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Chacham's Journal: Who actually thought the world was flat? 11

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Who actually thought the world was flat?

I know Jews didn't. Which probably means that Christians/Muslims didn't. Even the Scientific community had some form of proof too. Why is it that I hear that people thought the world to be flat? Or was that just made up to help carry the "proof" that it was round?

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Who actually thought the world was flat?

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  • Heck, (Score:3, Informative)

    by sielwolf (246764) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @01:52PM (#5769319) Homepage Journal
    Portugese and Spanish sailors knew that the Earth was round. It was the fact that they would see the tops of buildings rise over the ocean before anything else on shore. This was before Columbus.

    And didn't some Greek mathematician calculate the actual diameter of the Earth?

    So, yeah. Who knows?
  • Who thought? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by glh (14273) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:47PM (#5770396) Homepage Journal
    Funny you ask this, I was wondering the same exact thing a week ago... (what a wierd coincidence?) I even thought it more strange that people would think the world flat when they could clearly see that the moon was round, as was the sun. Anyway.. I did a quick google and found this interesting quote [bigpond.com]:

    The Bible does not teach that the earth is flat. It teaches that the earth is spherical. We did a study of 5000 writings from the time of Plato and Aristotle, and could not find one person who said they believed the earth is flat. We believe the flat-earth idea is a myth that flourished after Darwinists tried to discredit the Bible.

    • Thanx. I may just buy that book.

      On a side note, the verse it metioned, Isiah 40:22, has a commentary by Rabbi Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra (late 11th century), where he basically says that the Earth is circle, not square, and that there is no reason to explain since it is well proven.
    • Bought the book.

      For under ten dollars, it's a nice addition to my small library. :)
  • great sources (Score:2, Informative)

    by jasonrocks (634868)
    I found a website of a fellow who has done LOTS of research on this "Flat Earth myth" He talks about early thinkers, about aristotle and others. He even told of some people who measured the size of the earth. (very cool, a must read) Well now that I got your attention the google key words I used were "flat earth origin" (I didn't use quotes) and the website is http://www.sfu.ca/philosophy/swartz/flat_earth.htm [www.sfu.ca]
    This has been an enlightening topic. Thanks.
  • is that it came from the roman catholic church. they denounced as a heretic anyone who said the earth was not at the center of the universe. i think the connection between the roman catholic church and a flat earth probably goes back to roman mythology (read about oceanus and tethys briefly here [ancientgreece.com])rather than anything in the bible (including the torah). other theories include early christians saying the earth was flat as a way of denouncing the "pagan" idea of a sphere. (people like this guy [upenn.edu]).

    the beatifu
    • As for the church, a page mentioned earlier mentions that an early church father said specifically the world was spherical.

      The Bible never says anything about a flat earth. I can imagine though, that "four corners [of] the land" which is generally mistranslated as "four corner of [the] Earth" would be a source of confusion.

      I appreciate the reply, thanx. :-)
      • As for the church, a page mentioned earlier mentions that an early church father said specifically the world was spherical.

        i don't doubt it, but the church also hasn't always agreed with itself. i have never found anything about a flat earth in the bible myself. but there is record of some early christians (like the link in my first post) who felt a need to distinguish themselves from "pagan" round earthers. people have all kinds of ideas.

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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