. Wendland in the Teubner series (1900).]roll of the law. They were honourably received at the court of Alexandria and conducted to the island (Pharos), that they might work undisturbed and isolated. When they had come to an agreement upon a section Demetrius wrote down their version; the whole translation was finished in seventy-two days. The Jewish community of Alexandria was allowed to have a copy, and accepted the version officially; indeed a curse was laid upon the introduction of any changes in it.

There is no question that this Letter (which is condensed in Josephus, Ant. xii. 2) is spurious.' Aristeas, an official at Ptolemy's court, is represented as a heathen, but the real writer must have been a Jew and no heathen. Aristeas is represented as himself a member of the embassy to Eleazar; but the author of the Letter cannot have been a contemporary of the events he records, else he would have known that Demetrius fell out of favour at the very beginning of the reign of Philadelphus, on a charge of intriguing against his succession to the throne. 2 Nor could a genuine honest witness have fallen into the absurd mistake of making delegates from Jerusalem the authors of the Alexandrian version. There are also one or two passages (§§ 28, 182) where the author seems to forget that he is playing the role of Aristeas. The forgery, however, seems to be an early one. 3 "There is not a court-title, an institution, a law, a magistracy, an office, a technical term, a formula, a peculiar phrase in this letter which is not found on papyri or inscriptions and confirmed by them." 4 That in itself would not necessarily imply a very early date for the piece; but what is decisive is that the author limits canonicity to the law and knows of no other holy book already translated into Greek. Nor does he claim any inspiration for the translators. Further, what he tells about Judaea and Jerusalem is throughout applicable to the period when the Ptolemies bore sway there and gives not the slightest suggestion of the immense changes that followed the conquest of Palestine by the Seleucids. It is probable that the Jewish philosopher Aristobulus, who lived under Ptolemy VI. Philometor (180-145 B.C.), derived his account of the origin of the LXX. from this Letter, with which it corresponds.' There seems good ground for believing that the letter contains some elements derived from actual tradition as to the origin of the LXX. Ptolemy Philadelphus was a king of eclectic literary tastes, and the welcome he gave to a Buddhist mission from India might well have been extended to Jews from Palestine. The letter lays great stress on the point that the LXX. is the official and authoritative Bible of the Hellenistic Jews, having not only been formally accepted by the synagogue at Alexandria, but authorized by the authorities at Jerusalem. This, and the fact that the style of the version is not that of a book intended for literary use, points to the conclusion that the translation was made to satisfy the religious needs of the Jews in Alexandria, and possibly also in the hope of gaining proselytes. In view of the Jewish prejudice against writing Scripture in any but the old holy form (the Targum, for instance, was for centuries handed down orally), it is quite possible that some impulse to the Alexandrian version came from without. Philadelphus may have encouraged it both to satisfy his own curiosity and to promote the use of G leek among the large Jewish population of the city. That the work is purely Jewish in character is[ 1 Its claims were demolished by Humphry Hody, Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford, in 1684.

2 Hermippus Callimachius, ap. Diog. Laert. v. 78. Irenaeus indeed, evidently following some other account, fixes the translation in the time of Ptolemy I.

P. Wendland, however, puts it after the Maccabean age (say 96 B.C.) and before the Roman invasion of Palestine (63,B.C.). ' G. Lumbroso, Recherches sur l'econ. pol. de l'Egypte sous les Lagides (Turin, 1870), p. xiii.

5 Clem. Alex. Strom. i. p. 342, ed. Sylb.; Eusebius, Praep. Ev. ix. 6, p. 420 seq.; cf. Valckenaer, Diatribe de Aristobulo (Leiden, 1806), reprinted in Gaisford's edition of the Praep. Ev. One must not overlook the possibility that Aristobulus's Interpretation of the Holy Laws may itself be the pseudonymous work of some otherwise unknown Jewish author. It and the Letter of Aristeas seem to be of the same date, if not even by the same hand. And Philo (Vita Mosis, ii. § 7, ii. 141) describes an annual festival held at Pharos in honour of the origin of the Greek Bible.]only what was inevitable in any case. The translators were necessarily Jews, though Egyptian and not Palestinian Jews, and were necessarily and entirely guided by the living tradition which had its focus in the synagogal lessons.' And hence it is easily understood that the version was ignored by the Greeks, who must have found it barbarous and largely unintelligible, but obtained speedy acceptance with the Jews, first in private use and at length also in the synagogue service.

The next direct evidence which we have as to the origin of the LXX. is the prologue to Ecclesiasticus, from which it appears that about 130 B.C. not only the law but "the prophets and the other books" were extant in Greek.' With this it agrees that the text of Ecclesiasticus and the other ancient relics of JewishGreek literature, preserved in the extracts made by Alexander Polyhistor (Eusebius, Praep. Ev. ix.), all show acquaintance with the LXX. 8 The experiment on the Pentateuch (of which alone Aristeas speaks) had evidently been extended to other rolls as they arrived from Jerusalem. These later translations were not made simply to meet the needs of the synagogue, but express a literary movement among the Hellenistic Jews, stimulated by the favourable reception given to the Greek Pentateuch, which enabled the translators to count on finding an interested public. If a translation was well received by reading circles among the Jews, it gradually acquired public acknowledgment and was finally used also in the synagogue, so far as lessons from other books than the Pentateuch were used at all. But originally the translations were mere private enterprises, as appears from the prologue to Ecclesiasticus and the colophon to Esther. It appears also that it was long before the whole Septuagint was finished and treated as a complete work. We may grant that the Pentateuch (and perhaps part of Joshua) was translated in the 3rd century B.C. The other books followed, generally speaking, in the order in which they occur in the Hebrew Canon. Isaiah perhaps dates from c. 80, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the Twelve Prophets, as also r Kings (=1 Samuel), c. r 50. Most of the "Writings," together with Judges and 2-4 Kings, were probably translated in the 1st century B.C., while Ecclesiastes and Daniel (the latter incorporated from Theodotion) date only from the 2nd century of the Christian era. As the work of translation went on so gradually, and new books were always added to the collection, the compass of the Greek Bible came to be somewhat indefinite. The law always maintained its pre-eminence as the basis of the canon; but the prophetic collection changed its aspect by having various Hagiographa incorporated with it according to an arbitrary arrangement by subjects. The distinction made in Palestine between Hagiographa and Apocrypha was never properly established among the Hellenists. In some books the translators took the liberty of making considerable additions to the original, e.g. those to Daniel, and these additions became a part of the Septuagint. Nevertheless, learned Hellenists were quite well aware of the limits of the canon and respected them. Philo can be shown to have known the Apocrypha, but he never cites them, much less allegorizes them or uses them in proof of his tenets. And in some measure the widening of the Old Testament canon in the Septuagint must be laid to the account of Christians.

The vocabulary and accidence of the Greek of the Septuagint are substantially those of the ' cow?) SLhXEKros or Hellenistic Greek spoken throughout the empire of Alexander. The language of the Pentateuch attains the higher level shown by the papyri of the early Ptolemaic age, that of the prophets reflects the less literary style of the papyri of c. 130-100 B.C. In the latest parts of the translation Mr St John Thackeray notes two opposing influences, (a) the growing reverence for the letter of Scripture, tending to a pedantic literalism, (b) the influence of the Atticistic school, strongest in free writings like 4 Maccabees but leaving its mark also on 4 Kings. But if in some respects the Septuagint is the great monument of the Koo* in e It is quite likely that they worked on rolls newly brought from Jerusalem. There was no desire to found an Alexandrian canon or type of text.

This does not necessarily mean that the whole of the section of the Hebrew Old Testament known as "The Writings" was translated by that date.

8 Philo seems to have known the Greek version of most of the Old Testament except Esther, Ecclesiastes, Canticles and Daniel.

Like the others, especially in syntax, it is strongly tinged with Hebraisms, and there are many passages where it is difficult, if not impossible, to extract any rational meaning. In some cases a book bears the marks of two hands: thus Jeremiah i.-xxviii. was not translated by the worker that undertook ch. xxix.-li. (the former is indifferent, the latter unintelligible Greek), and in Ezekiel one hand is responsible for ch. i.-xxvii., xl.-xlviii., and another for ch. xxviii.-xxxix. (except xxxvi. 24-38). So I Kings stands apart from 2-4 Kings. Isaiah is more akin to classical Greek; like the Pentateuch and I Maccabees it is good icoivi 7. The two chief MSS. of Judges vary so much as to point to different recensions. In some books, especially Jeremiah xxv.-li., the order of the Septuagint is totally different from that of the Massoretic Hebrew text (cf. also Proverbs xxiv.-xxix.). In other cases, notably in Job, the original LXX. text was much shorter than that of the Massoretes; in Esther and Daniel there are numerous additions. The Septuagint does not keep the triple Hebrew division of Law, Prophets and Hagiographa or Writings, but instead of this order of canonization principle it groups its books according to subject matter, Law, History, Poetry, Prophecy, a divergence which had much importance for the history of the Old Testament canon in the Christian church. The early Christians generally accepted the LXX. canon, which through the old Latin, despite Jerome's Vulgate adoption of the Hebrew canon, passed into the West, and into the Latin Bibles, where the Apocrypha (except I Esdras) are still included. The German and English churches followed Jerome in giving a less honoured place to the impugned books.

The Septuagint came into general use with the Grecian Jews even in the synagogue. Philo and Josephus use it, and so do the New Testament writers. But at an early date small corrections seem to have been introduced, especially by such Palestinians as had occasion to use the LXX., in consequence partly of divergent interpretation, partly of differences of text or of pronunciation (particularly of proper names). The Old Testament passages cited by authors of the first century of the Christian era, especially those in the Apocalypse, show many such variations from the Septuagint, and, curiously enough, these often correspond with the later versions (particularly with Theodotion), so that the latter seem to rest on a fixed tradition. Corrections in the pronunciation of proper names so as to come closer to the Massoretic pronunciation are especially frequent in Josephus. Finally a reaction against the use of the Septuagint set in among the Jews after the destruction of the temple - a mpvement which was connected with the strict definition of the canon and the fixing of an authoritative text by the rabbins of Palestine. But long usage had made it impossible for the Jews to do without a Greek Bible, and to meet this want a new version was prepared corresponding accurately with the canon and text of the Pharisees. This was the version of Aquila, which took the place of the Septuagint in the synagogues, and long continued in use there. On this, together with the versions of Theodotion and Symmachus, Origen's Hexapla, and the recensions of Hesychius and Lucian, see Bible (Old Testament, " Texts and Versions").

The LXX. is of great importance in more than one respect. "It was the first step towards that fusion of the Hebraic with the Hellenic strain, which has issued in the mind and heart of modern Christendom. Like the opening of tale Suez Canal it let the waters of the East mingle with those of the West, bearing with them many a freight of precious merchandise." Again, it is probably the oldest translation of considerable extent that ever was written, and at any rate it is the starting-point for the history of Jewish interpretation and the Jewish view of Scripture. And from this its importance as a document of exegetical tradition, especially in lexical matters, may be easily understood. It was in great part com p osed before the close of the canon - nay, before some of the Hagiographa were written - and in it alone are preserved a number of important ancient Jewish books that were not admitted into the canon. As the book which created or at least codified the dialect of Biblical Greek, it is the key to the New Testament and all the literature connected with it. To many its chief value lies in the fact that it is the only independent witness for the text of the Old Testament which we have to compare with the Massoretic text. It may seem that the critical value of the LXX. is greatly impaired, if not entirely cancelled, by the corrupt state of the text. If we have not the version itself in authentic form we cannot reconstruct with certainty the Hebrew text from which it was made, and so cannot get at various readings which can be confidently confronted with the Massoretic text; and it may be a long time before we possess a satisfactory edition of the genuine Septuagint. The difficulties in getting behind the confusion of versions and recensions to produce such a result are indeed formidable. The materials at our disposal are of the usual threefold kind, Manuscripts, Versions and Patristic Quotations. The earliest MSS. are about a score of fragments on papyrus, a few of which go back to the 3rd century A.D. The chief uncial MSS. are, as for the New Testament rc, A, B, C and others. Of these A and B are largely complete, but though both of Egyptian origin vary considerably. A (with which the quotations in the New Testament generally agree) may represent the edition of Hesychius; B, which is often, especially in the Psalms, in accord with the Bohairic version, resembles the text used by Origen in the Hexapla. Of versions the Bohairic (Lower Egypt), the Sahidic (Upper Egypt), the various Syriac translations (unfortunately we have no Old Syriac for the Old Testament), and the Latin (Old Latin and Vulgate, especially the former) are the most important. The evidence of the Fathers is valuable as helping to distinguish local types of text. The testimony of the earliest patristic quotations seems to be in favour of A rather than B. The immediate aim of textual criticism is a recovery of the three main editions, those of Origen, Lucian and Hesychius, and then of the pre-Origenian LXX. text, which lies behind them all. When this has been accomplished there still remains the problem of the relation of the LXX. to the Hebrew. There is no doubt that the Hebrew text from which the LXX. translators worked was often divergent from that represented by the Massoretic. For the Pentateuch we have additional material in the Samaritan version, but here the variants are least. In view of the palpable mistakes made by the Septuagint translators and their often inadequate knowledge of Hebrew, we must not hastily assume that in cases of difference the Greek is to be preferred. The book of Ecclesiasticus (the Hebrew of which has recently been discovered) furnishes a useful lesson here. Yet there is no doubt that much (e.g. in I Samuel) may be learned from the Septuagint; all one can say is that each case must be treated on its own merits.

Author:  adam1848 [ Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bible Evidence to Support Jaynes' Theory

Your argument contradicts itself, as why did they forget their god if there were plenty of visual aids to constantly remind them?

I have no doubt that these altars became boundary markers. That makes perfect sense. I am still a little skeptical if this was the motivation behind their construction. To pick an early example: in Genesis 12.7 the lord appears to Abram and says

"to your descendants I will give this land." And there he built an alter to the LORD, who had appeared to him."

So did he erect the altar to mark the land as now being his? or did he erect it to memorialize the fact that god appeared to him there so he could return and hopefully connect with god again? or did he half-consciously erect it because physical structures such as this served as a trigger that would help him recall the experience and remind him and his descendants of his teachings related to the vision he had there?

I'll admit from the viewpoint of modern thinking the idea that Abram put the altar there to mark his land is the most plausible, but I’m not sure if at the time that would have been his primary motivation. These triggers worked specifically with people that had some direct emotional attachment to them or had been indoctrinated to have an attachment to them, and the less intense the attachment, the less effect they would have on controlling behavior. And it isn't just altars as visual triggers...it is the incense, and burnt offerings, and songs, and pillars, etc. They would obviously not be a cure for the lack of sophisticated conscious memory, especially within the masses whom did not have as direct an emotional attachment to the triggers, nor would they entirely redirect behavior, but within certain individuals and groups they had an impact, and I believe that is the primary reason (among many other secondary and later ones) for their existance.

Author:  JBrubaker [ Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bible Evidence to Support Jaynes' Theory

I wholeheartedly agree with your last post, Adam; altars were both territory markers and visual aids. I think I was a bit hasty in assuming that visual aids were not always needed in later times, and jumped to a conclusion. In retrospect, I think I had concerns about your statement "..the peoples' fledgling memory was so bad they needed visual reminders." People of today need constant external reminders as well, I wouldn't ascribe forgetfulness to "fledgling memories."

I would take your idea a bit further and say that an object serving as a territory marker is by nature always a visual aid as well; the two mean essentially the same thing. Most land animals (and some sea animals) use some method to mark their territories; many use scent, some sound, and some who are visually oriented use objects that are easily recognizable. A territory marker need not require self-conscious thought to be implemented - is a certain call meaning "this is my territory!" a metaphor in an inner mind space to other birds? I would say unequivocally, no; it is a signal. So whether one is a preconscious, a bicameral, or conscious human, an object which represents a marker of territory is both a reminder (visual aid, a signal), and a metaphor for the territory and what it represents - in this present case, the territory is inextricably bound with the god who gave the land to Abraham. So for Abraham and his descendants, the altar metaphorically represented (signaled outside any inner mind space) the presence of their god, and of their territory. As to other peoples for whom the altars did not trigger an emotional connotation, the sight of the altar simply meant "this is not our territory."

Author:  shrimperdude [ Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bible Evidence to Support Jaynes' Theory

1)to Adam's response I think all three is probably the best answer, and will add a fourth, but with specific reference to this territorial marker aspect of our arguments(I'm willing to concede on this one to facilitate our moving on!) I must caution you that we may be assigning to much authority to just one text with respect to our drawing conclusions about bicameral or 'transitional' behavior

that fourth MIGHT be an awareness of indigenous beliefs regarding burial places; that there are no precedents in this text for either the 'erection of a pillar(which sounds an awful lot like pillow)' or 'anointing with oil'; hence at this site(Genesis 28) those ritual aspects may have been Pagan ones cleverly appropriated to restrict there use of what was still their own land

2)to Brubaker's remarks about birds, be advised that 'birdbrain' as we use the term is a misnomer when you look at what our science is telling us today about the sophistication of bird(in particular) neuronal capacities and behaviors that indicate something thought-wise is definitely going on up there; ENOUGH!

3)in order to clarify the reason I posted the material on the Septuagint translation, and also to boil down what the research material I posted is saying(for those confused by it or someone who would prefer an interpretation to reading the scholarly material), I will begin, in my first 'LETTERED' point here, to do the boil-down first, then proceed through my several other points to elucidate your apprehension of my meaning & my 'agenda' or purpose

A)It is to the Letter of Aristeas to Philocrates that the post I made speaks and the argument that it may be a 'fake' both in the sense of its dating & the idea that it is probably a pack of lies has been adequately investigated(and annotated) both with regard to its probable REAL source & the imagined benefit to the perpetrators of such a hoax which motivated them(INFORMATION CRITICAL TO ANY UNDERSTANDING OF THE HISTORICAL & DYNAMIC DEVELOPMENT OF BOTH CHRISTIANITY & JUDAISM)

B)It is the urgent need in a sophisticated 'Greek' world for this translation of ALL the Hebrew Magic Books, if indeed it was created with great haste, that fascinates me(and more than a few other like-minded SEEKERS)! This is because it speaks directly to the practice of using these mesmerizing stories to gain insight into recorded events that have created our modern world; and this because such a translation would have exactly zero worth in the pursuit of Quabbalistic/numerological meanings which may indeed have been buried in the ancient consonantal text.

C)The curious dating also seems to offer convincing proof that there are more than one(perhaps many) anonymous groups of wealthy families intensely 'invested' in the propitious outcome of their manipulations of History, and more importantly Belief Systems. I believe Julian Jaynes' own story ought to be enough to convince you that this 'manipulation stuff' continues into the present, if you believe that his ideas contain a POWER that could alter our popular belief systems(as I DO!!!). Further proof will manifest itself when strange occurrences begin to hinder the efforts of ANY individuals who begin to become in any way effective in bringing about such changes in 'our' beliefs. We here at the Society's bulletin board forum, who are engaged in just such 'subversive' activities should remain ever vigilant for any glitches in our communication hardware and internet channels which hinder us in our participation and regular exchange of information/ideas and report them promptly! DO NOT THINK I AM IMAGINING THIS!!!

D)I am a King James Version user, for a number of well-founded reasons & make frequent reference to the original 1611 translation which is virtually unreadable; yet both of these rest rather firmly on a(there is no THE) Septuagint translation. Jaynes & several of the commentators I have been reading preferred the use of modern translations made by Jewish or rabbinical scholars who all have an intimate 'relationship' with the Torah which includes hearing it 'sung' repeatedly(at least certain passages). Their commentaries on Genesis, for instance, have been consulted as well, and in many cases relied on [too?] heavily.

Author:  JSJohnson [ Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bible Evidence to Support Jaynes' Theory

Hi Shrimperdude,

You write:

“Due to breakthrough research which has so completely revised our understanding of the many neurological structures involved in what we understand as thought or thinking, we are at no disadvantage when evaluating the radical changes which must have occurred when consciousness gained ascendance over whatever organizing principles were prevalent beforehand. These two very different 'types' of man, once we have created the two concepts to guide our thinking, beg for just such a bold demarcation (in time, as well as place) between the former and the latter; a recognizable 'separator' that I fear does not exist and therefore will never be found."

I would suggest that “these two very different types of man. . . beg for. . . a bold demarcation. . . that will never be found” -- actually has an explanation within science. The major implication is that our neurological faculties that have been naturally selected over eons make us the most evolved essential and integral Agent of the eternal creative Subject on this planet.

Given the science explained below, the early intuitions resulting in theology were inevitable and unfortunately were often exploited (then as today) by the less evolved mind as means to political dominance and worse. But, one might ask, how can science relate to subjective matters such as religion? Remember Reductionism? It speaks of a unique hierarchic structure of Natural Order where biological processes are supported by chemical principles, which in turn are supported by principles of physics. Of course we all believe that the structure of Natural Order ends with the Natural Laws of physics, supporting meaningless materialism.

But the structure does NOT end there at the emergent big bang. To understand this, we here explore the interface between the expression of that first erg of energy and whatever went before. What we find there, constraining the expression of the first and every subsequent erg of energy in cosmos, is the quality of symmetry (Noether’s theorem) which science interprets as the entire body of conservation law; a vast body of more detailed particulars relating to ever more complex objective systems ruled by natural laws.
But our neural faculties that have been naturally selected over eons tell us that symmetry is but a particular of the deeper, more general and inclusive quality of Aesthetics. For some reason, the faculties of our neural system were naturally selected to appreciate this very subjective relationship which gives direction to our more constructive feelings and so to our more constructive and creative choices. Surprise?

Of course early human societies began quite primitive, and relations with alien communities were generally hostile, as with lower animals. Today there is at least the hope that such relations will become more generally cooperative and constructive as our neural faculties evolve still deeper aesthetic sensitivity and related constructive emotions to better guide our choices. If we could only restore harmony and balance with the biosphere we might be spared the disasters that otherwise await.

What has happened across human history is certainly understandable as the result of the unprecedented uniqueness of our evolved neural faculties which seems to be Jaynes’ fascinating issue. Being a novice in matters of theology, what I found, well, stunning, was his assertion that the one ideal shared by all the early monotheistic religions was the “Golden Rule”, a symmetry constraint if ever there was one. In this, the ‘message from God’ comes from the implicit subjective character of Natural Order; a feature confirmed by science that can free us from the disasters of pseudo religions adapted to political ambitions and worse, and set us instead on a survivable path as we grow to appreciate our creative agency status in behalf of the eternal sublime Subject of which we seem an integral expression.

What Jaynes recounts for us is an early picture of the beginnings of emergent civilization as a product of the slow evolution of the essential neural faculties giving us insights into the more particular qualities of aesthetics essential to sustainable social organization that establish our species as the most evolved integral Subject Agents of the larger cosmic creativity on the planet.

Now consider that the constants of nature essential to the support of life are so precise and improbable as to imply that they were ‘chosen’. The materialists among us cannot accept this and have postulated, instead, the new “Multiverse” theory that our universe is but one of countless others, all based on random values, of course. But as there is no way to contact any of these other universes there will never be objective proof that they exist.

What the larger picture seems to indicate, as a minimum, is that the eternal Subject is on a journey from eternal sameness into eternal novelty, where novelty is not possible unless the objective perceptions of the integral evolving Subject Agent are limited by the constraints imposed by the constructs of time and space.
Again, the increasingly constructive direction of the evolution of life and social organization based on choices made by neural systems having constructive response to aesthetic qualities suggests that our species is the most evolved integral agency of the larger cosmic creativity on the planet.

It would seem that our species survival now rests more on the choices we make regarding social organization, plus harmony with the biosphere, along with our increasing technical means made possible by our ever-evolving sciences, including the spread of life to other worlds. In other words, Natural Order is a hierarchic structure that includes but transcends Natural Law in exactly the way that the most constructive subjective ends relate to objective means. In this case the objective realm is the vehicle on a path toward experience of the infinitely sublime. What is hopeful is that our evolved neural faculties reveal the opportunity for science to contribute to both ends and means.

What might be useful here is scholarly research into the aesthetics, ethics, etc. essential for sustaining all levels of social organization and interaction to guide the long journey ahead. I just found “The Golden Rule” by Jeffrey Wattles, (N.Y Oxford U. Press, 1996). Looks promising,


Author:  shrimperdude [ Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bible Evidence to Support Jaynes' Theory

Sorry Joe, but it is my hope that the moderator will move this 'comment' off into its own very hard to locate position on the boards(along with this COMMENT commentary). If you had spoken these words aloud, out into the firmament, what would have been your fervently hoped-for effect/outcome/result??? I know that my writing generally misses the mark by some (perhaps genetically)pre-determined margin, but Joe, ...what was the mark here? I know, this sounds like a RANT! Just glad nobody can see me right now! Just two short points I'll attempt to make before we are both shuffled off into oblivion.

1)Jaynes intimates a much grander achievement in civilization building before anyone was conscious(this is why he became so popular; all those people would rather live there then here). There's not much in the way of scientific/archaeological evidence that this may have been the case(although there are plenty of pseudo-scientists out here in cyberspace who will heartily disagree).

2)You have said(we agree here) that Consciousness(in the Jaynesian sense of this word) is an evolutionary improvement over any bicameral state that must have preceded it. This of course implies another improvement we may yet achieve. Please keep in mind that we need not wait for evolutionary processes to make changes in our neuronal equipment to effect such a change; changes that must be pioneered by intrepid individuals first(hopefully all masterful communicators like ourselves) who will invent clever ways to bring about such software revolutions in the wider society.

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