Exegesis Volume 07 Issue #042

In This Issue:

From: L:Smerillo
Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V7 #41

From: "JG or DF"
Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V7 #40

From: Patrice Guinard
Subject: [e] Re: irony

Exegesis Digest Mon, 11 Mar 2002

Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2002 08:18:03 +0100
From: L:Smerillo
Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V7 #41

What silly boys you both are.


Listar wrote:
 > >
 > >exegesis Digest Sun, 10 Mar 2002 Volume: 07 Issue: 041
 > >
 > >In This Issue:
 > >#1: From: "Roger L. Satterlee"
 > >Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V7 #40
 > >#2: From: "JG or DF"
 > >Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V7 #39
 > >
 > >----------------------------------------------------------------------
 > >
 > >From: "Roger L. Satterlee"
 > >Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V7 #40
 > >Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2002 05:32:18 -0500
 > >
 > >>
 > >>Date: Sat, 09 Mar 2002 09:08:31 +0100
 > >>From: L:Smerillo
 > >>Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V7 #38
 > >>
 > >"[..]For the Hellenistic and Graeco-Roman periods, what records we have
 > >indicate that astrologers were absolutely dependent upon their 'tables.'
 > >This only stands to reason as an astrologer would be consulted only well
 > >after the birth, except in the case of an influential birth [..]"
 > >
 > >As long as my intuition leads me to the same conclusions as all of your
 > >academic efforts, I think I'll continue to forgo all the extra eye strain...:)
 > >
 > >Rog
 > >
 > >------------------------------
 > >
 > >From: "JG or DF"
 > >Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V7 #39
 > >Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2002 18:16:14 +1300
 > >
 > >>>>Origen by the way was not a gnostic
 > >>
 > >>>Wrong. Alexandria "produced the great second and third-century Gnostic
 > >>>masters Carpocrates, Basilides, Valentinus, Clement and Origen". ["The
 > >>>Jesus Mysteries", T Freke & P Gandy, 1999, p249.]
 > >>
 > >>Take it from someone who has several degrees in theology and classics
 > >>and is a specialist in Late Antiquity that Origen was not a gnostic.
 > >
 > >Why? Just because your particular peer group believes it? Or because you
 > >wish to appear as an authority figure? Or both?
 > >
 > >>Some of his christological views were later thought (albeit mistakenly)
 > >>to be dangerously near some views espoused by some gnostic sects and
 > >>were out of concordance with the accepted orthodox views of the later
 > >>oecumenical councils, hence he was condemned.
 > >
 > >He was redefined as a heretic by the Roman Catholics after they finally
 > >achieved their monopoly strangle-hold of the Christian market-place -
 > >centuries after his death, right? Because he asserted the truth of
 > >reincarnation.
 > >
 > >Better recall the relevance to the purposes of Exegesis. Origen: "Know
 > >that you are another world in miniature and have in you Sol and Luna and
 > >even the stars" (Homiliae in Leviticum, 5..2). This statement asserts the
 > >hermetic doctrine `as above, so below' in a specifically astrological form.
 > >Are you arguing that this assertion does not qualify him as a gnostic? If
 > >so, is the obvious implication that Catholic orthodoxy approves this
 > >astrological doctrine also something you believe?
 > >
 > >>The Gnostics were a group
 > >>of weirdoes who believed in all sorts of odd tomfoolery.
 > >
 > >Oh, okay. Haven't seen this definition of gnostics before, but it sounds
 > >awfully like the Roman Catholics. How does one distinguish one sort of
 > >mumbo-jumbo from the other?
 > >
 > >>Origen was much
 > >>to bright ( = he had too much gnosis, knowledge) to be one of those,
 > >>and I have read much in Origen. Your source is a popular book, which
 > >>often contain errors: caveat emptor!
 > >>Should you wish to pursue the matter at leisure, I would recommend:
 > >< snipped: possibly useful sources; no doubt selected in conformity to the
 > >prevailing ideology of your particular academic niche >
 > >
 > >One is inclined to muse over the reasons such sources are unpopular. My
 > >source did at least go so far as to provide numerous quotes from Origen to
 > >prove that he was gnostic.
 > >
 > >>>>I do not see that the extensive quotes of this author further any
 > >>>>discussion, nor apparently do you.
 > >>
 > >>>Discussion normally proceeds on the basis of intelligent feedback that
 > >>>addresses the issues. I may still get some.
 > >>
 > >>But if the issues are naive?
 > >
 > >Well, normal English usage restricts application of this adjective to
 > >people. Having checked my dictionary, I acknowledge the possibility that
 > >you may mean simplistic issues. If so, I would have thought it obvious that
 > >the opposite was the case.
 > >
 > >I guess the main reason I compiled and sent those passages of Thomas Moore's
 > >to this list was the suitability they provided as an illustration of what
 > >draws a large section of the human race to astrology. What psychological
 > >buttons are being pushed? Why does the imagination play such a profound
 > >functional role in human life? The quotes were windows upon huge vistas of
 > >collective experience, with multi-dimensional issues specifically indicated
 > >within these, any one of which could have been subject to discussion.
 > >
 > >However simplicity lies in the eye of the beholder, along with truth,
 > >beauty, etc. If you want, you can use Occam's razor to slash our
 > >many-shaded world into divisions of black and white, falsity and truth, so
 > >you can peer out through the bars of your own cage...
 > >
 > >Dennis Frank
 > >
 > >------------------------------


From: "JG or DF"
Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V7 #40
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2002 20:58:42 +1300

Looks like an interesting discussion has proceeded from a misunderstanding of something I wrote. First, I agree with Lorenzo about the lack of observational basis for horoscopes in antiquity. His view is consistent with the impression I formed when I researched the historical origin of astrology in the '80s.

I would go further and suggest that astrologers in those days took the mathematics for granted much as they do today, probably for the same psychological reasons. Why undertake a reality check when you can perform wizardry for the customer regardless of the outcome?

 > >>>Doesn't really explain it. Transits are sufficient for prediction of
 > >>>adverse or suitable times and periods, and the planetary positions are
 > >>>readily observable most of the time. It's not as though they were afflicted
 > >>>by typical English weather. Climate in the classical period was generally
 > >>>good in the astrology-originating countries as it is these days.
 > >
 > >Even at the very origins of astrology, charts were not caluclated on the
 > >basis of observation, but on the basis of written records of planetary
 > >positions. No Babylonian chart exhibits any form of observation at the
 > >moment, indeed some of the texts do explicitly exclude it, as they
 > >reference astronomical events which occur after the birth (such as
 > >Neamenea). Nor do any of the extant Hellenistic and Late Antique
 > >materials exhibit any such observation. After Ptolemaeus there were his
 > >'Handy Tables', only replaced by the Alfonsine Tables much later,
 > >although with some revision by Theon in Late Antiquity.

Ah, but I did not refer to chart calculation! Transits are a technique that does not require a horoscope to be erected. What I meant was concurrent awareness of any competent astrologer of current planetary positions and configurations to each other. This would proceed from a combination of use of tables, as Lorenzo suggests, and visual checking when possible. These days I do the modern equivalent: compare planetary positions in the real-time on-screen computer simulation with what I see in the clear night sky. I studied astronomy when I was 14 (out of school) so I recognise all the visible planets and the constellations and can do a rough translation into the tropical zodiac in my head at the time. Anyone can learn to do this, it isn't hard, nor would it have been then.

 > >Weather conditions were not so ideal in the classical period, if by that
 > >you mean Babylonia, as is evidenced by the numerous references to
 > >observation of the sky not being possible becasue of clouds.

Ok, fair enough. Egypt is different, which is probably where the use of the horizon was given emphasis. A tradition of observing heliacal risings dating back several millennia.

 > >The ideal place for such observation would have been the deserts of the
 > >Sahrah or the southern central portions of the Arabian peninsula. There
 > >was no such observation in those parts.

I agree that the nomadic tribes of Arabia seem not to have ever bothered with any organised system of astronomy or astrology. Can't say the same about the Sahara. Proof of astronomical observations was furnished by the rock circle with cardinal point orientations found a few years back. I also have a vague memory of a rock henge, in a completely different place. These were allocated dates in the period before the desert came, when the land was pastoral (post ice-age to c. 3000 BC). One of the two was featured in a National Geographic article and photo shoot.

 > >Nor is this true, the Seleucid documents do contain much material on
 > >prediciton of placement which were worked out in excruciatingly complex
 > >mathematical calculations. This is contained in the Goal Year texts. The
 > >astrologers seem to have relied upon the Diaries and GYT to fashion
 > >their calculations.

Interesting. I would suggest the hypothetical existence of a small minority of astrologers who were driven by their conscience, and/or natal `planets' or axes in Virgo, to compare tabled positions with actual positions from time to time. After all, that's how Hipparchus discovered the drift of the vernal equinox. And remember all the other famous astronomers who were likewise astrologers as well: Kepler, Galileo, Ptolemy, etc.

 > >were made from tables, not observation. This has been the universal
 > >practice of astrologers, then, since the beginning, and is evidenced as
 > >late as the case of Morin recording the time of the birth of Louis XIV,
 > >not the planetary positions.

It is not universal when one can provide a single counter-example, and I can. Kepler was motivated to produce the Rudolphine tables out of his disgust with the redundancy and inaccuracy of the prior tables. Sure, he used Tycho's observations, but Tycho was also an astrologer.

Dennis Frank


Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2002 16:21:50 +0100
From: Patrice Guinard
Subject: [e] Re: irony

Not really constructive, irony, a manner of expression of the winners -- & cynicism: of "non-believers" -- are frequently employed by astronomers, historians, sociologists & al. (all the sociological discourse is mainly nothing more than mere irony!) when they speak about astrology, or with astrologers. Their users are forgetting:
1. that the social-cultural world won't probably be the same in two centuries
2. that today's erudition champions aren't protected themselves from irony & cynicism by the future ones
3. that they have no conclusive authority to assert what the REAL is or isn't

On the other side, I advocate that some "prospective" astrologers could use too of a manner of IRONICAL NAIVETY vis-a-vis the limited ideological-autoritative viewpoint -- which isn't even a view, but a mere consensual melting-pot.



End of exegesis Digest V7 #42

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