Cannibalism of the New Zealanders.


    The naivety of multiculturalism. MOANA, one of the latest Disney movies shows Polynesian culture has being perfectly gentle and innocuous. In truth, cannibalism was a feature of Polynesian culture up until the 19th century. How could your children know by watching this well done and deceiving animated film?

    Cannibalism of the New Zealanders.

    "The practice of Cannibalism among the New Zealanders was connected with their wars. They have obtained an unenviable distinction for this revolting custom. The subject has, however, been greatly exaggerated. They have been represented as man-eaters from sheer love of human flesh, and the most affecting pictures have been drawn of the cannibal feast. It has been described as the greatest delicacy with which visitors of rank could be regaled. I am fully satisfied that such accounts are beyond the truth. The New Zealander never ate human flesh because he preferred it as an article of food; nor did he kill his slaves to make a feast for visitors, but invariably to gratify revenge. Prisoners of war alone were the victims, and revenge the principal feeling. Perhaps it was connected with the idea, that to eat the flesh of the warrior would imbue them with his valour and bravery.

     So far as I have been able to learn, revenge has been the principal cause of Cannibalism among the Polynesians generally. Sometimes famine may have driven them to it; but even in Feejee, at present so notorious for its anthropophagism, I am told that to gratify revengeful feeling is the principal cause.

     This horrible custom very probably had its origin in their mythology, which led them to suppose that the spirits of the dead were eaten by the demons,—that the spiritual part of their offerings was eaten by the god to whom it was presented. In some islands, Ellis says, “Man eater, was an epithet of the principle deity,” and that “it was probably in connection with this, that the king, who often represented the deity, appeared to eat the human eye.”

     Tradition among the New Zealanders, says that it originated with the demi-gods. “Rongo,” god of the kumera, “Tane,” god of trees and birds, “Tangaroa,” god of the sea and fish, “Haumea,” god of fern-root, and “Tu,” god of war, were all brothers. Tu ate them all. This was the commencement among the gods. Among men it was begun at Hawaiiki, by Manaia, who killed and ate an PAGE 42 adulterer, in detestation of his crime. Jarves says, “it was not uncommon for the Sandwich Islanders to indulge in the horrible custom after the close of battle in early times; and in later days it was confined to certain robber chieftains who infested mountain paths and recesses of forests, from which they sallied forth, slaying, plundering, and gorging like vultures on the flesh of their victims.” The New Zealander has an idea there are some such beings on the mountains, whom they call Paraus; and though you never meet with one who has seen them, yet they are in great dread of them when travelling alone." - The Aborigines of New Zealand: Two Lectures by Thomas Buddle (1851)… Har Tsiyyon.



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    Arkansas' Ten Commandments Monument Lasted Less Than 24 Hours.


    Staff at the Secretary of State's Office inspect the damage to the new Ten Commandments monument outside the state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., on Wednesday morning. Police say a car crashed into it less than 24 hours after it was installed.

    Less than a day after a monument of the Ten Commandments was installed outside the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock, it was destroyed when a man smashed a car into the stone.

     Authorities say Michael T. Reed II drove a 2016 Dodge Dart into the 6,000-pound granite slab at about 4:47 a.m. local time on Wednesday.

     "My boss called me and told me the Ten Commandments monument had been destroyed," Secretary of State and Capitol Police spokesman Chris Powell told NPR. "When I got here, it was rolled over on the sidewalk and broken into multiple pieces."

     A video that appears to have been taken from inside the car was posted on the Facebook account of a Michael Reed early Wednesday; Powell told the AP that officials believe the video is authentic. It shows what looks like the Arkansas State Capitol building. A man's voice says: "Oh my goodness. Freedom!" as the car careens into the monument.

     Powell said the crash into the 6-foot-tall slab was no accident.

     "This was deliberate. The individual drove down there and stopped. He was videoing it on his cellphone as he accelerated into the monument," Powell said. "One of our Capitol Police officers was on patrol and witnessed it."

     Reed, who police say is a 32-year-old white man from Van Buren, Ark., was arrested outside the Capitol and booked at the Pulaski County Jail. He faces preliminary charges of defacing an object of public respect, a Class C felony; criminal mischief in the first degree, a Class C felony; and trespassing on the state Capitol grounds, a misdemeanor.

     Reed was arrested in 2014 for driving a car into the Ten Commandments monument at Oklahoma's state Capitol, Oklahoma County Sheriff's spokesman Mark Opgrande told The Associated Press. He was admitted to a hospital the next day for mental treatment and was not formally charged, the AP reports. In the 2014 incident, The Oklahoman reported that the U.S. Secret Service interviewed Reed and that he told agents that he has bipolar disorder and that Satan had directed him to destroy the monument.

    Michael T. Reed of Van Buren, Ark., was booked into the Pulaski County jail on Wednesday morning. He faces preliminary charges of defacing an object of public respect, trespassing and criminal mischief.

     The Tulsa World reported in 2015 that Reed sent the newspaper a letter apologizing for the destruction of the Oklahoma monument. "I am so sorry that this all happening (sic) and wished I could take it all back," Reed wrote, explaining to the World that he had begun to believe the voices in his head.

     Police said Wednesday that Reed was cooperative during his arrest and that, so far, there is no indication of motive.

     The erection of the privately funded monument has been contentious. The Arkansas Legislature passed a law in 2015 requiring the installation of the monument on Capitol grounds. The Ten Commandments were erected Tuesday morning, and the ACLU of Arkansas has said it will sue for the monument's removal.

     Meanwhile, Powell said Capitol workers are left picking up the (extremely heavy) pieces: "Our crew is in the process of cleaning all that up and carting it off. They have to get a tractor and put it on pallets and lift it up."

     And the Dodge Dart was towed away, Powell said, adding, "There was minor damage, but not what you'd think, from what I hear, from knocking over a big stone monument."

     Republican state Sen. Jason Rapert, who spearheaded the effort to install the Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol, says he wants to replace it, Michael Hibblen of member station KUAR reports.

     "We will rebuild the monument," Rapert said. "It will be put in place and hopefully protect it from any future harm." (By Laurel Wamsley).



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    What is the Biblical Flying Serpent?


    A number of biblical and non-biblical texts describe encounters with flying venomous snakes in the Sinai and Arabian deserts. Egyptian iconography may help clarify what is being pictured… (By Dr. Richard Lederman).


    What is the Biblical Flying Serpent? 

    Sheet gold collar depicting the winged serpent goddess Wadjet found in King Tutankhamun’s tomb New Kingdom 18th Dynasty Egypt 1332-1323 BCE.  This reproduction was photographed at The Discovery of King Tut” exhibition.  Credit: Mary Harrsch – Flickr.


    Burning Serpents in the Wilderness.

     In Numbers 21, the Israelites begin to grumble about the lack of normal food and water in the wilderness as they walk the long way around Edom. YHWH’s response is characteristically harsh:




    במדבר כא:ו וַיְשַׁלַּח יְ-הוָה בָּעָם אֵת הַנְּחָשִׁים הַשְּׂרָפִים וַיְנַשְּׁכוּ אֶת הָעָם וַיָּמָת עַם רָב מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל.


    Num 21:6 YHWH sent saraph serpents against the people. They bit the people and many of the Israelites died.



    The people then turn to Moses to intercede with YHWH, which he does:




    במדבר כא:ז וַיָּבֹא הָעָם אֶל מֹשֶׁה וַיֹּאמְרוּ חָטָאנוּ כִּי דִבַּרְנוּ בַי-הוָה וָבָךְ הִתְפַּלֵּל אֶל יְ-הוָה וְיָסֵר מֵעָלֵינוּ אֶת הַנָּחָשׁ וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל מֹשֶׁה בְּעַד הָעָם.


    Num 21:7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned by speaking against YHWH and against you. Intercede with YHWH to take away the serpents from us!” And Moses interceded for the people.



    In response, YHWH offers a magical way to survive the snake bite:




    במדבר כא:ח וַיֹּאמֶר יְ-הוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה עֲשֵׂה לְךָ שָׂרָף וְשִׂים אֹתוֹ עַל נֵס וְהָיָה כָּל הַנָּשׁוּךְ וְרָאָה אֹתוֹ וָחָי. כא:ט וַיַּעַשׂ מֹשֶׁה נְחַשׁ נְחֹשֶׁת וַיְשִׂמֵהוּ עַל הַנֵּס וְהָיָה אִם נָשַׁךְ הַנָּחָשׁ אֶת אִישׁ וְהִבִּיט אֶל נְחַשׁ הַנְּחֹשֶׁת וָחָי.


    Num 21:8 Then YHWH said to Moses, “Make a saraph figure and mount it on a standard. And if anyone who is bitten looks at it, he shall recover.” 21:9 Moses made a copper serpent and mounted it on a standard; and when anyone was bitten by a serpent, he would look at the copper serpent and recover.



    The story uses two terms to refer to these creatures: נָּחָשׁ (naash) and שָׂרָף (saraph).



      • The initial attack against the Israelites is by creatures described as נְחָשִׁים שְׂרָפִים (neashim seraphim; v. 6).


      • The Israelites ask Moses to pray on their behalf to turn away הַנָּחָשׁ (hanaash; v. 7).[1]


      • YHWH then instructs Moses to make a שָׂרָף (saraph; v. 8).


      • Moses makes a נְחַשׁ נְחֹשֶׁת (neash neoshet; a copper snake,[2] ostensibly of the same type as those that bit the Israelites) so that anyone bitten by the נָּחָשׁ (naash) can look at נְחַשׁ הַנְּחֹשֶׁת and live (vv. 9-10).



    The word נָּחָשׁ (pl. נְחָשִׁים) is the generic Hebrew term for snake or serpent.[3] The term שָׂרָף  (pl. שְׂרָפִים) is less clear. It comes from a root that means “to burn.” Sometimes, the term is used adjectivally to modify snakes, as in the phrase נְחָשִׁים שְׂרָפִים (v. 6), which means “flaming serpents” or “burning serpents,” perhaps describing the bite or sting of the creature. At other times it is used as a standalone term, שָׂרָף, a substantive adjective meaning “the flaming one” or “the burning one.”


    Does the term indicate a property of a snake, perhaps a venomous snake, or a particular breed of snake?


    Three Further Biblical References to Saraph Serpents.

     Three other biblical references to seraphim shed light on the nature of this creature: [4]


    1. Deut 8:15 A Wilderness Filled with Saraph Serpents and Scorpions.
    Deuteronomy 8:15 has Moses warning the Israelites not to take for granted all of the benefits bestowed upon them by YHWH, including YHWH’s protection during the dangerous wilderness crossing:




     דברים ח:טו הַמּוֹלִיכְךָ בַּמִּדְבָּר הַגָּדֹל וְהַנּוֹרָא נָחָשׁ שָׂרָף וְעַקְרָב וְצִמָּאוֹן אֲשֶׁר אֵין-מָיִם


    Deut. 8:15 who led you through the great and terrible wilderness with serpents, saraphim,[5] and scorpions,[6] a parched land with no water in it.



    This passage is resonant with the passage in Numbers; it too mentions these creatures in connection with the dangers faced by the Israelites in the wilderness. The mention of scorpions suggests that we are dealing with biting or stinging venomous creatures found in the dry, parched desert. An inscription of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon (681-669 B.C.E.) recounting a military campaign in Arabia offers a similar description of the Arabian peninsula as “a waterless region… a place of serpents and scorpions.”[7]


    2. Isa 14:29 Cursing Philistia with a Flying Saraph.
    In an oracle directed against the Philistines, Isaiah 14:29 uses both na
    ash and saraph as poetic parallels:




    ישעיהו יד:כט אַל-תִּשְׂמְחִי פְלֶשֶׁת כֻּלֵּךְ,
    כִּי נִשְׁבַּר שֵׁבֶט מַכֵּךְ:
    כִּי-מִשֹּׁרֶשׁ נָחָשׁ יֵצֵא צֶפַע,
    וּפִרְיוֹ שָׂרָף מְעוֹפֵף.


    Isaiah 14:29 Rejoice not, all Philistia,
    Because the staff of him that beat you is broken.
    From the stock of a snake there sprouts an asp,
    And its fruit will be a flying saraph.



    This passage, dated to the end of the reign of Ahaz and the beginning of the reign of Hezekiah (Isa 14:28), places it in a politically fraught period. As king, Ahaz acquiesced to Assyrian domination, but upon his ascension to the throne in 715 B.C.E., his son Hezekiah changed allegiance to Egypt and led a rebellion against the Assyrian king.  The Philistines, too, fought Assyrian domination during this period.[8]


    It is commonly assumed that Isaiah is warning the Philistines of an Assyrian advance, in effect, addressing the Philistines in absentia that the Assyrians are flying serpents poised to attack. J.J.M. Roberts, however, understands this passage as a response to the Philistines’ desire to have the Kingdom of Judah join their anti-Assyrian coalition. Isaiah warns the Philistines, in absentia, that although Hezekiah will indeed join the rebellion, he also has designs on Philistine territory. Indeed, 2 Kings 18:8 informs us that Hezekiah does eventually wage war against the Philistines. If this is the case, then Hezekiah is the aggressive and dangerous “flying serpent.”


    3. Isa 30:6 The Negev Filled with Lions, Adders, and Flying Saraphs.
    Isaiah 30:6 rebukes those who rely on Egypt for protection:




    ישעיהו ל:ו מַשָּׂא בַּהֲמוֹת נֶגֶב:  בְּאֶרֶץ צָרָה וְצוּקָה לָבִיא וָלַיִשׁ מֵהֶם אֶפְעֶה וְשָׂרָף מְעוֹפֵף


    Isaiah 30:6 A prophecy concerning the animals of the Negev: Through a land of hardship and distress, of lion and lioness, of adder and flying saraph.



    Here the flying saraph is parallel to the אֶפְעֶה (epha; “adder”). The parallel is similar in the above passage, in which it is parallel to the צֶפַע (tzepha; “asp”).[9] Both of these are venomous snakes. The eminent Israeli archeologist Yohanan Aharoni (1919-1976) states,


    In the Bible only poisonous snakes are mentioned, and all their names have an ‘f’ as an imitation of their blowing and puffing: ‘tzefa’, ‘tzif’oni’, ‘ef’eh’, ‘sh’fifon’, ‘fethen’.[10]


    The description of flying serpents in the desert is not unique to the 8th century prophet, Isaiah. An account of the campaign against Egypt conducted by the 7th century B.C.E. Assyrian king, Esarhaddon, mentions “snakes with deadly breath and yellow flying serpents.”[11] Likewise, the Greek historian Herodotus, writing in the 5th century B.C.E., writes of flying serpents that inhabited the Arabian desert and apparently frequently attacked Egypt.[12]


    The Saraph, the Cobra, and the Uraeus.

     The saraph should be understood as a type of venomous desert snake that some texts describe a flying, but can we narrow it down further?


    The Hebrew name for this (flying) venomous serpent of the desert is saraph, i.e., “the burning one.” In Egypt, the cobra was often referred to as “the flaming one,”[13] an image of which, called a uraeus, was worn by the Pharaoh. Thus, saraph may be the Hebrew term for cobra. 


    Black Necked Spitting Cobra (Naja nigricollis).

    What is the Biblical Flying Serpent?

    Othmar Keel and Karl Uehlinger identify the uraeus cobra as “the black-necked cobra (Naja nigricollis), which applies its poison both by biting and spitting.”[14]  These cobras do not fly, but swing through trees and attack from the air. Such an attack could easily be imagined or depicted as flying.[15] Moreover, these snakes are often yellowish-copper in color, which would fit with the image of a copper serpent depicted in Numbers 21.


    Nevertheless, it is problematic to identify the flying serpents of the desert in Isaiah, Esarhaddon, and Herodotus with this species. Naja nigricollis is primarily a sub-Saharan species; they would not be in Egypt, let alone in the Sinai or Arabian peninsulas. Furthermore, they only “fly” when living in trees and attacking from above, but the desert does not have trees. 


    Reimagining Local Cobras.

     Saraph is likely not a specific species, but refers to cobras in general. By definition, no species of desert cobra “flies,” since “flying” requires trees, but it is possible that legend overlaid the local desert cobras with the imperfectly understood characteristics of flying cobras, based on a vague knowledge these authors had of “flying” cobras in distant lands.[16]


    A number of cobra (or cobra-like) species of venomous snake inhabit Egypt and the Levant:



      • The Egyptian cobra (Naja haje) is a very large species that transmits its deadly venom by biting (not spitting) and is found in many colors, including reddish-copper. It is not a desert snake, however.




      • The Arabian cobra (Naja arabica) inhabits the Arabian Peninsula, among other places, and is closely related to the Egyptian cobra.




      • The desert black snake (Walterinnesia aegyptia), popularly known as the Sinai Desert cobra or the black desert cobra, is a venomous serpent inhabiting the Sinai desert. It is not an actual cobra, but looks very much like one.



    Flying Serpents and the Winged Uraeus.

    What is the Biblical Flying Serpent?

    As noted above, the pharaoh’s uraeus was a cobra, which we have identified as the saraph. This same uraeus was often depicted in Egyptian iconography as a (two- or four-)winged serpent called the winged uraeus, whose wings symbolize protection. This was a popular iconographic motif throughout not only Egypt, but also Syria/Palestine going back to the Late Bronze Age. This same Egyptian winged-uraeus image became popular in late 8th century Judah during the reign of King Hezekiah and appears on numerous seals during this period.[17]


    It seems quite possible that travelers familiar both with the Egyptian imagery of flying serpents and knowledge that the desert is filled with venomous snakes, imagined flying serpents in the desert. As Othmar Keel points out, humans encounter the desert with something of an air of mystery, a place filled with all kinds of danger, exemplified by exotic and mysterious flora and fauna.[18]


    Postscript: Danger and Healing.

     The various depictions of the dangers of the desert found in Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Esarhaddon, and Herodotus, all convey the dread that travelers felt about encountering these darting, “burning,” venomous cobras while travelling in the desert regions of Egypt, the Sinai, or Arabia. In the form of a uraeus, the cobra was chosen to be the patron of the Pharaoh, communicating both his dangerous power as well as the idea that he was under the protection of the cobra goddess, Wadjet.[19]


    In the story in Numbers, the saraph has a similar dual function. The serpents themselves effect God’s wrath by biting and poisoning the Israelites. At the same time, the image of the copper serpent conveys God’s healing power. Thus, in Egyptian iconography as well as in the biblical account in Numbers, the cobra is both a giver and protector of life—an image of healing, but also a dangerous and destructive creature.




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