Edwin R. Bevin noted long ago that the ancients have left us not a single instance in which men were supposed to have conversed with Zeus (in contrast with Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses, who each conversed with God); all revelation came to the gentiles through voices, letters from heaven, natural objects, omens, inspired utterance (dreams, fits, etc.). In the late times we hear of messages from the oracle of Ammon of both the Egyptians and the Greeks, but they were all delivered by sortes (lots, dice, books, moving statues, etc.). It is important to bear this in mind, lest we fall into the error of supposing that the religion of Abraham and Israel was simply another tribal superstition or an offshoot from the archaic order. Between the gospel and the numerous spin-offs from the pristine faith taought by Adam to his children, there is all the difference between light and darkness--and the Egyptians felt the difference most keenly. (pg. 234)
Sunday, May 16, 2010
In this quote from Abraham in Egypt, Nibley is discussing the fact that there were certain Egyptian Pharaohs who spent nearly every waking moment searching their libraries for information on how their predecessors received their divinity. Nibley then notes a characteristic unique to the Hebrew (and we could also say Book of Mormon and modern day) prophets:
Okay, so this post really doesn't have much to do with Ben Franklin, but I thought it was a cool story from my current read, "Abraham in Egypt" by Hugh Nibley. This is from page 206:
But Abraham's most famous lesson in tolerance was a favorite story of Benjamin Franklin, a story which as been traced back as far as a thirteenth-century Arabic writer and may be much older. The prologue to the story is the visit of three angels to Abraham, who asked him what he charged for meals; the price was only that the visitor "invoke the name of God before beginning and prasie it when you finish." But one day the patriarch entertained an old man who would pray neither before eating nor after, explaining to Abraham that he was a fire worshiper. His indignant hose thereupon denied him further hospitality and the old man went his way. But very soon the voice of the Lord came to Abraham, saying: "I have suffered him these hundred years, although he dishonored me; and thou couldst not endure him one night, when he gave thee no trouble?" Overwhelmed with remorse, Abraham rushed out after his guest and brought him back in honor: "Go though and do likewise," ends the story, "and they charity will be rewarded by the God of Abraham." In the oldest version of the story the Lord says, "Abraham! For a hundred years the divine bounty has flowed out...to this man: is it for thee to withhold thy hand from him because his worship is not thing?" One is strongly reminded of the Nephite law, which declared it "strictly contrary tot he commands of God" to penalize one's neighbor if he does not choose to believe in God (Alma 30:7)
"The one salient, outstanding, universal, undeniable characteristic of all idols is their utterly passive helplessness; if men persist in worshiping them, it cannot be in spite of that quality, but because of it. The sophisticated people of Abraham's time wanted the sanction of holy beings which at the same time were one hundred percent compliant with their won interests and desires, just as people today search out those scriptures which support their interests and push the rest aside. As Brigham Young pointed out time and again, the enlisting of systematic piety in the interest of private greed and ambitions is the very essence of idolatry."
I've never been a blogger. I never had reason to share anything I was doing online. But recently I took on a project...
I love books. Over the years I have purchased more books than I have actually taken the time to read. My shelves would fill up and I would box up the books that didn't look interesting anymore to make room for my new acquisitions. But as I have run out of room (and book money for the time being) I made a goal to read every book I own that I haven't already read before I would buy any more. This is more difficult than it may sound. At the time I began the project I had 32 unread books. Most of them non-fiction and most of them very long. Since I began, I have read 4 or 5....but still have 30 books to go? How? People who know I love books let me borrow ones they know I'll enjoy and I read them instead of my own. Otherwise I would end up keeping their book for much too long (for example I currently have a book that someone in a college French class let me borrow...over 5 years ago.....oops).
I have also found that with some of my books I lose interest and/or motivation to keep reading.
SO I thought I would try a blog and write about what I am reading. I'll post cool quotes or thoughts. I certainly don't expect anyone will find or follow this blog, but at least it is a way for me to focus on what I'm reading.
Yes, I know this sounds very similar to "Julie and Julia" and I can't deny I may have gotten the idea from the movie. But who cares? No one is reading this anyway. However, if anyone does care about what I'm reading, you can also add me as a friend on goodreads.com, or as I call it, Facebook for Nerds.