UFOs in Religious Art? Nope.

Well, it isn’t the ancient world, but it still fits the kind of thing I’m doing on PaleoBabble. I keep getting links and emails related to the “compelling” evidence for UFOs in Renaissance art, so my annoyance meter has passed the tolerable level.

The UFOs in Renaissance art nonsense primarily extends from Matthew Hurley’s website. An informed rebuttal to this has been out on the web for some time, but it apparently hasn’t been widely discussed or circulated — likely due to the fact that most of it isn’t in English.

Art historian Diego Cuoghi (yes, a real art historian) has a website devoted to analyzing the paintings on Hurley’s website. Sorry, they aren’t extraterrestrials and space ships. The main site is here, but it’s in Italian.  But Parts 1 and 5 have been translated into English. I highly recommend them – very interesting and informative, but not for those who are fundamentalist ETH’ers (ExtraTerrestrial Hypothesis).

You definitely need high speed for all these images, too.

66 thoughts on “UFOs in Religious Art? Nope.

  1. Like lightning (I’m geting most of this from other riligions not just Christian ) earthquake. in the movie mosus(don’t know spelling) what I think is called some angels staff of flame that stoped the egyption army is something we could even do today with a napalm flame thrower and a helicopter(or flying saucer) there are just to many things to explain even something as natural as masturbation was called a sign of demon possession the list goes on

  2. And all those good things would still happen out of commen good like nanotechnology I agree it’s a little too much to eccept right away for medicine but none the less it’s commen good

  3. And I think a better title rather than ancient astronaut crowd is non religious crowd who don’t think either way they just think with logic and science

  4. So give me logic cause the napalm and helicopter idea sounds logical to me and I’m degining to sense less argument and more ignorence in the other responses

    • I’m not sure what you mean by the napalm. I’m guessing the helicopter reference is to the Abydos glyphs, which are a palimpset (and well-known to Egyptologists). The palimpset explanation is secure since the glyphs that were over-written creating the “helicopter” are known from other inscriptions. Here’s a link to the palimpset issue (found on a UFO site, no less — at least they were honest): http://www.ufocom.eu/pages/v_us/m_archeo/Abydos/abydos.html

  5. Well to answer the napalm question it basically petroleum jell used in Vietnam war and it’s also used in modern warfare the game for ps3 I’ll have to look at the link cause the helicopter was meant to explain how technology today can do almost the exact same thing as the gods did

    • I’d say you’re not that well acquainted with the sorts of things God / the gods do in ancient literature. A lot of it transcends anything we’re close to.

      • I would have to agree with you. I think the question these so called educated people need to ask themselves is am I asleep. foolish people who educated you, wake up.

  6. Certainly makes me question how advanced alien tech was Back then and I didn’t know about it till now so what do you think the glyphs are?

  7. What I saw on the link was how they found the glyphs and several different opinions on the subject but I didn’t see a definition or explanation of a palimset and give me something that the god did and I’ll try to explain it with science or reference it with UFO sightings

    • a palimpset is the super-imposition of a set of written characters over another set of written characters, the result of which would be odd, undecipherable characters that have no precedent in the written language, and are therefore meaningless. This is the case with the Abydos glyphs since the lintel was once covered by plaster (the original glyphs were covered over for re-use – very common in ancient Egypt. Other glyphs were then carved anew, over the top of the others. When the plaster fell away after centuries, the exposed glyphs had shapes that are not found anywhere else in Egypt. The other reason this explanation is secure is that the original glyphs were formulaic expressions / titulary known from several other temples (about the same person) in Egypt. Egyptologists can (and have) easily retraced the original glyphs and the ones superimposed, so that the “carve over” glyphs (helicopters and such to our eye) are accidental fabrications caused by the recarving.

      Bottom line: Egyptologists know all about the lintel in Seti I’s temple, and know they glyphs are the result of super-imposition of carving — a palimpset. There is no mystery here.

  8. I don’t have any recognized degrees but I do major in sarcasm. As a result, I can categorically state that there’s some really good stuff here, some of which I might even be able to use. :)

    I have over the years taken a lot of criticism about how Christians should not stoop to this “lowest form of wit”. I keep looking but I can’t find the scripture to back up the admonition.

    Thank you for making my day, Mike.

  9. It would be futile to argue and rant about why I think I’m right or why I think you’re wrong, but I’m genuinely interested in an open dialogue, since I do love history, and I love ancient history, and I’ve seen enough examples to corroborate the ‘ancient astronaut theory’ where conventional history either offers no explanation or a flat-out dead-end. So I’ll refer to some specific points of contention and perhaps you could give me some feedback, without being rude, nasty or condescending. Here goes:
    -Sumerian Star Map depicting Pluto and the other planets of our solar system at point in time that conventional science says is impossible.
    -How the carvings in some of the egyptian temples and pyramids are deep and underground, not allowing for light, so there should be carbon stains on the roof to allow for torches, since it would have been the only conventional way to light up a dark corridor—and reflecting torches through ‘shields’ has been debunked as inadequate for the cause
    -How many artifacts and carvings in Egypt are simply unaknowledged by mainstream Egyptologists, and in some cases these treasures are abandoned and ignored.
    -How is it that a stone carving of an Egyptian style pyramid with an eye carved at its head be discovered in a sealed tunnel in South America, in ruins far older than those of the Ancient Mayans and Incans?
    -How can a people with stoneage technology accurately and proportionally layout the pyramids at Giza to line-up perfectly with Orion’s belt?
    -An ancient city in India, Harappa, recorded in the vedic texts as being subjected to a war of the “gods,” heralded highly by the ancient alien adherents, appears to be irradiated (http://veda.wikidot.com/ancient-city-found-in-india-irradiated-from-atomic-blast). There’s even examples of sand heated to the point of fusing into glass.
    -The near perfectly symmetrical cuts of stone at Chichanitza, Peru–done by a supposedly stone-age culture.
    -How is it that several attempts were made at constructing a pyramid by teams of Archealogists, both from Japan and the U.S. yet, neither were successful in even carving a single cut block, using the only tools supposedly available to them at the time?
    I could go on and on, but I’m sure you have more important things to do than to validate or debunk instances of possible E.T. interaction with the Ancients. I will say this, though. Our history books and museums are presided and created by individuals, like your self, who’ve spent many hours pouring over texts, writing papers, dissertations, books, etc… Many reputations and careers have been made through accumulating all this knowledge gained through a point of view that already assumes we are the center of the universe, we did it all ourselves, and we were so good at it that we forgot just how and why we did it. Furthermore, the fact that so many others, like Michael Cremo, Richard C. Hoagland, Robert Bauval, Joseph Felser and many others who have been trying to present alternative theories with evidence and support, and yet find themselves silenced, ignored or discredited and laughed at by the gate-keepers of the status-quo. While you may find holes in the popular projections of Ancient Aliens, you ignore a multitude of others, either because you are either unaware or because you know that it doesn’t fit into your narrative and so you ommit or discredit it. If you find it so bothersome that some people give legitimacy to the ancient astronaut theory because it undermines human achievement, I would suggest that you do more injustice to our ancestors by simply dismissing them as supersticious primitive brutes with bad hygiene who figured out how to wield a mean hammer and chisel. In much the same way that Galileo was derided and persecuted for his radical theory on planetary orbits, or Coppernicus’ silly insistance of a heliocentric model for the universe deemed heretical, conventional historians are destroying history AND a human legacy that goes much further back than what we’ve been lead to believe.


    • basically every item in this question is addressed elsewhere on this blog, my sitchiniswrong.com site (e.g., there is no Sumerian map with Pluto), or Jason Colavito’s blog, whose work I reference here periodically. Nothing new (literally) here that hasn’t been soundly debunked. I note this for readers – who can Google the items listed with these sites and find the information.

  10. However I tend to doubt this kind of sighting or close encounter because the aliens are almost always naked(you think they would wear clothes of some sort)

  11. Dear Dr. Heiser, I would like to thank you for your hard work & free information that you offer in your field of study; I do think that Sitchin is just getting aged, but his books have made an impact no doubt. Astronomical professionals do need to enter the conversation because if researchers such as yourself in the humanities are taught that the ancients only knew of 5 planets, then that is the paradigm that prevails in all your translations & researches, that new ways of looking at written & archaeological ruins is not such a bad thing. I love ancient history, studied the history of science in grad school, and these new theories intrigue me, not only because of a small ufo that sailed over my head in the early 1960s, as a kid, in daylight, it just makes one wonder…. I often think –how great that all over America on Sundays, some Saturdays, people are studying ancient words & writings every week in churches & synagogues; (wish the ancient Greeks weren’t so forgotten in modern curricula) , but I am grateful for the little bit of ancient history that is faithfully kept alive… or the analysis of the antikythera device that is called a 2000 year old computer a documentary easily found on you-tube, just thrills my soul to see the scientists, engineers, & mathematicians reexamine an ancient artifact & decode its meaning in the truest sense of that word, what a miraculous effort & find! anyway, that young people & others are even bothering with all this ancient stuff , warms my heart actually! that false claims & beliefs follow is just the nature of the beast in any endeavor of knowledge… I am still happy that it leads to inquiry, that “modern” man is not the epitome of all that is known… that just like science, new ideas & contributions come from discussions & effort, all around. when the agendas begin & the book-selling & the tyranny of thought ( I am right, you can’t be right) is when the trouble begins :) but as I was taught in history & historiography courses & some of the best ancient history of science professors, who conveyed to me , the profound, I think, thought, that: “the only way we can do history at all, is because human nature is the same”, it has not changed one iota! that we have more information to sort through, it’s a good thing, but full of trappings & pitfalls as well. take the word “LOGOS”, so used by Christians, but it’s the ancient Greek contributions that drive me, “reason,” /use of logic, not emotion/ the sound, language/communication/ speech, the “music of the spheres” or “the Word”… not a simple translation… in any language, but one full of so much meaning! :) So, I do thank you for your efforts & wonderful illustrations & thoughtful analyses & expertise on all this… that you take your time to do so, very commendable, thank you.

  12. I forgot to mention that I studied Beginning Astronomy through the Great Courses sets, I was unable to view the whole course again to really learn anything, it just was like dragging me through the motions, a memorization of an infinity of information so that nothing stuck with me, kind-of-thing. Whereas, when I read mythology stories, or Sitchin’s procession of the equinoxes explanations & applications, or look up in the early morning hours & actually see Orion the hunter & the belt , right there, in the East, well, it makes real sense to me, it comes alive, it relates other matters of the humanities & correlations that begin to “speak”, really “SPEAK” to me, & make me think, yes, but make me feel, & on&on&on…. I guess what I am trying to say is that the ancients knew best, you tell it as a story, you imply all the metaphorical & factual & thematic issues so important to humanity, and , “wall-ah”, the meme begins to mean one thing, then somethings & everything, all at once.!… thank you again for your work & knowledge.

  13. Although I risk trying your patience, I must also mention the female you corrected on the masculine Hebrew word Elohim, to have a little patience with her, that after millennia of patriarchal societies, where it was primarily believed the entire human being was delivered by sperm, that women were simply “necessary” to contain & nurture the fetus to term , as a ‘receptacle’ of sorts, science is now telling us that equal numbers of genes are contributed between the two, yet women were given the vote in this country only after black “men” & only after a huge struggle to attain it, that culture & history have been less than patient & kind with 50% percent of humanity called female. But even more shocking, really, in science is the fact that all the cells in your, mine, all humans’ bodies are powered by mitochondrial (mt)DNA, from the female only, the mother. the implications of this in evolutionary terms are astoundingly profound to say the least. In fact, I find the Greek myth of Pandora so much more meaningful than the Hebrew account of creation, that evil (Greeks called her a punishment, yes, but also a “beautiful evil” :) & “hope” left on the lid of the jar (or uterus?) but not a box! So why was hope in a jar of evils? & more are explored , not the Genesis “expulsion & rejection & blame”, but a more beautiful concept of explanation without the accusatory nature of the Hebrew myth. Have patience with a gender that is only now making its way in a very much historically man’s-world…

    also, for the philosophy of science, there is a wonderful professor with a BS in physics who turned to humanities (history & philosophy of science), Dr. Steven Goldman, whose first lecture is absolutely a must-view on you-tube! He tries to integrate the sciences & social culture, but his Great Course: “Science Wars: What Scientists Know & How They Know It” is fascinating history/philosophy but particularly the first introductory lecture: “Knowledge & Truth are Age-Old Problems”; it is available on you-tube. Also, his historical analysis of Galileo & the role of the Christian Church makes much more clear the actual history of that beginning of the West’s developments with science, contrary to most people’s understanding (or misunderstanding) of that event . just one reason that so many are turning away from religion particularly Christianity altogether, sad, yet they are unaware of the actual history….
    ALSO, it is amazing , that when the ancient Greek natural philosophers who form the second important path in Western Civilization (logos), the ethos part contributed by the Hebrews, still we deal with the 3rd, pathos, always …., :), turned to natural, not theological, causations, led us to better bridges, computers, etcetcetc, those engineering & knowledge feats are not deemed threatening, but when biological & geological theories open up cans of worms, the religious are threatened to the point of ‘madness’ seems to me, all based on ancient concepts & stories, is also another reason that religion is under attack, & why atheism is the fastest growing religion (& it IS a belief system) in the U.S. & promoted by the likes of Richard Dawkins, et al, not sure why they are preaching “non-science” stuff….
    Thank you so much for your patience & contributions to humanity; I hope to hear some of your thoughts. sincerely, Susan McDonald

  14. re: dialogues by persons with opposing points vs. time savings
    by utilizing the logic tests, racom razor and other logic tests
    and check off if the theory is sustainable based on facts
    , factual research and not based on quasi religious or other
    faith based speculations

    In this argument, I would challenge both proponents to
    , again, perform the research in academic papers
    and academically produced theories about this matter.

    Then, stop personalizing this argument; stick with provable
    facts and the racom razor test and other logic tests.

    Then, I would challenge them to try this dialogue, again,
    after investing time in academic readings.

    If one comes in determined to believe a certain theory over
    all other tests and research, it wastes the time of the other
    person to attempt in any meaningful dialogue.

    (paraphrase from Petrie, egyptologist , considered the
    greatest hands on archeologist in the studies of the
    pyramids, all 37 pyramids, and of that ancient

    Scanning at least 2 or 3 of the 30 or more books written by
    Petrie should make this dialogue fruitful for all parties.

    dr. jack clemes, museum curator and applied sciences/arts degrees

  15. I looked at your pseudo debunking and realized that we were created by aliens and that the gods to us. Your debunking these idiotic.

  16. Your website you directed G to doesn’t explain anything on the points he brought up. Just basically gives examples of what certain theories are and that you say they are wrong with no real scientific backing, just “explained in scholarly texts”. My least favorite kind of pompous know it all, the know not at all.

    • “The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds.”
      John F. Kennedy, 1962 address at Rice University concerning the “Space Effort”

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