Sunday, 2 April 2017

Other Scriptures

Every Terrestrial religion has scriptures. I think that a scripture is a writing regarded as authoritatively true on religious matters by members of a particular religion. Religious authority derives from inspiration. I have read that the non-theistic Buddhist scriptures are regarded as the word of the Buddha. Thus, they express transcendent enlightenment and wisdom, not intellect. The Bible is one scripture and incorporates the Samaritan, Jewish, Marcionite, Catholic and Protestant canons. Also, at least three other scriptures or, if you prefer, alleged scriptures, are in different ways related to it: the Koran, the Granth and the Book of Mormon.

Do alien races in Poul Anderson's Technic History have scriptures? We are not told. However:

the Merseian deity, referred to simply as "the God," seems too remote to enter into any direct relationship with a prophet or group of disciples;

the Ythrian "God the Hunter" definitely does not reveal His will or seek a following - He merely overshadows and stoops on everyone in due course.

Given that, the Sky Book and the Earth Book might be the nearest Avalonian equivalent to a "Bible," common to adherents of either Faith? These two compilations (or Testaments?) are the history of their people, even including an interstellar Exodus.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I'm a little puzzled by your mentioning of Marcion. He advocated REJECTING most of the Bible, such as the entire OT and large parts of the NT. Which the Catholic Church rejected as a heresy. I think the Muratorian Fragment, one of the earliest listings of the books of Scripture regarded as authoritative, seems to have been written in opposition to Marcion circa AD 140 in Rome.

While alien, non human scriptures are not mentioned as such in any of the Technic Civilization stories, we do see alien scriptures being quoted in Anderson's "The Word To Space."

Addendum. I've tried to track down the anthology containing "The Word To Space, but I seemed to have mislaid it. I wanted to cite the name of the alien scriptures Poul Anderson invented. I'm rather dismayed to think I have only one copy of "Word."

While no mention of the Merseian deity, "The God" as having scriptures is made, I think we know a little more about the Ythrian religion. I definitely recall mention of how "God the Hunter" had prophets who preached the monotheistic New Faith on Ythri.


Paul Shackley said...

The first version of a Christian canon of scripture was Marcion's "Gospel and Apostle," its title mimicking "Law and Prophets." "Gospel" was Luke's Gospel minus OT references. "Apostle" was Paul's Epistles. The OT was to be rejected as the scripture of a different God.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And I disagree with Marcion's heretical views. I recently finished reading William R. Farmer's THE GOSPEL OF JESUS: THE PASTORAL RELEVANCE OF THE SYNOPTIC PROBLEM, and he mentioned the Church's rejection of Marcionism. Farmer included a long discussion of Isaiah 52 and 53, showing how the Suffering Servant oracles was one of the OT bases of the NT Gospels. So it was no surprise the Church opposed and rejected Marcion's advocacy of rejecting of so much of the Bible.

I think the Muratorian Fragment was composed in opposition to Marcion's ideas.