Babylon Rising, Chapter 7, Part 1

After a couple of short chapters, this one will take a couple of parts, because it is almost nothing except Tim LaHaye Michael Murphy lecturing on Biblical archeology.

But LaHaye and Dinallo aren’t even going to let Mike walk to the classroom without emphasizing how much of a Macho Manly Man of Manliness he is:

“As he walked purposefully toward Memorial Lecture Hall B, Michael Murphy looked like an unlikely academic…you could tell from his measured, economical stride, the callused hands, and faint scars that neatly highlighted his handsome features that this was no ivory-tower dweller.”

They really can’t help themselves, can they?  It’s like a compulsion: any mention of academics or universities must contain the phrase “ivory tower.”  I just feel bad for all those other professors at Preston, who don’t walk with purpose or measure their stride with economy.

Mike is a tad worried (but in a manly way) because he thinks no one’s going to show up at his (apparently only) class: Biblical Archeology and Prophecy.  He takes a moment from striding economically to bless the alumni who have requested more “Bible-based” courses.  And to obsess over his arch-nemesis. No, not Methuselah.  This is a new one: Dean Archer Fallworth.

Dean Fallworth (as if you couldn’t tell from his name) is Eeeevil.  He thinks Murphy’s Biblical archeology is “neither worthy science nor credible history.”  And he has committed the worst of all sins, one he shares with Methuselah: he has made “several veiled comments” that Murphy finds “antireligion.”

But we know that Fallworth will prove to be a buffoonish villain, not a deadly one like Meth, because his most recent paper was, “Button Materials of the 18th-Centory Georgia Plantations.”

Okay, I’m a huge nerd, I know, but I would totally read that paper.

Murphy muses that he’ll “liven up” his lecture by showing footage from his cable TV specials and pictures of his own finds.  So, we have a little glimpse into the kind of professor Mike is—the kind that can’t teach a class without dragging in his own pet research projects, regardless of how well they fit the actual course.

Which brings up an interesting question: if you were a student at Preston, would you take Michael Murphy’s course?  I am of two minds on this one, as you’ll see when Mike starts preaching lecturing.


Posted on December 20, 2009, in Babylon Rising, Books. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. This is Sofia from slacktivist.

    If Michael Murphy wasn’t going to preach/teach in the class, I would be interested in going. Since he would be preaching, no.

  2. LaHaye Law – when describing one of protagonists, “purposeful stride” must be mentioned.

  3. Hey, you can tell a lot from buttons! Dean Fallworth might actually be a credible archeologist, unlike this Murphy guy.

    I know it;s the winter solstice, and some of us are having very seasonable weather, but…is it supposed to be snowing on your blog?

  4. Aye, the subject of the paper does sound a bit odd, simply because it’s over-specific. Now, materials for CLOTHING IN GENERAL, that would be interesting, if only because you could track trends economic and aesthetic alike that way.

  5. I wouldn’t attend Murphy’s class for a number of reasons:
    knowing Murphy from the previous few chapters of the book, he’s described as “Murphy is a scholar in both archeology and Biblical prophecy, but unlike other scholars, he is also a complete adventurer and risk-taker when he is on the trail of ancient artifacts that can help to further authenticate the truth of the Bible…”” –he’s not validly engaging with the source materials, he’s only looking for things that can prop up his preconceived world-view. Bad “scholar.”

    Even if I didn’t know Murphy, and was just looking at the course catalog, I still wouldn’t take it, because (from prior experience), all ‘biblical archaeology’ is exactly that–trying to find artifacts which support the Bible. That’s why it’s “biblical archaeology” instead of actual, regular archaeology.

  6. Man, I always hated that “ivory-tower” bullshit. Mostly because a lot of people who bring that up are whiny spoiled pussies who couldn’t be assed to do field work.

    Yeah, go and tell a biologist who’s been mucking through fuckawful natural wastes and innards for weeks on end to develop something to improve your standard of living he’s a pampered pansy, LaHaye. What’s the most disgusting thing you’ve ever done, hmm? Besides oozing slime.

  7. Say what you will about 18th century Georgia plantation buttons (I would totally read that paper too), at least they are a thing that existed, which is more than Murphy/LaHaye can say for their own hobby horses. There was a real place called Georgia in the 18th century and real people lived there and I have no reason to disbelieve that some of them wore buttons. Noah’s Ark: somewhat thinner ice. Ivory Tower 1, Mendacious Biblical Literalists 0.

    Let’s put it this way: button historians, marginal as their work may be, are content with performing button science and not having to make shit up. They can write peer-reviewed scholarly books about button history and these books will get shelved in the “Nonfiction” section, not “Religion” or “Spiritual/Inspirational – Buttons”. They don’t need to propagate their views through poorly-written revenge fiction in which those who scoffed at their pet button theory are finally PROVEN WRONG and AREN’T THEY SORRY NOW.

    Anyway, who’s to say Dean Fallworth didn’t punch out three or four lions while researching his paper? Maybe he too is a globetrotting two-fisted adventurer historian, and he just isn’t a dick about it like Murphy is. In fact, fuck Murphy altogether, let’s have a Dean Fallworth Adventures series in which he battles anacondas, neo-Nazis and ancient deathtraps to unearth and expand the lost secrets of America’s button heritage. This would be mega sweet.

  8. Don’t know if this has been mentioned, before, and I know this is an old post, but…

    I wouldn’t take Murphy seriously as an archaeologist, because the thing that’s been irritating me since I found this review recently is that these “surefire proof of the bible” artifacts he “finds” are not in situ, the original context they were found in, which needs to be meticulously documented.

    If the artifact was well documented as coming from a legitimate dig then ok, it would be credible and have some groundbreaking information. However, if the artifact comes from a mystery man’s overly elaborate death-trap, it’s garbage, because the public has no way of knowing if it’s real or not. It could have been looted by criminals and sold on the black market, with the proceeds going to organizations like ISIL. It could have been made in a forgers’ workshop, and be 100% fake, or just kinda fake, using a defaced artifact of marginal value.

    At best Murphy has forgeries. At worst, he’s gleefully encouraging the destruction of archaeological sites and criminal activity, but that’s ok, because it lets him teach better Bible classes!

    I bet Dean Fallsworth knows exactly where every single button he writes about came from.

    • Welcome IDP

      Yeah, it’s clear that the writers didn’t study any archeology to write Murphy, their research was an Indiana Jones Maraton. Grabbing a shiny artifact, running home with it, and then holding it up as a trophy is just so much cooler than mapping a digsite.

      Anyway, what are all Murphy’s Bible-loving fans supposed to do if all he did was reveal a digsite? Actually leave the US and visit a scary muslim country in order to see the biblical artifact and masturbate on how it proves they were right all along. Surely not. Rip anything of biblical value from the ground and throw it in Ken Ham’s new museum.

      • Thanks! I think the reason it bothers me more than (for example) a whole lost city geting destroyed in the novel Congo, is because Babylon Rising fancies itself as partially educational, as opposed to scientastic fluff with talking gorillas that still manages to be more realistic.

        • inquisitiveraven

          As anyone who’s read any of Fred Clark’s Left Behind critiques knows, Did Not Do the Research is a trademark of LaJenkins. Actually, it seems to be a trademark of Christian (TM) writers in general. Jenkins does even worse when he doesn’t have LaHaye as a co-author.

        • Welcome aboard, IDP!

          You’ve put your finger on so much of what is wrong with Professor Michael Murphy. If you like this, keep going to The Secret on Ararat, where Murphy tracks down Noah’s Ark. Heck, he even goes to the mountain (range) to do it!

  9. Much belated response: out of sheer morbid curiosity, I would take the course, but only if I could audit it. That way, I would only have to go when I felt like it (because the grade wouldn’t count) and I don’t think Mr. Murphy would get “credit” for having me as a student.

  1. Pingback: Babylon Rising, Chapter 32 « Heathen Critique

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