A Literary Look at the Bicameral Bible

A Literary Look at the Bicameral Bible

Julian Jaynes. The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Boston: Houghton, 1976. Print.

Julian Jaynes might have called his book The Voices of the Gods or In Search of Ancient Schizophrenics. With his detailed research and academic credentials, however, he aimed for a different audience when he wrote The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. He has had an effect. Artists and other creative people occasionally speak of “going bicameral.” An essay in Audubon magazine spoke of his theory as though it described the most recent step in biological evolution.1 One of Princeton’s deans indicated that it was a commonly held belief among students on that campus.2 Let us examine his hypothesis and evidence to see how well they stand together.

Jaynes’ theory relies heavily on literary evidence. After briefly summarizing his “bicameral breakdown” theory, we will examine his use of literature and literary interpretation. Like Jaynes, we will concentrate on writings of the second millennium B.C., orally transmitted epics such as those of Homer, and the Bible. We will discover that The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind really has more to say about contemporary values than it does about cultural changes in ancient times.

To sum up his theory, Dr. Jaynes sees man’s awareness of himself as a discrete, willing individual— “consciousness”—as a development of human culture in the first millennium B.C. Prior to this, man was “bicameral.” That means that the left hemisphere of the brain which regulates speech and movement on the right side of the body was unconsciously subject to the right cerebral hemisphere. The right side of the body is dominant in most people. The right side of the brain regulates some creativity and external perception, but it is unable to communicate without the left side translating.

As people became more self-conscious this relationship between the two hemispheres “broke down.” Before, when people were not involved in common labor or survival, they simply followed impulses from the right hemisphere. In ancient literature this is depicted as the voice of a god. According to Jaynes, there was never any rebellion or questioning of authority. Since the breakdown, however, the cerebral hemispheres functioned more independently. People became more self-aware, more conscious, and they no longer functioned according to the will of ”personal gods.”

Although Dr. Jaynes does describe the physiological function of the cerebral hemispheres, he does not suggest that the historical breakdown of the bicameral mind is due to a biological change. He does not say that this was a mutation or genetic trait which accounted for a selectively superior synaptic change. He attributes the bicameral breakdown to social change. It is, in effect, a learned ability.

This breakdown is evident, Dr. Jaynes writes, in the lack of personality in the ancient cultures of Egypt, Babylon, and Mesoamerica. (The last remained bicameral, he claims, until the Europeans arrived in the sixteenth century.) The kings of these cultures were the embodiments of the most powerful gods. A ruling class or priesthood consulted idols or sarcophagi. These objects would visually stimulate the right hemisphere of the cerebrum. Near Eastern society was ruled this way until the mass migrations between 1500 and 900 B.C. put such a stress on the social fabric that the “bicameral” operation broke down.

To Jaynes, the bicameral function of the mind first came about in cultures where the tomb and the temple were one and the same. Ancient burial rites may indicate that the people (or a priest caste) used the tombs of leaders for necromancy. In a Hegelian manner, he sees idolatry and temple worship developing from these tomb-cults. While all of these things were part of some ancient cultures, it is worth asking which really came first—the tomb or the temple, the sarcophagus or the idol? What about Norsemen who sent their leaders out to sea when they died? What about ancient Egyptians who put curses on tombs lest anyone enter them? Surely these practices precluded the use of tombs or corpses for divination. Could it simply be that many burial rites, like those of today, were done out of respect for the departed—perhaps with some guilt and some fear of death thrown in?

This also raises questions for social scientists today. If the bicameral breakdown is a learned trait, what about primitive cultures today? Is consciousness in human children today only a learned trait? (Do parents teach their children to be a “terrible two”?)

During the social upheaval of the first part of the first millennium B.C., self-conscious rulers gained power by force of will. Gods became less prominent. The bicameral organization of society was destroyed. Vestiges of bicamerality remained in cultic activity and today can be found in such groups as schizophrenics and religious fundamentalists.

Cultic activity after the time of the breakdown was only partially bicameral. It took more ritual to stimulate the gods and only a select few could communicate with them. The oracle at Delphi would be an example of such a cult. The apparent difference from older priest-castes was the gods they consulted were reputed to have more power than the personal gods of the ordinary citizen. In many ways they appear no different at all.

Jaynes suggests that schizophrenics would be quite well-adjusted in ancient civilizations. Research may suggest that they still have the left-hemisphere-dominant bicameral mind. They are abnormal today because they are “waiting on gods in a godless world.”3

It appears scientifically valid to ask whether conclusions drawn from certain schizophrenics or a small majority of victims of a certain type of epilepsy can apply to the main course of human history. We may even ask how left-handed people fit into his scheme of right-handed dominance. The neurologists and psychologists can work on those details. A considerable bulk of Jaynes’ evidence is literary. Let us look at the literature and thematics.

For Dr. Jaynes, the Homeric epics and Hebrew Scriptures are primary sources demonstrating the breakdown of the bicameral mind. Prior to these writings, he maintains, people were always portrayed subject to their gods. They were never self-conscious, but writing, speaking, ruling, and dying according to the will of their personal gods.

Examples of this blind “bicamerality” are Hammurabi receiving his code from Marduk, the prophet speaking as the mouthpiece of Yahweh, or the constant incarnation of the gods Horus and Osiris in the pharaohs of Egypt. The gods in each case, Jaynes claims, are simply alter egos of the men. They are not worshipped or prayed to except by those with subservient deities. Pharaoh’s subjects prayed to Pharaoh’s gods because they were subject to Pharaoh the man.

There is a major thematic problem with these observations. Most the writings prior to the first millennium B.C. which are still extant are either commercial or religious. It either has to do with everyday life or it centers on God or gods. Most of what we have from ancient Egypt, for example, is from tombs or monuments. These writings are naturally preoccupied with death just epitaphs are. Insofar as the gods are seen as controlling the beginning and end of life, people will see themselves subject to them. This is simply because everyone dies. This is just a true today as it was four thousand years ago even if the cultures and the names of the gods have changed.

Jaynes asserts unequivocally that “there is no trace whatever”4 of self-conscious or self-willing concerns prior to the time of the Assyrian conquest of the Near East around 900 B.C. He admitted in an interview that the uncovering of any self-conscious artifact from earlier times would wreck his whole hypothesis.5

It could be argued that the Egyptian tombs and monuments were built because the Egyptian leaders were pre-eminently self-conscious. They wanted themselves and their dynasties to be remembered. They wanted to make sure their afterlife was comfortable. However, there is more specific literary evidence for “conscious” thought in the second and third millennia B.C.

Surely, the Ras Shamara tablet from the fifteenth century in Syria describe a self-conscious hero, Daniel.6 His personality is not subject to any god, though he worships the usual Canaanite pantheon. He has to practice a ritual for seven days to call up a god. These tablets describe other practices, especially libations and sacrifices used to get the attention of deities. This sounds more like Jaynes’ “godless world” of today than the trancelike obedience Jaynes would have us see. At the very least it is suggesting a much earlier “breakdown” like the only “partially bicameral” oracle at Delphi.

Egyptian writings also display a lack of “bicamerality” when discussing things other than death and royal decrees. The Story of Sinuhe (1800 B.C.) is a simple personal return narrative.7 It must have been popular since over twenty manuscripts of the tale have been found. Other than Pharaoh, who is depicted as a god, there are no references to gods in anything but place names. Sinuhe is an independent character—except, of course, when dutifully obeying an order of the king. He even slays a Goliath-like champion without so much as a prayer or hint of inspiration. Another ancient Egyptian tomb seems to disprove this theory as well. A work scene in it has a slave saying those words of laborers everywhere: “Look busy! Here comes the boss.” That sounds very self-conscious!

The Instruction of the Vizier Ptah-Hotep (2450 B.C.) is the oldest of a number of ancient Egyptian proverbial writings. Similar Akkadian writings date from 1800 B.C.8 These works are thematically and stylistically closer to the Biblical books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes than anything else. Except for the occasional names of gods, they are so similar to the Hebrew, that nearly everyone who reads them considers them the same genre. Yet Jaynes assigns a late date to the two Hebrew books because they are too self-conscious to come from an earlier bicameral era.

A trained Egyptian scribe named Khakheperesneb wrote the following around the year 2000 B.C.:

Would I had phrases that are not known, utterances that are strange, in a new language that has not been used, free from repetition, not an utterance which has grown stale, which men of old have spoken.9

This scribe, who even names himself, must have surely been forsaken by his bicameral gods. Walter Jackson Bate used this quotation in the opening of his book The Burden of the Past and the English Poet to demonstrate that self-conscious writers’ block is nothing new.

By Jaynes’ own criterion we could stop here. The evidence does not support his case. Some of history’s earliest writings are quite self-conscious.

Dr. Jaynes also sees the bicameral mind at work in the Iliad of Homer. The people here , he says, are totally subject to the gods. They obey them, follow them, and are deceived by them uncomprehendingly. The bards who transmitted oral epics did so while in an unconscious “bicameral trance.” The portions of the Iliad where the characters become introspective were added later, according to Jaynes.

In a crucial paragraph in The Origin of Consciousness, a scene from the sixth book of the Iliad is outlined. Hector is carrying an ancient leather shield such as would have been used at the time of the historical Trojan War. In the next line the shield is described like one from the ninth century B.C., closer to the time the poem was transcribed. Rather than simply accepting this slight discrepancy as poetic license, Jaynes writes that “the second line was added by a later poet who in his auditory trance was not even visualizing what he was saying.”10

As a matter of fact, a good bard was highly skilled. It took years of practice. As his skill increased he had literally thousands of poetic formulae at his disposal. He would have picked up poetic lines and descriptions from many sources. He was not much different from the American blues singers at the turn of the last century who could sing two hundred verses of “Frankie and Johnnie.” There may be a few technical contradictions as these dramas were performed, but the bard was a singer of tales, an entertainer, as much as he was a historian.

I recall a television drama whose setting was a Navy vessel. A technician was able to hear sounds on air radar! That was a technical discrepancy as the scriptwriter confused sonar and radar. It had nothing to do with anyone being in a trance. Nor did it detract from the entertainment value (such as it was) of the television show.

The discrepancy which Jaynes pointed out is typical of orally transmitted epics. In epics armor gets fabulous treatment.11 The arming of Agamemnon in the Iliad is well-known. Some medieval epics—and some by twentieth-century bards in illiterate cultures—will go on for many lines describing the armor of a hero or his horse. The armor may start with Samson’s jawbone and touch on every major war the singer has ever heard of. Realistically, it may be impossible to accumulate or bear all the paraphernalia, and there may be some contradictions as the singer uses the stock formulae which fit his rhythm pattern, but the story would not be the same without them.

Although Jaynes cites Milman Perry in a footnote, he does not make use of Perry’s major contribution to the study of oral literature. The shields in the Iliad, the “swift-footed” Achilles resting in his tent, and other such “contradictions” make sense in a very uncomplicated way according to Perry’s observations of contemporary bards. The Homeric audience would understand this strictly in terms of art and entertainment. Instead of seeing oral epics as coming from acquired skills and rhythmic formulae such as Perry did, Jaynes opts for a more psychological approach which was popular at the turn of the last century.

The gods are also an important part of the epic form. Whether or not the Homeric audience believed in the gods, they were essential to the story. The Roman Vergil may have been an atheist. Nevertheless, he would never have considered penning the Aeneid without due participation of the gods. Even Milton chose the story of the Fall over the Arthurian cycle for his own epic poem Paradise Lost because of the divine involvement.

Jaynes concludes that the characters in the Iliad were unconscious automata subject totally to the gods. He contrasts this with the character of Odysseus in the Odyssey who is more self-willing. That is because, according to Jaynes, the Odyssey was transcribed later, after the bicameral mind had begun to break down.

To the critic, however, one of the greatest features of the Iliad is the personalities of its main characters. They are unique individuals and not necessarily anything like the gods they subject themselves to. Their loyalty is often far more constant than that of the gods. Achilles’ choice of fame over long life is one of the most interesting personal choices in all of literature.

The characters may appear more two-dimensional at times such as in battle. People tend to act more instinctively in such a situation. A person does not have the luxury of contemplation then. Life and death are at stake.

The gods also figure prominently in Homeric battles. This is because the gods figure in the mysteries of life and death. Even today a nonreligious person will often be buried with a religious ceremony. The gods also figure in the battle scenes because they are viewed as the forces behind history, and the outcome of the battle is set by history. The poet is bound by history and tradition. Homer was bound to have Hector die, just as Margaret Mitchell was bound to have Sherman destroy Atlanta.

The gods may decide history, but the characters in the Iliad still have a lot to decide. The brooding Achilles has a distinct and very self-conscious personality which is quite different from his tutelary spirits, his fussy mother Thetis or the sober Athene. Richmond Lattimore, whose translation of the Iliad is a college standard, declares that the gods “manipulate Achilleus, Aineias, Paris, but they not make them what they are. The choices are human; and in the end, despite all the divine interferences, the Iliad is a story of people.”12

If there is any difference in the manner which the Odyssey unfolds, it is simply because it is a very different kind of tale from the Iliad. There is really only one “historical” event—Odysseus’ defeat of the usurping suitors. This alone could account for a different role of the gods. It is mostly about the life of a single person and his family. He is on his own most of the time. Even so, many of the circumstances are a result of divine interference or intervention. Like the ancient Story of Sinuhe, it is a return story, not a war story. Simple thematics explain the differences well.

Jaynes even suggests that the Puritan Milton invoked the Muses in some of his classical-style poems because he heard bicameral voices. Let us recognize allusions and literary forms for what they are. In his Christian poems he prays to the Holy Spirit, in contrast to the classical pagan gods he alludes to in his neoclassical writings.

The description of the Iliad shields is critical in The Origin of Consciousness. It is at this point that the author begins to assume the bicameral hypothesis has been proven. To him, ancient necromancy, idolatry, consulting oracles, and epics were all the result of a schizophrenic hallucinating. To demonstrate that kind of hallucinating, he refers to an experiment done on victims of a certain type of epilepsy.

In this experiment, the subjects had received a minor brain operation which separated the cerebral hemispheres—making them physically more “bicameral.” When given a mild electric shock on the right hemisphere, a small majority of them did claim to see things others could not see. Generally, they had a hard time describing the stimuli received by the right hemisphere’s perceptions.

These experiments do tell us that the halves of the brain differ in certain ways and that people under stress sometimes see things that no one else sees. Neither conclusion is especially surprising. But do these shocks compare to sarcophagi, wide-eyed idols, or war stories? Do they really have an application to cultural history as well as neuropathology?

How many of the changes in the Near East which occurred from 1500 to 900 B.C. were caused by something else? How much of the social change is due simply to the growth and influx of new cultures such as the Hebrews in Canaan or the Dorians in Greece? How much of this is due to the discovery of iron tools and weapons? How much of it is caused by increased commerce due to wider-ranging merchants? What about the wider use of papyrus, simpler alphabets, and (relatively) increased literacy? If ancient gods were heard and not seen, what about the sun gods which dominated most cultures? How did the establishment of the Greek city-states influence the composition of the Homeric epics? (To start on this question, see Lattimore’s introduction to his Iliad translation.) How do cultures in China, Africa, or Northern Europe fit in?

If gods were simply depicted as humanoid or angelic alter egos, as Jaynes theorizes, how did the multitudinous animal forms develop so early? From all accounts, the humanoid Greek pantheon came some time after the more animistic Egyptian forms. We know that in India the gods were usually portrayed as animals until the Hellenistic influence of Alexander’s legions in the fourth century B.C.

Jaynes tells us that the gods of the second millenium B.C. and the angels are both tutelary spirits. He then says that they do not stand for the same thing since the gods were more bicameral, internal rather than external. People in the ancient Near East did not perceive it that way. In Hebrew, for example, the “elohim” when not applied to Yahweh can be translated either “gods” or “angels.” To the Hebrews the word meant the same thing—the difference was whether it was referring to Yahweh’s angels or the fallen angels which were the gentile gods.

Since the Bible covers the history of the time and place of the bicameral breakdown, Jaynes discusses it at some length. He adopts the interpretation that dates the Hebrew Scriptures from 700 B.C. (Amos) to 200 B.C. (Ecclesiastes). He dates the Gospel of John as late as A.D. 320. Especially with his New Testament dating, he seems to use the theory to prove his dating rather than the other way around.

The question of Bible dating is not something that has been solved to everyone’s satisfaction, and this is not the place to continue the controversies. However, the earliest proven fragment of the New Testament known today is from the Gospel of John and is dated at A.D. 120.13 Similarly, Ecclesiastes is found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and studies of those manuscripts push that book’s origin at least another century or two before Jaynes’ date.14

Jaynes sees the prophets, particularly the earlier ones like Amos (whom he considers the oldest), as speaking from an “unconscious” bicameral perspective. The wisdom literature, on the other hand, is very self-conscious and hardly mentions God at all. Therefore, this literature, especially Ecclesiastes, is from a much later time when the bicameral perception had deteriorated.

To a literary critic these observations on the Biblical genres tell us nothing. It is like saying Thomas Hardy the poet was different from Thomas Hardy the novelist; therefore, he must have been a schizophrenic or used a ghost writer. We are comparing different literary styles and forms used for different purposes. They are bound to be different.

The prophets are hortatory, preaching to motivate. Amos is an excellent example of this style. The book is a warning to the Northern Kingdom of Israel about becoming too comfortable and forgetting God. The purpose of the prophet’s work was not to be self-conscious, but to make others see themselves. As it is, the seventh chapter of the book of Amos tells something of his background and his conflict with the government. It also shows that he did serve his prophetic purpose, for the King of Israel did respond. Amos nonetheless has self-conscious moments. He confesses that he was not trained in the prophetic ministry as the “sons of the prophets” commonly were in Israel.

The thematic purpose of Ecclesiastes is quite different. It is an examination of the world. It is contemplative and introspective, not hortatory. The purpose is also to turn the reader to God, but it is done in a different manner. The writer states that he wants to “search out by wisdom,” not motivate prophetically. Here the writer encourages his reader to make an individual response. It is not for the nation. Regardless of when we believe the various Scriptures were written and by whom, let us at least examine the author’s purpose for passing them on.

One chapter which may appeal to modern pop academia is devoted entirely to a modern, rather than ancient, phenomenon—Pentecostalism. To Jaynes the glossolalia (“speaking with tongues”) of some Christian fundamentalists is a vestige of bicamerality. He rightly attributes most of the New Testament’s discussion of the subject to St. Paul. Granted, the apostle was writing some seven to nine centuries after the bicameral breakdown, but The Origins of Consciousness speaks of remnants of bicamerality, too. The book also cites a single study which states that people enter into a trance when the first receive this charisma (“spiritual gift”) of tongues. If this is so, then it contradicts the teaching of St. Paul who calls the Spirit of God a spirit of “power, love, and self-control” (II Timothy 1:7) . In his instructions on how to speak with tongues, Paul wrote, “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets” (I Corinthians 14:32). St. Paul emphasized self-consciousness both as a prerequisite for charismata and a result of receiving them.

To Jaynes, this is another form of hallucinating. He refers to tape recordings mentioned by his source. Since there are other recording of glosslalia in known languages, there is clearly more to this phenomenon that Jaynes would have us believe.15 He also states that “Glossolalia first happens always [his italics] in groups and always in the context of religious services.”16 That is simply not accurate reporting. Many Pentecostals and neo-Pentecostals testify to having first experienced this when alone. Some even confess that having others around them made them nervous. Some Christians without access to any teaching on the subject have sometimes done it for years privately before being shown what the Bible says on the subject. There are many other studies and testimonies available which add much to the study of the Pentecostal movement. Anyone discussing the subject would do well to look at numerous sources instead of relying on one source which studied a decidedly limited group.17

Dr. Jaynes goes on. He states that the poetry of many languages and glossolalia reflect the same or similar rhythmic patterns. Those who know the rules of poetry in various languages know that this is impossible. To a twentieth-century, English-speaking American, a singer of tales from the Asian steppes would sound neither poetic nor musical. The Iliad’s stress of vowel length could be duplicated in English but would have little significance. To the French, the poetic form is simply a uniform number of syllables per line, usually with a rhyme scheme that alternates masculine and feminine rhyme. (A good Francophile will tell you that French is such a beautiful language, no additional construction is needed.) Even the Old English of Beowulf which was based on alliteration would sound strained to the modern English ear used to metrics based on syllabic stress and feet per line. The patterns of glossolalia often very greatly in the speech of an individual. When singing in tongues is also considered, Jaynes’s conclusions about poetry and glossolalia have little support.

The author himself criticizes theories of human nature which are based on a few isolated facts. He says, for example, that Marx took observations of class struggle in nineteenth century France and applied them to all of history. Freud likewise took childhood memories of a handful of psychological patients and applied what he saw to religion and civilization in general. In the same way he points out that Skinner took observations of animals obtaining food in controlled conditions and hypothesized an ideal society.

In effect, The Origin of Consciousness has done the same thing. Taking a few isolated facts about the human brain, some observations on schizophrenics and epileptics, and a unique critical position on ancient literature, the book develops a theory of history and human behavior. In this case we are left with a disturbingly amoral view of mankind.

That is probably the most striking thematic aspect of the work. There is no sense of good and evil or right and wrong in any of the bicameral voices as Jaynes presents them. The schizophrenic voice which tells a person he is worthless is attributed to the same cause as the Levitical injunction to love your neighbor as yourself.

There is no difference between the merciful and victorious God of David and the witch of Endor’s apparition which drives Saul to suicide. The Aztec voices which encouraged human sacrifice are not any different from those on Ararat or Sinai which condemned murder.

In his failure to look at ancient writings generically or thematically, he says that the Yahweh of the Bible behaved “for no reason at all.”18 Yet the context of the Bible stories he uses to illustrate this clearly indicates some moral or prophetic purpose. To him the voice which instructs Abraham to sacrifice Isaac is totally arbitrary, although the point of the story is precisely that Abraham did not have to go through with the sacrifice. A modern Jewish critic writes:

Some effete intellectuals and hysterical whining milksops may say from the standpoint of morality it makes no difference whether Abraham slew his son or merely raised his sword with this purpose in view and then was restrained by somebody at the last moment. We, the real men, along with Abraham are of the opposite opinion. We consider the result and know that it matters not whether he wanted to kill or not. The point is that he did not kill.

Pagan and prophet, human sacrifice and the laws of Moses, schizophrenia and blessings—Jaynes sees them all as manifestations of the same cause. In the contest between the prophets Jeremiah and Hannaniah, Jaynes says simply that if Jeremiah had died instead, we would be reading the “Book of Hannaniah” now. For some reason he is unimpressed with the accuracy of Jeremiah’s prediction in the conflict with Hannaniah or the opposing moral positions the two men took. Indeed, we are left with the impression that there is no real difference between Francis of Assisi and “Son of Sam.”

A person acquainted with literature will see The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind only as a curiosity. Terms like “bicameral” will go the way of “phlogiston” and “epicycle.” A hundred years from now people will look at it not to point out the breakdown of bicameral perception at the beginning of the first millennium B.C. in the Near East, but the breakdown of moral perception near the end of the twentieth century A.D. in the West.


1. Peter Steinhart, “Other Voices,” Audubon, Nov 1980, 5,6.

2. Ernest Gordon, Me, Myself, and Who? (Plainfield NJ: Logos International, 1980) 159,160.

3. Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1976) 432.

4. Jaynes, 227.

5. Sam Keen, “Julian Jaynes: Portrait of the Psychologist as a Maverick Theorist,” Psychology Today, Nov 1977, 66.

6. “The Tale of Aqhat,” Ancient Near Eastern Texts, ed. James B. Pritchard (Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 1950) 149-155. (Text abbreviated ANET in subsequent citations.)

7. “The Tale of Sinuhe,” ANET, 18-22.

8. “The Instruction of the Vizier Ptah-hotep,” ANET, 412-414. Subsequent pages list other Egyptian Proverbs and Counsels followed by similar Akkadian writings dating from 1800-1600 B.C.

9. Walter Jackson Bate, The Burden of the Past and the English Poet (Cambridge MA: Belknap Press, 1970) 3,4.

10. Jaynes, 81.

11. Albert B. Lord, The Singer of Tales (New York: Atheneum, 1970) 86-92.

12. The Iliad of Homer, trans. and ed. Richmond Lattimore, second ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961) 54.

13. The Rylands Fragment, first publicized in 1935, is well known and discussed in many places. Note Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament (New York: Oxford, 1964) 38,39 and notes. The Egerton Papyrus, dating from before A.D. 135, contains Johanine allusions which also point to a much earlier date than what Jaynes proposes. Merrill C. Tenney, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan, 1981) 9.

14. Edmund Wilson, The Dead Sea Scrolls, Rev. ed. (New York: Oxford, 1969) 84.

15. One recording was presented during an anti-Pentecostal lecture at a Lutheran seminary in January 1976 to demonstrate the lack of structure in glossolalia. A professor of Medieval Hebrew recognized it as a hymn sung in Medieval Hebrew. David Dorpat, “It is Lutheran to be Charismatic: Part 5,” Bread of Life, July-Aug 1979, 12. Another instance which can be documented is from a recording entitled Worship by John Bertolucci at the 1976 Catholic Charismatic Conference, Providence RI. The language spoken in this instance is also Hebrew. John Bertolucci, Worship (Ann Arbor MI: Word of Life Tapes, 1976).

16. Jaynes, 358.

17. An excellent book, though not available in English when Jaynes was writing, is Rene Laurentin, Catholic Pentecostalism, trans. Matthew J. O’Connell (Garden City NY: Doubleday, 1977). Dennis Bennett, Nine O’Clock in the Morning (Plainfield NJ: Logos International, 1970) and John Sherrill, They Speak with Other Tongues (Old Tappan NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1965) are written in a more popular style, but both are well-researched and should be considered by anyone researching this subject. All three include accounts of privately-received glossolalia. The Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International, a non-denominational evangelical men’s organization headquartered in Costa Mesa CA, has collected a mass of personal testimonies of the Pentecostal experience since the late 1950s. While decidedly pro-Pentecostal, their material should be consulted for information on people’s responses.

18. Jaynes, 304.

19. Lezek Kolakowski, Untitled Sidebar, The Second Jewish Catalog, ed. Michael and Sharon Strassfeld (Phliadlphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1976) 252.

N.B. This was originally written in the early eighties. It uses MLA formatting from that time.

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