However, this surprised me. It should be some kind of practical joke, but I fear this guy is serious. Normally, I ignore the banner ads at the top of my 'blog, but couldn't resist having a peep at what was advertised by:
Bible Updates HistoryIt turns out that Russian mathematician Anatoly T. Fomenko has applied astronomical and mathematical methods to historical documents and has managed to convince himself that the 'traditional' chronology of pre-Renaissance history is terifically mistaken. His main thesis seems to be that the surviving documentation of medieval and classical times consists entirely of copies and one therefore cannot justify faith in their antiquity. They are, he claims, forgeries, at least with respect to the alleged chronology. He seemingly seems to back this up with astronomical data. Amongst the conclusions he reaches are dates of 1053 AD and 1086 AD for the birth and death of Jesus Christ (neat the way he maintains the traditional 33 year life-span), identification of Troy with Constantinople, the claim that historical documents (deliberately?) confuse Old and New Rome and a re-interpretation of what Roman Numerals mean. Needless to say, this is an incident of scientific skepticism gone mad, combined with an uncommon lack of common sense.
Jesus Born 1053 & Crucified 1086 AD Proves New Chronology Research
Equally intruiging on the Amazon site are the comments recorded by the reviewers and the publisher. The publisher has no hesitation in saying:
No, Mr A.T. Fomenko, your theories are manifestly wrong; do not even try to convince us otherwise. The history never was, nor will it ever be a science - it is a proud profession. Our publishing house will gladly pay a premium of 10.000 dollars USA in cash to anyone who will prove with adequate methods and in sufficient detail that the theories of Anatoly T. Fomenko are not only preposterous and dangerous, but utterly and inherently wrong as well.What a postmodern point of view for a publisher to take! Reviewers mostly alternate between the tin-foil hat brigade who find fulfilment of their desires for a fresh conspiracy in Fomenko's work and the indignant defenders of the status quo whose rejections of these crackpot ideas rarely move beyond the polemical kneejeck.
Amongst the gems we find a review's worldview in which historians are a secretive and wealthy cabal who are likely to engage in lethal force against Fomenko:
It should hardly surprise us that historians demonstrate such bloodthirst when it comes to the brilliant Russian mathematician - if enough people begin to question the foundations of world history and find all the tremendous inconsistencies buried there, the historical profession shall cease to exist and make way for the new natural science. If Fomenko isn't eaten alive come that bright day, that is.Another reviewer bears all the marks of a relativististic conspiracy theorist. Alternative worldviews are good, the only reason they haven't been presented before is because of a conspiracy, perish the thought that truth, flasehood or credibilty might come into the equation:
If you can't handle an alternate view of history and how it may have been purposely kept from the general public, don't read this book. It is the best book I've ever read about history.Another review seems driven solely by suspicion:
Had no intention to buy this History initially. Then I saw the ultra-negative review entitled "Worthless". I looked into the contents of "Fiction or Science" just in case, for such vehement negation is bound to hide something. Was thoroughly impressed and bought it. Am reading it currently. Shocking, but really worth my dollars. According to Henry Ford, 'History is bunk'. The Russian mathematician seems to have proved it.Those review with a less positive account of the book are also very telling. It's rare these days to come across the word 'scoundrel' used so enthusastically.
Academician or not, this Fomeko character is a scoundrel and not a scientist, and deserves to be thrown into prison for attempted theft of human history.A singularily unimpressed German shouts:
IT IS SCANDALOUS TO LET SUCH A BOOK BE PUBLISHED!!! I CANT BELIEVE ALL THAT NONSENSE. AND ALL THE DIGNIFIED PEOPLE WHO SPENT THEIR LIVES AT STUDYING HISTORY?? THAT FOMENKO MUST NOT TELL SUCH HORRIBLE LIES ABOUT OUR HISTORY! HE MUST NOT DESTROY THE BELIEF IN OUR PAST! I AM SHOCKED AND DISGUSTED TO SEE THAT HERE IN FORMER EAST GERMANY FOMENKO AND HIS NEW CHRONOLOGY IS EXTREMELY HIGH ON DEMAND THAT PEOPLE EVEN MAKE ILLEGAL COPIES AND TRANSLATIONS OF HIS WORKS! WE HAD SOVIET YOKE, NOW THIS AWFUL RUSSIAN IS TROUBLING THE SPIRITS HERE!! ITS A SCANDAL!!It's rare to see such concern for 'dignified people'. One reviewer challenges a ridiculous thesis of Fomenko with an equally unimpressive refutation:
In the middle of a lot of forced texts, the first think that made me laugh the most was the fact that, 16th century paintings depicting Classic age personalities were painted in 16th century style, thus proving that there was no middle ages.whilst another totally misses Fomenko's point by suggesting that the Koran could solve the problem:
Even high school children can see that renaissance painters painted using their imagination, because therer were no archaelogical findings to sho how the ancient dressed and most of the painters had no formation in the classics.
If I use this reasoning, maybe we can say that the americas wrere only discovered in the 19 th century since all paintings and drawings between the 15 to 18 century were innacurate in the depiction of the florsa and fauna
The book claims that Jesus was born and crucified in the 11th Century. If that be the case, how can the author explain the numerous references to Jesus and Christians in the Koran, which was written in the 7th Century? There is even a whole chapter named after Mary!Doesn't he realise that those wily Arabs are in on the conspiracy too? Perhaps my favourite comment comes from a 4-star review by an Italian reader who posits this wonderful theory:
According to this chronology (which we can name "Ultra High Revised Chronology"), Jesus died in 1086 AD. More or less, in this time, the Cid was fighting against the Moors in medieval Spain.A shame that such a beautiful story is blasphemous.
Taking this theory to extreme, then Jesus/Joshua would be Rodrigo Díaz alias "the Cid, the Champion Knight" (el Cid Campeador in Spanish), who took Valencia (i.e. Jericho), because he was exiled from the kingdom of Castilla (i. e. Egypt) by King Alphonse VI (i.e. the Pharaoh of Exodus)!!!. We don't have to forget that, according with Spanish medieval legends, the Cid rode after his own death and won a battle (resurrection???).
Ergo Jesus/Joshua was the Cid.
On chronology, I am arranged to think anything.
Apart from proving to me that Fomenko hasn't read Newman's Grammar of Assent which provides some sound argumentation as to why the traditional chronology just might be more-or-less correct and we might't afterall have to reconsider the antiquity of the Roman Forum, Pantheon, etc.. I am reminded of several things that Chesterton wrote in his wonderful book Orthodoxy. He notes, 'Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination.' He later explains:
The madman's explanation of a thing is always complete, and often in a purely rational sense satisfactory. Or, to speak more strictly, the insane explanation, if not conclusive, is at least unanswerable; this may be observed specially in the two or three commonest kinds of madness. If a man says (for instance) that men have a conspiracy against him, you cannot dispute it except by saying that all the men deny that they are conspirators; which is exactly what conspirators would do. His explanation covers the facts as much as yours. Or if a man says that he is the rightful King of England, it is no complete answer to say that the existing authorities call him mad; for if he were King of England that might be the wisest thing for the existing authorities to do. Or if a man says that he is Jesus Christ, it is no answer to tell him that the world denies his divinity; for the world denied Christ's.
Nevertheless he is wrong. But if we attempt to trace his error in exact terms, we shall not find it quite so easy as we had supposed. Perhaps the nearest we can get to expressing it is to say this: that his mind moves in a perfect but narrow circle. A small circle is quite as infinite as a large circle; but, though it is quite as infinite, it is not so large. In the same way the insane explanation is quite as complete as the sane one, but it is not so large. A bullet is quite as round as the world, but it is not the world.