Jonah

I am not sure if this is the right forum but ...

Could something like this https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-57450685 be the origin of the story of Jonah ? Could it be more accurate than we thought ?

Comments

  • I tend to think of Jonah as something of a *comic book* story - not necessarily True™ - but the swallowing of the prophet by a humpback whale is, I suppose, feasible.

    Would such creatures (possibly *Leviathan*)have been seen in the Mediterranean then?

    Quite how Jonah survived the whale's digestive juices etc. is another matter, and the length of time he spent in the whale's tummy is perhaps exaggerated...
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    Yeah 3 days and 3 nights could be the equivalent of “comparatively long time” as 40 days and 40 nights is a very long time.
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    ISTM some biblical authors liked to "overlay" experiences, one on another. The story of a mariner swallowed by a whale, and describing what it was like to be trapped in a dark lonely terrifying place, was overlaid with a time of going away and thinking about things, overlaid with the experience of feeling separated from God. It's rather like old-fashioned set design, where you overlay different pieces to create depth (pardon the reference).
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited June 12
    A modern day Jonah!

    Similar to the Flood, I’m sure - a real event that became embellished and added to, then joined the mythology of the time.

    Amazing! 🐋

    I learned about mythology aged seven when we lived in South Africa. A snake had slithered out under my Grandma’s bench. Every time she told the story the snake grew bigger and more fearsome and the actions of the gardener became more heroic. By the time I was fifteen years old it was an epic tale, we all looked forward to her telling it and settled down to listen and enjoy it when she did. 🐍



  • Boogie wrote: »
    A modern day Jonah!

    Similar to the Flood, I’m sure - a real event that became embellished and added to, then joined the mythology of the time.

    Amazing! 🐋

    <snip>

    Yes, I was greatly intrigued to hear (many years ago) about the pre-Biblical Flood story:

    Utnapishtim, in the Babylonian Gilgamesh epic, survivor of a mythological flood whom Gilgamesh consults about the secret of immortality. Utnapishtim was the only man to escape death, since, having preserved human and animal life in the great boat he built, he and his wife were deified by the god Enlil.

    Is there a pre-Biblical story like unto that of Jonah?



  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    I was particularly intrigued by the news story, because previously I’d been told there was no evidence of anyone, ever, being swallowed by a whale - and if it had happened (technically possible for a sperm whale apparently) then you would be crushed and digested with no possibility of survival.

    This seems to show someone going in and out of a whale’s mouth and living - being spat out in fact. Which seems more like, excepting the time span, what is said to have happened to Jonah.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Looks like the whale was highly irritated by the larger than usual food and went up to the surface to get rid of it.

    🐋
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    edited June 12
    Sorry, thought better of it and deleted it
  • Boogie wrote: »
    Looks like the whale was highly irritated by the larger than usual food and went up to the surface to get rid of it.

    🐋

    Could be... though given their intelligence, I wonder if it didn't identify this intruder as an air-based beast and go up for that reason. I suspect the whale sees enough of them, and there'd be the plasticky coating as well... I gather they were about 45 feet down.
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    AIUI the Bible mentions a "large fish" rather than a whale.
  • I'm not sure how much the early Hebrews knew or cared about taxonomy. I mean they considered bats to be birds. Probably their word for fish at the time just meant anything generally fish shaped, and they weren't too particular on whether it was warm or cold-blooded, or breathed through lungs or gills. Just my speculation really, I haven't done any research on it.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    Have you swallowed any humans yourself ?
  • john holdingjohn holding Ecclesiantics Host, Mystery Worshipper Host
    Jonah is a story -- fiction if you will -- not history. What it says, for example, about Ninevah is certainly not true of that city at any stage, and certainly at the time Jonah purports to describe -- there's a folk memory about a big alien city called Ninevah, so it's used in the story. What it says about the great fish is probably unrelated to anything that happened in the real world. This doesn't mean that there is no value to Jonah, because he clear messages it conveys about confronting evil and the result of repentance, but htat's it.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    Jonah is a story -- fiction if you will -- not history. What it says, for example, about Ninevah is certainly not true of that city at any stage, and certainly at the time Jonah purports to describe -- there's a folk memory about a big alien city called Ninevah, so it's used in the story. What it says about the great fish is probably unrelated to anything that happened in the real world. This doesn't mean that there is no value to Jonah, because he clear messages it conveys about confronting evil and the result of repentance, but htat's it.

    I have to agree with this. Now I know that Jesus refered to the story but Jesus was loath to dismiss anything from the Old Testament
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    Jonah is a story -- fiction if you will -- not history. What it says, for example, about Ninevah is certainly not true of that city at any stage, and certainly at the time Jonah purports to describe -- there's a folk memory about a big alien city called Ninevah, so it's used in the story. What it says about the great fish is probably unrelated to anything that happened in the real world. This doesn't mean that there is no value to Jonah, because he clear messages it conveys about confronting evil and the result of repentance, but htat's it.

    I have to agree with this. Now I know that Jesus refered to the story but Jesus was loath to dismiss anything from the Old Testament
    Well, and his reference to it isn’t necessarily any indication that he endorsed the factual nature of it. I refer to stories I and others find value in all the time, even when everyone knows that the story is fiction.

  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    Here is a story about a man who was in a whale's mouth, but was not swallowed.
  • I'm not sure how much the early Hebrews knew or cared about taxonomy. I mean they considered bats to be birds. Probably their word for fish at the time just meant anything generally fish shaped, and they weren't too particular on whether it was warm or cold-blooded, or breathed through lungs or gills. Just my speculation really, I haven't done any research on it.

    That WAS their taxonomy--if it flies, and it's only got two wings, stick it among bird kind. That was sufficient for their purposes. Taxonomy is about organizing the world, and we have different purposes than the ancient Hebrews--and so our taxonomy is going to be different. Doesn't make either of us wrong. I have very dim memories of reading something about molecular biology and how, given the similarities it comes up with, if we were to revisit taxonomy on that basis, we'd have some very big differences in the current layout.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Moo wrote: »
    Here is a story about a man who was in a whale's mouth, but was not swallowed.

    Indeed, which is how this thread started.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    A quotation from one of yesterday's newspapers, he
    "...will be transformed in to mythic figure in Provincetown – “the Jonah who came back. He’ll never have pay for another drink for the rest of his life.”
    And apparently a film maker with a holiday home in the area is interested!
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    edited June 13
    I'm not sure how much the early Hebrews knew or cared about taxonomy. I mean they considered bats to be birds. Probably their word for fish at the time just meant anything generally fish shaped, and they weren't too particular on whether it was warm or cold-blooded, or breathed through lungs or gills. Just my speculation really, I haven't done any research on it.

    That WAS their taxonomy--if it flies, and it's only got two wings, stick it among bird kind. That was sufficient for their purposes. Taxonomy is about organizing the world, and we have different purposes than the ancient Hebrews--and so our taxonomy is going to be different. Doesn't make either of us wrong. I have very dim memories of reading something about molecular biology and how, given the similarities it comes up with, if we were to revisit taxonomy on that basis, we'd have some very big differences in the current layout.

    The English language is equally full of examples where the word assigned to something is based on basic appearance or some other factor, not detailed scientific taxonomy.

    Whales aren't fish, but neither are shellfish.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    Famously, at least in the U.K. , there’s no such thing as a fish.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited June 13
    And, just as famous, the podcast -

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Such_Thing_as_a_Fish

    I’ve listened to them all 😲
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    Jonah is a story -- fiction if you will -- not history. What it says, for example, about Ninevah is certainly not true of that city at any stage, and certainly at the time Jonah purports to describe -- there's a folk memory about a big alien city called Ninevah, so it's used in the story. What it says about the great fish is probably unrelated to anything that happened in the real world. This doesn't mean that there is no value to Jonah, because he clear messages it conveys about confronting evil and the result of repentance, but htat's it.
    I have to agree with this. Now I know that Jesus refered to the story but Jesus was loath to dismiss anything from the Old Testament
    Well, and his reference to it isn’t necessarily any indication that he endorsed the factual nature of it. I refer to stories I and others find value in all the time, even when everyone knows that the story is fiction.

    Jonah is a moral tale, like the fables of Æsop or the parables of Jesus. If you get too caught up in the question of whether a fox would really have dinner with a stork or if there truly was a man set upon by robbers on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho who was helped by a Samaritan then you're missing the whole point of the story.

    Jonah isn't a treatise on the dietary habits of large sea creatures, it's a moral warning to not be like Jonah, bitterly despairing at the salvation of others.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    I appreciate that, but I was simply wondering if an actual event might have precipitated it - I recall being told Richard’s hunchback was Tudor propaganda for many years until the body was actually found.

    Sometimes oral tradition is more accurate than we expect.
  • My understanding is that orcas (killer whales) are occasional visitors to the Mediterranean, and they do possess the throat to swallow something large (unlike the majority of whales). There's also sharks, of course.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Both Jonah and the lobster-man stories are very cool. :sunglasses:
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Jonah is a story -- fiction if you will -- not history. What it says, for example, about Ninevah is certainly not true of that city at any stage, and certainly at the time Jonah purports to describe -- there's a folk memory about a big alien city called Ninevah, so it's used in the story. What it says about the great fish is probably unrelated to anything that happened in the real world. This doesn't mean that there is no value to Jonah, because he clear messages it conveys about confronting evil and the result of repentance, but htat's it.

    More like a fable.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Crœsos wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    Jonah is a story -- fiction if you will -- not history. What it says, for example, about Ninevah is certainly not true of that city at any stage, and certainly at the time Jonah purports to describe -- there's a folk memory about a big alien city called Ninevah, so it's used in the story. What it says about the great fish is probably unrelated to anything that happened in the real world. This doesn't mean that there is no value to Jonah, because he clear messages it conveys about confronting evil and the result of repentance, but htat's it.
    I have to agree with this. Now I know that Jesus refered to the story but Jesus was loath to dismiss anything from the Old Testament
    Well, and his reference to it isn’t necessarily any indication that he endorsed the factual nature of it. I refer to stories I and others find value in all the time, even when everyone knows that the story is fiction.

    Jonah is a moral tale, like the fables of Æsop or the parables of Jesus. If you get too caught up in the question of whether a fox would really have dinner with a stork or if there truly was a man set upon by robbers on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho who was helped by a Samaritan then you're missing the whole point of the story.

    Jonah isn't a treatise on the dietary habits of large sea creatures, it's a moral warning to not be like Jonah, bitterly despairing at the salvation of others.

    I think I would put the lesson in a more positive spin: the universality of God and the appeal of God to even the people who live in Ninevah==also God can use you no matter how much you resist.
  • cgichardcgichard Shipmate
    The importance of Jonah is, as Christ himself said, as a type or prefiguringof the burial and resurrection of Christ (Matthew 12: 39-40).:
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I think I would put the lesson in a more positive spin: the universality of God and the appeal of God to even the people who live in Ninevah . . .

    . . . and also many animals. One of the most interesting things about the Book of Jonah is that animals are involved in the salvation of Ninevah.
  • When you involve a big fish in the process of getting the prophet where he needs to be, I think you really need to involve the rest of the animals to the end of the story - even the worms get a look in.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    edited June 17
    Crœsos wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I think I would put the lesson in a more positive spin: the universality of God and the appeal of God to even the people who live in Ninevah . . .

    . . . and also many animals. One of the most interesting things about the Book of Jonah is that animals are involved in the salvation of Ninevah.

    good point--worms included.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Jonah is a story -- fiction if you will -- not history. What it says, for example, about Ninevah is certainly not true of that city at any stage, and certainly at the time Jonah purports to describe -- there's a folk memory about a big alien city called Ninevah, so it's used in the story. What it says about the great fish is probably unrelated to anything that happened in the real world. This doesn't mean that there is no value to Jonah, because he clear messages it conveys about confronting evil and the result of repentance, but htat's it.

    More like a fable.

    I've heard it called the world's first short story.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    cgichard wrote: »
    The importance of Jonah is, as Christ himself said, as a type or prefiguringof the burial and resurrection of Christ (Matthew 12: 39-40).:

    So it's got nothing to do with God being humane to the enemies of His people?
  • LatchKeyKidLatchKeyKid Shipmate
    cgichard wrote: »
    The importance of Jonah is, as Christ himself said, as a type or prefiguringof the burial and resurrection of Christ (Matthew 12: 39-40).:
    My inclination is to see the author of Matthew using the story of Jonah as a metaphor or a source of midrash.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    That whale or whatever must have been a fantastic swimmer to exit the Med, career around the African continent, charge up the Persian gulf, and deposit Noah in the neighbourhood of Nineveh, within 72 hours. Whew!

    That said, IMO the Book of Jonah is one of the greatest books in the bible because it challenges much of the OT and points to Pentecost.

    For me, the key to Jonah is to regard it as a classic parable because it is designed to leave the hearers or readers with a simple question: " Should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    Forget swimming, it would have been an excellent SPITTER to do what you say! Nineveh is inland.

    But in fact we are never told exactly where Jonah got, er, ingested, nor where he got emitted--just that it was "on dry land." He could have had quite a long disgusting trek, with bits of seaweed and half-digested fish in his hair... :wink:
  • No wonder he sulked.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    cgichard wrote: »
    The importance of Jonah is, as Christ himself said, as a type or prefiguringof the burial and resurrection of Christ (Matthew 12: 39-40).:

    Problem there is that the timing is wrong.
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