A Potpourri of Scholarly Quotes about 2012

Wow — I almost missed it! By some accounts today is exactly one day away from the so-called Mayan “doomsday”: December 21, 2012. (Some say it’s actually in the December 21-23 range, while others, still, say it’s another 50-years away, but–hey–why be picky?)

The key word in the above is “so-called.” Because the Maya did not say anything about any such thing coming a year from now. While I don’t have much time to write on it (about to head north for a counseling visit), I couldn’t let this non-auspicious, non-Maya non-occasion marking a non-pocalypse pass without commemorating it in some way, so I give you the contribution below. I’d like to flesh it out more fully (there are so many quotes!) as well as add more links to references but that will have to be another day, and this rather inexhaustive list will need to suffice for now due to my haste this morning.  (And, didn’t you hear? The world’s going to end!)

(After reading this, head out to the Tomorrow’s World website and read some real information about prophecy. Drug-addled, New Age, techno-hippies have nothing on our booklet “Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return”!)

A Potpourri of Scholars’ Assessments of the 2012 “Phenomenon” In Their Own Words

General comments

“Western messianic thought has twisted the cosmovision of ancient civilizations like the Maya.”

“[The] Maya did not mention end of the world.” (from title of 2010 publication)

  • Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History

“There is no serious scholar who puts any stock in the idea that the Maya said anything meaningful about 2012.”

“I just think it’s sad, it really just frustrates me. People are really misunderstanding this really cool culture by focusing on this 2012 thing. It means more about us than it does about the Maya.”

  • Dr. David Stuart, specialist in Mayan epigraphy at the University of Texas at Austin

“These prophecies of doom really don’t have any basis in what we know about the Maya.”

“The Maya descriptions barely talk about this event.”

“Whatever Monument 6 has to tell us pertains to the dedication of the building associated with the sculpture. It has nothing to do with prophecy or the supposed, dread events that await us in AD 2012. About that the Maya are notably silent…or, truth be told, a bit boring.” [from David Stuart’s website, I believe]

  • Dr. Stephen Houston, professor of anthropology and a specialist in Maya hieroglyphic writing at Brown University

“Nowhere in the databases of science does it say that the 2012 date is the end of the Maya calendar.”

  • Dr. John Hoopes, Kansas University associate professor of Anthropology, specialist in pre-Colombian civilizations [here]

“We have no record or knowledge that the Maya would think the world would come to an end in 2012.”

  • Dr. Susan Milbrath, curator of Latin American Art and Archaeology, Florida Museum of Natural History [here]

“I think that the popular books… about what the Maya say is going to happen are really fabricated on the basis of very little evidence.”

“What you have here [claims of Mayan concepts concerning the Milky Way and the galactic center] is a modern age influence [and] modern concepts trying to garb the ancient Maya in modern clothing, and it just doesn’t wash for me.”

  • Dr. Anthony Aveni, professor of astronomy, anthropology and Native American studies at Colgate University

“I don’t pay any attention to this stuff because it’s bunk.” [here]

  • Dr. Anne Pyburn, anthropologist studying the Maya at Indiana University

[What “real Maya” in Mexico think of 2012:] “a gringo invention”

  • Dr. Quetzil Castañada, Indiana University [here]

“While this day [the end of the Long Count Calendar] is largely unknown among contemporary Maya, some participants in the New Age movement believe it will mark an apocalyptic global transformation. Hundreds of books and internet sites speculate wildly about the 2012 date, but little of this conjecture has a factual basis in Mayan culture.”

“I’m looking for a single unambiguous 2012 reference in the Classic texts, Popul Vuh, Chilam Balams, etc. and haven’t found one yet.”

“[T]he 2012 phenomenon arises from outside the Mayan cultural context and is only now being introduced in the Mayan world.”

  • Dr. Robert Sitler, director of Latin American Studies, Stetson University [here]

“[The 2012 phenomenon is] a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in.”

  • Dr. Sandra Noble, executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies (FAMSI) [here]

“It would have been the conclusion of a major calendrical cycle… but we have no idea of how they saw the implications of the end of that cycle or if they worried about it”

  • Dr. Andrea Stone, professor of art history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and specialist in Mayan art and “hieroglyphics”

[The 2012 phenomenon is] “from media and from other people making use of the Maya past to fulfill agendas that are really their own.”

  • Dr. Susan Gillespie, anthropologist with the University of Florida

“There is nothing in the Maya or Aztec or ancient Mesoamerican prophecy to suggest that they prophesied a sudden or major change of any sort in 2012. The notion of a ‘Great Cycle’ coming to an end is completely a modern invention.

“Maya inscriptions that predict the future consistently show that they expected life to go on pretty much the same forever. At Palenque, for instance, they predicted that people in the year 4772 AD would be celebrating the anniversary of the coronation of their great king Pakal.”

“…Everything else [concerning Mesoamerican prophecy], the ‘Maya Great Cycle’ of 13 Bak’tuns, the Resurrection of the Hero Twins, even the Aztec ‘Sixth Sun,’ is pure conjecture, modern interpretation, or projection, an externalization of millennialist fantasies. Maya prophecies are most useful when we examine what they do not say.”

“The Maya prophets tell us nothing about galactic alignments, transformations of consciousness, the fall of nations, nor even the actions of gods, kings, or priests.”

“It is important to note that, according to Prof. Robert Sitler, who has done extensive original interviews with traditional Maya elders and such in the Highlands, that while many foresee better times a-comin’, none believed that the transfer would arrive in any specific year. None assigned any important meaning to the date we call 2012.”

  • Dr. Mark Van Stone, Mayanist scholar with the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI), emphasis his [here]

Concerning the Comalcalco Tile/Brick:

“Some have proposed it as another reference to 2012, but I remain rather unconvinced.”

“There’s no reason it couldn’t be also a date in ancient times, describing some important historical event in the Classic period. In fact, the third glyph on the brick seems to read as the verb huli, ‘he/she/it arrives,’”

“There’s no future tense marking (unlike the Tortuguero phrase), which in my mind points more to the Comalcalco date being more historical than prophetic.”

  • Dr. David Stuart, specialist in Mayan epigraphy at the University of Texas at Austin

Concerning Astronomical Claims:

“The purveyors of doom are promoting a hoax.”

  • Dr. David Morrison, senior scientist and “Ask an Astrobiologist” on the official NASA website

“[I]t would be impossible the Maya themselves would have known that [that is, claimed ‘galactic alignments’]”

  • Dr. Susan Milbrath, curator of Latin American Art and Archaeology, Florida Museum of Natural History [here]

Concerning the Chilam Balam:

“The Book of Chilam Balam (‘Interpreter-Jaguar’) survives in several versions, highly customized for each community which preserves it. Some versions date from the 16th century, but most of them, including the apparently-most-coherent of the lot, the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel, (featured in our presentation) date from the end of the 18th century, 250 years after the Conquest. These books are products of a highly-decayed and -embattled tradition, and such works are often corrupted by various influences and the errors inherent in multiple-copies-of-copies.

“For example, they confuse the 365-day year with the 360-day ‘year,’ and some refer to the old K’atun of 20 years, while others use a 24-year K’atun. Some of the dates given are simply wrong. The numbering of the K’atuns is confusing, and seems corrupt, or follow a system we don’t yet understand: after describing and numbering the first five K’atuns, the Chumayel manuscript starts numbering anew, calling the sixth cycle ‘The first katun. Katun 1 Ahau is the seventh katun.’ Likewise, the next they call the ‘second katun,’ then the ‘third,’ followed by the ‘ninth,’ which puts the numbering back on track. And so on.”

  • Dr. Mark Van Stone, Mayanist scholar with the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI) [here]

Concerning the Dresden Codex:

“Note that there WILL be a lunar eclipse on 21st December *2010*, but those in 2012 fall three and five weeks earlier. So, if one is to posit the Dresden ‘Deluge’ page as representing a World-Ending Flood, it cannot be the 2012 one. The damaged, half-missing text above the picture does mention ‘Black Sky’ and ‘Black Earth’ and a couple other recognizable phrases, but nothing, I think, alluding to any Destruction or Inundation… In any case, neither Förstenmann nor Coe had any basis for linking the final page of Dresden with”

“I hasten to assert that the Dresden Codex contains more references to 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk’u than all other Creation texts combined. But none to the later 2012 date. Further, *none* of these affirm or repeat the Creation stories we read elsewhere (you have seen my collection of these, right?). In Dresden, they usually refer to the date simply as an anchor, or, most interestingly, appear to describe the invention of Time itself…”

  • Dr. Mark Van Stone, Mayanist scholar with the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI)  [here]

“As for Chak Chel, without going on too much of a tangent, I’m skeptical that the image on the last page of the Dresden Codex represents her participation in a flood. A flood is more about water filling up, saturating, and even sweeping away, not falling down. It’s important to be mindful of Chak Chel’s identification as a midwife, whose associations would include ones with the rushes of amniotic fluid (water ‘breaking’) and blood that accompany birth. I suspect that what has been interpreted as ‘flood’ imagery may in fact be ‘birth’ imagery that is also associated with sacrifice… I have a hunch that the gourd from which a deity emerges amidst splashes of blood in the San Bartolo mural may have a closer relationship to what Chak Chel is doing with her vessel on p. 74 of the Dresden Codex than anything having to do with a Biblical-style ‘Great Flood,’ but this is a topic that remains to be explored in detail.”

  • Dr. John Hoopes, Kansas University associate professor of Anthropology, specialist in pre-Colombian civilizations [here]

2 thoughts on “A Potpourri of Scholarly Quotes about 2012

  1. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    I’m more convinced than ever: Earth is the insane asylum of the Universe and the loonies are running the bin. 😛

  2. That is good John.
    The whole thing is like that much a do about nothing. People don’t know how to find the excitement in God’s word that they should look for so they look for what they are craving from any place they can find it.

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