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Thread: The Path of Venus in the Night Sky and the Number 40

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    Question The Path of Venus in the Night Sky and the Number 40

    I was reading a book which gave a discussion about the importance of the number 40 in the various religions from around the world, but offered no explanation as to why the number was important in religions which couldn't have had contact with one another when the idea of 40 being sacred would have formed in the religion. It seems hugely unlikely to me that such a religious belief would have been carried over from a time when all humans could be found in the same general area (some 100K years or so ago). That leaves some biological phenomena or celestial phenomena as the source of inspiration for the significance of that number.

    Given the lack of shared organisms between the New and Old Worlds prior to the 15th Century, if there was something biological involved, then it would have to be related to humans. I don't know of anything off-hand that might match up to that which could have been conceived of by Stone Age societies, relating to human biology that would correspond to the number 40, so that seems to be out.

    This leaves astronomical phenomena. In looking up the number 40 on Wikipedia, it gives a possible answer
    • The planet Venus forms a pentagram in the night sky every eight years with it returning to its original point every 40 years with a 40 day regression (some scholars believe that this ancient information was the basis for the number 40 becoming sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims).[citation needed]
    No citation, and I don't know if there would be other naked eye astronomical phenomena which might also be a possible candidate to explain the number 40's importance to ancient societies. The number seven was claimed to be important to them, because if you add up the sun, the moon, and the planets visible to the naked eye, you get seven.

    So, does Venus form the pattern so described by Wikipedia? Is there any other astronomical which might be a possible candidate (say, something which routinely occurs during a 40 day interval, thus more likely to be noticed by pre-literate societies)? Anyone have any better guesses than what I've come up with?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    That leaves some biological phenomena or celestial phenomena as the source of inspiration for the significance of that number.
    What about simple fabrication of "facts"? Or cherry-picking of facts?

    In your shoes, my first step to eking a semblance of truth would be to
    1] view with great skepticism, the accounts claimed in the book. First trying to verify that they are true at all, and
    2] determine whether they represent meaningful measurements (for example, the distance Sun to Mars is 40 unit in furlongs per fortnight, what what about the other 8 planets? Why only Mars? (A: because its number fits, and the other 8 don't).)
    Last edited by DaveC426913; 2014-Dec-02 at 04:18 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    This leaves astronomical phenomena. In looking up the number 40 on Wikipedia, it gives a possible answer
    The wikipedia page also says "The number 40 is used in Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and other Middle Eastern traditions to represent a large, approximate number, similar to "umpteen"." In other words, it's just a big round number, that's not too big. Maybe that's all the explanation needed.

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    The number 40 was important to the Aztecs, Incas, Hindus, Buddhists, and many other religions. Why would they pick the same number to represent "umpteen"? The contact between all of them would have been practically nine existent for much of their history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    The number 40 was important to the Aztecs, Incas, Hindus, Buddhists, and many other religions. Why would they pick the same number to represent "umpteen"? The contact between all of them would have been practically nine existent for much of their history.
    I looked at the "40" wiki and didn't see those. What importance was it to them?

    Besides, even though it is often referenced, I don't see it as being considered important. Whether the founder of your religion starts their public life at forty, or thirty, does it really make a difference?

    Once you decide to choose a number ending in zero, your choices are limited.

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    It's important for the same reasons, people fast for forty days, or battle for forty days, essentially, whenever you see a use for the number forty in the Abrahamic religions, you'll find a similar instance in a religion which didn't encounter the Abrahamic religions until relatively recently in its history. Wikipedia isn't exactly known for being complete on some subjects. That's one of the reasons why I came here, since I figured some astronomy types would know if it's statements about the motion of Venus were accurate or if there was other naked eye astronomical phenomena that fall into a pattern involving the number 40.

    If you want to read the chapter in the book which talks about 40, it's available free from Google Books. It's called Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions by TW Doane and the chapter in question is number 19.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    <snip>
    Given the lack of shared organisms between the New and Old Worlds prior to the 15th Century, if there was something biological involved, then it would have to be related to humans. I don't know of anything off-hand that might match up to that which could have been conceived of by Stone Age societies, relating to human biology that would correspond to the number 40, so that seems to be out.
    Quote Originally Posted by grapes View Post
    The wikipedia page also says "The number 40 is used in Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and other Middle Eastern traditions to represent a large, approximate number, similar to "umpteen"." In other words, it's just a big round number, that's not too big. Maybe that's all the explanation needed.
    Twice the number of fingers and toes that a human has. 20 as a significant number seems fairly common, and I would guess that relates to the total of fingers and toes. If you considered 20 a big number, twice that would have to be an umpteen number.

    Just a guess...
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    I found this discussion of the Venus Pentagram from Steven Dutch of the University of Wisconsin

    If Venus inscribed a perfect five-pointed star, there would be a transit every five synodic periods. More than likely, there would never be a transit because none of the points of the star would ever line up with a node. But because there's a slight mismatch, the points of the star "walk" around the ecliptic. Right now we have pairs of transits eight years apart, then it takes over a hundred years for a point of the star to migrate to a node. Note that the nodes alternate. The 2004-2012 transits are in June, but the 2117 and 2125 transits are in December.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    It's important for the same reasons, people fast for forty days, or battle for forty days, essentially, whenever you see a use for the number forty in the Abrahamic religions, you'll find a similar instance in a religion which didn't encounter the Abrahamic religions until relatively recently in its history.
    You'll have to back that up with references.

    But again, cherry-picking is quite likely the culprit here. I bet you'll find references to virtually any number if you look for them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    Wikipedia isn't exactly known for being complete on some subjects. That's one of the reasons why I came here, since I figured some astronomy types would know if it's statements about the motion of Venus were accurate or if there was other naked eye astronomical phenomena that fall into a pattern involving the number 40.
    This is exactly the kind of thing I gave an example of. There are 4 other planetary bodies visible in ancient times. One of them happens to have a 40 in it somewhere (though in what units, who knows). They have cherry-picked Venus because it fits the hypothesis. Why do the other 4 bodies not fit the hypothesis?

    That is a rhetorical question. The best-fit answer is: because numerology.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Twice the number of fingers and toes that a human has. 20 as a significant number seems fairly common, and I would guess that relates to the total of fingers and toes. If you considered 20 a big number, twice that would have to be an umpteen number.

    Just a guess...
    But one which satisfies the requirements of Occam's Razor quite nicely. It explains why its found across a large swath of the human population, most of which would never have had contact with one another, used different numbering systems, and doesn't rely on literacy to work.

    So, not quite as precise as described and certainly unlikely to be discovered before long term observations of astronomical phenomena had been happening. Once people had been observing Venus long enough to notice the pattern which nearly formed a perfect pentagram, they might have glommed onto the 40 connection as a symbol of divinity, but it wouldn't necessarily have appealed to all societies. (I was unable to turn up any references to a pentagram in pre-Columbian America on a quick Google flail, which doesn't mean that there weren't any, of course.)

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    You'll have to back that up with references.
    I've already told you one source, if you require more, I suggest you check out the writings of Joseph Campbell, Bart Erhman, Robert M. Price, and many others who're qualified scholars who've done comparative religion studies.

    But again, cherry-picking is quite likely the culprit here. I bet you'll find references to virtually any number if you look for them.
    No, actually, you don't. Zero, for example, doesn't show up outside of Hinduism for a considerable period of time, on the orders of centuries. Pi is another number which is absent. Eight is important in some Asian cultures, but essentially ignored by most others, I could go on. There are certainly numbers which are uniquely emphasized in individual religions, but only a few are treated as "special" across the majority. Those are often tied to astronomical features and/or events. For example, the Tower of Babel had 7 levels, one labeled for the important bodies in the solar system such as the sun, the moon, and so on. It was, not a means to reach some mythological heaven, but an astronomical observatory. The stars were both calendar and clock to ancient societies, and they certainly paid a great deal of attention to them.



    This is exactly the kind of thing I gave an example of. There are 4 other planetary bodies visible in ancient times. One of them happens to have a 40 in it somewhere (though in what units, who knows). They have cherry-picked Venus because it fits the hypothesis. Why do the other 4 bodies not fit the hypothesis?
    Because, wait for it, days/months/years are fairly standard units of measurement, since they are conceived of by people independent of one another, based on observable natural phenomena that exist everywhere on the planet.

    That is a rhetorical question. The best-fit answer is: because numerology.
    Yes, of course, this is numerology related, but even numerologists have a "logic" by which they operate. It's not going to be based in reality, of course, but they had reasons for why they adopted certain numbers as being important, and others as being unimportant, or even "evil." We in the West consider 13 to be "unlucky," because of connections with the Last Supper and other parts of Christian lore, in Asia, they don't have triskaidekaphobia because it doesn't have the connotations in their religious practices. But frankly, I'm not interested in the asynchronous numbers, I'm interested in possible reasons why the number 40 would be important across nearly all, if not all (I don't know for certain, I haven't studied every religion out there) religions. There's most likely a reason for it, in this case, I'd say Swift's come up with about as good an explanation as one could expect.

    Now, perhaps he's wrong, and perhaps the reason is tied to something like instinct in humans, I don't know. But given the number of instances where similarities between religions indicate either a common source (the various Flood myths all tend to branch off of a central story from the Babylonians) or a physical phenomena experienced by the whole of humanity (death, which is almost always described in myths as being a punishment levied on humanity by the gods in response to something humans had done), the logical assumption is that there's a reason for that commonality, and it doesn't exist solely by random chance.

    Whether you choose to accept all of this, I don't really care. There are a large number of respectable scholars who've commentated on the shared emphasis of the numbers 3,7, and 40 across the various religions. The one time I actually got to speak to one of those scholars, I did ask him about the commonality of the number 40. He said that it was something that he'd researched, but had been unable to find a satisfactory reason for, though he did seem to think that it was likely that there was a reason for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    <snip>
    Whether you choose to accept all of this, I don't really care.
    Tuckerfan,

    Please be careful. You seem to have rapidly gone from asking a question (an appropriate use of Q&A) to advocating a position (not an appropriate use of Q&A). If you'd like to get various people's opinions about the question, they I suggest you not argument with the opinions they express.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Tuckerfan,

    Please be careful. You seem to have rapidly gone from asking a question (an appropriate use of Q&A) to advocating a position (not an appropriate use of Q&A). If you'd like to get various people's opinions about the question, they I suggest you not argument with the opinions they express.
    Not trying to be a jerk here, but I don't see how his response was appropriate to my question. I wasn't asking about the validity of the significance of the number 40 to various religions, I was trying to find out if the wiki entry on the number 40 and Venus was correct, and if there was any other naked eye astronomical phenomena which had a periodicity of 40. This being an astronomy related board, I figured that this would be a good place to ask about such things. If I'd wanted to discuss the theological side of things, I'd have gone to a board who's focus was on theological matters. I only mentioned the theological connection in order to give it context as to why I was looking for phenomena related to the number 40.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    If you want to read the chapter in the book which talks about 40, it's available free from Google Books. It's called Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions by TW Doane and the chapter in question is number 19.
    Found it at Gutenberg project.
    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/31885...h.htm#Page_175

    The last paragraph mentions a list of astronomical cycles, including forty.
    ] Most temples of antiquity were imitative—were microcosms of the Celestial Templum—and on this account they were surrounded with pillars recording astronomical subjects, and intended both to do honor to these subjects, and to keep them in perpetual remembrance. In the Abury temples were to be seen the cycles of 650-608-600-60-40-30-19-12, etc.[180:6]
    It appears to reference a book by Higgins?

    ETA: you can find Higgins book just by searching for "650-608-600-60-40-30-19-12", but you can find other things as well...

    EETA: Higgins book mentions that forty is very common in the temples--as it might be, if there were ten columns on each side.
    Last edited by grapes; 2014-Dec-03 at 11:04 AM. Reason: EETA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiki
    •The planet Venus forms a pentagram in the night sky every eight years with it returning to its original point every 40 years with a 40 day regression (some scholars believe that this ancient information was the basis for the number 40 becoming sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims).[citation needed]
    My bold. That phrase does not correctly describe the pattern of motion. Whoever wrote this Wiki article did not check it against an accurate plot of the apparent motion of Venus. The planet completes 5 synodic cycles in about 2.4 days less than a full 8 years. If we plot the motion in altitude and azimuth relative to the noon Sun each day we will get five pairs of lobes which is my best guess as to what the writer calls a "pentagram". This pattern then repeats itself over the next 8 years. After 40 years, or five of these 8-year cycles, the pattern has regressed about 12 days, not 40.

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    13 x 224.7 = 2921.1
    8 x 365.25 = 2922.0

    so, the difference is 0.9 days only, not 12.

    5 x 584 = 2920

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    Quote Originally Posted by marmolada View Post
    13 x 224.7 = 2921.1
    8 x 365.25 = 2922.0

    so, the difference is 0.9 days only, not 12.

    5 x 584 = 2920
    The synodic period can be found by multiplying the two periods and dividing by their difference. So over 5 of the (8 years, or 5-cycles), the difference is 5*(8*365.256 - 5*365.256*224.701/(365.256-224.701)), which is 12.15 days, according to wolframalpha.com

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    I don't understand this combination.

    You told the synodic is just that:
    1/S = 1/Tv - 1/Te = 1/224.71 - 1/365.25 = 1/584

    5 x 584 = 2920
    8 x 365.25 = 2922;
    difference is now 2 days not 12.

    8 x 365.256 = 2922.048, this still nothing changes.

    And what is the difference in the reality?

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    Quote Originally Posted by marmolada View Post
    I don't understand this combination.

    You told the synodic is just that:
    1/S = 1/Tv - 1/Te = 1/224.71 - 1/365.25 = 1/584

    5 x 584 = 2920
    8 x 365.25 = 2922;
    difference is now 2 days not 12.

    8 x 365.256 = 2922.048, this still nothing changes.

    And what is the difference in the reality?
    You missed the part where they said the difference is 12 days, over 40 years--which is five of those eight year periods. 5 times your two days, in other words.

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    OK. But the tropical year should be used here, not the sidereal.

    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary...venusfact.html

    5 x (8 x 365.242 - 5 x 583.92) = 11.68
    Last edited by marmolada; 2014-Dec-03 at 11:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marmolada View Post
    OK. But the tropical year should be used here, not the sidereal.

    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary...venusfact.html

    5 x (8 x 365.242 - 5 x 583.92) = 11.68
    No, since the synodic period has nothing to do with the tilt of the earth. It has to be sidereal.

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    I think we count the days and years with respect to the Sun position on the sky, not to the stars, therefore the tropical numbers are correct.

    A synodic period is only one, the same for tropical and sidereal periods.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grapes View Post
    Found it at Gutenberg project.
    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/31885...h.htm#Page_175

    The last paragraph mentions a list of astronomical cycles, including forty.

    It appears to reference a book by Higgins?

    ETA: you can find Higgins book just by searching for "650-608-600-60-40-30-19-12", but you can find other things as well...

    EETA: Higgins book mentions that forty is very common in the temples--as it might be, if there were ten columns on each side.
    Right, but the number 40 crops up in all sorts of areas in religion. Quetzalcoatl fasted for 40 days as did Jesus and Buddha. Given that its thought by some scholars that there were Buddhist missionaries in Egypt in the 1st Century AD, the possibility of the Gospel writers borrowing that number from them can't be ruled out (of course Moses supposedly fasted for 40 days, the Flood myth has rain for 40 days, etc.). The Aztecs, however, were unlikely to be able to crib the idea of a 40 day fast from someone living in the Mid-East. Additionally, none of the groups were using the same number system, so something which was tied to the shape of the number 40 (like the Greeks and the Romans were supposed to not favor certain patterns of numbers as they contained the names of gods), isn't likely to be appealing to such diverse groups. That leaves only a few possibilities. One of which is astronomical, and based on the Wiki entry, Venus seemed to fit the bill, but as has been amply demonstrated here, only with a bit of "fudge" work.

    BTW, Doane's book is worth a read, even if it is a bit outdated (though nothing has come to light which has refuted the premise of the work, AFAIK). Its exhaustively footnoted, often with multiple sources for a single point, and goes into great detail about specific verses of various religious texts at times. A considerable amount of his work pre-figures much of the work Joseph Campbell did, though Campbell seems not to have read Doane. (Doane explains the importance of 3 in many religions as being tied to the new Moon, while Campbell seems to be puzzled by the commonality of the number 3 in so many religions.)

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    "The planet Venus forms a pentagram in the night sky every eight years with it returning to its original point every 40 years with a 40 day regression"

    I don't know what this mean.

    I always think the pentagram returns to the same position after 243 years - the transits cycle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    I've already told you one source,
    Which? The book? That's not the source, that's the target that needs backing up.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    No, actually, you don't. Zero, for example, doesn't show up outside of Hinduism for a considerable period of time, on the orders of centuries. Pi is another number which is absent. Eight is important in some Asian cultures, but essentially ignored by most others, I could go on
    None of these address the issue. OK, you've shown why a few numbers are absent, and you point out why they're absent.

    What you have not done is demonstrate why 40 is any more special than any of several other popular numbers.

    OK, some number had to come up more than any other. It's like lottery numbers. This week's lottery number was 17. That number has come up more than any other number. 11 only came up 80% as often, and 37 only came up 70% as often. Does that make 17 special? No. It's inevitable that some number is the far end of the bell curve. It does not mean that 17 has some special property causing it to come up more often.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    I'm interested in possible reasons why the number 40 would be important across nearly all, if not all (I don't know for certain, I haven't studied every religion out there) religions.
    This is a foregone conclusion. You've decided that it's true and now look for reasons to bolster that claim.

    How do you know it's true? Cherry-picking and numerology are still the best fit causes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TuckerFan
    "The planet Venus forms a pentagram in the night sky every eight years with it returning to its original point every 40 years with a 40 day regression"
    Whose day? Earth's? Venus'?

    Wasn't it von Daniken who said that the distance from Earth to Venus in rods was the height of the Statue of Liberty in furlongs minus the number of leap days since its discovery? This is certainly strong evidence that the Statue of Liberty is of unearthly origin.

    Numerology is the art of careful selection of criteria to invent patterns out of non-pattern.

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    I have been watching this cycle of apparitions of Venus since 1957, and I stand by my numbers, which I spot checked against the dates of greatest eastern elongation on January 29, 1961 and January 16, 2001. Any mixup between the use of tropical and sidereal periods would create a discrepancy of less than a day in calendar dates over a 40-year period. That "40 day regression" in that Wiki article appears to be one of their rare blunders in astronomical items, and it is in an article that was not primarily about astronomy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuckerfan View Post
    Right, but the number 40 crops up in all sorts of areas in religion. Quetzalcoatl fasted for 40 days as did Jesus and Buddha.
    I'm not sure where you get the last part. There is a story about Buddha fasting for 49 days (and 49 is an important number in Buddhism, as I think the soul is believed to depart from the body after 49 days or something like that), but not 40 as far as I know. And I don't think that Quetzalcoatl did either.
    As above, so below

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    Perhaps the 40 years is just the time moment when the Venus is visible in the same place on the sky - the same hour.

    Therefore there must be just a shift exactly 12 days, not other, for example 11.75 days, because it's now 0.25 x 24 = 6 hours earlier.

    If it's true, then these numbers must be imprecise:
    5 x (8 x 365.242 - 5 x 583.92) = 11.68 days
    Last edited by marmolada; 2014-Dec-04 at 04:04 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marmolada View Post
    Perhaps the 40 years is just the time moment when the Venus is visible in the same place on the sky - the same hour.

    Therefore there must be just a shift exactly 12 days, not other, for example 11.75 days, because it's now 0.25 x 24 = 6 hours earlier.
    Ancient observers with nothing but naked-eye sightings would not have been able to detect any changes in the position of Venus relative to the Sun in a few hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Which? The book? That's not the source, that's the target that needs backing up.
    Lucky for you, there's oodles of footnotes in the book. Feel free to have at them. When you're finished with those, you can tackle the comments made on the subject by Joseph Campbell, Robert M. Price, and literally hundreds of scholars who've noticed this since at least the 16th century.


    None of these address the issue. OK, you've shown why a few numbers are absent, and you point out why they're absent.

    What you have not done is demonstrate why 40 is any more special than any of several other popular numbers.
    Except I'm not claiming that its more popular than several other popular numbers, only that unlike the other popular numbers, there's no reason given for its popularity. I'm attempting to figure out why that might be.

    OK, some number had to come up more than any other. It's like lottery numbers. This week's lottery number was 17. That number has come up more than any other number. 11 only came up 80% as often, and 37 only came up 70% as often. Does that make 17 special? No. It's inevitable that some number is the far end of the bell curve. It does not mean that 17 has some special property causing it to come up more often.
    None of which has any bearing on the question that I'm asking. You seem to be laboring under the mistaken impression that I think that 40 is more special than any other number that happens to be considered important by a whole host of religions.



    This is a foregone conclusion. You've decided that it's true and now look for reasons to bolster that claim.

    How do you know it's true? Cherry-picking and numerology are still the best fit causes.
    Oh, for Darwin's sake! I have been reading comparative religious studies for over two decades now. I just happened to be reading this particular chapter, which happened to be discussing this particular subject and thought, "Hmm. The number 40 does crop up an awful lot, and nobody gives a reason why. Perhaps I'll use the interwebs to try and find an answer." I am not kidding when I say that the significance of certain numbers in multiple religions has been discussed by numerous scholars over the centuries. Are you going to claim that they're wrong when they say that the importance of the number 7 is related to the number of celestial bodies that happen to comprise bodies in the solar system which are visible to the naked eye? You know, the sun, Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

    This may come as a shock to you, but large numbers of people have done all kinds of analyses of the Bible and other religious works, so if your theory that its somehow cherry picking or random chance that the number 40, like the numbers 3 and 7, are common to all of them, you can find this out. Me, personally, I'm going to stick with the widely accepted theories that both 3 and 7 are inspired by astronomical phenomena.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I'm not sure where you get the last part. There is a story about Buddha fasting for 49 days (and 49 is an important number in Buddhism, as I think the soul is believed to depart from the body after 49 days or something like that), but not 40 as far as I know. And I don't think that Quetzalcoatl did either.
    See Chapter 19 of TW Doane's Bible Myths, where he talks about both of those things, and specifically quotes sources discussing how long the fasts were. There are also many other events which are focused around the number 40 that Doane talks about in religious texts in that particular chapter. He gives his sources for those references, and I've actually talked to Biblical scholars who've either been educated at, or taught at, Ivy League schools and asked them about the commonality of the number 40, and they've acknowledged that it exists, but haven't been able to find a satisfactory answer.

    I'm not swimming against the tide when I say that 40 is a common number in many religions, I'm only trying to find out why its common. Its possible that there are errors made in these claims, but someone doing so is going to have to do the work proving it. If 40 is random chance, then why do 3 and 7 both crop up with the same seeming regularity as the number 40, and both have astronomical connections which explain their importance to religious societies? Honestly, if I was going to make a claim that numbers mentioned in religion are somehow "proof" of a divine being, then Christianity is absolutely not the religion I'd be pointing towards, as Hinduism is, AFAIK, the only religion which pegs the correct age of the universe (see the original Cosmos where Carl Sagan makes that claim, and ascribes it to random chance that they got it right).

    Again, I'm not the one making the claims about the number 40, I'm only trying to figure out why that commonality might be there, since no one has offered, save Swift, in this thread, a reason for it being true, which works across a large number of societies that would have had little to no contact with one another. I've pointed folks to a source which can be accessed free of charge,that discusses the topic, and I've pointed out other scholars (all of whom have degrees from respectable institutions) who agree that 40, along with certain other numbers, have a cross cultural influence. What more can I do, and what would it change if I did? Do you think that if Swift's theory as to why 40 proved to be important were true, and that it was discovered here, that it would change anything? Do you think that people would give up on religion and embrace science as the best bet for the continued survival of humanity? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the answer to this is "NO!"

    Swift's comments fit the facts, as I understand them, since they don't rely on paranormal phenomena, or other such nonsense, so that's what I'm going with. You disagree with them, then you prove your point. After all, if you expected me to change your mind, you'd ask me to prove my point to satisfy your understanding of the matter. Please note that when I started this thread, I expected that there would be an astronomical explanation of the subject, but that Swift's solved the question without resorting to astronomy, and it seems perfectly logical to me.

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