Friday, 4 March 2016
GIANTOLOGY: THOUGHTS ON THE DISCIPLINE AND METHODS
When an idea has its time, there is little that can be done to stop it. As such, it is safe to say that with all the research being conducted on giants, “giantology” has become its own field of study. There are certainly qualified researchers—academic and otherwise—who do great work in a multi-faceted field employing mythology, history, languages, archaeology, and anthropology. So there we have it: our own –ology, the study of giants.
However, our field is not without persons inexperienced or untrained in scientific process, testing, or logic. It is a field already sensational because of the nature of its subject matter, but there seems to be a tendency to sensationalize the topics of giants, which only serves to lampoon giantology. Hence, there are right ways to go about it, and wrong ways (which I’ll discuss in this series).
There are all manner of qualifiers which we might attach to the discipline. “Biblical” is usually the first that comes to mind, because of the Old Testament traditions of giants in the text. “World-“ or “Mythological-“ are others, and tend to focus on the ethnological breadth of traditions around the world over space and time (Giganthropology, if you will). “Historical” is yet another, which settles on the documented accounts of giants in the ancient and modern worlds. As a part of the family of giantology, for material evidences archaeogiantology would be the recovery of physical and artifactual remains of giants.
Species need a proper taxonomy as well, if we as giantologists are to place giants into the frame of faunal biology. In the most nominal and general terms, we are dealing with hominids of gigantic stature. Hence the scientific name Homo colossicus (“giant man”) or the more immediately recognizable as Homo gigantis (man of/from the giants) could suffice. Tribal divisions as outlined in the Bible would have little to do with taxonomy, but geography might. So the older giants might be Homo gigantis antediluvensis, or giants with Holy Land provenience might be Homo gigantis levantinus, or giants from North America showing physiological singularity might be Homo gigantis americanus, and so on and so forth. There is however the matter of satisfying the supernatural pedigree of giants in the taxonomic designation. In this scenario, Homo titanus (Titanic man), both addresses the supernatural origins (as Josephus equates the Nephilim with the Greek Titans) and satisfies the taxonomc criteria without being overly ostentatious.
Giantological research basically proceeds along one of three axes, or a combination of them. Firstly, the mythological/oral tradition/anthropological evidence comes to us from the mythological traditions of cultures from around the world. Secondly, the historical evidence for giants resides in written records preserved by ancient, medieval, and modern writers. Lastly, the material axis calls on archaeology and paleontology to recover physical remains of giants and the artifacts and features left in their wake. As a rule of thumb—in the order I have outlined—the evidence becomes scarcer. Genetics, epigenetics, physics, geology, and biochemistry also have the potential to provide new insights as well.
Research ethics should also be a high priority for any giant researcher. Thorough, scientific methodology should be applied to every project. Any original research in the form of journal articles and books should account for sources. This practice is responsible, and allows others to follow and corroborate or amend your work. There are any number of publications on the topic of giants with no footnote citations (far too many in my opinion). If we are to make a case to the world, our research needs to be presented in the language of science, ethically and responsibly. Dissemination of research project results should be equally mindful of such ethics, and should be in a timely manner. Most journals will likely be reticent to publish which means that other venues and even original peer-reviewed journals dealing with giants should eventually materialize through the efforts of (much needed) scholarly societies and professional organizations who study giants.
The above statements are all but a summary of the field of giantology. It is changing daily. There are many other issues to be fleshed out, which I will address as I can. For now, here are the rudiments for a discipline of giantolgy, each bearing consideration.
To learn more about these issues read “An Ethnology of the Giant Tribes and Clans in the Ancient Levant”: http://store.payloadz.com/details/2215418-documents-and-forms-research-papers-an-ethnology-of-the-giant-tribes-and-clans-in-the-ancient-levant.html
© 2016 Judd Burton
Posted by anthrojudd
at 5:33 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 4 March 2016 5:35 AM EST
Wednesday, 13 January 2016
WATCHERS WATCHERS EVERYWHERE
Recently, I read a series of blog entries from the site Remnant of Giants containing analysis of another article on the mythology of the Watchers. This article, "Turning to the Angels to save Jewish Mythology" is a summary of recent research by Dr. Jonathan Ben-Dov, senior lecturer in Bible at the University of Haifa. The full article may be read by clicking here. The general claim of the article and subject of subsequent blog entries is that the Jewish tradition of the Watchers drew on other mythologies of the ancient Near East.
On one level--for the sake of argument--this is possible. The academic stance has long been at least a version of this thesis. There is certainly a long-established body of evidence demonstrating the influences of cultures from Mesopotamia and Egypt on Hebrew culture. However, most scholars contend that the idea of the Watcher angel (or at least the books that expound upon them) is a relatively late ideological construct (Second Temple Period), having been based on much older deities from the above-mentioned societies and their beliefs.
However, if we subscribe to a supernatural worldview--and moreso, a Biblical worldview--references and depictions of celestial beings such as the Watchers, giants, and indeed the flood, in ancient cultures are in actuality separate descriptions of the same events and personalities. Yes there are definitely going to be similarities in these depictions, the authors and artists are working from the same source material.
What the apocryphal material, such as Enoch, Jubilees, Jasher, and the lke, represent is the record of memory much older than the Hebrew language as a written system. Of course one will find similarities between Mesopotamian and Hebrew accounts. Not only were they geographically proximate, but this situation allowed for diffusion. These stories circulated.
Very interesting article with interesting points.
Posted by anthrojudd
at 3:43 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 13 January 2016 3:44 AM EST
Thursday, 30 July 2015
REVISITING THE TOMB OF GILGAMESH
As it has been more than 12 years since its discovery, I thought that I would post the classic article on the Tomb of GIlgamesh, the god-king of Uruk, often equated with the Biblical Nimrod. The timing of the discovery is interesting in that it coincided with the deployment of U.S.military forces in Iraq in the spring of 2003.
I always tell my students that mythology can always be a medium for at least some historicity. Gilgamesh seems to be no exception, as his name not only shows up in the Sumerian King's List (http://www.livius.org/k/kinglist/sumerian.html) in the early Third millennium BC as the ruler of the city of Uruk. This is just as it is recounted in the great heroic poem, The Gilgamesh Epic, in which he is described as being 2/3 divine and 1/3 human. For more background information on Gilgamesh, see the Epic and the Enuma Elish.
EPIC OF GILGAMESH: http://public.wsu.edu/~gened/orpheus/orpheus_gilgamesh.htm
ENUMA ELISH: http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sumer_anunnaki/esp_sumer_annunaki01.htm
Was Gilgamesh a historical personage? I believe he was. Was he the fabled god-king of myth? I believe it is at leat possible, if not plausible. You must decide for yourself as you weigh the evidence.
Posted by anthrojudd
at 2:55 AM EDT
Sunday, 27 March 2011
New BEYOND Series, News, Etc.
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you one and all for being faithful readers of Beyond. The new special series on giants seems to be to everyone's liking, that is to say, I'm enjoying all the feedback. Thanks again.
One thing to check out is a new documentary on Goliath, called Footsteps of Goliath. Compelling--click below:
**For more info on Goliath and other giants, check out Interview With the Giant, now only $13.40 for a limited time. Click below to purchase:
All the best in your own searches. Godspeed.
Posted by anthrojudd
at 1:09 AM EDT
Thursday, 15 July 2010
A NOTE ON MONSTERS AND GIANTS
Monsters, in the language of mythology, were beings of unnatural proportions or parts, usually regarded with terror, as possessing immense strength and ferocity, which they employed for the injury and annoyance of men. Some of them were supposed to combine the members of different animals; such were the Sphinx and Chimaera; and to these all the terrible qualities of wild beasts were attributed, together with human sagacity and faculties. Others, as the giants, differed from men chiefly in their size; and in this particular we must recognize a wide distinction among them. The human giants, if so they may be called, such as the Cyclopes, Antaeus, Orion, and others, must be supposed not to be altogether disproportioned to human beings, for they mingled in love and strife with them. But the superhuman giants, who warred with the gods, were of vastly larger dimensions. Tityus, we are told, when stretched on the plain, covered nine acres, and Enceladus required the whole of Mount Aetna to be laid upon him to keep him down.
While this war between the gods and the Titans lasted the giants proved a formidable enemy. Some of them, like Briareus, had a hundred arms; others, like Typhon, breathed out fire. At one time they put the gods to such fear that they fled into Egypt and hid themselves under various forms. Jupiter took the form of a ram, whence he was afterwards worshipped in Egypt as the god Ammon, with curved horns. Apollo became a crow, Bacchus a goat, Diana a cat, Juno a cow, Venus a fish, Mercury a bird. At another time the giants attempted to climb up into heaven, and for that purpose took up the mountain Ossa and piled it on Pelion. They were at last subdued by thunderbolts, which Minerva invented, and taught Vulcan and his Cyclopes to make for Jupiter.
Posted by anthrojudd
at 2:11 PM EDT
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