Job 41 – Godzilla Edition

Job 41 – Godzilla Edition June 6, 2015

Job 41 Godzilla edition

Gakusei Don suggested the above in response to my prompting about adding Godzilla to the Bible. One can actually make a serious point by doing this. Godzilla fits the text much better than a dinosaur would, and that supports the understanding of the text as referring to a mythical dragon and not a real prehistoric lizard.

Someone else suggested David vs. Godzilla, and that already exists, courtesy of Ben Riddlebarger, whose work I’ve shared here previously in a post with the title “The Bible as Fantasy”:

david-and-godzillasm

"Refer your colleague to an English translation of Dictionaire Infernal (1863). The original is in ..."

Wrestling with a Demon
"Bob is used to me. He banned me off his blog several years ago but ..."

153 Fish – The Definitive Explanation
"Ok. I tried to make available to you some key info but you have your ..."

153 Fish – The Definitive Explanation
"Touché! Let me rephrase what I wrote. “Dead people were not generally thought to become ..."

Response to Raphael Lataster

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Arthur Paliden
  • Gakusei Don

    Thanks James. There is an interesting book called ‘The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times’ by Adrienne Mayor. The author thinks that a lot of the fantastic creatures in olden times were inspired by remains and fossils of dinosaurs, etc. The story of the Cyclops may have been inspired by the skulls of mammoths, which really do look like large human skulls with a big centre hole for an ‘eye’, which is where the trunk went through. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the Leviathan was similarly inspired by the fossils of dinosaurs.

    • Michael Wilson

      Gakusei, I did a paper in college debunking mayor’s griffen theory. I don’t think people needed fossil inspiration to come up with most monsters. For leviatan the knowledge of crocodile snakes, and whales, along with the occasional hard to identify washed up carcass could gave inspired belief in sea monsters. In any case its likey that behemoth and leviathan in job were both conceived to one if a kind primordial demons.

      • Andrew Dowling

        Also all of the medieval monsters of Europe . . I’m not aware of those cultures finding dinosaur fossils (especially given how heavily wooded Europe was at the time)

        • Gary

          Ancient people seemed to hang out in caves. Giant bears, Neanderthal in caves. Homo Sapiens cave paintings in France. Crete had plenty of bones. It’s part of Europe. I don’t know what medieval cultures thought, but the book is about stories originating in Greek/Roman times, and earlier, not later.

          • Andrew Dowling

            Right, and my point is there are lots of legends we know of concerning mythical creatures/monsters that date from the Middle Ages, and the cultures these stories arose from weren’t in areas where people would’ve been running into fossils.

          • Michael Wilson

            Gary, the often, and I have demonstrated this with the Griffin, we can trace the supposedly fossil based form back to an inspiration from the past that is clearly not inspired by a fossil. The Griffin is clearly descended from the Sumerian/Elamite Anzu(or imdugud) iconography. Ths idea looked nothing like at protoceratops and was developed far from Mongolia. Im sure people identified fossil bones as giants and dragons, but only after the fact, they conformed to expectations not created them.

            Andrew, I think if look at medieval monster legends, you will quickly find links to ancient monster legends and myths. Much of this body of zoology is an ancient tradition!

          • Gary

            Whatever you say, sounds good to me. I don’t have any stake in the argument.
            Although…which came first, the chicken or the egg?
            http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/mythic-creatures/land-creatures-of-the-earth/griffin-bones

          • Michael Wilson

            Thanks for the link. Mayor’s theory is certainly popular. I think we like the idea, especially those fans of science, that these legends are rooted in reality. I at first accepted her theory and I’m still influenced by it in my fiction. But Mayor didn’t look at the wider world around the Greeks except for the Scytians. Had she she would have seen that the iconography of the Griffin extends back to earliest civilization in Mesopotamia, far from Mongolia. See the images here

            http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzû_(mythology)

            The early image, from appx. 3000 bce, reoresents Anzu, also called Imdugud, a Sumerian storm demon that was represented as a bird with a lions head to represent the roar of thunder and ferocity. Later we see the same creature(at the top of the page) but now having the fore section of a lion and the rear of a eagle with wings. Note also the bovine horns, a symbol of power. The Iranian people around Mesopotamia further stylized the image and when the greeks copied it they interpreted the horns as ears. The persians also rendered the head as a birdss, as did people in the levant, (a peacock there). As you can see the early rendition looks nothing like a protoceretops.

          • Gary

            I think your link went to the wrong location.
            But anyway, my chicken and egg philosophy… Who knows what started first? An idea of fiction in an oral story, or seeing a bone sticking out of the sand, and creating a story about it. Or a combination of the two. I doubt if there is anyway to tell for sure. The stories evolved, like the chicken. They weren’t created in a single instant in time.

          • Michael Wilson

            Sorry, the link is fixed. I think what we see is that the inspration for the Griffin is ultimately rain and birds, linked as both fly, with a lion tossed in because birds don’t roar but the rain does(thunder). Other legendary beast may have fossil inspiration, like the the belief in Siberia of giant moles that die if they break the surface, clearly an explanation for mamoth bones.

          • Michael Wilson

            http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anz%C3%BB_(mythology)

            If you look here you will see that the idea of the Griffin reaches back to ancient Sumeria. The bottom image is the oldest and it looks nothing like a protoceratops. The basic idea, a bird with lions head(symbolizing the ferocity and roar of thunder) is modified in the Assyrian image to be a lion with the rear half if a bird with wings, the typical griffin form, with bird head wings and lion body, is first evidenced in Egypt around 3000bce and like Mesopotamia far from protoceretops fossils in Mongolia.

          • Michael Wilson
    • Gary

      She did another book on Native American legends and dinosaur bones. A little more boring, since she covered a huge number of tribes and their traditions. Both books were rather convincing, I thought. What other obvious conclusion could be drawn from common sense? A Native American sees a skeleton of a dinosaur sticking out of the sand, or an ancient Greek dude sees a mammoth femur sticking out of a bank? Crete seemed to have the bones laying all over the place. Kind of hard to ignore, and come up with explanations. A good source of oral stories. We don’t even need bones today to come up with stories about Big Foot, Cubalibra, Lock Ness, Abominable Snow Man, Nephilim.

      • Gary

        I threw Nephilim in as a joke, although I still think Neanderthals are a good inspiration, other than wild mushrooms.

        • Andrew Dowling

          Neanderthals were actually short in stature (but stout and strong); I also doubt the Nephilim stories arose in an age when there was still collective remembrance of Neanderthals.

          Humans simply like stories of giants. There has been zero evidence of any non-human great apes in the Americas, but we know many Indian tribes had myths about tribes of giant hairy men.

          • Gary

            People go into caves. Ancient people too. Neanderthal bones have been found in caves in Israel. No collective remembrance necessary. And as I remember, the Nephilim description translation is not necessarily “giant”, but could be rough, or rugged. But this is just conjecture on my part. No proof. But your alternative is wild mushrooms? 😉

          • Andrew Dowling

            Ancient primitive civilization, whatever one’s profession (hunting, tilling the land, water management) would’ve included a LOT of time for one to simply let their imagination run wild. Stories were the predominate form of entertainment. While the Mayor theory is not completely implausible, I think modern people too often underestimate the sheer imaginative capacities of our ancient forebearers. We have multi-million dollar blockbuster movies, TV shows, best-selling novels, and Youtube. Our ancestors thousands of years ago had festivals and stories. No magic mushrooms required.

            Did fossils serve as the impetus for some ancient legends? Probably. Were most simply the result of people inventing things they thought were cool and made a story more entertaining? I find no reason to think otherwise.

          • Gary

            I have to add…the Nephilim conjecture was mine. Mayor’s books had no conjecture about Nephilim. I don’t want her to be blamed for such crazy ideas. But I like them.

          • Gary

            I need to let this go, but there are some mistaken assumptions…
            “There has been zero evidence of any non-human great apes”…
            For instance, the cyclops stories in Greece, per Mayor’s book, is not based upon great ape bones, but upon the femur of a mammoth (or mastodon, I forget which)… Which if you find in a pile of bones, looks a lot like a human leg bone, only much bigger. And their skull, which has what looks like a single eye socket, if you don’t know any better.

      • Gary

        BTW, on her Native American book, there were so many tribes covered, I tended to lose track of them. But I found one aspect of her investigations rather interesting. She traveled all over the place, interviewing really old Native Americans concerning their traditional stories. Then compared the bones discovered in the area where the tribe was from. Then connect-the-dots. It was boring, though, simply because there was actually too much information provided for a simple, just-for-fun, book reading, which was what I was doing.

        • Gary

          Her Greek/Roman book was much more entertaining. I’d recommend that one.

    • I am aware of that proposal and it seems to me very plausible. While one can always envisage people simply inventing monsters by increasing the size of ones known to them, in this case the correspondence with dinosaurs, plus the fact that we know from ancient literature of fossil finds, makes this seem likely.