Dead Names, Dead Dog: Those Zany Ziggurats, Part 2

In the last installment, we showed that “Simon’s” evidence for the historical basis for the Gates in the Temple of Nebo at Borsippa was incorrect. Now, we should ask why he got it wrong.

The obvious answer is that “Simon” just didn’t read the same news story we did, and thus didn’t know that archaeologists didn’t back Rawlinson’s opinion about the source of the ziggurats. If that’s true, can he be held accountable?

As it turns out, he can. “Simon” actually read at least two sources in which the accuracy of the color scheme was questioned.

First, there’s The Necronomicon Files, which on page 46 critiques the whole idea of the color schemes “Simon” associates with the ziggurat:

…the colors of the ziggurat are not mentioned by Sumerian sources. Instead, early scholars of this region took the historian Herodotus’ description of the colored walls of Agbatana (Ecbatana), an 8th-century town of the Medes in the Zagros Mountains, and decided that the ziggurats were colored in the same scheme. Then again, the scheme in the Necronomicon does not reflect Herodotus, being closer to the Queen color scheme utilized by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Finally, Morris Jastrow notes “that these colors were brought into connection with the planets, as some scholars have supposed, is highly improbable.”

(As a quick note, I made a mistake regarding the dating of Agbatana (see our errata), but the rest of this stands up well.)

“Simon” criticized my comments about the color scheme, so he should have also been aware that perhaps his favorite color scheme was incorrect.

Wait, though! Couldn’t “Simon” have been misled by his own source for the color scheme – Michael Baigent’s From the Omens of Babylon? Let’s look at the end of the section where Baigent discusses the temple of Borsippa:

While subsequent excavations over the succeeding century or more have revealed certain other temples with remains that suggest that some or all of their stages were coloured, no further evidence has ever been discovered in the tablets which could prove that Rawlinson’s interesting speculations had a basis in fact. His thoughts cannot, even today, be dismissed, and time may yet prove him correct. (emphasis mine)

Although Baigent does want to believe that Rawlinson is right, even he is unable to come up with any evidence that indicates this!

What this illustrates is the extent to which “Simon” is willing to use whatever sources are at hand, ignore quoted evidence to the contrary, and put forth arguments based on the most flimsy proof. If “Simon” is this willing to twist these facts to suit his arguments, I ask you, how can we trust him about the authenticity of the Necronomicon?

In the next installment, things get worse for “Simon.” Again.

Published in: on August 6, 2006 at 4:47 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. […] Dead Names is a potboiler. It’s clearly not a book that had a great deal of time or effort put into writing it. When reading it, I imagined “Simon” sitting in a room filled with dusty, outdated books on various topics, occasionally taking one down, reading it just to get the bare minimum necessary to sound like a plausible argument, and replacing it on the shelf. He doesn’t even bother to see if the source contradicts him later on. He also surfed the Web a little – or, if his comments are accurate, had others point him to possibly relevant resources that were picked up uncritically and integrated into the book. Despite a great deal of posturing about how many peer-reviewed, scholarly articles he’s read, his book tells a different story. […]

  2. […] both have prominent mentions in Simon’s books.  (That doesn’t mean he got things right about Borsippa or Cutha, of […]

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