Archive for June, 2014
I’m reading a book by Steven Pinker called The Better Angels of our Nature, where he presents evidence for his claim that violence has declined over the course of history. In one section he quoted an excerpt from Homers Illiad and Odyssey where Agamemnon is explaining to King Menelaus his plans for war:
Menelaus, my soft-hearted brother, why are you so concerned for these men? Did the Trojans treat you as handsomely when they stayed in your palace? No we are not going to leave a single one of them alive, down to the babies in their mother wombs – not even they must live. The whole people must be wiped out of existence, and none be left to think of them and shed a tear.
Do these words set in the time period of 1200 BCE and written around 800 BCE not sound familiar? Let me share a passage from the Bible written in the same ancient time period.
Deut 7:2-3 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:
Here is another quote that comes from a book called The Rape of Troy written by literary scholar Jonathan Gottschall, where he discusses how archaic Greek wars were carried out.
Fast ships with shallow drafts are rowed onto beaches and seaside communities are sacked before neighbors can lend defensive support. The men are usually killed, livestock and other portable wealth are plundered, and women are carried off to live among the victors and perform sexual and menial labors.
Again, do not these words bring to mind passages in the Bible? For example: Read the rest of this entry »