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Reading holy books for fun

by Greg Bernhardt
Tags: books, holy, reading
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mgb_phys
#91
Apr1-08, 06:38 PM
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Quote Quote by Moridin View Post
It is also written that you should stone to death your family and loved ones if you discover that they are not theists, so you might want to give it a second thought.

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, "Stop! Don't do it!" "Why shouldn't I?" he said. I said, "Well, because there's so much to live for!" He said, "Like what?" I said, "Well, are you religious or atheist?" He said, "Religious." I said, "Me too! Are your Christian or Buddhist?" He said, "Christian." I said, "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?" He said, "Protestant." I said, Me too! Are your Episcopalian or Baptist? He said, "Baptist!" I said, "Wow! Me too! Are your Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord? He said, Baptist Church of God!" I said, "That's great, me too! Are your Original Baptist Church of God or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?" He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God!" I said, "Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?" He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915!" I said, "Die, you heretic scum!" and then I pushed him off.
Snazzy
#92
Apr1-08, 07:04 PM
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Quote Quote by iansmith View Post
My bad, I should have been more specific. Just to add to the details, Joseph is not mentioned in the Qur'an.
Yes he is. He's under the name Yusuf or Yosef. Also, according to Islam, it was Ishmael that was to be sacrificed instead of Isaac.
moamen811
#93
Apr27-09, 09:24 AM
P: 3
i liked your discussion alot and i'm arabic and muslim and me too tried to read the bible (i've 1 in my home)....
i just wanted to say that we beleive in all messengers of God
and we belive the jesus was not killed but another 1 was killed and jesus was raised to God and he will come back at the end of the world..
and for Mari(am) we believe she was virgin when she gave birth to jesus ...
and a p.s. during this discussion i noticd that some people made jokes on god and this hurt any one who belives in god....
Cryptonic
#94
Apr28-09, 01:52 AM
P: 42
I would like to recommend the Enuma Elish, an ancient Babylonian creation myth (possibly originates from ancient Sumer?). It's very interesting to read the book of Genesis immediately after reading the Enuma Elish. It's instantly apparent that Genesis borrows heavily from much earlier texts. I see a strong parallel between "Marduk" of the Enuma Elish (who slays the "great dragon", the cosmic goddess Tiamat) and "God" of the Old Testament (also at war with a "dragon", Satan or Lucifer). It was Marduk who made the earth, and made "man" out of clay etc. Humankind was created to do all the manual labour so the gods could sit back and relax - in other words, as slaves. This is enjoyable stuff! Ancient science-fiction!
mgb_phys
#95
Apr28-09, 11:32 AM
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Quote Quote by Cryptonic View Post
This is enjoyable stuff! Ancient science-fiction!
Great, now we will have the Sumarian fundamentalists all over us!
aneesh.mulye
#96
May30-09, 12:12 PM
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Quote Quote by Greg Bernhardt View Post

I also picked up the Upanishads and would like to get a Torah. Now, finishing all these will likely take me a couple years (with the Qur'an I can only handle reading maybe 15 pages at a time!). Does anyone else read holy books for "fun"?
Put them away for now. This is, IMO, totally the wrong way to go about it. They are not narrative texts the way the Bible is.

If you want to read the abstract philosophical musings of scholars in an oral tradition using archaic metaphors in a special subset of a liturgical language with no actual context whatsoever, feel free to go right ahead. ;)

If, on the other hand, it is more of a human insight you want, I suggest you start with the Ramayana. It's a narrative epic in nature (check up the Wiki on it), readable and gripping, and provides much more "subjective" insight.

Once you're done with that, you can then go on to the Mahabharat. It's a mammoth compendium, which I'm reading right now, and I love it, because of its scope and richness.

Finally, after both of these are finished (the Mahabharat should occupy a good half-year or so, if not more), then you can begin your study of the more "theological" or "philosophical" parts. You will have the necessary context then.

More importantly, though, these two on their own are generally enough.

For the Ramayana, the Gita Press version/translation into English is probably the best. You should be able to have it shipped to wherever you are. For the second, I have no idea, because I'm reading it in Hindi. Try finding one by the BORI, I've heard it's the best we have.
JerryClower
#97
Feb4-10, 04:48 PM
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Quote Quote by turbo-1 View Post
Wait til' you read about God's bet with the devil about Job, and the horrors that God visited on Job to win the bet and prove his point. There is not a lot of love and kumbaya in the old testament.
God loves you. But he will do things to test you.
JerryClower
#98
Feb4-10, 04:48 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
The Bible even goes into what the priests were to wear, relly elaborate stuff, colorful, purple, with pomegranites embroidered on the hems, God was quite the fashion designer.
Where did you find those verses at?
atyy
#99
Feb4-10, 07:01 PM
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Quote Quote by JerryClower View Post
Where did you find those verses at?
Exodus 28:31-34
You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. It shall have an opening for the head in the middle of it, with a woven binding around the opening, like the opening in a coat of mail, so that it may not be torn. On its lower hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, all around the lower hem, with bells of gold between them all around - a golden bell and a pomegranate alternating all around the lower hem of the robe.
hamster143
#100
Feb4-10, 08:04 PM
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Quote Quote by atyy View Post
Exodus 28:31-34
You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. It shall have an opening for the head in the middle of it, with a woven binding around the opening, like the opening in a coat of mail, so that it may not be torn. On its lower hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, all around the lower hem, with bells of gold between them all around - a golden bell and a pomegranate alternating all around the lower hem of the robe.
Of course, that only applies to Jewish rabbis (IIRC there's an entry that specifies that rabbis in Judaism must be descendants of Aaron, the great-grandson of Levi). And many other commandments also only apply to faithful Jews.
hamster143
#101
Feb4-10, 08:16 PM
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Quote Quote by Astronuc View Post
From the Buddhist side - one should read the Dhammapada and the Tripitaka (Sanskrit)/Tiptaka (Pali), or Three Baskets.
Unfortunately, Tipitaka alone is larger than all other major religions' sacred texts, combined (see here), and even larger than the Communist canon, and much of it is simply unavailable in English, except maybe in some ancient translations that you can only find in big libraries. You'd have to stick to Dhammapada. Also, if you're interested in Zen, check out Shobogenzo.
hamster143
#102
Feb4-10, 08:19 PM
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Quote Quote by CaptainQuasar View Post
Yes! And the Finnish Kalevala. Actually, I haven't read the Kalevala. If we were all going to read something together I'd definitely vote for that. It's more of a narrative than the Koran is.
"The Finnish epic Kalevala devotes more lines to the origin of beer and brewing than it does to the origin of mankind."

Shows what people considered relevant those days.
atyy
#103
Feb4-10, 09:45 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxsvU2fBJgA
EnumaElish
#104
Feb5-10, 10:37 AM
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Anyone reading (or having read) the bible: which version did/have you read?

When I decided to read it about 3 years ago -- still going -- I went to Amazon and bought the North American Standard Bible. It has been a rewarding read. Meanwhile I've looked at other versions that I chanced upon, like the Gideon; their language seems nearly impenetrable. Some passages make no sense at all, even though I think I should know the story/moral it's trying to communicate (from reading the NASB, or by way of what I'll call the popular religious culture).
marcus
#105
Feb5-10, 11:26 AM
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Quote Quote by hamster143 View Post
"The Finnish epic Kalevala devotes more lines to the origin of beer and brewing than it does to the origin of mankind."

Shows what people considered relevant those days.
Here is an 1888 translation into English of Rune 20 of the Kalevala.
The poetical discussion of beer begins about one quarter of the way down the page. It is long and intense.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/kveng/kvrune20.htm

You can see from this brief sample that considerable attention is given to the problem of the beer not getting fizzy.

You put the good stuff together but how do you start it fermenting? Several attempts, involving maidens and magic animals, are made and finally there is success and the beer gets fizzy.
==quote==
"Time had travelled little distance,
Ere the hops in trees were humming,
Barley in the fields was singing,
And from Kalew's well the water,
This the language of the trio:
'Let us join our triple forces,
Join to each the other's powers;
Sad alone to live and struggle,
Little use in working singly,
Better we should toil together.'


"Osmotar, the beer-preparer,
Brewer of the drink refreshing,
Takes the golden grains of barley,
Taking six of barley-kernels,
Taking seven tips of hop-fruit,
Filling seven cups with water,
On the fire she sets the caldron,
Boils the barley, hops, and water,
Lets them steep, and seethe, and bubble
Brewing thus the beer delicious,
In the hottest days of summer,
On the foggy promontory,
On the island forest-covered;
Poured it into birch-wood barrels,
Into hogsheads made of oak-wood.

"Thus did Osmotar of Kalew
Brew together hops and barley,
Could not generate the ferment.
Thinking long and long debating,
Thus she spake in troubled accents:
'What will bring the effervescence,
Who will add the needed factor,
That the beer may foam and sparkle,
May ferment and be delightful?'

Kalevatar, magic maiden,
Grace and beauty in her fingers,
Swiftly moving, lightly stepping,
In her trimly-buckled sandals,
Steps upon the birch-wood bottom,
Turns one way, and then another,
In the centre of the caldron;
Finds within a splinter lying
From the bottom lifts the fragment,
Turns it in her fingers, musing:
'What may come of this I know not,
In the hands of magic maidens,
In the virgin hands of Kapo,
Snowy virgin of the Northland!'

"Kalevatar took the splinter
To the magic virgin, Kapo,
Who by unknown force and insight.
Rubbed her hands and knees together,
And produced a snow-white squirrel;
Thus instructed she her creature,
Gave the squirrel these directions:
'Snow-white squirrel, mountain-jewel,
Flower of the field and forest,
Haste thee whither I would send thee,
Into Metsola's wide limits,
Into Tapio's seat of wisdom;...
==endquote==

Just to let you know, the squirrel does bring back the magic pine cone from the distant tree, but it doesn't work. There are other magic animals and birds that fetch other magic things. Until finally they get it right. Getting fermentation started seems to have been a major issue.

To me, the excellent thing is to have the barley, water, and hops all speaking with voices and saying how they want to get together and combine forces and join into beer.
Evo
#106
Feb6-10, 06:46 PM
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That's great marcus and thanks to hamster for bringing it up.

A magic white squirrel, I want one.
marcus
#107
Feb7-10, 12:15 PM
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It may be of interest that according to the clues we have in both among the Finns and in Sumerian society the women brewed the beer. Clay tablet pictures show women brewing beer. Legal texts refer to beer shops owned and operated by women (rather than men).

For some reason the Sumerians liked to drink beer through reeds---like our soda straws.

The Sumerians had a special goddess for beer. Her name was Ninkasi, sometimes written Nin-kasi. There is a Hymn to Ninkasi. This is appropriate to quote because this thread is about enjoying holy texts.

Selected stazas from the 1800 BC Sumerian Hymn to Ninkasi, the Beer Goddess

...
...

You are the one who soaks the malt in a jar,
The waves rise, the waves fall.
Ninkasi, you are the one who soaks the malt in a jar,
The waves rise, the waves fall.


You are the one who spreads the cooked mash on large reed mats,
Coolness overcomes,
Ninkasi, you are the one who spreads the cooked mash on large reed mats,
Coolness overcomes,

You are the one who holds with both hands the great sweet wort,
Brewing [it] with honey [and] wine
(You the sweet wort to the vessel)
Ninkasi, (...)(You the sweet wort to the vessel)

The filtering vat, which makes a pleasant sound,
You place appropriately on a large collector vat.
Ninkasi, the filtering vat, which makes a pleasant sound,
You place appropriately on a large collector vat.

When you pour out the filtered beer of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.
Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the filtered beer of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.



The whole hymn is given here:
http://beeradvocate.com/articles/304

I helped make some beer recently, being taught by the son of a friend (apparently in our society it's primarily men who make the beer). The cooked barley malt and hops liquid, before it ferments, is called the WORT, a nice word. When the wort begins to ferment, it churns with the action of the yeast. The jug of wort is alive with turbulence---it roils and bubbles. There is sound.

I think the Sumerian poet was very good to point out the sounds of beer making, and to compare with the rushing waters of the mighty Tigris and Euphrates.

There is a part of this or another hymn where another goddess, the sky goddess if I remember correctly, comes to visit Ninkasi, and they drink together.
Evo
#108
Feb7-10, 06:56 PM
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Today I watched a special on the history of beer, and in ancient cultures, women indeed brewed the beer. They mentioned that in many current tribal cultures women still do the brewing much as it was done thousands of years ago.

Nice find marcus.


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