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I’m sure I evaluate the Bible differently from secular scholars in some ways, but for the purposes of these two lectures, it really doesn’t matter. The things I lay out are things that there’s broad agreement on. (Plus, you might consider the possibility that a Christian’s faith stems from his coming to the conclusion that the Bible is a reliable source. In other words, the cause and effect could be different from the way you’ve framed them.)
Secular scholars will use the Bible to teach Hebrew history as well. As I said in the lecture, there’s not much else to go on for most of Hebrew history.
The purpose of the two lectures is to help establish the importance of the Hebrews in the history of Western civilization, I think the conveying of the Biblical narrative is the best way to accomplish that. Whether or not the stories are authentic, the simple fact is that for about 1,500 years nearly everyone in the West accepted them as true, and they helped to shape the way the civilization developed in a number of important ways. So it’s important for a student of Western civilization to be familiar with them.
I hope this helps to explain why the lectures are structured the way they are.
Population growth by itself does not reduce the need for agricultural work; in fact, it increases it because there are more mouths to feed. As agriculture became more efficient, though (through innovation). a smaller percentage of the population was needed to produce enough food for everyone. The surplus of labor in agriculture would thus have led to falling wages in that sector. It’s not really a question of whether there was “enough work,” but of how the work would have compared to what else was available in the cities, etc. No doubt some of the farmhands who moved to the cities but who liked farming could have stayed in the country had they been willing to work for free.
Certainly some people were hurt by industrialization, in the same way that some people in modern industries are hurt when a technological innovation makes the work they do redundant and they lose their jobs. But as Dr. Woods noted above, the debate on whether industrialization was good for society as a whole (in material terms) is just about over.
Can you clarify what it means to be “properly skeptical”?
Hi Steve, and thanks for your thoughtful comment. I hope you are able to get a lot of mileage from this material.
Can you point me to the time marker where I said the covenant was unconditional? What I remembered saying was that the covenant was designed to last forever but was conditional on the Hebrews’ obedience. The context in which I intended the remark to be understood was in its temporal ramifications stemming from what happened on Sinai.
I recognize there is a longstanding theological argument among different Christian “camps” over the covenantal status of Jews in the Christian dispensation. For the purposes of this lecture series, I’m not advocating a particular position on that question.
I hope this helps to clarify what I said in the lecture.
I commend your desire to set the record straight on this topic!
When you ask about all these things and whether they increased or decreased, my immediate response is, “Compared to what?” Before the Industrial Revolution, there was no child labor in factories because . . . there were no factories! However, there was lots and lots of child labor on farms, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 100%! The same can be said concerning working hours. Farmers often worked from sunrise to sunset before (and after) the Industrial Revolution. But no government statistician was walking around in 1750 collecting data on how long farmers worked every day, so you’re not going to be able to just show your teacher a number.
I suspect that if your teacher employs any documents to support the case that the Industrial Revolution was bad, it will be the investigations sponsored by the British Parliament in the first half of the 19th century. These are often cherry picked to put urban life in the worst possible light and not viewed in the context of life in general in that period.
The key thing to remember is that it is illegitimate to compare life in the early Industrial Revolution to life today, note that people were poor then compared to us today, and then conclude that the Industrial Revolution was bad for most people. People were poor compared to us 200 years ago because there was very little capital then compared to today, not because they were working in factories. Child labor and 16-hour work days only ended when capital accumulation made the ending of them possible.
I did link to some sources in the lecture notes that build on these points, and I encourage to read them carefully and employ the same reasoning used there in your conversations with you teacher and classmates.
Democracy links are now posted at the bottom of the links section for Lecture 10!April 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm in reply to: Lecture9 The Polis – Percentage of Citizens with voting rights? #16312
Wives of citizens: ~10%
Children of citizens: ?
Metics: ~20% or more
Slaves: the rest
I hope this helps.
In fact, I included a link to Hoppe’s book in the material I submitted to the web folks last night. Great minds think alike!April 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm in reply to: Lecture9 The Polis – Percentage of Citizens with voting rights? #16310
Matej, a substantial percentage of the Athenian population was free non-citizens, or “metics.” Think of them as analogous to resident aliens in our society. They participated freely in the commerce and life of the city, but they were unable to vote in the Assembly.
Walter, you are correct in saying that Brier is no libertarian. I remember watching the lectures a few years ago and thinking that he seemed to be, in Ralph Raico’s phrase, a Court Historian. Nevertheless, to say that his lectures have “nothing to do with analytical thinking or research” is incorrect.
Bear in mind that Brier is focusing on the pharaohs themselves and not attempting to rebut theories like Haramein’s. Where I think you will find more information that will help you in this search is in the bibliography that came in the course manual. I do not recall specifically, but I would not be surprised if you find several works in there focusing on the pyramids.
Your post seems to indicate that you do take many of Haramein’s ideas (and data) at face value. Have you verified his claim that Egyptologists think the Great Pyramid was built in 20 years and that they would have had to lay a stone every two minutes, for example, or that modern technology can’t construct them, or that specialists in the areas you cite couldn’t have existed in ancient Egypt? Are all the documents and inscriptions related to pyramid building from Egypt forgeries? Have you looked for a physicist with an alternative point of view to Haramein’s?
Let me know what other relevant things you come across as you continue your own research. It’s a very interesting study.
Thanks for reminding me of this. I’m going to send two or three links to the web folks to post on in the links section of this lecture tomorrow and will post again here when they are live on the site.April 23, 2012 at 3:37 pm in reply to: Lecture9 The Polis – Percentage of Citizens with voting rights? #16308
The sources I’ve been looking at today put the citizenship figure at around 10% of the Athenian population in the fifth century B.C. Citizens had to prove Athenian ancestry on both the father’s and mother’s sides of the family. Around half the free population of Athens didn’t meet this requirement.
Ray, I’m glad you’re enjoying the course. There were many minor peoples living between the Egyptian and Hittite empires along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean when the Hebrews left Egypt, according to the Biblical record. Sometimes they are referred to collectively as “Canaanites” because they occupied the land of Canaan (a name often used in the Bible to refer to Palestine/Israel). In other places they are subdivided more specifically: Hivites, Jebusites, etc.
Depending on the precise historical moment you’re examining, these people were either operating independently or paying some sort of tribute to a nearby empire such as Egypt. Recall that during the New Kingdom period, the Egyptians exerted an imperial influence over the people living to their north and east. The Hittites were also active in the region during that period. The Sinai specifically had more of an Egyptian influence along the coastal areas, although tribes in the interior may have been left alone.
I hope this helps to answer your question.April 21, 2012 at 3:06 pm in reply to: Lecture9 The Polis – Percentage of Citizens with voting rights? #16306
Rothbard gives the 7% figure on p. 6 of “Economic Thought before Adam Smith.” He doesn’t provide a citation, so I’m not sure where he got that number, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable. When I get back to the office Monday, I’ll check a source or two and see if I come up with anything different. The figure will naturally fluctuate depending on what moment in Athenian history you’re examining.
Garret, it’s great to see you on here. I’m glad you’re finding the lectures worthwhile.
I’m not exactly up to the minute on Hyksos scholarship, but the last I looked there didn’t seem to be a firm consensus on their origins or their role in the exodus. A lot depends on the timeline construction; I’ve seen several authors argue that the “pharaoh who knew not Joseph” was either part of the new Hyksos dynasty near the beginning of the Second Intermediate Period or part of a newly restored New Kingdom dynasty that had replaced the Hyksos. You may be aware that Josephus claimed the Hyksos _were_ Hebrews, but I don’t know of any modern scholar who believes that.
Alan Gardiner’s book (cited in the lecture notes) devotes a few pages to the question of Hyksos identity, and it would probably be a good place to start further investigation.