The Spaceships of Ezekiel
Are there Flying Saucers in the Bible?


Textual Analysis - About Blumrich


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Keywords: UFO, unidentified flying objects, Bible, flying saucers, prophecy, Paleo-SETI, ancient astronauts, Erich von Däniken, Josef F. Blumrich, Zecharia Sitchin, Ezekiel, biblical prophecy, spacecraft, spaceship, NASA, Roswell, aircraft, propellant, extraterrestrial hypothesis, Jacques Vallee, interdimensional hypothesis, Project Blue Book, Condon Report, ancient history, Jesus, Judaism, Christianity, Middle East, end times, engines, rockets, helicopters, space travel, aliens, abductions, alien abductions, crop circles, extraterrestrials, astronomy, economics, biology, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Space Shuttle, Apollo, stars, planets, solar system, scriptures, design, fuel tank, aerodynamics, fuels, hydrogen, oxygen, wheels





Textual Analysis
About Blumrich and Textual Analysis

Textual Analysis - Interpreting Text and Testimony

Josef Blumrich deserves great praise for writing his book for several reasons:

  1. When he wrote the book he was Chief of NASA's Advanced Structural Development Branch. Given the politics involved in such a position, it took a lot of guts to write on a controversial subject.
  2. One of the major problems historians, archaeologists, etc., continually face is that a lot of matters  lie outside their areas of expertise and directly in the fields of physical sciences such as chemistry and physics, and engineering and medicine. If engineers, etc., get involved, "unsolvable" problems often can be solved almost immediately. However, many such experts will not get involved in anything dealing with religion, UFO's, or other controversial subjects. Blumrich is one of only a handful of engineers who have been willing to apply their expertise to historical issues such as these.
  3. Although he did not do extensive biblical research, Blumrich was willing to spend a substantial  amount of time researching and preparing his book.  He prepared the book completely on his own time. When he was writing the book in 1972 Blumrich had to do all the engineering calculations by hand, since scientific calculators and personal computers were not yet available.

However, despite his best and sincere efforts, Blumrich made a number of serious errors, which need to be pointed out in the interest of intellectual honesty.

  1. For aerodynamic reasons, Blumrich's design requires a round vehicle shaped like a toy top, a shape completely different from what Ezekiel described.
  2. Blumrich used "theory-driven thinking" instead of "data-driven thinking". In theory-driven thinking the investigator accepts a theory, e.g., global warming, Young Earth Creationism, Iraq was supporting Al Qaeda, or whatever, and from that point the theory controls. Data and interpretations that seem to support the theory are accepted with very little critical evaluation. Interpretations that do not support the theory are ignored or declared erroneous without serious consideration. Conflicting data is "reinterpreted" to eliminate conflicts. Data that cannot be "reinterpreted" is declared erroneous or irrelevant and ignored. The result is alleged "proof" that is extremely biased and often invalid. In data-driven thinking the investigator repeatedly modifies his theory and interpretations to fit the available evidence until the data either proves the revised theory true or proves that no possible version of the theory could be correct.
    1. It is important to note that you can't automatically assume that data-driven thinking is always the proper approach and theory-driven thinking is always wrong. If we know for a fact that a particular theory is true but a data set conflicts with it, it means either the data is being incorrectly interpreted or there was an error in the methodology used to collect the data, or the data set is simply not relevant because, for example, the user assumed there was a significant relationship between the theory and the data set when in fact no relationship exists, or a relationship that does exist is not signficant.

  3. Blumrich was not a biblical scholar and he never became reasonably familiar with the Bible. When it came to analyzing biblical materials, he was writing completely outside his field. In a 2000 interview he admitted that almost 30 years after writing Spaceships he still had not read Isaiah, the first "Major prophet" and one of the most important books of the Bible.
  4. Blumrich relied on one source that had two serious translation errors and a second one in a different language that—unknown to him—copied the biggest error. He did notice discrepancies, but because he was not familiar with the subject matter, he erroneously assumed different source texts and specifically rejected the idea of consulting someone knowledgeable in Hebrew.
  5. Blumrich suffered from "tunnel vision". After reading only seven verses in one translation, for the rest of his life he disregarded the huge mass of information that disproves his conclusion. Of the 79 full or partial verses he used he says that only once does the text connect the "commander" with "God", so it must be an error. Yet the full book's 1,273 verses repeatedly say that the "commander" of the vehicle is God. Blumrich relied on 6.2 percent of Ezekiel and 0.25 percent of the (Protestant) Bible's 31,273 verses. And even disregarding such massive amounts of relevant source material, to accumulate enough "evidence" to support his conclusion he had to use only parts of verses and rely on two translation errors.
  6. Blumrich immediately abandoned any healthy skepticism and engaged in "suspension of disbelief". Picture Blumrich's situation: he picks up a translation of a 2,500-year old Middle Eastern text, reads seven verses and realizes the writer is talking about a flying saucer! And, wonder of wonders! What an amazing coincidence! Not only does Blumrich recognize that the writer is describing a landing strut for a flying saucer, but Blumrich himself designed the same type of landing strut! Never does Blumrich say, "Wait a minute . . . this is crazy! I could see that I might recognize a description, but to think that it's the same thing I personally designed??? That can't be true! I must be reading in something here or misinterpreting something. I need to talk to some people who can actually read the original language and see what they say!"

    Never once does it cross his mind! . . .
  7. Blumrich disregarded extensive acknowledged authority without good reason. Only one other translation—another then-recent Catholic translation that also had not "stood the test of time"—describes the feet as "round". No other translation talks about "vehicular structure". Instead of assuming that all other translations were correct and "feet were round" was wrong, Blumrich chose to accept the erroneous translation and disregard the acknowledged expertise of thousands of biblical scholars and translators.
    1. And yet, it's only fair to point out that admittedly it also would have been a pretty far stretch for Blumrich to assume what in fact did happen: "Hey . . . maybe the English translators in the United States in 1970 copied the 1957 German translators in Europe! . . . And just by pure coincidence I just happen to have both erroneous versions—bought on different continents in different decades! . . . That would explain it! . . . After all, things like that happen all the time!"

  8. Blumrich did not consult biblical scholars. Though totally untrained, he read only two commentaries and decided that he could make valid determinations without even talking to anyone knowledgeable about the Bible. The Ezekiel portion of one of those commentaries was only 20 pages!
  9. Blumrich worked only with translations, not the text in the original language. Don't be misled by the fact that one of his references was a Soncino dual-language Hebrew-English copy of the Book of Ezekiel. He used that because it contained  commentary by a rabbi. He did not know Hebrew.
  10. Blumrich did not use standard biblical research tools such as literal translations, Bible dictionaries, Hebrew-English dictionaries, concordances or amplified translations.
  11. Literal translations show the actual word order and come as close to the original text as possible. Many words have special meanings in the Bible, e.g., to "know" someone often  means to have sexual intercourse. Bible dictionaries explain such special usage. Concordances show each place where a particular word is used, so you can see it in context. In an amplified translation, the writer uses four or five words instead of one, to show the concept from the original language, e.g.:

      Original: "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity."

      Amplfied: Behold, take notice, look, listen, get this: How good, beneficial, advantageous and how pleasant, enjoyable, agreeable it is for brothers, people, brothers and sisters, brethren, kindred, kinsmen, neighbors, human beings to live, dwell, associate, be neighbors together in unity, harmony, peace, agreement, without discord, without strife, setting aside disputes, without quarreling, without arguing.

  12. Blumrich did very little checking into different interpretations. He only examined two commentaries, one of which was a general commentary on the entire Bible, with only 20 pages on Ezekiel. He did not examine any Protestant or Eastern Orthodox commentaries—all of his German-language references are Bibles, not commentaries.

    To be fair to Blumrich, this is largely due to his own field of expertise. Unlike biblical interpretation, determining the meaning of engineering text rarely requires consulting more than two or three experts.
  13. Blumrich used no expert-level reference materials. Just because reference materials are written by experts doesn't mean they are written for experts. Both the Roman Catholic commentary (20 pages on Ezekiel) and the Jewish commentary (170 pages of commentary) Blumrich used are pretty superficial—they are written as general overviews.
  14. Blumrich made all sorts of assumptions with no basis. His entire design requires a round ship. The Bible doesn't say the vehicle was round.
  15. Blumrich worked from only a minute portion of the text, only 6.2% of Ezekiel's book.
  16. Blumrich worked with material totally out of context.
  17. Blumrich erroneously "read in" his own knowledge and experiences into the material. This is a continuous problem when interpreting materials from a different culture and frequently leads to scholars misinterpreting such materials until someone with more detailed knowledge of the particular situation explains the circumstances.
  18. If text Blumrich used did not fit his assumptions, with no basis he simply declared it to be an error and ignored it.
  19. Blumrich had no training in and totally ignored the science of textual criticism, which involves examining a particular piece of text to determine its  authenticity, accuracy and completeness and the identity of the author(s). It asks, "Do we have the entire text as originally written, and who wrote it?"
    1. Most biblical scholarseven non-Christians and atheists—agree thatworst case—we have 98.5 percent of the "original autographs". In other words, if we could get our hands on the actual text the author originally wrote, three characters out of every two hundred would be different. And yet Blumrich simply assumes text is missing or wrong when particular text does not support his view.

  1. Blumrich had no training or experience in textual analysis and he made some fundamental analytical errors.

    Textual analysis goes by various terms such as hermeneutics and involves interpreting and evaluating the content of the text. What is the author trying to say? Do his views make sense? Is he a reliable reporter? Were his views common? Are or were his views important? Were they controversial? Were they influential?

    Blumrich did not do one of the fundamental steps in analyzing texts to determine their meaning: find out how a word or phrase is used in other texts of the same culture. 

  1. Blumrich was not familiar with biblical writing styles.
  2. In many ancient cultures, parallelism was a common literary technique. An author describes something and then—because bold, italics and underlining were not used—he describes the same thing again, for emphasis, using different terms. The phrases "safe and sound", "vim and vigor" and "hale and hearty" all are examples of parallelistic usage in English.

  1. Blumrich "over-analyzed" certain texts, resulting in erroneous conclusions.
  2. I spent ten years at various  companies in different states working with engineers on a daily basis. One trait common to all engineers is their tendency to "over-analyze". They often see distinctions that don't actually exist, assuming that a speaker intended to convey a different meaning because he used a different word.

    Because he was not familiar with biblical writing styles, and because of engineers' normal tendency to be superanalytical, Blumrich "over-analyzed" in a number of instances and came up with "explanations" for "differences" that don't actually exist.

  1. Blumrich analyzed Ezekiel's writing from a perspective that was inconsistent with Ezekiel's perspective.
  2. This elaborates the previous point. Every writing is made from some particular perspective. If an author is writing from perspective "A", you cannot properly understand his text if you analyse it from perspective "B" instead.

    In scientific and technical writingBlumrich's specialty—precision of terminology is crucial. You define a term precisely and then you always use the exact same term. If a reader encounters a term that is even slightly different, he should expect that the different terminology was intended to convey a different meaning.

    Ezekiel was not writing a technical paper for scientists and engineers. He was writing for ordinary people. One of the first things taught in classes on creative writing, news writing, public speaking, etc., is say the same thing in different ways. Non-technical authors are told outright, "Use synonyms. Don't use the same word over and over—it gets boring."

    As a group, technical writers are notoriously poor at non-technical writing. Blumrich "came to the table" with a single view of how to write and did not understand that Ezekiel could have a different approach. Therefore, when Ezekiel used a synonym, fine for his type of writing, Blumrich automatically interpreted the difference in wording as a difference in meaning. He then looked for a "solution" to this "problem" and "found" one that fit his "one word, one meaning" view.

Please keep these points in mind when reading the comments and the book. Blumrich clearly hoped  that his work would be taken seriously and evaluated on its merits and not be dismissed out of hand.

I have done what Blumrich wanted—subjected his work to open-minded scrutiny in the continuing dialogue aimed at determining the truth. I have not simply dismissed his conclusions as erroneous, but presented specific reasons why they are wrong.   I ask that you grant my evaluation  the same consideration and that you carefully examine all the evidence.

I am well aware that some people feel it is unfair to criticize the work of someone who is no longer around to defend it. But when someone chooses to present his ideas to the general public, that comes with the territory.


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