Greek History Crash Course; not so boring!
If you read my last blog you know that I am nursing a fat lip. Part of that nursing procedure is to be quiet. That is, no talking due to the fact that I have not yet been to the dentist to have the broken tooth tended to; the tooth irritates the cut in the upper lip. End of story: stay home, and be bored, or stay at home and read and putter. I choose reading. (The dentist is tomorrow and believe me, I’d rather read!)
So, this morning I read my Bible which is a usual thing for me to do. Nearing the end of Joshua I was struck by chapter 21, verse 45 which has a rather stunning phrase, in my opinion. It says, “. . . all came to pass.” This brought me to an abrupt stop. A section on history has just happened and it all came to pass.
From Abraham’s leaving Ur to follow God’s direction to the dividing of Israel into 12 sections representing the country, Israel, promised to Abraham nearly 500 years in the past. That alone gives plenty to think about.
It wasn’t enough. I wondered about Bible dating and puttered around on the internet to find a Jewish timeline. This is where I ran into another subject as I followed history to as far as about 300 years before the birth of Christ. Here, in print are the startling words of Aristotle and infanticide. You know, the guy you see quoted with words of wisdom in the Reader’s Digest, who seems to get undue respect? That one. Here is a quote from “History Crash Course #27 The Greek Empire, on http://www.aish.com:
The Athenians, not as tough as the Spartans, were not what you’d describe as “soft” either. For example, they thought nothing of killing infants (a common practice in all ancient civilizations even the “elevated” ones). One of the most influential thinkers in Western intellectual history ― none other than Aristotle- ― argued in his Politics (VII.16) that killing children was essential to the functioning of society. He wrote:
“There must be a law that no imperfect or maimed child shall be brought up. And to avoid an excess in population, some children must be exposed [i.e. thrown on the trash heap or left out in the woods to die]. For a limit must be fixed to the population of the state.”
Note the tone of his statement. Aristotle isn’t saying “I like killing babies,” but he is making a cold, rational calculation: over-population is dangerous; this is the most expedient way to keep it in check.
Herod came by his notion to kill all the babies in an effort to kill the future king of Israel from Hellenistic example. The idea was not new.
Now to look into the future I see a King in Jerusalem; He rules the entire world. It will happen. I know it because “. . . all came to pass.” History, after all, is His Story.