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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 8:05 am 
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Further in this discussion, I have read Licona’s arguments, and it is obvious to me that he builds his house upon miraculous sand whereas Murdock builds her house upon scientific rock.

Consider for example Licona’s comment “I do not believe that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is a “fairytale.” Indeed, I believe there is a strong body of evidence in favor of Jesus’ resurrection as an event that occurred in space-time.”

To me, this is like the Pope of Rome saying to Galileo ““I do not believe that geocentrism is a “fairytale.” Indeed, I believe there is a strong body of evidence in favor of geocentrism as an accurate description of space-time.”

All of Licona’s critique of Murdock is premised on this supernatural miraculous worldview. My interest is in analysing the presuppositions and evidence that inform this lively debate.

I have studied the debate on this topic for some years. Licona cites Swerdlow who is relying on Otto Neugebauer, who allegedly refuted a school of thought from about a hundred years ago called ‘Pan-Babylonism’ which asserted that knowledge of precession of the equinoxes dates to ancient Babylon. There is a useful summary, albeit intensely biased in Otto’s favour, by Gary Thompson at ... page9.html

I completely disagree with Thompson, Swerdlow and Neugebauer, but recognise this is a complex debate, and they certainly have the upper hand regarding academic credibility.

My view is that their hypothesis that there was no Babylonian knowledge of precession suffers from crippling flaws, but these gaps of logic have been overlooked by Christians who seize on Neugebauer’s arguments with glee because they validate supernatural dogma. The flaws in Neugebauer that flow through to Swerdlow and Licona include the apparent use of precessional Gnostic knowledge from Babylon to construct the Christ Myth, the difficulty of explaining how Babylonian astronomers could have predicted eclipses without noticing precession, and the failure to recognise the political psychology of secrecy that is central to ancient culture.

A core theme at dispute is Licona’s use of Swerdlow’s irrational comment that “what this woman is claiming is so wacky that it is hardly worth answering. So when this woman says that the Christian fish was a symbol of the ‘coming age of Pisces’, she is saying something that no one would have thought of in antiquity because in which constellation of the fixed stars the vernal equinox was located, was of no significance and is entirely an idea of modern, I believe twentieth-century, astrology.”

Too often, experts have concealed assumptions in their arguments, and use these assumptions to belittle those who question them. In addressing Swerdlow’s comment belittling Murdock, I have had cause to look for ancient evidence of an astronomical focus on the boundary between Aries and Pisces, which is the precise part of the sky against which all this argument stands or falls.

Here is a photo that I consider to be a decisive piece of evidence refuting Swerdlow’s comments.
What do we see here? This is a photo of the Farnese globe, an ancient marble statue showing Atlas holding up the heavens. Details are at

The point of this photo is that it shows the exact point at issue refuting Swerdlow and Licona, namely ancient evidence of a focus on where the equinox point shifted from Aries to Pisces at the time of Christ. From right to left in this photo we see the constellations of Gemini, Taurus, Aries and Pisces. The front feet of Aries the Ram, like in the famous Dendera Zodiac from Egypt, touch the wavy rope that traditionally depicts the cord holding the fish of Pisces. The feet of the lamb are part of the traditional mythological figure. The decisive fact is that the reason the feet point to the X on the globe is directly linked to ancient knowledge of precession, a knowledge that dates back at least 400 years before Christ to Plato and his dialogue the Timaeus, as the real origin of the Christian Chi Rho cross.

There are no stars at the location of the lamb’s foot. The reason the foot of the lamb ‘anoints’ the X can only be that the ancient astronomers understood that this point is where the sun begins the new year each spring equinox. The movement of this 'anointing' point at a rate of one degree every 71.6 years is the astronomical phenomenon known as precession of the equinoxes.

Contrary to Swerdlow’s arrogant mistake, the sole reason why the foot of the lamb touches the line of the fish is that ancient astronomers saw the importance of measuring the point in the sky where the sun leaves the old year and enters the new year, defined as the boundary between Aries and Pisces.

risenjesus. com /licona-replies-to-acharya-part-2 quotes Krupp, a superb scholar,who correctly says to Licona that “Swerdlow is well informed on the ancient history of astronomy and astrology, and his report to you reflects current scholarly opinion formulated by textual evidence.”

But Krupp himself questions current scholarly opinion, so this statement cannot be construed as an endorsement of Swerdlow. All Krupp is observing is that Swerdlow has the upper hand as regards academic credibility, not that Swerdlow is correct.

The point here is that the Farnese globe directly proves the error of Swerdlow and Licona's claim that the ancients had no concept of borders between constellations. As well, this direct astronomical focus on the precessional point where the sun crosses the equator is highly significant as strong support for the hypothesis of a Gnostic use of this fact in constructing the Alpha-Omega basis of the Christ Myth.

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