Mayans? Which Mayans? Did They Believe in the “End of the World”?

I am beginning to understand how such unscriptural concepts as one-man hierarchy get read into the Bible.  Taking things out of context is not a good way to read and understand, if you ask me.

OK, here is a sentence I would like you to analyze, please:  The Romans gladly crucified criminals.

I am curious just how many of you would find that confusing.

Do I mean Romans before they became an empire?  Do I mean Romans as in Jesus’ day?  Do I mean Romans after Constantine?  How about Italians living during WWI?  After all, they are still Romans, correct?

I sincerely doubt that too many would be confused about that statement.  I doubt that too many would think I mean modern Romans or even necessarily Romans since the fall of the empire.

So, why is “There is no proof that the Mayans believed in a calamity after the end of their calendar” so confusing to some?  I mean, is that really that vague?

Obviously, I meant after the end of their calendar to mean the ones who created the calendar and not some writings of “Christianized” Mayans after Spain came onto the scene.  The ancient Mayans, the ones who created the calendar, were long gone.   Relying upon a more recent and corrupted work such as Chilam Balam is a lot like trying to rely upon the Apocrypha books to establish Jewish religious beliefs.  The Chilam Balam even mentions Jesus Christ, so it is an obvious corruption of ancient Mayan beliefs mingled in with other ideas.

Notice as well what I did not say.  I did not say that Mayans “never” prophesied the end of the world, nor have any of my sources (at least that I can find after re-reading).  I don’t understand why others would want to read that into what I or anyone else wrote.

I suppose that to be completely accurate, I should have written: “There is no proof that the ancient Mayans believed in a calamity…”, but that honestly seemed unnecessary at the time, considering we are talking about a calendar that was in existence long before the Spaniards set foot on the American continents.

So, who else was confused by what I wrote?  If you were, I apologize for that.  I thought it seemed clear in context.  Let me know because I do try to be clear when I write.

As a matter of fact, the entire notion of the “end of the world’ seems to be a western one.  Mayan scholars and researchers will tell you that the ancient Mayans had no concept even that the world would end!  In fact, those who are left of the Mayans themselves poo-poo the idea.

But, don’t believe me.  Believe the experts.

1.      Misinterpretation of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar is the basis for a New Age belief that a cataclysm will take place on December 21, 2012. December 21, 2012 is simply the first day of the 14th b’ak’tun.

Sandra Noble, executive director of the Mesoamerican research organization FAMSI, notes that "for the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle". She considers the portrayal of December 2012 as a doomsday or cosmic-shift event to be "a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in."[14] The 2009 science fiction apocalyptic disaster film 2012 is based on this belief.


2.      Scholars from various disciplines have dismissed the idea of catastrophe in 2012. Mainstream Mayanist scholars state that predictions of impending doom are not found in any of the existing classic Maya accounts, and that the idea that the Long Count calendar "ends" in 2012 misrepresents Maya history.[3][5] The modern Maya do not consider the date significant, and the classical sources on the subject are scarce and contradictory, suggesting that there was little if any universal agreement among them about what, if anything, the date might mean.[6]


3.      One of the important discoveries from the Yucatan ruins is that the Maya had several calendars. One is known as the Long Count calendar, which is reset to day 0 every 1,872,000 days, a period known as The Great Circle (Diamond 2005: 167). The next reset date, by some calculations, is December 21, 2012. Obviously, this calendar is of no interest to the Maya any longer, since their civilization collapsed over a thousand years ago. (Though there are people today who are the descendants of the Maya and the culture lives on through them.*) Nevertheless, this date is of enormous interest to certain doomsday prophets and New Age astrologers, such as John Calleman, who are spreading the good news either that the Maya knew the date when the world would end or they knew the date when a New Age of Transformation would begin.* (The Mayan glyphs and hieroglyphs aren’t crystal clear about what the calendar means.) Too bad they couldn’t predict their own collapse.

According to Jared Diamond,

The famous Maya Long Count calendar begins on August 11, 3114 B.C.–just as our own calendar begins on January 1 of the first year of the Christian era….Presumably, the Maya…attached some significance to their own day zero, but we don’t know what it was. (Diamond 2005: 167)


4.  Some people believe the text of the Dresden Codex predicts the end of the world in 2012. Many see a dragon-like being while others see an animal more like a crocodile. The creature, residing in the sky, has water pouring from its mouth, creating a world covered by water. The Maya Goddess O, also known as Chac Chel, is pouring water from a jar. The word Chac can mean both “great” and “red,” while Chel means “arc of heaven.” The combination of the color red with images of the full moon represents a prediction of strong rains. A menacing figure at the bottom of the page holds weaponry over the Earth. A number of anthropologists believe that two phrases in the Codex, meaning “black sky” and “black earth," imply the end of the world. While some believe the Maya were predicting a massive flood, there are numerous theories: everything from storms, to the crumbling of society’s ecosystems, as well as the reversal of the Earth’s magnetic fields. Still, anthropologists generally see the images in the Codex as simply part of Maya cosmology.


Not only all of that, but there is even evidence to suggest that the end of the “long count calendar” is not really an end!  It is supposed to cycle back around for a much greater cycle of 26,000 years (the Mayans were big on cycles as well as having 4 or 5 different simultaneous calendars).

OK, I have wasted enough time on this, haven’t I?

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