Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... mainly to Hemant Mehta, somewhere else : "maybe Zeus does exist"?
Here's a guy who poses the question, ironically:
Hemant Mehta on Friendly Atheist
The Atheist Voice : 15 things to NEVER say to an atheist
Maybe Zeus did exist, or more than one of them.
When I looked at the Theogony the other day, I saw what I always see about it - Hesiod was no miraculous healer, he did not deliver the people from disaster by making them repent and thus avert God's wrath, he did not raise any dead or deliver anyone from captivity. AND he did not die as a martyr for what he professed to have heard from the Nine Muses. No absolute guarantee for honesty personally, such as martyrdom would be, and no guarantee he comes from God.
But after listening a bit to Rob Skiba and even Chuck Missler these days, I saw something else about it. The Nine Muses sang hymns to ... the list begins with "Zeus with the Egide" and ends with "Kronos of the crooked thoughts".
I have no problem believing that this basically reflects a situation some thousand years earlier in which Nimrod made himself son of Satan. I do believe Satan exists, and in that sense I do believe "Kronos of the crooked thoughts"* exists (and yes, apart from liar Satan is also destroyer, so in that sense I believe Apollo/Shiva exist too - it does not mean it is right to pray to them though ...)
But back to Nimrod (Rob Skiba would say "our old buddy Nimrod", it makes me feel a bit queezy, and is probably meant to do that) ... one line of research** in the Skiba connexion has it that Nimrod had got his hands on the vestment of Noah that Ham's son Kanaan stole from him - a vestment inherited from Adam. This fits in somehow with "Zeus with the goatskin shield" ... especially if Noah's vestment was lambskin and Nimrod later preferred another thing made of goatskin.
Nimrod also had very megalomaniac projects. If he wanted to conquer the sky ... he failed, and with many megalomaniac leaders once they fail there is a cover up story. When we get as late as Hesiod we find Nimrod reflected not just in Zeus with the Egide, but also in the Titans who tried to conquer his Olymp.
A bit later we find a Zeus who has a tomb in Crete. I suppose the Saturnus who was his father was chased by him to Italy, where he had a son called Picus and a grandson called Latinus. And Latinus' daughter Lavinia married one Aeneas who came from Troy. Julius Caesar descend from that couple, thus from "Zeus'" brother Picus.
Even a bit later we find Greek society involved in the Troyan war. Agamemnon has his sceptre from Zeus.
When I look at what Leaf had to say about the Troyan war, it seems Agamemnon as well as Priam had his sceptre from some Hittite Nimrod-wannabe - Achaean Greece and Troyan Phrygia were both satrapies in the Hittite Empire.
When I look at Classic Greek literature, the word Hittite is not as much as mentioned before you start getting Greek literature of Biblical type. Septuagint translation would have been earliest I presume.
So, if the historic Agamemnon had his sceptre from some Hittite "King of Kings" and the Agamemnon of the Iliad from Zeus, I think part of what happened is that Greeks had taken a clear dislike to the former Hittite overlords, and wanted to forget them. The role of world ruler was so infamous in mortal men, they preferred to transfer it to some deity. And they probably already worshipped Zeus - and Agamemnon may have descended from the one whose tomb was in Greece, in Crete (unless the "sons of Zeus" in diverse genealogies were simply self made men as Leaf presumes).
They decided to forget about the Hittite Empire, although it had been under its overlordship that their greatest heroes were living. Homer does not mention Hittites - Hesiod goes one further and identifies Zeus with a person who never was man and never ruled on earth, only over it.
So, in a sense, Zeus did exist: once as Nimrod, adopted son of Satan, once later as Zeus the son of one exiled Saturn (whom he exiled), once even later as a Hittite overlord giving Agamemnon a sceptre on behalf of Teshub - and later still as a poetic fancy gilding these not so great things. And at same time unifying them in a "purely celestial" thing. Not meaning purely spiritual.
And I am pretty certain (as was Hilaire Belloc) that Odin once lived in Sweden. Not a thing to brag about, but probably unfortunately true. A man who pulled a stunt like "I killed a monster and created the world of its carcass" before ignorant savages and got believed is not a real pride. Note that Nimrod probably used similar tactics in Babylon - meaning of course, that although it was great in inventions, their mentality when believing such things was that of ignorant savages. Even Greece seems to have been better in Homer's time than in Agamemnon's, 400 years earlier or so. Nimrod was probably strong enough to have killed some real monsters before the eyes of the Babylonians. Odin was old, and if asked could say "that was when I was younger" ... but he was probably asked no questions.
BpI, Georges Pompidou
St Jerome of Stridon
*Or "of the crooked mind": αγκυλομητης. Note that the Italian and Greek versions do not agree about what happened to the father of Zeus/Jupiter, and so the Italian Saturn need not have been Satan, but may have been an exiled Greek king who became an Italian king and a decent such.
**To put it more clearly: Rob Skiba is using what he thinks is the same Book of Jasher that the Bible mentions, but which might not be so. It is certain that it is not inspired, since it attributes the new languages to 70 demons rather than to God and thus gives demons more power than they have. But that there was a megalomaniac project for conquering the sky is not just the Book of Jasher, it is in Genesis, and so it is true.