I am not informed on the current thinking of the neolithic revolution by biblical scholars but I am curious on thoughts on the advent of the Neolithic revolution. It seems to me that some people emerged from the end of the last climate Stadials (Younger and Older Dyas)that were no longer hunter gatherers but farming and domesticating animals and also started to show signs of some sort of religious belief ( see Gobekli Tepe). This all takes place around 10-12500 years BC which seems to be around when the time that some suggest that the Bible traces creation. Also there were many floods occurring around the time of the end of these Stadials in part due to the melting glaciers in certain regions that could represent the great flood. It seems that a new people may have emerged from these Stadia that seem to correlate with the neolithic revolution and the written Bible time of creation. Could someone please advise their thoughts on this.
Many people attempt to shore up the literal interpretation of the Bible by offering up “liberal interpretations” of other areas of the Bible.
If you are going to defend the Genesis accounts of the Flood by going back 12000 years … suddenly you are bringing into question the LITERAL account of the historical rendering of the patriarchal generations.
But you would think that this is the most obvious of treatments, right? After all, the earlier patriarchs are living incredibly long lives … which I think is due to:
to emulate the very long life spans of Sumerian patriarchs (most certainly fictionalized themselves); and
to render clever mathematics as symbolic - - some clear enough even to modern eyes.
It reminds me of Rohl’s writings… who twists to pieces different parts of the Old Testament … so he can get the Exodus he wants.
The most reliable archeological evidence for religious belief that survives for many millennia is burials with grave goods. You might enjoy reading Ian Tatersall’s “Becoming Human” and “Masters of the Planet” for his interpretation of this and the sudden appearance of aspects of modern culture, such as sculpture, cave paintings and music. This evidence predates the evidence for the invention of agriculture and animal domestication.
Thank you Leo. This is quite interesting.
Just for the fun of it I am curious to get thoughts on this. Human development seems to have really advanced from the transition from Paleolithic to the Neolithic ages. There was significant development from hunter gatherer society to a society of food domestication based and advances in social development. Homo Sapiens were the only species to survive into the neolithic from the Paleolithic. The question was there a “Genesis” comet impact around 12,900 BP that resulted in the younger Dryas climatic changes and the substantial loss of the Paleolithic fauna (especially mega fauna) and especially in the northern hemisphere leading to the demise of certain paleolithic hunter gatherer populations and the eventual selection and advancement of neolithic cultures such as the natufian in and around Jericho.
What do you think?
I’m glad you find this topic interesting, Scott. If my interpretation of the paleolithic->neolithic transition is correct (to a large degree at least) it destroys the argument that the evolutionary mechanism that produced modern humans operated by chance and without purpose. That is what I had, reluctantly, concluded until the latter part of the 20th century. Let me explain in more detail.
Most of the paleoanthropologists I had read (until the 1980s and beyond) discussed the ‘fossil evidence’ for developing human culture in terms of the sophistication of the lithic culture they employed at each stage. But it took a dedicated expert to detect the differences in the earliest Homo sapiens tools from those of the Mousterian culture which were confidently assigned to the Neanderthal toolkit. If we want an answer to the question: "When did hominids develop to the point that God could covenant with them? It seems futile to tie it to some subtle difference in the way they chipped away at stone tools. Burial with ‘grave goods’ is the first incontestable evidence that Homo had reached a truly sapient stage that indicated we could share abstract (spiritual) ideas with them. One gets that idea from the way Ian Tattersall describes the loving care that is represented by the estimated 3,000 hours that it must have taken to fashion the necklace of ivory beads that bedecked one H.s burial. Besides finding burial goods, the impressive cave art and sculpture provide evidence that modern culture appeared quite suddenly in Europe about 40 K yrs ago. This was still in the hunter-gatherer stage of livelihood–perhaps 30 K yrs before the invention of agriculture and animal husbandry.
I will admit that I was hoping for such evidence that humankind was distinctly different from the rest of animal life, and I embraced it more quickly than a scientist should. But when one finds evidence that Pope John Paul II and Sir Richard Dawkins both agree indicates that we humans are different than other evolved animals, well, you are bound to pay attention. Darwinian evolution got us close to becoming human, but the biomechanics of the last step (brain programmed into Mind) remains to be elucidated.