A: On one hand, I am intrigued with the idea of Atlantis having existed. On the other hand, I'm not quite sure why some people feel it is necessary to prove Atlantis existed by selectively interpreting the Bible.
In all fairness, I have not read Brady’s book. But based on your brief description, I have a three-pronged argument against this theory: Historical/Archaeological, Spiritual, and Everything Else.
Prong 1: Historical/Archaeological
A simple search on Google for “Tyrrhenians” shows that it is the word the Greeks used when referring to the race of people known as the Etruscans. My knowledge of the Etruscans is limited; in fourth grade, I wrote a paper about a bronze Etruscan chariot at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Therefore, I consulted with Thomas G. Palaima, a classics professor at the University of Texas at Austin whose areas of expertise include Aegean and eastern Mediterranean prehistory and archaeology pertaining to inscribed or marked materials. “Any theories regarding Atlantis, as taken from Plato's Timaeus and Critias, immediately take us into the realm of fantasy, rather than science,” says Palaima. “If, a big if, this legendary civilization had any basis in dimly remembered historical fact, the most likely candidate is the island of Thera, Santorini [from the Venetian for Saint Irene], in the Aegean Sea about 70 miles north of Crete.”
Palaima says that island is what remained after a huge volcanic eruption and related ash fallout, and tsunamis scientifically datable to circa 1650-1600 BCE. “Excavations of the city buried under the ash fallout have revealed an extensive town with refined architecture and beautiful wall paintings. Unfortunately, there is little indication of writing, but some clay flat-based nodules with seal impressions on them recently discovered indicate that the Cretan Minoan culture was sending parchment messages to the inhabitants of Thera (or Minoans among them). Even though the culture is clearly Minoan-influenced, there is not enough evidence to say anything about the linguistic affiliations of the inhabitants.
As for the connection between Atlantis and the Tyrrhenians, Palaima says there is absolutely no basis for linking them. “Etruscan does not line up with known language families, but its features also do not line up with what is known of Minoan, from the clay tablets we have from the Minoan palatial civilization (1850-1450 BCE). Herodotus' story of the Tyrrhenians coming from the area of Lydia during a famine is uncorroborated, and there is little, if anything, in the material record to argue for such a link. Some few inscriptions from the historical period on the island of Lemnos in the northeast Aegean – fairly close to the site of Troy – have been linked with somewhat more probability with features of Etruscan and together actually grouped by some scholars as Tyrrhenian. But that affiliation, even if true, does not get us anywhere near Atlantis.”
Palaima says theories about Atlantis are similar to those about still undecipherable scripts, like Minoan Linear A, and the so-called Phaistos disc. “In the words of Maurice Pope, they attract language-proposers as flames do moths or horse races gamblers. Or, one might use a more current analogy. Believing those who claim to know whether a real Atlantis existed, where it was located, and what language Atlantaeans spoke, is like believing the White House that they knew that Iraq had WMD, even after the president's deplorable jokes about the WMD being hidden under White House couches and behind White House drapes. Only the consequences are different.
I also found a quote in a story by the BBC:
American classical scholar Daniel Dombrowski said, “Atlantis was only a powerful literary device invented by Plato, which was to act as a means of highlighting the fate of the ideal state created in Plato's mind's eye. The only place in which Atlantis can be found, in addition to the writings of Plato, is in the minds of those with an imagination as vivid as that of Plato.”
(FYI, Plato lived about 400 years before the birth of Jesus.)
Prong 2: Spiritual
Look at the history; look at the world today. Over the years, people from different religions have quoted their holy words as a justification for whatever is the belief du jour. Therefore, the Ezekiel argument doesn't fly with me.
In Hannah and Her Sisters, Max von Sydow's character Frederick said, "If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name, He'd never stop throwing up." I don't want to be crude, but if Ezekiel were to get a copy of Mr. Brady’s book, well, he might ... might ... disagree.
Accoding to The Encyclopedia of Jewish Knowledge, Ezekiel was one of Judaism's four greatest prophets. The Book of Ezekiel is the chief source of his biography; chapters 1 to 26 relate to the doom of Jerusalem and the balance is devoted to "promise and consolation."
Non-Jewish sources like to connect Ezekiel to the New Testament prophecy of Armageddon. Since I am of the Jewish persuasion, this whole end-times talk really gets me in a tizzy. It’s not that I’m worried about burning in hell – I place more emphasis on the here and now, try to do things as best I can on planet Earth. As I see it, there are some who seem to obsess with dying and the end of the world, as if that’s the main point of the Bible.
But I digress. The popular Left Behind series and others link Ezekiel to the rapture/end times. Vince Aquilino links Ezekiel to God’s judgment against America due to abortion and to what sounds like World War III:
“The DEBKA report is especially interesting when one considers that these same nations are some of the nations expected to join with Russia, Turkey, Libya, Ethiopia, and Iran in the attack against Israel during the Gog and Magog War – predicted in chapters 38 and 39 of the prophet Ezekiel.”
Biblical geography buffs will be glad to know that Discerning the Times Digest further clarifies this by saying, “scholars have traced Magog and Meshec to modern-day Russia, Tubal as southern Russia to the Caucasus Moutains and Caspian Sea, Togahmah to the Central Asian countries between the Caspian Sea and China, Persia as modern Iran, Iraq and Syria, Cush as modern Ethiopia and perhaps Saudi Arabia, and Put as modern Libya.”
Craig White agrees with this theory, plus he adds Japan and other Asian countries to the mix:
“Notice in Ezekiel 38:13 the 'merchants of Tarshish' and her 'young lions' who men call 'young tigers,' who are the Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore, and Thailand, who are modeled after the Japanese, this is why they are called such, say to the invaders of Israel: 'Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?' There saying to the invaders of Israel that you took our greatest trading partners and destroyed them. This is why the ships of Tarshish are howling, because of the destruction of their greatest trading partners the USA, and her allies!
Goodnews Christian Ministry thinks “Tyre” is actually New York City, although it could be Rome. (Wow, what is the margin of error on that?) Their claim is that the September 11 tragedy happened because Ezekiel described a place called Tyre.
At one point in my research, I determined that one could use Google to link Ezekiel to many countries. I played a game in which I entered the words, “Ezekiel prophecy (name of country)” into the search engine. My first try was “Argentina” and what I ended up with was a James P. Dawson argument linking Ezekiel to the Falklands War.
You might say I sound like a person of little faith. Quite the contrary, I do believe in God and I have read the Bible. But I don’t have faith in people who use the Bible to conveniently spin their own yarns. I agree with Aurelia T. Fule, who I think effectively argues against Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and others who “free-quote” Ezekiel as they see fit:
Now can we sit with all these 'learned' men and play a game? If you have a reasonable study Bible you find quite different explanations. Meshech and Tubal and Gomer and Beth-togarmah are Assyrian place names, not surprising in that place and time. The Oxford Annotated Bible footnote adds: 'Though people and places in apocalyptic literature can often be identified, they are part of the literary equipment and should rarely be taken literally.' But if you want to show that before Christ’s return the Soviet Union will attack Israel according to the Scriptures, you have a lot of molding to do.
Prong 3: Everything else
While I am sure J.D. Brady has done his homework, he is not the first to suggest that the Bible contains references to Atlantis and, for that matter, other things. After the time of Plato, people pretty much gave up on writing about Atlantis for more than 2,000 years. Then, in 1882, Ignatius Donnelly released Atlantis, the Antediluvian World in which he took his own multipronged approach to prove the existence of Atlantis. Early on, I think he makes a pretty good argument by saying that for many years, Pompeii was merely a mythical place – and we all know what a discovery Pompeii was. Donnelly also mentions the Noah's Ark story from the Bible and similar stories from other cultures as a possible explanation of the destruction of Atlantis:
“The Noah of the Mexican cataclysm was Coxcox, called by certain peoples Teocipactli or Tezpi. He had saved himself, together with his wife Xochiquetzal, in a bark, or, according to other traditions, on a raft made of cypress-wood (Cupressus disticha). Paintings retracing the deluge of Coxcox have been discovered among the Aztecs, Miztecs, Zapotecs, Tlascaltecs, and Mechoacaneses. In the legends of the Chibchas of Bogota we seem to have distinct reminiscences of Atlantis. The Toltecs traced their migrations back to a starting-point called 'Aztlan,' or 'Atlan.'
In the 20th century, famed psychic Edgar Cayce had many stories about Atlantis. Heinrich Himmler believed an offshoot of the Atlanteans settled in Tibet. There have also been theories of a Nordic-Aryan-Atlantean connection – in fact, at about the time of Plato, Pytheas of Massalía wrote of a place called Thule that was perhaps Scandinavia and/or Atlantis.
In more recent years, Joseph F. Blumrich, a NASA engineer, believed the Book of Ezekiel contained descriptions of Unidentified Flying Objects. In fact, he left NASA to write the ebook Da tat sich der Himmel auf (The Spaceships of Ezekiel). Of course, Erich von Daniken’s bestseller from the 1970s, Chariots of the Gods? also describes the UFO/Ezekiel connection.
End of pronged approach. Whew!
Not sure if you knew, but according to the Dr. Who TV series, the old motto at the Bank of Atlantis was, "The First Bank of Atlantis – it would take a tidal wave for us to lose your money!" Sorry, just had to throw that in there.