Notes to the Scholar's Tale

1 William Jennings Bryan died in Dayton a few days after being publicly humiliated by Clarence Darrow during the Scopes trial (see "General Prologue," lines 70-77 and note 13).

2 The Bible cannot be the Word of God, according to ICR founder Henry Morris (1984a, 47), unless it is "accepted as absolutely inerrant and authoritative on all matters with which it deals at all." In 2005 the Catholic bishops of England, Wales, and Scotland published a teaching document, The Gift of Scripture, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council document Dei Verbum on the place of Scripture in revelation. The bishops wrote that the Bible "is God's word expressed in human language," that it is true in passages relating to human salvation, but we "should not expect total accuracy from the Bible in other, secular matters" (Gledhill 2005). The late scholar Bruce Vawter (1983), a Catholic priest, called belief in inerrancy "the superstition of bibliolatry" and a "perversion of biblical religion." In the words of B. Davie Napier (1962, 54), it turns the Bible into "alas, an idol--a deified book." See Placher 1995.

On the so-called Bible Code, said by its proponents to foretell historical persons and events through meaningful word-pairs encoded in the Hebrew text of Genesis beyond both the odds of mere chance and human capability (Witztum et al. 1994; Satinover 1995; Drosnin 1999), see McKay et al. 1999; Ecker 2000; Thomas 1997 and 1998; McKay 1997. Online see also Scientific Refutation of the Bible Codes and Randall Ingermanson's Bible Code Page.

3 In Numbers 31, Moses becomes angry when his warriors neglect to kill all the women in a holy war against the Midianites. He then orders them to kill all the male children and non-virgin women, but all the young virgins, he says, "keep alive for yourselves."

4 Deuteronomy 21:18-21; Exodus 35:2.

5 Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:10.

6 See "The Geologist's Tale," lines 3-10 and note 1.

7 According to the generally accepted documentary (called also the Graf-Wellhausen) hypothesis, the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) contains four main literary sources: J or the Yahwist (c. 950 B.C.), E (the Elohist, c. 900 B.C.), D (the Deuteronomic source, c. 550 B.C.), and P (the Priestly source, c. 400 B.C.). See Friedman 1987, 22-28; Bratcher 2000; Hiers 1988, 219-223; Spong 1991, 43-55. For a theory that the J source is actually one long narrative, the original core of the Bible and "the first great prose work of world literature," extending from creation in Genesis to the establishment of Solomon as David's successor in Kings, see Friedman 1998.

8 Perdue 1985, 686.

9 Metzger and Murphy 1991, 72; Mettinger 1988, 32.

10 The Babylonian creation epic Enuma elish (the title comes from the opening words, "When on high") was annually recited during Babylon's New Year festival. See Speiser 1969, 60-72.

11 See Ginsberg 1969, 131. Baal, a dying and reviving god of fertility and the storm, was called Rider of the Clouds, an image later applied to Yahweh (Ps. 68:4, 104:3). See Ecker's Baalim and Ashtaroth.

12 Genesis 1:6-7.

13 Rad 1995, 51.

14 Anderson 1966, 385; Hooke 1947, 34.

15 Isaiah 27:1, 51:9; Psalms 74:13-14; Job 26:12-13, 41: 1-34.

16 Hooke 1947, 35.

17 See Throckmorton 1993.

18 Genesis 2:4b-6.

19 Genesis 1:2.

20 Genesis 1:26-27.

21 Genesis 2:7.

22 Genesis 2:21-22.

23 Napier 1947, 33.

24 See Kramer 1969, 37-41.

25 Hooke 1963, 115.

26 The tree of life is found in Assyrian and Cretan art (Miller and Miller 1973, 780) as well as in the heaven of the ancient Egyptians (Budge 1895, xxvil); the cherubim (Genesis 3:24) appear in Canaanite art (Wright 1962, 95).

27 In the Epic of Gilgamesh, a serpent robs the Babylonian hero Gilgamesh of a plant that would have made him immortal (Speiser 1969, 96).

28 Genesis 6:5-8:22.

29 Creationist leader Henry Morris called evolution a "cruel spectacle" (1978, 73)--evolutionists should "leave God out of it" (1982b, 44)--while a life-quenching flood is seen rather as "sovereign destruction" (1978, 33) by a God admired as "a consuming fire" (1984a, 211, quoting Hebrews 12:29). One wonders why an omnipotent God could not "have simply swept (life) painlessly out of existence with a word" (Asimov 1981, 105).

30 Genesis 7:2 (J), 7:8-9 (P).

31 Genesis 7:17 (J), 7:24 (P).

32 The eight people aboard the ark were Noah, his wife, their three sons, and three daughters-in-law (Genesis 7:7). Creationists try to solve the problem of care for the animals on the ark by assuming that God put them into hibernation (Whitcomb 1989, 32). There is no biblical basis for this assumption other than the fact that the whole flood story, as creationist John N. Moore (1976, 57) rightly states, is "consistently supernatural."

33 See Speiser 1969, 72-99. For the Babylonian flood story from the Epic of Gilgamesh, see The Babylonian Story of the Deluge. Most evangelicals, writes Christian archeologist Frank Lorey (1997), espouse the "One-source Theory," according to which the Hebrew and Babylonian flood stories both have a common source, that being an actual worldwide flood. The Epic of Gilgamesh, says Lorey, contains a "corrupted account," whereas the Genesis account "was kept pure and accurate" by God's providence till "compiled, edited, and written down by Moses." For the theory that a Black Sea deluge in 5600 B.C. lies behind the world's flood stories, see "The Geologist's Tale," note 21.

34 For the Atrahasis myth, see Speiser 1969, 104-106.

35 See Kramer 1969, 42-44.

36 Genesis 11:1-9. The mythical tower was likely modeled after Babylon's great temple-tower or ziggurat called Etemenanki (the "Great Temple Foundation of Heaven and Earth") (Roux 1966, 358-359). The story reflects J's typically anthropomorphic, less-than-omniscient deity, who must come down to Earth to see the city and tower (Asimov 1981, 211). (Yahweh later sends angels to Sodom--he may even go with them [the text is garbled]--to see if things there are as bad as he's heard [Genesis 18:20-19:29].)

37 On the origin of language, see "The Paleoanthropologist's Tale," note 24. According to Henry Morris, not only does the Babel myth relate the literal truth about the origin of languages (1978, 47, 53; 1985, 193), but Satan may have met at the tower with Babylon's ruler and priests to plot the theory of evolution (1982b, 71-76; 1989, 257)--or, as the late Morris also labeled it, "evil-ution" (2000a). Henry's son John believes that without Babel and the dispersal, "we would be hard pressed to devise a coherent view of human history" (J. Morris 2003).

On writing, the earliest known alphabetic inscriptions, found in Egypt in 1998, indicate that the first alphabet originated among Semitic-speaking people who lived or worked in Egypt almost 4,000 years ago (Johns Hopkins 11/22/99).

38 Micah 6:8.

39 See Skehan 1986. In 2006 Jesuit astronomer Guy Consolmagno of the Vatican called creationism "a kind of paganism," as it turns God into "a nature god." He said, "Religion needs science to keep it away from superstition and keep it close to reality, to protect it from creationism" (Johnston 2006). See also "The Astronomer's Tale," note 31.

40 The Scholar echoes the sentiment of United Methodist Bishop Kenneth W. Hicks (quoted in Keith 1982, 124), testifying at the 1981 Arkansas creationism trial (McLean v. Arkansas): "The words 'In the beginning, God created,' I hold dearly. From that point on, I feel it belittles God and does injustice to both religion and science to circumscribe the way he did it." (The court, ruling unconstitutional an Arkansas law that required the teaching of "creation science" whenever evolution is taught, quoted Justice Felix Frankfurter: "Complete separation between the state and religion is best for the state and best for religion" [Dorman 1996b; Overton 1982, 327].)

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