Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Christ Conspiracy: Chapter 23: Out of India? (pt 3)

Murdock goes on to provide evidence that India is the origin of the Abrahamic religions.
The influence of Egypt is evident, but Higgins, Jacolliot and others have been equally insistent that culture emanated out of India, not Egypt, coming in waves beginning several thousand years ago, such as with Mitanni, the Indian kingdom in Syria (1400 BCE) whose inhabitants were called “Horites” in the Bible, and as otherwise noted, with a fresh infusion brought west by Alexander the Great three centuries prior to the Christian era. As Walker says, “From the time of Alexander the Great, Jain monks traveled westward to impress and influence Persians, Jewish Essenes, and later, Christians.” In fact, as we have seen, the correspondences
between the Judeo-Christian mythology/religion and that of India are numerous and important.[1, p. 380]
If Higgins and Jacolliot are the main scholars on which a hypothesis rests, the hypothesis really does not have good chances of holding up. The similarities of Judeo-Christian mythology/religion and that of India given in TCC are not all that convincing - several of them are rejected by scholars of Indian religion, for instance, and to a large extent Murdock is asserting the existence of these similarities without mentioning them. Granted, listing them more than once would be superfluous, but those that have been listed elsewhere in the book are far from convincing, and often based on either tendentious reading of evidence, bad sources or thin air. Murdock provides no source for identifying the Horites as Mitanni, nor has a cursory search through scholarly literature turned up any. The closest connection is that the Mitanni ruled over a Hurrian population, but I have found no scholar willing to identify the Horites and the Hurrians. The language spoken by the Hurrians is related neither to Indo-European or Semitic, its only known relative being Urartian, whereas the names of leaders of the Biblical Horites appear Semitic. More o nthe Horites will appear in the next installment.

As for the Mitanni, Bryant says:
Another alternative, to which most Western historians subscribe, is that these Aryans were a segment of the Indo-Aryans (after the split with the Iranians) somewhere in north Iran or central Asia who peeled off from the main group of Indo-Aryans who were migrating east toward India. Leaving the larger body, they sought their fortunes in the Near East, where, although successful, they eventually became subsumed by the local population.  [2, p. 136]
Bryant also mentions three other hypothesis: that the bulk of the Indo-Aryan population passed through the Mitanni lands and settled there for a while during their eastwards migration (almost universally rejected), that they are a group that reached India and later migrated westwards (held by a few), and finally a slight variation on the last one. Right now, if a hypothesis depends on the Mitanni coming out of India, it needs also to provide some backup for the claim that they do come out of India.
That the culture and religion of India are very old is obvious. As the “celebrated Orientalist” Sir William Jones pointed out, the Indian scriptures, the Vedas, appear to be of an “antiquity the most distant.” Indeed, some scholars have posited that the Rig Veda contains mention of an astronomical configuration that could only have occurred 90,000 years ago. The Hindu chronology, in fact, goes back millions of years, and there has been effort to push back true human civilization, rather than man’s apelike progenitors, to that era.[1, p. 381]
"...and there has been an effort...". By whom? There has also been an effort to show that certain races are inferior, and in the Soviets, there was an effort to show that acquired traits are inherited (Lysenkoism). It would also be worth providing sources regarding the astronomical claims - have the Vedas been correctly parsed? Have the astronomical calculations been carried out correctly? By not providing any references, Murdock is covering her back quite well.

It is standard scientific procedure not to make claims for which there is no evidence. Throwing caution to the wind is not how science is made.
Obviously, such “forbidden archaeology” is widely dismissed by the orthodoxy for seeming lack of solid evidence. Nevertheless, something certainly is amiss in the current orthodox paradigm, such that an overhaul is in order. Of course, conclusive proof of such antiquity would be difficult to provide, because millions of years have elapsed, during which there has been much cataclysm and scouring of the earth’s surface.[1, p. 381]
The above quote essentially is another appeal to unfalsifiability. We can only accept these claims on faith, as evidence for or against never can be produced. Scholarly caution requires us not to accept claims without evidence.
As to the origins of Indian culture, the current theory of “Aryan invaders” has also been challenged, particularly by Indian scholars. The Aryan invasion theory posits that a caucasoid people from the northwest invaded India around 4,000 years ago and established civilization and the intricate sacerdotal law of Brahmanism. This theory presupposes that prior to the “invasion” the Indian natives were barbaric and uncivilized. However, Indian scholars maintain that India produced a high culture long before the Aryans purportedly arrived, a theory evidently validated by the archaeological and historical record.[1, p. 381]
Murdock presents here a very outdated strawman version of the Aryan invasion theory. Again, Murdock would do well to give sources for these statements.
There were, in fact, pre-Brahmanical cultures and religions in India, those of the rishis and the Jainists, who profess their religion to be the oldest in the world. [1, p. 381]
Religionists professing something about their religion are not often the best source for the truth of the matter. If that were a valid line of inquiry, we would have to accept that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended, that Moses received divine law on mount Sinai, and that more than half of the religions of the world are the oldest religion. Jainism genuinely does seem to have pre-Brahmanic roots, though. This does rather support some relatively weak variety of the Aryan invasion theory, rather than Indigenous Aryans or Out of India hypotheses. Murdock does not make it clear what exactly her model in this regard is, so we are left to guess what she thinks. A source she refers to when mentioning Jain proselytization previously in this chapter - viz Barbara Walker's Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secret says they are a more recent development, the 6th century BCE.
Moreover, aspects of Brahmanism are in actuality similar to those of the Aryan Zoroastrianism, as well as of the Egyptian religion.[1, p. 381]
Which is just one further argument in favour of the Aryan Invasion theory. As for similarities with the Egyptian religion, Murdock seems to have thought assertion does cut it.
Brahmanism represents, in reality, a degradation compared to the earlier rishi culture, much as later Egyptian culture never reached the heights of the Pyramid builders. Indeed, fanatical Brahmanism was as base as Catholicism during the Inquisition, and the Catholic inquisitors took their hierarchy and methods of torture from the Brahmans. [1, p. 381]
The claim that Catholicism took methods of torture from the Brahmins would really require some backing up. Given that the Indian and European communities had similar levels of technology, and the human body is the same in both places, it is no surprise if methods of torture were the same in both. As to whether Brahmanism is a degradation of earlier rishi culture, such value-judgments are hard to make. Especially as we know very little thereof.

Based on all the evidence, Jacolliot was adamant that western culture emanated out of India, not Egypt. Says he:
Enquirers who have adopted Egypt as their field of research and who have explored and re-explored that country from temple to tomb, would have us believe it the birthplace of our civilization. There are some who even pretend that India adopted from Egypt her castes, her language, and her laws, while Egypt is on the contrary but one entire Indian emanation. . . . The Sanscrit is itself the most irrefutable and most simple proof of the Indian origin of the races of the Europe, and of India’s maternity.
 [1, p. 382]
Murdock pretends to be a linguist. She also quotes people who thought Sanskrit is the language out of which the Indo-European languages developed, and she quotes their statements as though they were authoritative and current. By the time of Jacolliot, historical linguistics was not well understood, but even then most serious Indo-Europeanists held that Sanskrit was only among the earliest of offspring of Proto-Indo-European. Basically, Sanskrit was one among a bunch of siblings - Hittite, Proto-Italo-Celtic, Proto-Balto-Slavic, Proto-Armeno-Hellenic, Proto-Germanic, etc were at about the same level. Sanskrit was, however, the earliest such close derivative to be attested (now, however, at least Hittite and Mitanni evidence predates Sanskrit. Also, the Sanskrit records were apparently only written down after being passed down orally for quite a while). Indo-Europeanists of today seem to think that 19th century scholars assigned too much weight to the Sanskrit evidence, thus 19th century attempts at reconstructing Proto-Indo-European ended up too close to Sanskrit in form, reinforcing an inflation of the supposed age of Sanskrit. More recent reconstructions have incorporated more evidence from other branches of the Indo-European family and found Sanskrit to be more distant than what scholars originally surmised, thus also reducing the supposed age thereof.
It is not definite that there is a single source of all human languages, but much western language certainly comes out of India, a fact known for millennia and now being revamped with the “Nostratic theory,” which seeks to trace language to India around 12,000 years ago. This Nostratic language was possibly either “Chaldee,” the ancient sacred lingua franca used by the brotherhood, or an even older version. [1, p. 382]
I have previously pointed out how this misrepresents Nostratic theory, which, by the way, is not accepted by almost any serious linguists outside of a few departments of historical linguistics in the former Soviet Union. Based on this, I am also lead to understand that either Murdock's understanding of historical linguistics is pretty weak or she is making claims she knows are wrong. Either way it is fairly damning regarding her scholarly credibility.
Jacolliot also states:
We shall presently see Egypt, Judea, Greece, Rome, all antiquity, in fact, copy Brahminical Society in its castes, its theories, its religious opinions; and adopt its Brahmins, its priests, its levities, as they had already adopted the language, legislation and philosophy of that ancient Vedic Society whence their ancestors had departed through the world to disseminate the grand ideas of primitive revelation.
[1, p.  382, in turn mainly quoting Jacolliot's The Bible in India, p. 68]
Except they did not adopt the language of India. The religions of Greece and Rome clearly were cognate to that of India, but none of the three were the proto-religion from which the other two stemmed - they all developed from a common stock over time. A claim such as Jacolliot's requires back up in form of facts, Jacolliot, as is common for Murdock's favorite sources, only makes assertions. As for Egypt and Judea, these clearly did not even have languages related to those of India (except for the Greek settlers in Ptolemaic Egypt). Relying on the scholarliness of Jacolliot is not something a scholar can do with the knowledge we have today.

Higgins likewise says:
There is not a particle of proof, from any historical records known to the author, that any colony ever passed from Egypt to India, but there is, we see, direct, positive historical evidence, of the Indians having come to Africa.
The various Indian migrations are further evidenced by the fact that Buddhism, far older than acknowledged, is found widespread beginning thousands of years ago. In addition to those examples previously explored, the Macedonians invoked Bedu (Buddha), and the Egyptian Pharaohs or shepherd kings were Rajputs, or royal Buddhists.[1, p. 383]
I guess we can reject this simply due to the sources being pretty unreliable. Rajput's etymology rather seems to be raja-putra, 'royal son'. The sources for all the claims in this paragraph are Higgins, whose scholarliness regularly fails to impress.
However, A. Churchward equally resolutely asserts, “The Buddhists and Brahmins in many of their religious ceremonies make use of words that are not Sanskrit, but are said to belong to a very ancient form of speech now dead. These words can be traced back to their Egyptian origins.” [1, p. 383]
Which words? Churchward does not care to mention what these words are, assuming his readers are willing to work that out for themselves.
In addition, the very ancient Egyptian god Osiris was purportedly remembered in remote regions of India, where a legend existed about him arriving there many thousands of years ago and establishing his religion. In fact, in “Sanskrit sat means to destroy by hewing into pieces,” and Osiris, of course, was cut into pieces by Set. [1, p. 383]
Sources? I find "zad" for that meaning in Sanskrit, which is probably close enough, but this still falls under chances for random similarity. I also duly note the lack of standardized transliteration. In addition, the number of words meaning something like "hew" or "cut" in Sanskrit is quite large, creating quite a good chance for such a coincidence. Maybe Murdock thinks misspelling it intentionally to make them look more similar is ethically acceptable? Maybe she thinks of her readers as incapable of understanding ideas like sound changes and therefore best spared from having to know things like this that make her thesis look less convincing? Is she intentionally trying to pull the wool over our eyes?

As usual, Murdock would be served by looking things up in dictionaries from time to time.
As can be seen, in our quest to establish the provenance of the mythos and ritual that became Christianity, we are at an impasse in choosing between Egypt and India.[1, p. 383]
As I have previously stated, might it be because this is a false dilemma? As I have shown, her evidence is far from convincing, and quite a significant portion of it rests on fabrication, misunderstanding or misrepresentation. Next installment will deal with her treatment of Sumeria and the middle East in general.

[1] D.M. Murdock, The Christ Conspiracy, 1999, Adventures Unlimited.
[2] Bryant, Edwin. The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate. 2001, Oxford University Press.

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