Yesterday I received an email containing some pictures of alleged giant skeletons. PaleoBabble readers know that I’ve posted before on this topic before, noting how Photoshop is certainly the solution to many of these pictures you see circulating on the web. Whenever I get photos like these (see below), I wish I had the time to comb the web for the originals that were used to create the hoaxes. Sometimes you find someone who’s already done that work (like my earlier post, linked above). But this sort of thing could take dozens of hours. Fortunately, among the two photos sent to me are two that are easily demonstrated to be fakes. Here’s the first of the two:
Now here’s the second:
Can you spot the problem? Look at the skulls side by side below:
See it? What are the odds that two skulls, at two allegedly different archaeological digs, would be missing the exact same teeth? A billion to one, I’d say. Take a closer look at the comparison picture. You can see that the fracture lines on the two photos at the bridge of the nose are also exactly the same. It’s the same skull, photo-shopped into two different pictures, with adjustments made in tinting.
You can find these pictures on several creationist websites. That’s a shame. Readers should know that I am no enemy of the idea of a divine creator. Frankly, I think creation is much more philosophically coherent than naturalistic materialism. But this is simply unethical.
nice catch…. i wonder if we will ever see a real skull from a giant…maybe Goliath’s?…
There are easier ways to prove that images are shopped. You don’t have to google yourself to death trying to find originals. Check out this PDF: http://www.hackerfactor.com/papers/bh-usa-07-krawetz-wp.pdf . Round abouts page 12 it gets into some techniques that will save you a lot of time. The error level analysis is probably the easiest.
Is there any Authentic evidence of Giants ?
Unethical indeed. Do you have an example readily at hand from a creationist website? Answers in genesis, or Creation perhaps?
@Isabelle Lafreniere: very cool – thanks Isabella. As you know, my strength isn’t art of photography, so this will be handy.
@Nobunaga: In terms of real archaeology, no. And for any future reference, this question depends on what “giant” means. As I’ve blogged here before, there isn’t much human skeletal evidence at all, for any ancient era, in Palestine. The Israelites (or any other people they encountered) didn’t embalm people or even necessarily build deep tombs. They used caves and above-ground structures (which are anything but secure). They also did “secondary burial” (boiling the dead body and then keeping only the bones for transport). This is what was done in the says of the patriarchs; when someone died a great distance from the family burial site/property/cave, you couldn’t just carry the body around till you got there. It would naturally decay, stink, attract predators, etc. What skeletal remains there are come predominantly from the Iron Age (monarchical period). The average height for Israelite males was around 5 feet 4 inches. Females a few inches less. If you came across a person who was over six feet tall (recall that in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint Goliath was six feet six inches), he would certainly be gigantic compared to what you’d seen most of your life. Think of Flozell Adams of the Cowboys (6-6, 330 pounds) vs. a boy named David barely over 5 feet tall and you get the picture of the mismatch pretty clearly. I assume that the Pentateuchal narratives about Israelites encountering whole settlements of unusually tall inhabitants are genuine, but not what most today think of = people at 12-13 feet tall. Og’s sarcophagus (or “bed”) in Ammon doesn’t prove his height, either. It proves the size of what he was buried in or slept in.
In this regard, though average human height and weight is more than biblical times (due to diet, health/combating disease, lifespan, etc.), people approaching 7 feet tall are still something of an anomaly. They just all seem to wind up in the NBA.
@blop2008: Here’s the link I had. A Google search will reveal they are found on other creationist websites.
Michael, I have read a large majority of your information and I will continue to do so because I do believe that you are legit and truly inspired by God. However, I do not know what to think. These passages that exist in the Bible that deal with “fallen ones (or whatever the cool kids are calling them,)” giants and fiery stones give way to a large amount of speculation. It is confusing to me to me because the established “religions” will not touch the topics and scolars like yourself cut down the possibilities of these topics. My questions are, what is the overall picture, what are the chances that something really bad did exist pre and post flood and how does the Book of Enoch fit in? Enoch runs a parallel with the Bible and speaks of all of this and then some (including a viable description of the Messiah,) and to top it all off, it was purposely left out of the cannon. With research like Joe Jordan available, how can we not say that “something wicked this way comes?”
@Kevin: First, I’m not inspired by God. Even the Bible doesn’t use that term of people, so I’m not terribly willing to accept it! 🙂 Second, I have to confess it’s hard to follow your question. I’m not sure what it is that you’re asking. Can you follow up?
Michael, forgive me for my wordiness. I get caught up in trying to get it all out in one breath. I say inspired, because you came along and took down one of the New Age champions, Sitchin, so eloquently, but I do appreciate your humility. I guess my question is, what do you feel is the truth? How should we take these concepts as a whole?
There is a long standing debate about what was put into the Biblical cannon, as well as what was left out. Ex. The Book of Enoch. How does it measure up with the Bible? Because it says some things that are similar to the Bible as well as a lot more frightening.
I can’t read Hebrew or Greek, so I don’t know what the original texts say, all I know is that the Bible I have, says things like Giant (Genesis), Fiery Stones(Ezekiel) and Apollyon(Revelation.) God had to have a reason for them to be placed in our Bibles. Is it not safe to say that God is trying to warn us of something to come?
I hope I did better this time. I know that you are busy and I am grateful that you actually take time to read this ramble. I should be listening to my instructor in class right now, but his legalistic beliefs are getting on my nerves. 🙂
First, which “things” (I need precision since I have little time for online stuff). Second, I don’t think the 1 Enoch issue matters at all in terms of canonicity. Some seem to lean toward the “if it isn’t canonical then it must not be worth studying or there must be something wrong with it” view. I’m not. 1 Enoch is an ancient book that some in ancient Judaism held canonical; a few church fathers did the same. If you take providence as the arbiter of this, then it isn’t. I really don’t care about it. If they [ancient Jews, early church] studied it, revered it, and were influenced by it, it has earned the right to be studied seriously.
Third, not all things in the Bible are meant for apocalyptic fodder (very little is, actually). Eschatology is notoriously complicated, and it doesn’t help that 99% of the popular end times writers out there have never considered the real issues / problems with ANY position on eschatology. For what I mean, see:
Thank you for responding. It was after I wrote you, that I found the blog on the “fiery stones” in Ezekiel.” How about this? Can we run a parallel of the Bible and Enoch? Is it safe to say that the “watchers” in Enoch are the same thing as the ones that found “favor in the daughters of men?”
By the way, the only thing that would make this site any better is if you had some skateboarding footage on it. Keep up the good work. 🙂
In 1 Chronicles 20, it tells the stories of how David, Jonathan and the rest of his men were hunting down the Brother of Goliath, who had a spear like a “weaver’s rod.” And a huge man with 24 digits and was “huge.” What is the real translation of these verses.
you can get the translation from any number of versions (see Bible Gateway.com). There is nothing unusual in any of the terms (except apparently the helmet comes from a Hittite word). The account in 1 Chron 20 does not give any specific height, so how “huge” he was is speculation (it just reads “great stature”). The phrase “shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam” is actually ambiguous – does it refer to length or girth? Interestingly, another person whose spear gets the same description is found in 1 Chron 11:23. That man is also described as a man “of great stature”, and we are given a height of five cubits, which tracks out to a few inches over seven feet. This is quite consistent with my earlier comments on Goliath, whose height in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint is either six feet six inches or six feet nine inches. My view is that the giants of ancient times are like the giants of our own time – upper six foot range, some seven foot range.
Kevin,(if you venture back here), I get confused on all of these “giant” matters as well. From what I’ve gathered, there is at least a striking resemblance between your standard UFO community theories of ancient visitation and the book of Enoch account of the Watchers. That’s why I enjoy the online videos of Dr Heiser, David Flynn, Guy Malone, et al, discussing this ancient weirdness from a Christian perspective. Still, though, I’m having a hard time understanding what some of these favorite Christians of mine believe in terms of what happened in detail. If the Watchers taught man about war and technology, did they help build the megalithic structures? or anything like that or not? I’m NOT saying we need to start talking about ray guns and giant sand blasting tools and get all sci-fi on the texts, but I’m lost in terms bridging the gap of “what actually happened?”
The more I’ve read of Dr. Heiser’s work and his responses to questions I’m resolving the fact that he is ultra-conservative academically and otherwise, which is to be applauded. I believe he is genuine and won’t speculate on things he or you couldn’t put your hands on as evidence. However, when I read Paleobabble vs. UFO Religions vs. talks I’ve seen from Ancient of Days conferences and such, I almost see two different attitudes towards these subjects. That however would be incorrect. I think figuring Dr. Heiser out requires harmonization, just like he says eschatology theories need. 🙂
That being said. Dr. Heiser, whenever you finish “Myth that is True” or what all you may be working on, write us a book or blog that explains in painful detail what we can safely believe we might have seen in the ancient world as if we were there with our video cameras… or better yet, all you AOD guys and gals need to produce a thorough documentary series that’s ongoing. I mean, come on, we’ve only got til 2012 to bring as many to the truth as we can! Wait, or is it 2060? Kidding, of course, but not about the documentary. Do it before the dollar plummets so far we won’t be able to afford internet connections!
Dear Dr. Heiser,
i am delighted I’ve found your website. For a year or so I have been dealing with the nephilim and likewise stuff. Yesterday, I found your website and I am so happy that I found a scholar like you. I don’t have many books about this topic. Meanwhile, I have read your Introduction about the divine council and the meaning about the word “nephilim”. What you have written is clearly understandable even to uneducated readers like myself. It’s great! I have never understood this text passage in Psalm 82 until I read your explanation. When reading the corresponding passage in the NT I always thought Jesus refered the word “gods” to the Pharisees.Crazy! Later, I think I will order your whole dissertation.
Concerning the nephilim: some writers say, that the Hebrew word für giant/giants is gibbor/gibborim and not nephilim. Are there two hebrew words for the same thing? I would like to hear your explanation. (BTW: I can not read Hebrew or Greek)
thank you very much
No – gibbor simply means “warrior”; the giant connection comes from the Septuagint, which uses “gigantes” to translate BOTH the word nephilim and gibborim in Gen 6:4. Outside Gen 6, there is only one instance where gibbor occurs where there might be a connection with unusual height – the Goliath story. However, even there the normal meaning of “warrior” is really in view (e.g., Goliath was not called a gibbor because of his height; he was a gibbor because he was a soldier; he just happened to be quite tall – 6’6″ according to the Septuagint and Dead Sea Scrolls, by the way, not 9’6″ as the Masoretic text has. Gibbor is a very common word. Even in Gen 6 it may mean “warriors” (again, the nephilim were warriors; they aren’t called warriors because they are tall; they just happen to be tall AND be great warriors).
Thanks a lot Dr. Heiser! Again, thanks a lot! Now it’s crystal clear for me!
We’ve emailed before.
I have a left field question for you.
One of the things we learn in 1 Enoch is that a transfer of knowledge from the watchers to humans happened. Some of this could be considered technology.
I was thinking about the Amish and possibly other Puritan communities aversion to technology the other day. Were they ever exposed to 1 Enoch, of does there objection to technology come from elsewhere?
Told you it was from left field. 🙂
What about the passage that speaks of carrying grapes on a pole between two men coming back from their spy mission in the Promised land. I know I have mangled the precision of that passage – please forgive. Was that not describing “extra large fruit”? Why two people and a pole for grapes? Seems like overkill. A basket would do.
no – it’s just a large clustering that had to be carried on a pole. I live in WA state and could make one of those babies now (berry season).
“no – it’s just a large clustering that had to be carried on a pole. I live in WA state and could make one of those babies now (berry season).”
From Adam Clarke’s Commentary, can be found on e-Sword:
“It would be very easy to produce a great number of witnesses to prove that grapes in the promised land, and indeed in various other hot countries, grow to a prodigious size. By Calmet, Scheuchzer, and Harmer, this subject has been exhausted, and to these I may refer the reader. Pliny mentions bunches of grapes in Africa each of which was larger than an infant. Radzvil saw at Rhodes bunches of grapes three quarters of an ell in length, each grape as large as a plum. Dandini saw grapes of this size at Mount Libanus; and Paul Lucas mentions some bunches which he saw at Damascus that weighed above forty-five pounds. From the most authentic accounts the Egyptian grape is very small, and this being the only one with which the Israelites were acquainted, the great size of the grapes of Hebron would appear still more extraordinary.”
not sure what this pertains to, but in any event, Adam Clarke isn’t much of a source, for either science or exegesis. Your the second person commenting recently that didn’t check on me — I work for Logos Bible Software, and have access to plenty of digital resources that go well beyond Clarke. For his day he wasn’t bad, but his own work in biblical studies has been superseded many times over in terms of quality. And large grapes proves there are large grapes. It doesn’t prove extreme giantism.
MSH, If you’re ever in Palm Springs, California there’s an enormous rock carving I call the Mountain King (with helmet)who ages throughout the year by the shifting shadows. A little more at my website. A lot more on the mountain.
I tend to hold the same view on biblical giants. I’ve tried to find something on this but haven’t been able; regarding the size of Og’s sarcophagus (or bed), has it been shown that any other royal sarcophagi (or beds) from that region and time measures excessively large?
the short answer (pardon the pun) is that the sarcophagi that have been found are naturally a good bit larger than their occupants. That said, I don’t know of anything that matches Og’s description. Sarcophagi may also have nested “layers” (think Russian dolls) which vary in size.
There’s a free program I recently found for windows you can download called JPEGsnoop. It will run through an image file like the ones above and return to you information on what photoshop programs it’s associated with, when the image was taken, what camera was used and most importantly it looks for variations in compression of the image and will tell you if the image has been edited. I recently used it for another one of these giant photos in a paper.