UFO Conjectures

Friday, July 01, 2016

They come from the sky?

An article in the current [July/August 2016] Biblical Archaeology Review caught my eye: Archaeology Gives New Reality to Paul’s Ephesus Riot [Page 24 ff.]

The piece, by James R. Edwards, is about findings (archaeological digs) that confirm Luke’s account, in The New Testament [Acts 19:23-41] of a “riot” involving St. Paul in Ephesus, Turkey.

(I’m little interested in crazy Paul’s activities or New Testament fantasies, but an aside in the Luke account seemed fascinating in the UFO context.)

Acts 19:35 has this:

“Who does not know that the city of Ephesus is the neōkoros of the great Artemis who has fallen from heaven.” [Bold print mine]

The mythology about the goddess Artemis (or a statue of her) falling from the Sky (or from Zeus/Jupiter) was part of the “ancient mother goddess cults, the roots of which extended back to the sixth millennium B.C.” and recorded by “Greek historians Polybius (2nd Century B.C..) and Dionysius  of Halicarnassus (1st Century A.D.)” in their discussions of the “pendants” that hung from the chest of Artemis as depicted in statues of the goddess. [BAR, Page 28]
The pendants represented breasts, discounted by Professor Edwards, or “breast-plating, amber amulets, or even symbols of fruitfulness [virility] …” [ibid, Page 30]

My interest eschews the breast interpretations or “riot” caused by Paul’s assertion “that gods made with hands are not gods.” [Acts 19:26].

My interest was in the assertion that the goddess (or a statue of her) fell from heaven and was worshipped accordingly.
However, the consensus of scholars is that what fell was a meteorite, which I thought was silly until I found accounts of various cultures worshipping effluvia falling from the sky, meteorites among them:

Another fascinating (I’m being hyperbolic here) aspect of the Artemis myth is that “she rests either arm on a staff formed of entwined serpents or of a stack of ouroboroi, the eternal serpent with its tail in its mouth …” [Wikipedia]

The snake eating its tail was a symbol masticated by alchemists and others engaged in the mystic arts.
My point? That myths often intrude upon truths, even though mythology, allegedly, has a core of truth at its center. [See Jung and Joseph Campbell]

And while Alien Astronaut theorists may find grist in the Artemis story – the fall from heaven – the tale, as it appears in ancient accounts and even The New Testament, is one like many UFO tales that becomes less substantive when serious investigation occurs.