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Invitation to a research survey
Hello Dbachmann, I am Qi Wu, a computer science MS student at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Currently, we are working on a project studying the main article and sub article relationship in a purpose of better serving the Wikipedia article structure. It would be appreciated if you could take 4-5 minutes to finish the survey questions. Thanks in advance! We will not collect any of your personally information.
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I'm trying to make Assyrian people articles less crazy primordialist, care to help? This template basically sums up everything wrong with the wikiproject. My view on the subject is that Assyrians are descended from multiple peoples including but certainly not exclusive to ancient assyrians but its absurd to say they are the ancient assyrians- the assyrian empire comprised many peoples and it was never ethnically exclusive in the first place, not to mention it was invaded by other peoples and the assyrian church was a prosyletizing religion. As Encylopedia Brittanica affirms,"In the New Babylonian, or Chaldean, empire, Chaldeans, Aramaeans, and Babylonians became largely indistinguishable." One of my biggest concerns is the ridiculous assertion that assyrians always had an assyrian identity and that westerners confused them by calling them other things- when the opposite is true. Also the repetition of the myth that "syrian" is simply a corruption of "assyrian". I also think it's important not to "take sides"- ie don't say "they call themselves aramean but they're really assyrians"- which is exactly what arameans say about assyrians. We should just use the nuetral term "syriac".--Monochrome_Monitor Sources:
- You are obviously right on all of this. I have invested a lot of time trying to clean up this area of Wikipedia, but the "primordialist" stuff just creeps back in when people aren't looking. So these days I am taking a cost-benefit analysis to editing Wikipedia mostly.
- It isn't necessary to remove all mention of Assyria in the Syrian-Aramaic context. It's a case of Romantic Nationalism, and coverage should focus on the modern sentiment regardless of its historical justification rather than trying to debunk the sentiment. Back in the day I created the Terms for Syriac Christians article precisely to discuss all of this nonsense and get it out of the way for other pages where it is off topic. Of course the page is buried in crap by now, c.f. this for how it was supposed to look like: i.e. a quick overview of this craziness for the uninitiated. WP:TNT may be the best approach here. --dab (𒁳) 07:53, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
- actually, I should add that it appears that Syria is indeed a "corruption" of Assyria after all. Not that it matters to any of this, as the two forms have been separate for 2000 years or so (but not 2800 years). --dab (𒁳) 07:59, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm not talking about Syria- which is a corruption of assyria- but about Syrian/Syriac the ethnonym. Syriacs used to call themselves Suroye, or Syrians. They say that "syriac/syrian" is a corruption of "assyrian". The word for assyrian in syriac is Aturaye anyway, not Asuroye. I'm looking for a completely neutral source on the matter. The source wikipedia uses to say that syriac=assyrian is incidentally "Assyria and Syria:Synonyms"- to which this is a direct response. --Monochrome_Monitor 16:58, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
- well, it is hard to see how "Syria" can derive from "Assyria" without also "Syrian" deriving from "Assyrian". But this is ancient (Iron Age) etymology, it has no bearing on modern ethnonymy. --dab (𒁳) 07:20, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
In less controversial related matters, the article Panbabylonism is totally bullshit. It should be called "similarities between jewish and babylonian traditions"- but that's not panbabylonism, which is now considered psuedoscience. It was this brief movement supported mostly by german assyriologists which basically said that the cultures of ancient levant if not most of the world are directly derived from babylonian culture. This has different streams, including the "Star-myth" theory started by Hugo Winckler that every ancient near eastern culture/religion is based on babylonian astrology/astronomy. A more controversial stream (with antisemitic under and overtones) is the Bible-Babel theory, which says that the jews "stole" the hebrew bible from "aryan" babylon (similar to the way afrocentrists say greeks "stole" from "black" egypt). Panbabylonism is now only supported by assyrian nationalist "scholars", including Simo Parpola... who is used as a source on many assyrian articles. Here's a great rundown of panbabylonism. Also the article Lebanese people is littered with phonecianism... some of that is my fault (added the category "phoenician people" (as part of an effort to categorize canaanite peoples) and then reverted it but was reverted back.--Monochrome_Monitor 17:47, 19 July 2016 (UTC) Lastly, how far should we let the nationalism go? For me calling arameans assyrian is out of the question, as is appropriating babylonian achievements because both assyrians and babylonians came from the akkadians... assyrians in contrast to babylonians were pretty barbarous.--Monochrome_Monitor 18:05, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
- I am really happy to see a critical editor with the energy to tackle this mess, believe me. But it would seem that you yourself somehow are partisan in this? I mean, this is about modern ethnic identity, while "Aramaeans" and "Assyrians" both are ancient nations. How the hell is it "correct" or "incorrect" to call your ethnic group after some ancient group you are loosely descended from? It's like calling the Swiss Helvetians, or the Germans Teutons, or, for that matter, the British British. It's not "correct" or "incorrect", it's just a matter of convention. Wikipedia doesn't need to argue against these terms, it needs to get rid of all the childish ethnic essentialism that naive souls apparently feel the need to constantly insert.
- I would still object to your statement that "Panbabylonism is totally bullshit". That's like saying that "Plutonism is totally bullshit": it's a historical term for the early, and possibly still flawed, phase of what would become so standard a view that it ceased to even have a special name. --dab (𒁳) 07:20, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
I have absolutely no stakes in the issue. I'm still learning and navigating the nationalist waters. When I say "call the arameans assyrians" I meant call the ancient arameans assyrians.... not the modern identifying ones. When I say "panbabylonism is totally bullshit"- I mean the article. The article describes something which is totally unrelated to panbabylonism. THIS is panbabylonism. It's like ancient aliens stuff.--Monochrome_Monitor 07:59, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
- I see, I see. Your having no stakes in this and still being willing to engage makes you a very valuable asset. But I do not understand your issue with the Panbabylonism article. It isn't excellent, but it clearly describes something directly related to the page you just linked. The Hebrew Bible, as redacted in the 5th century BC, was clearly and very stronly influenced by Babylonian culture of the 6th century BC. The influence can be overstated, I suppose, but there is no doubt whatsoever that the influence was there. For people in the 19th century, this was pretty much an earth-shaking revelation while we can more or less file it under "meh, stands to reason".
- Of course, the ancient Aramaeans and Assyrians started out as two completely separate branches of the Semitic peoples. But their de-facto merger took place by about the 6th century BC, so for any time later than, say, 500 BC, it is perfectly reasonable to treat "Aramaean" and "Assyrian" as a continuum, or melting pot, or ensemble, or something. --dab (𒁳) 08:06, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
A valuable asset, eh? Am I being recruited for a mission? That's not what panbabylonism is about. Panbabylonism is a theory that every religion in the near east if not the world is based on mystical interpretations of babylonian astrology. The bible-babel school also does not say there was "influence". It says there was a direct appropriation. As for arameaness, aforementioned mixing was Chaldea/Aramean babylon. But in the levant arameans were always a large majority... well till the arabs. Incidentally you mentioned semitic peoples, that's an article I have a long struggle with. Check the talk page discussions if you dare. I have the bear bones page in "progress". --Monochrome_Monitor 08:20, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
- Hugo Winckler prägte dann den Begriff Panbabylonismus, um den von ihm postulierten weitreichenden Einfluss des assyrischen Denkens auf den israelischen Gottesgedanken zu beschreiben, den er als Echo des Astralkultes ansah. Ihm folgten Peter Jensen und Alfred Jeremias, die einen Großteil der Erzählungen des Alten Testaments aus dem Gilgamesch-Epos herleiteten.
It used to be a serious hypothesis, and it was partly correct even though exaggerated; weitreichender Einfluss des assyrischen Denkens auf den israelischen Gottesgedanken is pretty much what I said, and meant, and is probably also partially compatible with the way you prefer to phrase it. Make of that what you will, but let's save our breaths to tackle the actual nonsense in article space. Sigh, and the "Semitic" thing is idiotic. When I say "Semitic peoples", obviously I am referring to what is treated, for some reason, under "Ancient Semitic-speaking peoples". --dab (𒁳) 13:41, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
As am I. I don't understand why they cant just be under "Semitic peoples". In fact the article "ancient semitic speaking peoples" is quite new. On panbabylonism "the fundamental tenets were eventually dismissed as psuedoscientific"--Monochrome_Monitor 18:38, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
- yeah, I am afraid the thing you are pointing me at strikes me as postmodernist pap. I do not deny that "Panbabylonism" and what not is tied up with the Orientalism and even Antisemitism of its era. This is what I meant by "exaggeration". This doesn't mean, however, that its "fundamental tenets" were "pseudoscientific". This is nonsense. They were, at best, wrong (I would say, partly wrong), but being wrong does not amount to "pseudoscience", the same way phlogiston was not "pseudoscience", it was actual science that just happened to turn out to be flawed (and flawed not just in a verifiable way but even in a helpful way conductive to further progress). If you are going to throw out the difference between error and pseudoscience for rhetorical effect, you will end up with mere rhetorics. --dab (𒁳) 09:19, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
- Please note I am not defending Panbabylonism as "correct" any more than I am defending phlogiston. I am just saying it is so easy to see its flaws today that it tends to obscure the parts that were actually correct and novel, but by now are so unremarkable that we fail to even recognize them as achievements. --dab (𒁳) 09:24, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm against post-modernist pap as much as anyone. I'll quote a different source.  "Almost in scholastic isolation Kugler demolished the great edifice of Panbabylonism theory piece by piece. The Panbabylonists had no answer to the criticism put forward in his books Im Bannkreis Babels (1910) and the monumental Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel (1907—13), both of which unfortunately were never translated into English. With the death of one of the movement's leaders, cuneiform philologist Hugo Winckler (1861—1913), Panbabylonism was scientifically dead by World War I and then banished for ever to the lunatic fringe of pseudoscientific writings." Phlogiston was an obsolete scientific theory. Panbabylonism was psuedoscience. --Monochrome_Monitor 01:40, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
- fine, it was "banished for ever to the lunatic fringe of pseudoscientific writings" after 1913. This means that anyone arguing "Panbabylonism" in 1920 would be as guilty of pseudoscience as someone arguing for phlogiston in 1790. I recognize that implicit in "Panbabylonism" is the heavy emphasis on Astralkult, not just "biblical mythology is taken from Mesopotamian sources". While biblical mythology is, of course, largely taken from Mesopotamian sources, the thing about Astralkult had, I completely agree, always been slightly mad. --dab (𒁳) 15:58, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
- The oldest parts of biblical mythology are undeniably mesopotamian. However it's mostly influenced by ancient canaanite religion. And you have to give it credit for its novel ideas. Monotheism for one.--Monochrome_Monitor 02:17, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
User:Dr. Blofeld has created Wikipedia:WikiProject Africa/Contests. The idea is to run a series of contests/editathons focusing on each region of Africa. He has spoken to Wikimedia about it and $1000-1500 is possible for prize money. As someone who has previously expressed interest in African topics, would you be interested in contributing to one or assisting draw up core article/missing article lists? He says he's thinking of North Africa for an inaugural one in October. If interested please sign up in the participants section of the Contest page, thanks.♦ --Ser Amantio di NicolaoChe dicono a Signa?Lo dicono a Signa. 01:15, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
- Wikimedia is now funding Wikipedia content? That's despicable. Clearly, Wikipedia as a project is now in active danger because Wikimedia has become over-funded and over-motivated. --dab (𒁳) 08:51, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Re your edit comments on these pages today, the Ancient Semitic Speaking Peoples article was split from Semitic languages, not from Semitic people. So "merging back" would result in a different outcome to the one you are proposing.
The separate question of merging Semitic people and Ancient Semitic speaking peoples has been discussed on the talk page there, so you might find it helpful to review those threads before making your case on the talk page. Oncenawhile (talk) 16:29, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
- fair point, thank you. I rephrase to the effect that the material split off the languages article should have been merged into the existing people page. --dab (𒁳) 20:22, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
You're right, it should've! :) --Monochrome_Monitor 01:42, 22 July 2016 (UTC) My thought is that the current article could be made into an article on "semitic race", which is indeed an obsolete category. However there should be a new article based on ancient semitic speaking peoples renamed to semitic peoples which talks about the ethnolinguistic group, the religion/language/culture of the protosemites, their origins, and their ancient civilizations. And in passing mention modern populations.--Monochrome_Monitor 14:12, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
- That is, of course, the obvious approach (e.g. Iranian peoples vs. Iranid race etc.) --dab (𒁳) 15:54, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
- they are wrong, of course, and hopefully, Wikipedia process should not be stalled indefinitely just by people being wrong, but I have to say I don't blame them because "race" is one of the most broken topics on Wikipedia, barring none. Probably an effect of American society being on the brink of a race war, there is no way around the fact that Wikipedia is based in the US and en-wiki is disproportionately affected by US biases and politics. --dab (𒁳) 07:21, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
- it's true that I am not, but I do hope I would be making exactly the same point if I was, seeing that it has nothing to do with my own person :) --dab (𒁳) 15:44, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
To be fair we did invent the internet.--Monochrome_Monitor 23:23, 27 July 2016 (UTC) Note I made edits to Assyria. It's still strongly assyrianist but that's inevitable. At least now it doesn't claim modern religions come from assyrian "star myths",aka panbabylonism. I also found this gem.--Monochrome_Monitor 00:07, 28 July 2016 (UTC)