Washington Irving and Dan Brown

The myth of the belief in the myth of the Flat earth is a Myth

Some time ago Jamie Kiley posted an article on Jefferson Galileo and the Myth of the Flat Earthers
Her argument is about the origins of the Flat earth myth she points out that Thomas Jefferson believed that Galileo was criticised for his theory of a Flat earth. In reality as Jamie noted it was because Galileo claimed the earth revolved around the sun that he was censured .

Jefferson had a problem with his history, but that was minor not everyone accepted Jefferson’s error. However, Washington Irving seems to have built on Jefferson’s error. His publication of the novel The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus in 1828, fed the Flat earth myth. Irving had the reason for the voyage as to prove a spherical earth, and the mariners in Irving’s novel worried about falling off the edge of the earth. Now some of you are going to be calling me sacrilegious for debunking the theory that the flat earth belief was the reason behind Columbus’ voyage, but the truth is, the myth of the belief in the myth of the Flat earth is a Myth. (-: What Irving did was popularise a Myth.

By approximately 550 BC the theory of a spherical earth was being debated. Conceived by Pythagoras and expanded on by Ptolemy( in about 100 he used maps based on a curved earth ), it became generally accepted by advanced civilizations by the first century AD.

What has this to do with Dan Brown author of the Da Vinci Code, some of you have figured out where I am going but for those that haven’t here is my rational.

If Washington Irving can use a novel to change the way people see history as it did, just how harmless is Dan Brown’s novel which does the same? Even without a Blockbuster movie to forward his case Irving popularised a myth to the point that even some school texts include the error.

2 thoughts on “Washington Irving and Dan Brown

  1. Fortunately, people are more enlightened now and they’d never believe such misguided rubbish.

    Right, Bill?

  2. Q – You have too much confidence in human intellectual progress. (-:

    I have talked to a number of non-academics that think the Da Vinci code represents a legitimate academic theory, not the crank nonsense it is.

    The problem is Brown is feeding off the now dying Wiccanism fad that happened in the 90’s. Not to insult true Wiccans but the superficial Wiccans are latching onto the theory because it allows them to settle back into a Christianity that appears to accept a larger feminine role (not that true Christianity doesn’t)which most Wiccans found Christianity lacked or vindicates their rejection of Christianity as it purposely attacked a feminine element in its own ranks, by Brown/Baigent’s theory.

    Am I calling Brown superficial? YUP. He writes pop history. Just like Erich von Daniken who saw chariots of the gods landing in Egypt, Brown sees a boat load of disillusioned disciples and Mary Madeleine landing in southern France. Interesting ideas but mostly science fiction or fantasy.

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