Saturday, June 18, 2005

GIANTS, ALIENS, AND JOSEPHUS: A press release announces a new novel about the Nephilim and UFOs, published by Zondervan.
Zondervan Releases �The Revealing,� the Final Book in the �Nephilim Trilogy� by Christian UFO Cult Expert Dr. L.A. Marzulli

Zondervan has released �The Revealing,� the stirring conclusion to the science fiction series of books entitled �Nephilim Trilogy� by Dr. L.A. Marzulli, a Christian UFO cult expert. Although the books are fiction, they include history, biblical prophecy, and the author�s own shocking research on Nephilim, giant biblical creatures that are the offspring of fallen angels and human women. Dr. Marzulli�s personal theory is at the trilogy�s core�that fallen angels are reemerging on the world scene disguised as aliens, are abducting human women for a sinister breeding program, and initiating a great demonic deception that will culminate with the Antichrist and the Apocalypse.

Here's the Josephus part:
Opening with the chilling discovery of a giant skeleton under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Marzulli�s trilogy is based on the premise that ancient giant beings called �Nephilim,� who are the unholy offspring sired by fallen angels and born of abducted human women, are reemerging to unleash terror into the modern world scene. The historic origins of this giant hybrid race of Nephilim can be traced to Chapter 6 in Genesis in the Bible before the Flood, and to the �Book of Enoch,� a book discovered with the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Jewish historian Josephus confirms the existence of the creatures, and that the bones of a Nephilim were on display in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus.

The Nephilim (plural; the singular, if it were attested, would be something like "Naphal"), which the Greek Septuagint takes to be "giants," are found in Genesis 6:1-4. The story is told at much greater length (probably, in my opinion, telling a version of the full story that Genesis grudgingly summarizes) in 1 Enoch, particularly the Book of the Watchers. There was also a Book of Giants in antiquity which is partially preserved in Aramaic at Qumran and in later Manichean versions.

As for Josephus, here's what he says about the giants in Antiquities 5.125 (5.2.3)
For which reason they removed their camp to Hebron; and when they had taken it, they slew all the inhabitants. There were till then left the race of giants, who had bodies so large, and countenances so entirely different from other men, that they were surprising to the sight, and terrible to the hearing. The bones of these men are still shown to this very day, unlike to any credible relations of other men.

I can't find any mention of the bones being on "display in Jerusalem." And let's face it, Josephus' comment doesn't prove very much. Maybe people just pointed out big funny rocks or dinosaur fossils or some such in his time and said they were giants' bones.

But the premise of the story doesn't sound too bad. I love ancient legends, I'm a voracious reader of science fiction, and I like some epic fantasy. I can handle Nephilim and UFOs in a novel, if the concept is done well. (Whether it's done well here is a very open question, but I haven't read it.)

But this is another matter:
Marzulli is an evangelical Christian who has done in-depth research on UFO cults and the giant Nephilim. In writing the Nephilim Trilogy, he drew heavily on his own research as well as his past personal involvement in the occult and New Age. Although the trilogy is a work of fiction, Marzulli�s research has convinced him that his books� basic premise about the identity of aliens and their purpose on earth is true.

�I believe serious spiritual deception is going on,� says Marzulli. �I wrote the Nephilim Trilogy to help people understand the spiritual dimensions of the whole alien and UFO phenomenon, which I believe are part of the prophesies about the end of the world in the Book of Daniel, the Book of Revelation, and elsewhere in the Bible.

He is mixing giants mythology with alien abductions and trying to tell us that it's all real. (His website has more silliness along these lines.) Here we enter into Dan Brown territory and indeed, go well beyond it into Erich von Daniken territory and maybe even beyond that. Why is it that otherwise competent fiction writers do a little "research" on the Bible and then conclude that all of us who spend our lives working on such things got it all wrong and, luckily, they have found the truth and are now putting it their novel? But give Brown credit; at least he doesn't drag in UFOs. And even von Daniken doesn't drag in the "spiritual dimensions" on top of the UFOs.


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