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From my Jesus Caesar research:

2 Cor. 10:1–2, where Paul writes of Christ’s prautes (mildness, gentleness) and epieikeia (reasonableness, fairness, goodness, clemency). Epieikeia is Greek for clemency, Caesar’s byword. Several Greek writers from the first century AD on used these terms in the same sentence to describe historical and mythological figures (Josephus: Agrippa I; Plutarch: Pericles, Sertorius, the “virtuous man”, and the Pythagoreans; Appian: Numitor; Athenaeus: Dionysius son of Clearchus) and in lists of virtues. Plutarch uses the same phrase, reversed, to describe Caesar (Caes. 15.3, 57.3).

The Latin equivalents are clementia (moderation, mildness, forbearance to the faults and errors of others, clemency, mercy), mansuetudo (mildness, gentleness, clemency), and misericordia (tender-heartedness, compassion, mercy). In Caesar’s Gallic Wars, Divitiacus of the Belgae pleads for Caesar’s accustomed “clementia [and] mansuetudine” (BG 2.14). Sallust (Cat. 54) writes of Caesar’s “mansuetudine [and] misericordia”.

In other words, based on the ancient sources available, it looks like the phrase was associated with Caesar in the 1st century BC, but only became more generalized in the 1st century AD and after, after being translated into Greek.

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You've done your homework.

So, historically, Caesar was the first to be associated with these traits, it seems.

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As far as I can tell. I suppose it's possible that those traits were traditional already by his time, but when I looked into the Greek and Latin sources, I couldn't find those two words used together prior to him. So, barring sources that are no longer accessible, or bad searching on my part, looks like that's the case!

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God the inaccessible source question. We're missing, what, 90% of Latin literature? More? Similar for Greek literature.

Still, we can only see the ground illuminated by the street light.

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And to think we have a full bookshelf of Cicero's books, speeches, and letters, and only Caesar's commentaries, none of his other writings, which were plenty. At least in Cicero's letters we get to learn what a douche he was, plus there's one beautiful letter written by Caesar himself, which includes my favorite quote from him:

“Let this be our new method of conquering—to fortify ourselves by mercy and generosity.”

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Jul 30, 2022·edited Jul 30, 2022Author

WE have that.

I am extremely curious about what the Vatican library has.

Also, what a truly remarkable quote.

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Jul 30, 2022·edited Jul 30, 2022Liked by John Carter

Someone needs to form an elite Dan Brown squad for a "special bibliotechnical operation."

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Well, as a Christian, I give you credit for some REALLY creative writing, John.

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As a Christian, I acknowledge your praise with humility, but must humbly admit that the ideas are those of others, who should get the credit ;)

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This is incredibly interesting and I know nothing about the topic --not enough to reach any conclusions on my own -- but the parallels are fascinating and I’m interested to read more.

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Right? I came across this several years ago and was captivated. Whether the specific hypothesis is true or not (obviously, I think there's something to it), it provided the impetus to start reading up on antiquity, which is fascinating in its own right.

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Exactly. I definitely want to learn more now. And it’s fascinating — so much of this old stuff is at the base of our culture today, and most of us (me for sure, anyway) are unaware of a lot of it.

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I'm convinced that when the classics were excised from the public school curriculum, while the nominal excuse was to make room for more 'relevant' maths and sciences, the real reason was to restrict the population's historical perspective. There are so many parallels in ancient history with the modern world that an appreciation of the former makes the latter much more comprehensible - and, as concerns politics in particular, knowing what has happened before makes it much harder for bad actors to get away with similar tricks.

It also vastly expands one's conception of the socially possible, which social engineers don't appreciate since their efforts are made much easier by the perception that there's no alternative.

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I think there’s something to the idea that an uninformed populace is a much weaker and more malleable populace.

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If you're interested in looking into it more deeply, in addition to Carotta's book, there are two others dealing with the idea, in whole or in part: Gary Courtney's Et tu, Judas? Then Fall Jesus!, and Laura Knight-Jadczyk's From Paul to Mark: PaleoChristianity. Perhaps the first hint of such a connection was a very brief mention of the overall parallels on the final page of James Anthony Froude's Caesar: A Sketch (1879).

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From Paul to Mark will play a role in the next chapter. Excellent book.

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Thank you, Harrison! I always appreciate book recommendations!

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You're welcome! Hope you enjoy.

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Jul 31, 2022Liked by John Carter

BRAVO!

I don't really know or care how much of that or anything is "true".

"What is Truth?" A slippery eel that escapes the moment we grasp it? A dream or dream of dream? An eternally recurring wrestling match between Zeno and Pyrrho?

Who knows!? And humankind (or at least this manifestation of such) cannot bear very much reality—but that was brilliantly executed and superbly written, really had me hanging on the edge of my seat.

Thanks so much for that wonderful, pleasurable journey.

Hail Caesar!

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AVE!

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Jul 30, 2022Liked by John Carter

I'm really enjoying this topic. I know much of our history is false and sometimes these little "historical coincidences " make my head spin. What really happened? How many times have we been through this cycle? Very interesting.

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Accurate history is going to be a huge topic in the coming age. The existing historical record is absolutely lousy with fabrications and redactions. Academia serves to a large degree as gatekeepers, preserving establishment consensus narratives.

In the comments to the previous chapter, someone expressed skepticism that the historical records of antiquity can be trusted at all - in other words, that all of it is fraudulent. I don't know that I'd go that far but I can't rule it out. Then there's the Fomenko/revisionist chronology issue: if that school of thought is correct, we don't even know what year it is, and may be off by several centuries.

An essay like this one is meant to push the needle a bit in the direction of probing at history, but certainly isn't intended to be the final word.

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Yeah, when you see how readily the ruling class, along with its enablers in academia & mass media, tell preposterous lies about the present, which anyone who cares to investigate can easily debunk in a matter of minutes, it makes you wonder: how many similarly false ruling-class narratives were never debunked and became part of our historical record?

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Precisely.

Everyone thinks Winston Smith's function in the Party was science fiction, but altering the historical record has been state policy for a very long time.

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Jul 30, 2022Liked by John Carter

Eagerly awaiting the next installment. How does St. Paul figure into all this? Did he exist? Was he really a Jewish tax collector? Is he the one grafted Roman Emperor worship onto a Jewish substrate? And how the heck could he convert so many Gentiles? Do tell!

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That's exactly what I'll be discussing in chapter 3.

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What I find compelling are the parables of Christ. I'm not a bible purist or any kind of puritan. I think the devil had a hand in compiling and organizing the bible. Popular Christianity is a pseudo-Jewish holiness contest, where status is achieved through devoutness and holy conduct. It's a crock of shit. Understand the parables and ask yourself where they come from. He who has a brain to think let him think.

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In your last post on this, I seem to remember something about "Who would name their son "'saviour?'"

I didn't have time to reply then, & can't find the reference now, so I'll answer here:

Only about half of Mexico! 🤓

Seriously, tho, Jesus is just the Greek version of the Aramaic Yeshua or Y'shua, which is a variation on Joshua.

So lots of people may well have named sons Joshua or Yeshua.

I'm about to read the story of a family tomb discovered in the 80s in Jerusalem, inscribed with the names Jesus son of Joseph, Mary, Marieme, Judah son of Jesus" and some others (I forget now). One argument used against it being Jesus the Christ's tomb is that Jesus was a very common name at the time. 🤷

Another argument detractors claim is that he wouldn't have been buried in Jerusalem in a wealthy person's tomb. Apparently ignorant of the New Testament description of his burial in Jerusalem in a wealthy follower's tomb. 🙄

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That's a fair point.

The tomb sounds much too good to be true, though.

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Bauckham did a statistical analysis of all Jewish name references (texts, burial inscriptions, etc.) and found that, in Judea at the time, around 1 in 26 Jews were named Jesus. So, yeah, about as common as being named John in modern-day America. Still a roll of the 26-sided die, though.

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It was certainly a common name, and I probably should have mentioned that. The main point I was driving for, though, was that it also sounds like the kind of name an author would pick if he wanted his superheroic character to have everyman appeal. Kind of like, say, 'John Carter'.

Which, actually, I think I'm going to make that point in the next chapter.

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Jesus Christ, Julius Caesar, John Carter. I do not believe in coincidence!

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I was waiting for someone to notice that ;)

If you look at the John Carter mythos, there's a lot of Christian symbolism. Carter dies to this world, and is resurrected in another, where he has superhuman powers. In that environment he becomes a savior figure, rescuing and redeeming an entire civilization.

I don't think for a moment that Edgar Rice Burroughs didn't have that going on at least at a subconscious level. However, in this case at least, it's pretty obvious what direction causality flows in.

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The tomb & its inscriptions are real. Whether or not it is Jesus the Christ & his family are what is in dispute.

The arguments I've seen against it so far -- & I've only just stumbled onto it this am -- are pretty flimsy.

I think the best argument is in the commonality of of the names. I think half my kindergarten class was named Mary, and half of those some version of Mary Elizabeth. 😂

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"Jesus had an affair with the prostitute Mary Magdalene."

Except, per one text frahment, written in coptic, Jesus referenced "my wife"

Scroll that mentions Jesus's wife is ancient, scientists confirm

The fragment is believed to have come from Egypt and contains writing in the Coptic language that says, "Jesus said to them, 'My wife...'" Another part reads: "She will be able to be my disciple."

https://phys.org/news/2014-04-scroll-mentions-jesus-wife-ancient.html

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This was exposed as a forgery, right? You're linking to a 2014 story but events have overtaken it.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/13/us/jesus-wife-gospel-forgery-sabar/index.html It is unlikley that we will find any surprising, glib, or present day prejudice-confirming revelations that upend millenia of scholarship. When a story seems to be good to be true ("Jesus was really Caesar and no one seems to have noticed till now!"), it is.

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As pointed out in the comments (here or in the previous chapter), the similarities between Caesar and Jesus have been remarked upon by scholars familiar with both for well over a century.

As to 'millenia of scholarship', first, I'd dispute that much biblical scholarship really merited that description until fairly recently, given that people took it as axiomatic that the Bible is a true an accurate account of historical events. Such scholarship rather took the form of apologetics and exegesis. The second point, which is rather trite but nonetheless true, is that long-standing, accepted ideas - for instance, the geometric centrality of Earth in the cosmos - can be utterly mistaken. That isn't to say that heterodox concepts are a priori correct - plenty are nonsense, and one does not want to throw the baby out with the bathwater - merely that appeals to authority have no truth value.

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I'm not appealing to authority at all, just remarking that we are highly unlikely today to find that Jesus was married or that the Gospels were really about Caesar. One can of course quibble about what "scholarship" is but the notion that no one tested the veracity of the Gospels until "fairly recently" is not sustainable in the least. The analogy to science also doesn't work for at least two reasons. One, heliocentric speculation pre-dates even Jesus, and, two, its confirmation depended on the development of new tools. This discussion turns not at all on new measuring sticks or tools but rather on new prejudices and assumptions. Nothing wrong with that at all; they're just completely different processes for pursuing truth.

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I think this analysis helps people understand that the character of Jesus was a literary invention that took quite a bit of inspiration from real characters like the original JC.

Once you can accept this frame - it begs the next question: why was the Jesus tale written? What purpose did it serve?

That's where we get into Paul and Mark next, I surmise. What were they saying, what was their purpose, etc. Waiting on the next installment!

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Exactly where I'm going with this, yes. But I don't think it's quite as simple as Paul and Mark - the imperial cult played an important role too, I think. As, of course, the Judaizers did.

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And then, later, the Nicene Council well and truly invented a new religion.

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Jul 31, 2022Liked by John Carter

The similarities you laid out are fascinating! They may not be your ideas but you did an excellent job summarizing them for those, like me, who are unfamiliar with this topic.

I can’t wait to read the next installment.

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Bang on! Or so I feel!

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Another quote, this time an inscription from Ephesus:

“The cities of Asia and the communities [citizen-bodies] and nations [worship/honor] Gaius Julius Caesar, son of Gaius, Pontifex Maximus and Imperator, twice consul, manifest God [descending] from Ares [Mars] and Aphrodite [Venus Genetrix], universal Savior of all mankind.”

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Universal Savior is pretty unambiguous, isn't it?

I left out the part about descent from Mars, as Caesar didn't seem to have made much of a big deal about it during his life - it struck me as a late addition, in contrast to the descent from Venus, which was there from the beginning. Nevertheless, simultaneous ancestry from the gods of love and war is rather evocative.

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And interestingly, this inscription seems to have been from 48 BC. So the Ephesians at least were making a big deal about it.

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Apr 17Liked by John Carter

GM: yes, in italian is Cafarnào, that is italianization of Cafarnaum.

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Aug 11, 2022·edited Aug 12, 2022Liked by John Carter

Rashly jumping in before reading Chapter 3...

Coming from approximately group 1 type perspective, subtype physicalist/non-supernaturalist/"atheist"...

And finding my reaction most nearly in agreement with beth02, who is apparently a Christian...

I think these parallels are very interesting, and likely do play into the later Christian tradition. However, I concur with Beth that trying to build the entire Jesus story from the life of Caesar is probably fitting a square peg into a round hole.

The basic Jesus story is unique in its own right. For a physicalist, there are some tall tales written into it, but none that are essential to the history itself. I would suggest that Jesus was the last of a line of messianic preachers, whose personal misfortune was that the Return of the King was prophetically scheduled to happen just at the height of his own career. Since the date required was precise and looming, and no other candidate had appeared, Jesus himself at the end had to take on the role. Further, his own politics and that of his order were scorchingly critical of the Powers that Were in his own part of the world, notably the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and possibly the Romans as well. To accept the kingship of Israel at the right time, he had to go to Jerusalem to receive it on the day of the great Passover of the designated year. His Sadducee enemies were frantic to get him dead before that day, and, by threatening to riot, coerced the Roman governor to crucify him in the nick of time, the day before. His movement was huge, with lots of excitement over what would happen the prophecied day. His disciples, country kids who were expecting to join the ruling class when Jesus became King, were shamed, terrified, and devastated. They waited, stunned, through the Passover in desperate hope that some miracle would happen. The following night, Jesus's body disappeared from the tomb, and his remaining followers took that to mean that he had risen from the dead, and would be coming back to them soon. Short of confessing that everything their beloved leader had been preaching was a lie, that was the only thing they could do.

Jesus was a very charismatic preacher and had a gift for brilliantly astute moral metaphors. Many of our proverbs to this day are from him. But what made early Christianity into a hard cult that would not go away was simply the fact that his promise was defeated so cruelly that his followers had no honorable choice but to double down on a new lie too absurd to be disproved, and to commit themselves to preaching it to the world.

Caesar was a great man too, and his tradition was surely as you say. But they were two very different men, in quite different circumstances. Caesar's was the imperial tradition, and it supplied a mantle with which the later Jesus cult eventually cloaked itself. So, at least, it seems to me is the most reasonable explanation.

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Aug 11, 2022·edited Aug 11, 2022Author

That's one perspective. As you anticipated in the beginning - much of this is addressed in part 3 (and indeed, it is likely that Caesar is not the whole of the basis for the Jesus character).

Some problems with the scenario you describe:

1) charismatic preachers were a dime a dozen at the time. It the miracles weren't true, why did Christianity take off? C. S. Lewis makes this a big part of his argument for why the miracles had to be real.

2) it's especially weird that Christianity took off considering that Jews were strongly disliked by everyone, making it very unlikely for a Jewish cult to conquer the known world.

3) while much of that narrative is nevertheless the plausible, it's extremely speculative. There are no records of anything like this happening. There certainly was a great amount of political turmoil in Judea at the time - and that plays a big part in chapter 3 - but nothing specifically about a Jesus getting crucified after trying to take the crown. Point being, that narrative relies upon quite a bit of filling in the blanks, to the point where it's essentially entirely speculative - it's imagining a character and then describing a process by which a Jesus myth might have been constructed around him.

By contrast, the Caesar hypothesis requires much less imagination - the man certainly existed and a great deal is known about him. It also makes points 1) and 2) far easier to understand, since you essentially have an adaptation of an existing imperial (and thus already universal) cult, imposed upon a conquered people. I don't think that's the full story but you'll have to read chapter 3 for that ;)

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Aug 11, 2022·edited Aug 12, 2022

1) Jesus's movement was apparently large, and political. It probably involved a certain amount of faith-healing shtick too, but what really brought the crowds, I think, was that he was saying fresh things that mattered to them about their social and political world. Rather like Substack. He was talking to them about a new world order, the Kingdom of God that was about to be established.

Re: C. S. Lewis, the only miracle that is essential for Christianity is Jesus's own Resurrection, and in the scenario I propose, that is post-Jesus.

2) I don't think we can assume that Jews were strongly disliked by everyone. Then as now, many people disliked them for their ethnocentrism, but others admired them for their moral rectitude.

In any case, the Jesus movement represented a radical split within the Judeo-Israelitish community that invited outsiders to take sides. If I detest the Pharisees or the Sadducees, then I may express that by joining the movement of the Man of God they persecuted.

Finally, the scenario I propose just sets the kernel for the story. How the Jesus cult then went about taking over the gentile world under Paul is a different story, which you will be telling in your next installment.

3) The scenario I proposed is based primarily on the Gospel accounts. It doesn't sound like there are many other records that offer much. I think what I suggested makes the best sense of what we have.

The problem with the Caesar hypothesis is that it does not need Jesus. If there is no Jesus in the story, then European history for two thousand years has taken place under the Church of Caesar, and there is no reason to switch to a different name and person. Or so it seems to me at the moment. I'll need to read Chapter 3 to see what you do with this part of the question. :)

(This and above comment edited for a misspelling. 'Sadducee', not 'Saducee'. :-P)

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Jesus' body was in the tomb longer than is usually advertised. The Passover sacrifice kicks off an ANNUAL sabbath. If John's account is correct, the fact that a sabbath was coming says nothing as to what day of the week the crucifixion occurred.

At the end of Luke 23, the women who accompanied Jesus saw the tomb with Jesus in it, then prepared spices and perfumes, then rested on the sabbath according to the commandment.

Jesus died at three in the afternoon according to Luke. Since Passover is near the equinox, that gives three hours to get Jesus buried and do the spice preparation.

OR, Jesus was buried by sundown;, the First Day of Unleavened Bread celebrated, and then the women prepared spices and perfumes the day after -- on Friday. This puts Jesus' death on a Wednesday afternoon, and has him dead for three days and nights -- the Sign of Jonah. (Jesus was already up and about on Sunday morning. The actual resurrection would be on Saturday afternoon or evening to match the Sign of Jonah.)

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With Rome and local powers portending to persecute Christians, it makes sense that early Christians would formulate their gospels to reflect things that Romans would recognize and appreciate. To get the earliest Gospel, with the least Romanization, it would be the Gospel of John. Most people think it was the latest, but many scholars whisper that it was the first. If that is true, then we have some support for later Romanization.

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Conversely, there's a school of thought that Mark - being the simplest and least Judaic of the gospels - has historical primacy. If they're seen as literary rather than historical documents, one would expect the first to also be the least elaborate.

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in the very early period after Jesus’ death and return, most of the Apostles believed that Jesus’ ministry was only for the Hebrews. Saint Stephen Martyr was the most fervent before he was stoned by the Pharisees. So it would make sense that the most Hebraic gospel would be first, especially when the religious authorities in Jerusalem were persecuting them so much. The later Gospels were less Hebraic, perhaps because of the warm reception they had in Damascus and Antioch. Those materials were needed for those ministries. I am not a scholar, but with my limited knowledge, it makes sense and is consistent with the timeline and later Romanization.

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Also, Having read these works thoroughly and quite recently, it is John’s work that seems the hagiographic.

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Not so fast. If we look at our devolving culture, which reached its intellectual apex between 1680-1780, and the ancient high civilization, the evolutionary model is just one among many.

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