Welcome to hebrewcosmology.com. My name is Nicholas Petersen, I am in the early stages of establishing this website and blog, so for a bit here, you’ll see more of concrete dust flying up in the air than polished content. With that said, this site represents my ongoing studies, opened up to the world in a preliminary and sometimes unpolished (and pre-published) form, into the cosmological worldview of the Hebrews. My goal is to take my research online that I have been pursuing for some years now, with the first task being to tranfer over a hundred pages of synopsis material I have written (in Microsoft Word) to this online format. How do you transfer footnotes to a blog page?! How do represent Hebrew and Greek adequately in a web page?! How do you deal with a html text editor that likes to destroy carefully constructed html?! Yep, those are large meta issues I’m having to deal with. Those things aside, please see the title page for this work.
The central question I explore throughout this work is this:
So what did the ancient Hebrews actually believe about the cosmos?
Did they really believe the earth is flat, as it is commonly stated? And did they believe the sky is a solid bronze or stone dome, with hatches in it that open up to release storehouses of water, which is supposed to be where they believed rain comes from?
Not a small number of you who read such profane descriptions are no doubt repulsed by them. On the other hand, others of you hear such descriptions as nothing but old news, … information which nearly all scholars have commonly accepted for quite some time.
So where does the truth lie? And you would rightfully ask me at this point: ‘And where do you land on this question, Nicholas?’ The truth is that I land much more within the first camp of people listed above. However, I have arduously sought out every single viewpoint and piece of evidence that can be mustered towards bolstering this consensus view. Far from my not listening to and adequately grappling with the major viewpoints of the other camp, it is my goal to present the most comrehensive case for that view that has been assembled to date. This is the only way we can seriously hope to settle this matter, if such a goal is even attainable given our lack of perfect knowledge of ancient conceptions. But I am glad to say that when many misconceptions are cleared up, that this goal has already been attained, in my estimate.
I believe that we all have frequently misunderstood the ancients on these issues, often due to the vast chronological, linguistic, and cultural gaps that separate us. This is true of both camps. It is my sincere hope that these studies will truly get us closer to understanding what the Hebrew Scriptures actually depicted, and to understanding what other ancients of antiquity actually believed, than we have done to date.
I’m 34 years old (as of 2013), I live in Cincinnati, Ohio with my beautiful wife Deborah and our three daughters. I attained a B.A. in Biblical Studies from George Fox University in 2001 (including an important semester abroad at Jerusalem University College). I then attained an M.A. and then an M.Phil. from Hebrew Union College in 2009, in Judaic, Hebraic and Cognate Studies, and in the History of Biblical Interpretation in specific. Of course my views here are my own alone, and do not reflect anything from those institutions. However, for any excellency I may have attained in Semitic languages and so forth, for that I gladly give credit to the many excellent professors I learned under.
I want to strongly encourage those reading any of my views on this site to not put your trust in me. Put your faith in the Rabbi from Nazareth, and you will do well! I think the greatest wise men, … even Solomon the Wise himself, came to recognize how little they comprehended compared to the One True God, the fear of Whom is the foundation of all knowledge and understanding.