With the smell of the freshly cut parade deck, the sound of Knobs scuffling in the gutters to class, and and the warmth from the radiant Charleston sun, it is just another beautiful day at The Citadel. As the day passes along however, the weather takes a turn for the worse. An unexpected hurricane comes sweeping through the campus in a path of destruction. The hurricane’s destructive force makes a mess of campus, but the history building in particular is hit worst of all. Some of the survivors begin to contemplate why their building was hit so hard, yet the english building is practically unscathed.
As if it were something out of a writing prompt, three civilians from ancient worlds have come to offer their possible explanations in an attempt to comfort the professors. The first person, a Hebrew claims that the hurricane was a sign from God that they have sinned beyond return much like the flood from the book of Genesis and that bad things happen to good people, comparable to the Book of Job(Laws, Gods, and Heroes, 51-60). The second, a Babylonian believes that this was the work of many gods, and that the professors were no longer needed for use and disposed of.
He compared it to the extinction in “The Epic of Gilgamesh” and suggested that they should live life to the fullest(The Epic of Gilgamesh). The third man was a polytheistic Egyptian, who explained the disaster should be blamed on the pharaoh. He offers comfort in that, now the deceased may proceed to Paradise, and compares the events to the story of Osiris(Laws, Gods, and Heroes, 46-51). The first explanation, from the ancient Hebrew standpoint, is one that unlike the Egyptians and Mesopotamians, the Hebrew god is a personal one, and that man is his child(Laws, Gods, and Heroes).
The Hebrew believes that the history department was chosen by God to be punished. In the story of Noah’s Ark, God sends a flood that wiped out all of man, except for Noah and his family, for it’s wickedness. After the flood has ended, Noah makes a covenant with God that, “I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again should there be a flood to destroy the Earth. ”(Laws, Gods, and Heroes, 53). This backs the theory by the Hebrew that his God is a personal one, and that also could explain why the english department was not hit as hard.
The Hebrew also offers another idea of pure simplicity. He warns the Professors that bad things happen to good people for no apparent reason and not to question the will of God, for they will never understand. In the Book of Job, the original, Job is put through a living Hell, losing all wealth, children, and dis formed at the hands of God(Laws, Gods, and Heroes, 58, Lecture Notes). In the end you find that, it is done for no clear reasons, and in a paraphrase of God’s words, “Suck it up”. After hearing the Hebrews interpretation, the mesopotamian comes forwarding offering his condolences and reasoning.
He suggest that what happened earlier was the destructive force of many chaotic and unpredictable gods. He proceeds to say that, the reason the whole history department was wiped out may have been attributed to one single professor. They may have not liked the way they taught about their religion or may have not needed is services anymore because they have taught the same lectures for the past ten years, or simply they were too noisy in the god’s opinions. The Babylonian claims that mankind was more of an afterthought of the gods, and that they were made only to serve the gods(The Epic of Gilgamesh).
Man is expendable in the eyes of his gods, and so he suggest to the professors not to fret. He tells the professors should live life to the fullest and to eat, drink, and be merry. The life after death is a very desolate place of emptiness as described by Incadu and so they should enjoy what time they have on Earth(The Epic of Gilgamesh). The final man steps forward, an Egyptian polytheistic man. The man proclaims that the events of the day were to be blamed on the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh of egypt is also a god could be held accountable for any serious events.
His wrath was a communal one, unbiased in what it destroyed(Lecture Notes). The man continues saying that the death and destruction should not be seen as all negative. The deceased now have a chance to go before Anubis, the god of the afterlife. Here, their goodness will be weighed against the feather of Ma’at, and then proceed into “Paradise” or vanish from existence completely. If their heart did not pass the test of goodness, Ammut, a demon with the head of a crocodile, front half of a leopard, and back half of a hippopotamus, would devore their soul and they would vanish forever(Lecture Notes).
At the end of the day, the professors, were given more reasoning than they bargained for, whether it be the Hebrew’s explanation by the cleansing of souls and will of God, the Babylonians reason of chaotic and communal punishment, and that they should enjoy life for what it’s worth, or the Egyptian’s belief in the Pharaoh’s wrongdoing, rationalizing it with a great afterlife. All of these religious beliefs have points that help to comfort the professors and provides them with some closure, but being professional history professors, they are unbiased in ancient religious affairs and do not choose one viewpoint over the other.