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visits member for 2 years, 7 months
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Jul
13
comment Prisons and prison laws in Old Testament times?
Hmm, you're right, depending on which passages are in effect: Exodus 21:7 (she doesn't go free) versus Deuteronomy 12:15 (she does). Barring certain other restrictions of course. Argh, laws tend to be dry reading in any culture. The puberty thing is new to me though.
Jul
13
comment Prisons and prison laws in Old Testament times?
In the interest of completeness, only Jewish male slaves were to be released. Although somehow I feel like this was less about denying freedom to a class of people, and more about making sure people without other economic support would be provided for (as in the year of Jubilee, the men would get their land back). I tend to feel that slavery in the ancient world was for two main purposes - 1) debt repayment/relief, generally because you made bad economic decisions, and 2) a means of population control after wars (some overlap with 1). Still maybe not nice, though.
Jul
5
comment Prisons and prison laws in Old Testament times?
Note that any type of prison requires a large amount of free resources, because essentially you're supporting people that aren't working for themselves (this is true even you're using them as slave labor). So yeah, not suited for nomadic or near-subsistence rural societies. In Jeremiah's case the impression I always got was that the specific location he was being held was a further punishment, as opposed to simple incarceration.
May
27
comment Were ancient Israel's neighbors henotheistic?
You're probably going to want to specify a time period here. Note that there's some debate over whether the historical Israelites had only one god, or multiple. For most cases, though, the neighbors likely had one "chief" god, with the rest lesser in some way (ie, Egypt had Ra, etc). Most references in the Old Testament seem to indicate they had multiple.
May
19
comment Was Christianity the first belief system which encouraged the ideal of peace among all people on Earth?
...and those arguments are? Eternal punishment/Hell is generally treated as something akin to a natural consequence of the universe, not as a command to followers. Your argument there seems to me to be the equivalent of "Well, America would be a peaceful country, if it wasn't for the fact that falling off a tall building would kill you!". For the Israelites (before Christianity), revenge was specifically left in God's domain (barring a specific set regarding murder); for Christians it's really more turn the other cheek.
May
19
comment Was Christianity the first belief system which encouraged the ideal of peace among all people on Earth?
@RichardTingle - Except that's a command to the Israelites, for a specific geographic region, and effectively to a specific time period; by the time Christ showed up, a number of those people groups were gone (whether through those wars, later ones from other parties, intermarriage, whatever). Deuteronomy is only included in the Christian bible as a way of explaining history/cultural context of the Israelites. Most (modern) denominations really only use the 10 Commandments as the base, and that verse would probably be superseded by Matthew 28:19.
May
4
comment Origin of the Subdivisons of Hell/Heaven
Dante's Comedy is an allegory, so the levels aren't meant to be taken literally (I don't know enough about Islam, but I'd imagine there it is). In general, though, I'm not aware of any instances where mainstream Catholic/Protestant denominations where there are levels to heaven/hell; see this question on Christianity. There's been at least a positive vs. negative separation in the afterlife since the Egyptians.
Mar
13
comment Who started trams in Delhi?
Was Lord Hardinge in India in 1908? Perhaps he was involved in the government there; maybe his predecessor had a special committee on public transportation? Or it could be a vacationing busybody was annoyed at having to deal with high traffic from too many personal conveyances, and pressured the local governor...
Mar
7
comment What currently existing IT companies collaborated with Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy?
What I meant was that your question currently implies that IBM had specific knowledge of the way the information was going to be used - that it was intended for exterminating Jews and other ethnic populations. That's the claim I was doubting. I'm not disputing that IBM provided them machines, or even machines whose data could be used to help - there's a number of legitimate uses for ethnic history data, for example. And in the case of IBM, they had subsidiaries, which are often locally controlled - and I rather doubt the main (US) company was allowed to sell them anything during the war
Mar
6
comment What currently existing IT companies collaborated with Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy?
I rather doubt that IBM (and a fair number of other companies, German or otherwise) would have designed machinery specifically for the task as stated. In the case of tabulating machines, most were probably custom or semi-custom designed, and would have been the marketed to large businesses or governments - Nazi Germany would have been just a "regular customer". Should answers then take this type of behavior into account? What about technology that also ended up being sold somewhere else (either not specifically developed solely for Germany, or also marketed to them)?
Jul
9
comment Were Puritans Prudes or Progressive?
...just to clarify for me, the Puritans would still have been against physical intimacy (ie sex) before marriage, yes?
Jun
7
comment What is the mark next to the hallmark on this silver object?
What is the orientation of the mark in each spot? Since it does appear, like you say, to come from the same thing, orientation may be important. @Joe - While I agree it would be sloppy, the technique does require annealing (reheating, basically), they might therefore use tongs.
Mar
22
awarded  Commentator
Mar
22
comment What cultures did, or do, perform human sacrifice on a regular basis?
It's debatable whether Abraham actually expected to actually have to kill his son. It's also debatable whether the 'sacrifice' mentioned in the Judges resulted in Jephath's daughter's death. The book of Wisdom doesn't appear to be in the 'standard' biblical canon, and the passage isn't necessarily referring to Jewish culture either. I have a feeling that the way 'sacrifice' is used in Kings is less an appeasement for God, and more a judgement on those prophets ('for perverting right worship', basically).
Mar
9
comment Date of Transatlantic crossing postcard
hmmmm.... Other avenues of inquiry; 'Fahrenheit' is abbreviated (to this American) in a non-standard fashion - when was this particular style used? There's an address given, can the dates of residence for the listed group be confirmed? I can't make out some of the other city/country names, that might also help.
Feb
20
comment How were heavier objects weighed in antiquity/middle ages?
Easy method for weighing an elephant: Find elephant. Kill Elephant. Cut elephant into weigh-able chunks. Weigh chunks. Sum weight of chunks. Cook elephant-burgers for tired butchers/clerks. ... More seriously, and non-destructive for the elephant: Find (still) pond with large boat. Place elephant in boat. Mark height of water on outside of boat (how deep in water). Remove elephant. Place weigh-able items in boat, until height of water matches mark. Remove and weigh items from boat. Sum weights. Ride elephant home. Otherwise, estimates using density ('Eureka!') likely used.
Jan
15
comment Who were the first to relatively measure the length of the year precisely?
And how accurately? Especially in certain climes, being off of leap-years won't show a noticeable error for a while...
Nov
23
awarded  Supporter
Nov
5
comment When and how did people begin to consider slavery immoral?
@Luke - In the interest of thoroughness, it should be mentioned that only Israelite males were to be released on the Sabbath year - purchased foreigners and women were exempt. It is, however, debatable about whether the OT supports slavery; I personally get the feeling that slavery was a social/economic institution, not a religious/moral one (especially given that it seems to mostly be dealing with debt-relief).
Nov
5
comment What factors contribute to the fact that only a handful of countries manufacture aircraft jet engines?
Agree with @DVK. And in the case of Germany, it should probably be 'no longer bother', as they had the first working jet fighter aircraft