mardi 20 mars 2018

Behemoth in Job?

What are the exact alternatives to a Sauropod, as Creationists like to argue, me among them?

An Australian Catholic (of sorts), Damien Mackey, has been recently promoting Ian Plimer's view on Dinosaurs on the Ark*, but then in a second part** gives an alternative explanation for Behemoth and Leviathan.

He opts for Hippopotamus:

Now the word Behemoth is undoubtedly a Hebrew attempt to render the Egyptian, p-ehe-mau, ‘hippopotamus’, probably not found in Palestine. Leviathan is obviously, from its description, the crocodile. These fierce creatures were both natives of the Nile in Egypt. They were not dinosaurs.

Previously he cites St Thomas Aquinas considering Behemoth an elephant:

For centuries, students of the Bible have questioned the identity of behemoth and leviathan. “In the Middle Ages, some theologians, like Albert Magnus, conceived of behemoth as a symbol of sensuality and sin. Others, like Thomas Aquinas, equated behemoth with the elephant, and leviathan with the whale” (Gordis, 1978, p. 569)— both being natural monsters in the literal sense, but representing diabolical power in a figurative sense.

So, Behemoth is described in a way which makes sense both for elephants and for hippopotami, the latter also having linguistic support from Old Egyptian.

I think I argued about ten or fifteen years ago, that a sauropod, apart from having a tail not only movable as a cedar tree in the storm but also as big as one, unlike both elephant and hippo, actually approximates both.

Like a hippo, it could be likely to support its weight in water.

Like an elephant, it can be tamed. Perhaps even used in battle, if the serpopards of the Narmer Palette are sauropods.

Look what news say of the hippo:

A farmer in South Africa has been killed by his pet hippopotamus, after repeated warnings that it was a wild animal that could never be tamed.

Humphrey the pet hippo kills owner in South Africa
David Smith in Johannesburg, Mon 14 Nov 2011 14.13 GMT

Now look what the Bible says about behemoth and leviathan:

Job 40:19 In his eyes as with a hook he shall take him, and bore through his nostrils with stakes.

This suggests you can do some kind of taming with the Behemoth.

Here are the comments from Haydock Bible:

Ver. 19. Stakes. Serpents attack the eyes of the elephant, and sometimes drag it by the trunk into the deep, where it is drowned. Pliny viii. 12. Solin xxxviii.

Others read with an interrogation: "Shall one take?" &c. Will any one dare to attack it openly? The elephant is taken by stratagem, either in pits covered with a little earth, or by a tame elephant in an inclosure, and (C.) lying on her hack to receive the male. Arist. anim. v. 2.

When he has entered, the gate is shut, and the animal is tamed by hunger; being thus taken by his eyes. Judith x. 17. Chal. "They pierce his nostrils with bands." Thus other animals are led about, (v. 21) and the elephant might be so treated in those days; though of this we have no account. C.

Prot. "his nose pierceth through snares;" or marg. "will any bore his nose with a gin?" Here they conclude this chapter, which commences C. xxxix. 31. in Heb. But the Sept. agree with us. H.

This suggests, like the elephant and unlike the hippo, the behemoth can be tamed in some sense.

Unfortunately, the new site for Haydock comment does not give the full names and does not give a list of abbreviations either, though C. = Challoner, I think, and Chal. = Challoner, obviously. H. is probably Father George Leo Haydock himself.

For the Leviathan, we see it is probably impossible to tame it at all, next verses:

[20] Canst thou draw out the leviathan with a hook, or canst thou tie his tongue with a cord? [21] Canst thou put a ring in his nose, or bore through his jaw with a buckle? [22] Will he make many supplications to thee, or speak soft words to thee? [23] Will he make a covenant with thee, and wilt thou take him to be a servant for ever? [24] Shalt thou play with him as with a bird, or tie him up for thy handmaids? [25] Shall friends cut him in pieces, shall merchants divide him? [26] Wilt thou fill nets with his skin, and the cabins of fishes with his head? [27] Lay thy hand upon him: remember the battle, and speak no more.

In other words, you can kill the Leviathan but not tame him.***

There was a man who had a pet croc, Anthony J. Drexel Biddle. This was recorded by Cordelia Drexel Biddle in the book My Philadelphia Father, which served as basis for the screenplay by Disney (just hope the alligator actually was in Cordelia's book and not just the Disney film, but I think so). By the way, this Philadelphia millionaire was a relative of Katharine Drexel of holy memory. She was niece and he great-grandson of Anthony Joseph Drexel.

So, crocs and hippos are fairly equal and behemoth and leviathan obviously unequal in tameability.

I would say, neither the croc nor the hippo are really tameable, and giant crocs like the ones found as fossils were probably even less tameable than the alligator of Drexel-Biddle. Leviathan could be a croc, and since you can survive a fight with it, I would not consider a T Rex very probable.***

But sauropods, if the serpopards on Narmer tablette are such, as well as elephants have a greater taming potential than the hippo.

And, as said before sauropods have a watery lifestyle like to hippos (which can be the reason why behemoth gave the Egyptian word for hippo) and a tameability and potential battle use like elephants.

So, hippo, elephant, incompatibility with either in the real life, pretty much clinches sauropod.

One more, Behold, he will drink up a river, and not wonder: and he trusteth that the Jordan may run into his mouth. In some sense, this would be an obvious hyperbole for how a hippo opens his mouth in the river, but if you consider the throat and stomach of a sauropod, while its mouth is less opened, he can obviously drink by allowing a river stream to simply stream into his mouth. Elephants, as we know, can't, they have to use the trunk first. Unless you pretend the river and Jordan refers to how the elephant then lets the trunk push down the water through the mouth.

So, sauropod fits the bill and Egyptians reusing the word for hippos is no real problem, it is as if someone knowing hedgehogs from lore but never seeing one had named a porcupine hedgehog. Which is not the case but would not have been impossible either.

The reference to sword could of course also mean the horns of a rhino or of a triceratops, but it seems either is meant by "unicorn" and therefore sauropod remains somewhat likely for behemoth. Also, a rhino cannot be tamed and a triceratops, well, I read a Tarzan comic with tame triceratopes in Pal Ul Don, but that is not the equivalent of the Narmer tablette.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Tuesday of First Passion Week

Update : no crocs these days breathe fire, but Leviathan did. This could be against him being a croc at all, or could mean not all crocs share that ability, just as not all squirrels are flying squirrels. There are several crocs of greater bulk in the fossils then the crocs existing now, and who knows if one of them breathed fire? If we search among dinosaurs, obviously the T Rex is too big to allow man to survive a confrontation, but there are smaller ones, both of same kind (probably, like Allosaurus and even smaller) and of different kinds. My main issue was of course that Behemoth was a sauropod./HGL

* Academia : Monsters in Book of Job Part One: Were Dinosaurs Intended?
by Damien F. Mackey

On which confer CMI's refutation of Plimer:

"Regarding Ultrasaurus and mating on the Ark—has Plimer considered that God (being in control of which pair went on board the Ark, according to the information given in the Bible) could have ensured that, for at least this kind, only still-immature (and therefore also small) representatives were chosen?" Comment to page 108

CMI : Our point-by-point rebuttal of Plimer’s Book

He actually involves this strawman:

"Apparently Noah and his family had been busy collecting dinosaur eggs:" John Mackay whom he thereafter cites mentions dinosaur eggs for their size, but mentions dino hatchlings as therefore small, never saying that hatchlings came from Noah's "poultry farm", never contradicting the words of the Bible.

** Academia : Monsters in Book of Job Part Two: Were they non dinosaur animals?
by Damien F. Mackey

*** "speak no more" is in a way compatible with dying (but if you die, the imperative is superfluous), in the hypothetic confrontation, but "remember the battle" means, yes, you do have a chance of surviving if you don't bungle it.

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