Gutsy Student Exposes My Modernist Leanings

After only one day of my teaching, one of my Kalmar students has already twigged that there’s a funny discrepancy between the course’s post-modernist meta-archaeological syllabus and the opinions voiced by his main teacher from the lectern and elsewhere. Fearlessly he goes for my jugular on the course blog, where all the students have to post in order to pass the course, and I respond.

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

8 thoughts on “Gutsy Student Exposes My Modernist Leanings”

  1. (I am a layperson so feel free to criticise me ruthlessly)
    A longer comment to the historical background versus the Creation “museum” .
    There is no evidence of a big settlement at Jerusalem in the presumed time of David, nor at towns he is supposed to have founded.
    About a century later a big royal town is built by the despised Samarians. The time until the Babylonian captivity provides artefacts indicating the Jewish folk religion was little different from that of other Caananites.
    During or immediately after the Babylonian captivity the corpus of the Jewish religion is subjected to a major “retcon”. All references to Jewish polytheism is purged, El becomes the only god. The various oral creation narratives are written down and fused into one unit. David is credited with being a founder.
    A gentlemean named Noah is introduced, and so is an edited version of the Mesopotamian Flood myth.
    Eventually, the Jews start refering to El as Yaweh.
    2600 years later a man named Ken Ham decides to build a creation museum to prove that Noah really did squeeze 2 specimen each of 2 million beetles, hundreds of thousands of other insects, several thousand amphibians and tens of thousands of amniote vertebrates into a craft built by his family before 2-5 extra vertical miles of water suddenly appared all over the Earth (only to disappear again 40 days later).
    Mark, you got the one relevant word right.
    BTW Däniken needs a better agent, his narraitive is actually within the laws of physics..


  2. fun! here in lund the official view is that there no longer is a conflict between modernist sceptics and post-modernists… if you say you lean more towards empiricism than say the phenomenology of post-modernism, you will get long monologes about how dividing the traditions is blase.

    though when you get a few beers in some of the post 70’s scholars, you might get some more honest opinions out of them 🙂


  3. All references to Jewish polytheism is purged, El becomes the only god.

    I’m not an expert in this stuff, but I’m told that one reference to polytheism escaped notice. Genesis has two creation stories. In one of them the Hebrew word used for God is (so I am told) elohim, which is the plural form (el or eloi would be the singular; cf. Arabic allah). Other references suggest that YHWH was originally a volcano god (“a pillar of smoke by day, a pillar of fire at night”).

    I’m not a Swedish speaker, but I got a bit more out of the blog exchange than Mark P did. Varför is obviously cognate to wherefore. The student is asking why von Däniken is crazy, and Martin replied with a statement about why he is a skeptic. That’s about the limit of my ability to figure out what’s going on. I also found it amusing that somebody thought Switzerland (specifically the mountain resort town of Interlaken) would be a good place for a von Däniken theme park.


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