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Prophet of History

 

Main Exhibit:

Let’s began by setting our Herma.  On one side it reads:
     “This is Theology. It is not History.”
On the other side it reads:
     “This is History. It is not Theology.”
 
In general definitions; Theology is the study of man’s relationship with the divine; History tries to piece together the past on limited, missing and malleable evidence. Theology is rock solid, in that it stands on insight, revelation and prophecy. History is a sieve, as it needs evidence, verification and veracity to stand at all. Theology seeks the TRUTH. History seeks the facts.
 
Of the prophets Joseph Smith (not surprisingly) is the most historical, as any number of sources can trace his life and history, not just the sacred book associated with him.  Of course there are many others throughout history who received revelations and could be deemed prophets, Mary Baker Eddy comes to mind as another recent example. But as you go back in time to the “Great” Prophets, Historical evidence becomes problematic at best.
 
Where is the historical foundation of Muhammad, peace be upon him, beyond the obvious explosion of Islam? There is the Bishop Sebeos of Bagratunis, who knows the story of Mehmet, but not the man himself, for Muhammad is said to have died in 632, and Sebeos was writing circa 650.  From the Wiki:
     “In that period a certain one of them, a man of the sons of Ishmael named Mahmed, became prominent. A sermon about the Way of Truth, supposedly at God’s command, was revealed to them, and Mahmed taught them to recognize the God of Abraham, especially since he was informed and knowledgeable about Mosaic history. Because the command had come from on High, he ordered them all to assemble together and to unite in faith. Abandoning the reverence of vain things, they turned toward the living God, who had appeared to their father–Abraham. Mahmed legislated that they were not to eat carrion, not to drink wine, not to speak falsehoods, and not to commit adultery. He said: “God promised that country to Abraham and to his son after him, for eternity. And what had been promised was fulfilled during that time when God loved Israel. Now, however, you are the sons of Abraham, and God shall fulfill the promise made to Abraham and his son on you. Only love the God of Abraham, and go and take the country which God gave to your father Abraham. No one can successfully resist you in war, since God is with you."
And this is just one of the shifted fragments of data, open to wide interpretation and conjecture, none of which can be “proven” one way or the other.
 
And this also is true of Jesus. Where is the Roman account of him? Buried in the sands of time in this little back water part of the great Roman Empire.  Josephus writing some 90 years after the events mentions James, John the Baptist, and Jesus, but since all original versions of his works, which were written in Aramaic for a Jewish audience, are lost, it cannot be said how much has been changed by the Christian scribes who translated them into the Greek we know. And while Paul is writ large in theology, his historical perspective as a convert becomes a case of proving a book by using the book. Still as a source of the teaching of the earliest church and a testimony of the existence of Jesus, his writings are invaluable.
 
The Buddha? Only the explosion of The Way links him to history. We have names and dates from the suttas, but what we lack is some enterprising Persian who met the Buddha and recorded it other than in sacred texts, the only things that survive.
 
Confucius?  Not a prophet in traditional terms, for his writings are not theology, but still important to a vast segment of humanity. He is pretty well noted in Chinese history by several sources, and there is not much question that he is grounded in history.
 
The Oracle at Delphi.  No doubt about it’s History, or it’s Theology.  Apollo’s great oracle was a foundation in the ancient world, even being consulted by non-Greek peoples. Stretching back to before the Trojan War, and the work place of Plutarch himself around 100 CE, it lasted into the 300s. 
 
Moses. Totally lost, yet his theology lives on as proof of his being. The same with Abraham. This is where Theology and History meet, in the Religious chronicles. The Trojan War is lost to history, but not to fact. There is little doubt that it is a memory of an actual event. The Babylonian Captivity. One has only to go to the records of Cyrus the Great to verify that. And after the return of the Jews to Israel we have records of a Jewish Military outpost working for the great King, guarding his frontiers from their post in southern Egypt. Theology? There shall be no temple but Jerusalem. Reality, these soldiers had a temple of their own.  Oops, oh well.
 
History cannot add to or diminish a theology. Theology stands on its own, a testimony to the faith of it’s adherents. Nor is Theology static for it takes the shape of it’s believers, and as they change, it will too. Historically the Catholicism of Spain is not the same as it was 500 years ago, but the Theology itself is just as strong. As the Museum has stated before, Theology is not at odds with Science, and to that can be added, Theology is not at odds with History.
 
Side Exhibit:
 
Folk Art 6.75 million, Property Rights 0:
     5Pointz was a warehouse complex in Long Island City, Queens that was transformed by graffiti into a cultural landmark. Of course, that graffiti was painted over by the warehouses’ owner in 2013 — part of an effort to build luxury residencies on the location. On Monday, though, a federal judge awarded $6.75 million in damages to 21 artists whose work was wiped out.
-The Washington Post
At the exit:

As the Van attack in Toronto shows the only reasonably response to the INCEL (Involuntary Celibate) terrorist group is to use the data Russia gleaned from Facebook and put all adult males in North America who haven’t had sex in the last year in preventive detection. Let’s stop terrorism at its root; angry, frustrated males.
 

Unkwil

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Uncle Willie loves to have feedback from both readers who appreciate his point of view as well as from missguided souls who disagree.