Were the Ancients Aware of a Globe? (plus a little child psychology thrown in for fun)

thanks for that, I’ll read up…much later than the next generation…doesn’t 700 AD correspond with the onset of Islam? Maybe organization of the Christian church was in response to a competing theology? Interesting.

@thoughtful has provided the Wiki link for the Church Fathers.

In the article, you can find a list of 90% of the Church Fathers

Earliest Church Fathers
|2.1|Clement of Rome|
|2.2|Ignatius of Antioch|
|2.3|Polycarp of Smyrna|
|2.4|Papias of Hierapolis|

|3|Greek Fathers|
|3.1|Justin Martyr|
|3.2|Irenaeus of Lyons|
|3.3|Clement of Alexandria|
|3.4|Origen of Alexandria|
|3.5|Athanasius of Alexandria|
|3.6|Cappadocian Fathers|
|3.7|John Chrysostom|
|3.8|Cyril of Alexandria|
|3.9|Maximus the Confessor|
|3.10|John of Damascus|

|4|Latin Fathers|
|4.2|Cyprian of Carthage|
|4.3|Hilary of Poitiers|
|4.4|Ambrose of Milan|
|4.5|Pope Damasus I|
|4.6|Jerome of Stridonium|
|4.7|Augustine of Hippo|
|4.8|Pope Gregory the Great|
|4.9|Isidore of Seville|

|5|Syriac Fathers|
|5.2|Ephrem the Syrian|
|5.3|Isaac of Antioch|
|5.4|Isaac of Nineveh|

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I think that’s really late. I’m guessing most definitions much sooner. The first church split was in 451, so I’m guessing then there’s more talk of denominations rather than church fathers. I didn’t know this until I learned all about the Coptic Church on the Ten Minute Bible Hour channel on YouTube. I like Matt; he’s fun to listen to. :slight_smile:

“Fathers” is a loose, but useful, term for the theologians who first hammered out the doctrines of the church in written form. The “Apostolic Fathers” includes those like Papias or Polycarp, who actually met apostles. They often have theological insights we’ve lost down the centuries, because they “breathed the air” of the early church. That alone makes them worth studying.

Then you get those in later centuries who clarified doctrine against the background of a welter of deviations as the faith became culturally mainstream, the latter primarily from the mixing in of Greek or pagan ideas. It’s crucial to realise that these guys were striving to establish biblical teaching against philosophical additions - though they themselves often had an education in philosophy that qualified them to understand the problems, as well as to express Jewish ideas in ways familiar to non-Jews. Naturally enough, their culture sometimes rubbed off, and that needs to be factored into reading them, but an old idea that they imposed Greek philosophy on the pure gospel is now effectively debunked.

I’d say there are a few important things to consider about the Fathers, especially the Apostolics.

  • The first is that they were the first generation of Christians to work through the implications of the Apostles’ teaching fully, and especially the first in a Gentile context. That makes them the foundation with which to compare anything new. They may well have things wrong, but you and I are far more likely to have things wrong.
  • The second is that they did this in the context of the church network that had been founded by the apostles or first generation evangelists. In other words, they were able to work on the basis of “the original message,” rather than the teachings of breakaway groups. That’s what is implied by “tradition” - not that they valued ancient teachings because they were ancient, but because they could be tracked since they were original and recent. An equivalent might be reading Josh’s book (or mine!!) to find out what Genealogical Adam and Eve theory is about, rather than trusting comments on blogs based on antagonistic reviews.
  • The Fathers were heavily reliant on Scriptural arguments. They quoted OT and, more significantly, NT sources extensively in the second or third centuries (and in one or two cases possibly the first), or they alluded to them without actually quoting. And they accorded them equally binding authority with the Old Testament, which is significant at such an early stage. You don’t find Christians according the writings of, say, Karl Barth or Martin Luther King equal authority with the gospels: they considered they were dealing with a binding new revelation.

Though we have a only limited part of all they wrote, this gives a very reasonable idea of what was regarded as authoritative Scripture, what was considered popular and helpful but not authoritative, and what was either rejected, or simply not used at all.

The result is that from the use made of the NT by the early Fathers (as opposed to “This is a list of the sacred books”) you could reconstruct a large part of the New Testament, with very few books (mainly the shorter letters) not cited and very minor disagreements about what was “in” or “out.”

Incidentally, I think Luther’s “epistle of straw” citation is often misunderstood to mean he did not regard James as part of the inspired canon. In my view he was, in characteristically blunt way, downplaying what he saw as its practical value: if he regards Galatians and Romans as embodying the bread of life, then in comparison James is the straw left after the threshing. I disagree with that, but few Christians would disagree that they’d rather have Romans in their prison cell than James, if they had to choose.

  • In the Sumerian King List Sumerian King List - Wikipedia, this pattern is repeated: “Then Akshak was defeated and the kingship was taken to Kish.” It puzzled me a while, until I realized the culture of the Bible at this time is caravan city-states. They had the culture of priest-kings. So I do think it is a bad translation and it means something like, the caravan was here, and then it was taken to here. So when historians look at this list of people as kings, instead it’s listing prominent names of the household in that place.

  • After clicking through so many names, I started to see patterns. For instance, you can tell which are the honorary titles - here are some examples: Puzur, Lugal-zage-si, Sargon. After you look at a lot of the names, you can see each language has a slightly different word for the same thing - some seem very related words, and some not.

  • On the list, I believe Nimrod is named multiple times. But here’s where Sargon is most prominently listed. Dynasty of Akkad There are too many similarities between Sargon and Naram-Sin to be different people. Some historians think so too. But it says “son of” - so I thought perhaps that translation is wrong and the abu/bin are interchangable, you have to know the context back then. Plus they still like lots of titles and family/tribal names in the Middle East today.

Here’s Genesis 10 again:

The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, [c]Put, and Canaan. 7 The sons of Cush were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabtechah; and the sons of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan.

8 Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.” 10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11 From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah, 12 and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (that is the principal city).

  • So I would think that it’s fairly obvious Cush = Kish. While I was clicking I also decided that his name in other languages was Accad, Sin, and Suen. Interestingly, this is the cuneiform for Kish is 𒆧𒆠 Of course, what does that look like? It’s a bull. The other symbol means “place of” He was the firstborn of Ham’s family, and later there’s a lot of places that began to worship cows…Israel and the golden calf…anyway :slight_smile: It seemed fairly obvious after looking at it, that a lot of the idolatry was from venerating family members and then people forgot they were real people and turned them into gods.

So obviously in the timeline first we have the flood, then the Tower of Babel…

  • So the text of Genesis mentions the first city of Nimrod’s kingdom as Babel, and I had found a source that said “He (Sargon) dug up the dirt of the pit of Babylon and made a counterpart of Babylon next to Agade” - I believe this sentence is actually referring to later when he had power and was trying to build a tower or temple. He had already had a place near Agade/Accad that he called Babel or Babylon. But of course I’m guessing based on the biblical text. :slight_smile: Biblical scholars never know whether to translate this Babel or Babylon. It’s really both. Again guessing - I think he liked the idea of the tower and its accomplishments and no one stopped him. (bad idea)

  • So then the legends mention Sargon getting involved with Ishtar. Not sure if she’s his mother or sister. But likely his mother. Eventually Ur-Zababa (who I think is his dad Cush) sends him away to be killed. From the Birth legend:

53-56In those days, although writing words on tablets existed, putting tablets into envelopes did not yet exist. King Ur-Zababa dispatched Sargon, the creature of the gods, to Lugal-zage-si in Unug with a message written on clay, which was about murdering Sargon.

Unug here is Uruk/Erech the second city listed in Genesis. I find it funny here the writer has to mention this is the first letter ever sent (it was after the flood, he knew no one had done this before). From looking up Lugal-zage-si, it was pretty obvious this later referred to Nimrod, so I think it’s merely a title. If I remember right - Lugal means king.

So that legend is cut off, but there’s another one that relates the event.

“He conquered the city of Uruk, destroyed its walls, defeated the people of Uruk (in battle), he smashed with the tun.kara-weapon. He defeated Lugalzagesi, the king of Uruk, and captured him and led him off to the gate of Enlil in a neck stock. Sargon, the king of Agade, defeated the people of Ur, smashed with the tun.kar-weapon, conquered his city, and destroyed its walls. He conquered E-Ninmarki, and destroyed its walls. He conquered the territory from the neck of the land, (that is) city of Lagash, to the (lower) sea and washed his weapon in the sea. He defeated the people of Umma, smashed with the tun.karaweapon, and he conquered his city, destroyed its walls.”

This account sort of smashes everything together, but there’s a story called the Great Revolt (I only watched a YouTube video, so I don’t have the text) where a bunch of people fight Sargon. My guess is that all the extended family find out Nimrod/Sargon has conquered his brother - go out to fight him, but he defeats all of them too. Obviously he has some help.

  • From Genesis 10: “Calneh, in the land of Shinar” - I wasn’t 100% sure of where Calneh was, but Mari seems to have been a prominent city, so it’s possible. Shinar is what we’d call today Sinjar

Another legend:

Sargon the King bowed down to Dagan in Tuttul. He (Dagan) gave to him (Sargon) the Upper Land: Mari, Iarmuti, and Ebla, as far as the Cedar Forest and the Silver Mountains

This matches the Biblical account really well. “10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11 From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah, 12 and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (that is the principal city).”

Cedar Forest, obviously Lebanon. I believe Calah maybe is Ebla - it’s in NW Syria. At this point again, there were mostly caravan sites, few actual cities with walls I think. The Silver Mountains are the Sinjar Mountains in Sinjar/Shinar.

That area became famous for where the Yazidis fled from ISIS and eventually Americans helped them get off the mountains.

  • Genesis 11:31 mentions Terah leaving Ur of the Chaldeans. “And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there.” Genesis 11:28: And Haran died before his father Terah in his native land, in Ur of the Chaldeans. Next in the text is Abram being called from Haran to the land of Canaan and immediately after that in the text Abram goes to Egypt because of a famine. “Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land.”

  • The story the “Curse of Agade” mentions Sargon and Naram-Sin: “In the dust as if it were a mighty bull, and then Enlil had given the rulership and kingship from the south as far as the highlands to Sargon, king of Agade – at that time, holy Inana established the sanctuary of Agade” and Naram-Sin “Its king, the shepherd Naram-Suen, rose as the daylight on the holy throne of Agade.” As far as I could tell, it’s the only text that seems to indicate those two names are the same person. So of course it’s considered a later fabrication. But it also covers all the gory details of a horrible famine.

  • So Genesis 11 seems to be saying Haran lived in Canaan, but died in Ur. So then Terah leaves and takes up residence where his son used to live. Some time passes and there’s a famine. It seems like it’d make sense for Terah and his family to move away if Nimrod had taken over in that area, and then for Abram to leave the land God had just called him to, it had to be a pretty horrific famine. He was so worried he let Pharaoh take his wife as his own. Not pretty.

Those are the basics of some of the facts that match Genesis and all of my guesses at putting this puzzle together. It’d be tough to prove it; I went by instinct and patterns.

You are assuming evil spirits don’t exist.

What’s your take on the blind man being healed by what Jesus did?.. do you see it as a myth? Putting mud on a blind person’s eyes will not make him see… yet Jesus cured the guy.


Putting mud (made with spit no less) in a blind man’s eyes was a normal part of the menu of pagan-inspired cures at that time. The so-called “Jugglers” or wandering healers did things like that.

This great. I really appreciate the effort here. I am pulling this entire post and saving for research and future reference. Thank you!

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Thanks. With a university library and access to all the original translations ( I didn’t feel like spending $45 :joy:) I could do better, but it’s amazing how much you can do with the internet!

Ya… but you are not addressing the abnormal part of the narrative… the blond man getting miraculously healed.

I asked your take on that.



I would think the odds are good that Jesus healed people.

Did you know there are modern doctors in America where you can get help to design the perfect placebo prescription to intentionally fool your body into feeling better.

When I hear people complain about a placebo curing ailments … I usually ask: so if you had a chance to take something that wouldn’t harm you, but cured you, you would reject the process?

Just one article out of many many articles on the helpfulness of placebo cures…


Are you suggesting Jesus’ healings recorded in the bible (including raising people from the dead) are like placebo trials?

I am really curious about how you read the bible.


I was confused too until I read the universal unitarian statement of belief. There is no bible basis, it is a secular humanist “religion”.



I am a Unitarian Universalist.

Does that mean you are not a christian?


Depends on your definition. There are those who don’t think you can be a Christian unless you are a Trinitarian.

Since I don’t think Jesus was God, I don’t think he would mind me looking upon him as completely mortal.

The question usually comes down to the issue of salvation.

Romans 10:8-10 - But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Matthew 7:21 - “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven."

IMO - A Christian is someone who follows Jesus…AND does what the Word (Jesus) says to do.

I understand the trinity as truth from studying the Word, but I also understand that faith in Jesus alone is enough to be a Christian (not that understanding the trinity is a requirement for salvation).

Whether you are going to enter into eternal life or not is a different story, and really comes down to your relationship with Jesus, or rather His relationship with you, which no one can judge but Jesus.


If you don’t believe Jesus is God … there’s an awful lot of the New Testament that falls by the wayside.

Jews and Muslims to various degrees, and varying from person to person, can accept Jesus as an inspired human. The Quran has an awful lot about Jesus and his mother Mary.

If you think there can be atoning relationship with Jesus without accepting him as part of the triune Godhead, I salute your vision!


I’ve read some. I know I haven’t read all.

If you think there is an awareness of the globe … post it here and now.

You are confusing me…what is your belief? I have made mine clear. You seem to make strong arguments for belief, then say you don’t believe, so which is it?

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