Institute Of Biblical Studies Of The Old And New Testaments Giantology: Thoughts on the Discipline and Methods

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Giantology: Thoughts on the Discipline and Methods

When an idea has its time, there is little that can be done to stop it. As such, it’s safe to say that with all the research being done on giants, “gigantology” has become its own field of study. There are certainly qualified scholars—academic and otherwise—doing great work in a multifaceted field using mythology, history, languages, archeology and anthropology. So here we have it: -ology itself, the study of giants.

However, this field is not without persons inexperienced or untrained in the scientific process, testing, or logic. It is already a sensational field due to the nature of its subject matter, but there seems to be a tendency to sensationalize the subjects of giants, which only serves to dampen gigantology. So there are right ways to do it, and wrong ways.

There are all kinds of qualifications you can attach to the discipline. “Biblical” is usually the first that comes to mind, because of the traditions of the Old Testament giants in the text. “World-” or “mythological-” are others, and tend to focus on the ethnological breadth of worldwide traditions over space and time (giganthropology, if you will). “Historical” is another, based on documented accounts of giants in the ancient and modern world. As part of the gigantology family, for material evidence archaeogiantology would be the recovery of physical and artifactual remains of giants.

The species also needs a proper taxonomy if giants are to be placed in the framework of faunal biology. In the most nominal and general terms, we are dealing with hominids of gigantic stature. Therefore the scientific name Homo colossicus (“giant man”) or what is more immediately known as Homo gigantis (man of/of the giants) may suffice. Tribal divisions as described in the Bible would have little to do with taxonomy, but geography may have something to do with it. So the oldest giants could be Homo gigantis antediluvensis, or the giants originating from the Holy Land could be Homo gigantis levantinus, or the giants from North America showing physiological singularities could be Homo gigantis americanus, and so on. so on. However, there is the question of fulfilling the supernatural origin of the giants in the taxonomic designation. In this scenario, Homo titanus (titanic man) both deals with supernatural origins (as Josephus equates the Nephilim with the Greek Titans) and meets the taxonomic criteria without being overly obvious.

Gigantological research basically proceeds along one of three axes, or a combination of them. First, mythological/oral/anthropological traditions come to us from the mythological traditions of cultures around the world. Second, the historical evidence for giants lies in the written records preserved by ancient, medieval, and modern writers. Finally, the material axis calls upon archeology and paleontology to recover the physical remains of the giants and the artifacts and features left behind. As a general rule—in the order I’ve described—the evidence becomes less and less. Genetics, epigenetics, physics, geology and biochemistry also have the potential to provide new insights as well.

Research ethics should also be a high priority for any giant researcher. Thorough scientific methodology must be applied to every project. Any original research in the form of journal articles and books should consider sources. This practice is accountable and allows others to follow and validate or modify researchers’ work. There are any number of publications on the subject of giants without footnotes (too many in my opinion). If one is going to be able to make a case to the world, research must be presented in the language of science, ethically and responsibly. Dissemination of the results of the research project should be equally conscious of such ethics and should be done in a timely manner. Most journals are likely to be reserved to publish, meaning that other sites and even original peer-reviewed journals dealing with giants must eventually materialize through the efforts of (much needed) scientific societies. and professional organizations studying giants.

The above statements are all but a summary of the field of gigantology. It changes every day. There are many other issues to note, but for now, here are the basics for a giant discipline, each one to consider.

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