Hey, and welcome to the short stuff. I'm Josh and there's Chuck and there's Jerry again, sitting in for the producer, Dave C.. And this is short stuff, as I've already said.
That's right. And we're talking about books. What is a book? What is in the book? Mm hmm. Old bolls. That book in the window. Sure. The one with the wagger detail.
That's right. Till we get going. I thought we already had, but yes, let's keep going. So there's this book in in the National Museum of History in Bulgaria, and it is what some people consider the oldest book in the world. Have you seen pictures of it? I have. It's six pages of gold sheet, like the pages are gold and not like they took paper and put gold around it or the edges are gilded. It is like a sheet of gold medal and there's six pages like that and they're bound together.
And it's written in Etruscan. And the Etruscans were the direct predecessors to the Romans. They kind of ran the area. I think their heyday was around 500 BCE and they're kind of this mysterious group because we haven't deciphered their their writing yet. But we know that this is an Etruscan book. And so a lot of people say, there you have it, everybody. The oldest book in the world is called The Gold or Physical Book. And this is it.
Yes, it is.
Actual multiple pages. Like you said, it is bound. There are illustrations. There's a mermaid and a harp and some soldiers and a horse rider. And, you know, they say this thing is 2500 years old. They found it along a river, the Stralman River in southwestern Bulgaria and a tomb. It was donated. This is all kind of mysterious. It was donated by an anonymous person and then authenticated by two anonymous scientists.
Yeah, a sketchy it sounds like aliens to me, but the debate then started.
Well, that's not true. There's always been debates about what is the oldest this what's the oldest that what's the oldest book. And if you think about all this book, it becomes a little bit of an esoteric question because you have to ask yourself, what is the book? Could it be a clay tablet or a scroll or, you know, can it be something that is it doesn't tell a story. It's just like accounting records really have to sort of define what the book is first.
So, I mean, a lot of people would define a book by its physical attributes. Right. Like its a certain shape, it's bound together. That's a big one for a lot of people. Some people say it has to be on paper, which would discount the gold or physical book. And then other people say, well, no, no, it's just gotta like tell a story, say, and it can be on anything and it doesn't have to be bound together.
And this is when everybody goes, oh, boy, here we go. Right comes another debate on what constitutes a book.
Yeah, but it's not an angry debate, is it? No, it's not angry, but yeah, I'm angered by it because I think it's largely unnecessary.
And there is a person cited in this House to Works article who I suspect purposefully obfuscates this and initiates this debate because they don't want this question ever to be answered.
Are you talking about Laurent Feri? Mm hmm. Yeah. This is a curator of rare books and manuscripts at Cornell and Cornell, and they were actually interviewed for this HowStuffWorks article about eleven years ago. Right. And Cornell is in possession of these clay tablets that they maintain the largest in the world. And they're pretty old. And some people might say, well, those are books. But most of those, like I said, about like tax records, their financial records, legal proceedings, they don't espouse any world view.
So I think their end, that means they are not books. Yeah.
Laurent Fary says a book would be something that has a binding and that espouses the world view. Right. So, yeah, you can discount those clay tablets. They're there. They just don't they don't count as a book. But the other people, they would count as a book. So so they said, well, OK, Laurent Ferrey, what is the oldest book then in Fairy said either Homer's Iliad or The Epic of Gilgamesh. The problem is and this is where I think Lauren Ferrier's purposefully doing this, just to keep this debate going because they like to talk about this kind of stuff.
So the Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest, is a very old book. The British Museum has one, but it's written on clay tablets from the 7th century BCE and yeah, it's not bound. So the very example that this curator gave as the oldest book doesn't even fall within their own parameters.
And here's where I start to get angry. All right. Well, let's take a break then for you, Hulk out and Hulk Smash. Right. And we'll be right back to well, we're not going to settle any debate, but we'll just talk about it more and make you more mad.
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All right, let's let's get back to me getting mad. Well, it depends on who you talk to you. If you start bringing religion into it and all this stuff, then, of course, you're going to have people that say you might have Christians that say, well, the Bible is clearly the oldest book because the world is, you know, only a few thousand years old. And the Bible was written right after that. So what's older than that, Bob?
Right, exactly. And biblical scholars will say and scientists will say, well, actually, the Bible was written over many, many hundreds of years. And a lot of these stories that were written were hundreds of years after the events that they're talking about even. Right.
But they don't say that to the people who say the the world's a few thousand years old and the Bible was written right after they the scholars turned to the rest of us and say, well, obviously, these things were written over centuries after these events.
So here's the thing. That's another thing that Lauren Ferry does, is what about religion? Why would you bring that part into it? That's not fair. They're just trying to do this. And then there was another one, too, that they said to is, well, you know, some books are not it's not like the stories were created out of whole cloth. Right. When the books are written, a lot of them are based on oral traditions.
And these oral traditions far predate any of the books that are these all these books that are written.
And it does not matter. It does not matter if the book is a brand new story but is still older than any other book, then a book that was published in the 50s based on an oral tradition from 5000 years ago. That older book is going to be the older book. This Laurant very person is really getting under my skin.
Yeah, it can't be a book isn't a story.
A book is a story that has been bound and written. And you know what I'm saying? My definition, it doesn't have to be bound if you give me a scroll. OK, that's got it. That's got a good beginning, middle and end to it. Yeah. Then that's a book.
So there's papyri that are 4500 years old that would that would qualify them because I mean it's a book, but it's just one long page.
All right, that's a book. OK. All right to me, so we're hot on the trail here, at least as far as what you consider a book.
I mean, Kerouac wrote on rolls of toilet paper. Right?
He wrote on was a rolls of toilet paper. I know it was a very long roll of of paper over like 48 or 72 hours or something like that and like it.
That was the story in the book. But you can't sell stuff like that, so you have to buy them in the traditional form so you can put them on your shelf.
Exactly. But yeah. Was it not a book before when it was just on one long scroll? It's a really great point.
Now I'm getting mad at us. No, not us. Very, very long.
Very mad at them. All right.
There's another question is what constitutes a book? What kind of book are you talking about?
If you're talking about a printed book in the in the understanding of printing that we have here in the modern world? Well, then that's easy to settle. The Gutenberg Bible or the the book printed right before the Gutenberg Bible. Me and I wish I would have looked it up. I just forgot about it. Did a whole episode.
I know, but whatever Book Gutenberg put out first, that would that would qualify. But then you remember in that episode we talked about China had printers that they didn't use moveable type. They they used woodblock printing, but they were still printing books. Those are so, you know, OK, but then other people say well before printing, before automatic printing, there was handwriting, but they were still writing books. OK, well, then now you're talking about manuscripts.
So so actually you come back to the biblical people and say, well, what you got? And they say, well, we have manuscripts that were written in the 4th century. That's pretty old, isn't it? And you say and that's pretty old. But is it is is it any more of a book than the Gold Orpheum book? Right.
I don't even know where we are now in this debate, to be honest, because I. I think I'm backing myself into a corner that I painted myself into.
You can just walk right out of it, just say, this is what I now think. I think it can be handwritten, OK, because Jack Kerouac was writing with his hand. Okay. I think he can be on the scroll. He can't be an oral story. I agree.
Then I'm going to say it doesn't have to be bound. If you want to sell it, it might have to be bound. But then you're getting into consumerism and like, you know, that whole argument.
But I think it has to be connected in some way. So, like, if it's one long scroll, those pages are still connected. Yeah, so what are you saying if they slice that scroll up into 100 sheets and just stack them? That's not a book.
Yeah, because it's mainly because there's a trust in gold sheets that are not connected that that would not really qualify as a book like the gold or pheasant book that are actually older than the Gold or Chiasm book.
But they wouldn't count. They're just pages. You got pages, not a book.
Pages are part of a book. All right. I guess it's here.
Good point. I should reveal to the world that I am Laurent Faery.
Oh, my gosh. He just ripped off his mask. At first he was Bob Ukr and then he was Laurent Feri above UK. Well, is that from.
I think that was one of those Budweiser Miller commercials. Right. I thought it was a great gun or something. Go back and watch some of those sometime on YouTube. Those are fantastic. Yeah, they really.
It was Miller, wasn't it? Yeah. Miller Lite. Great bits of nostalgia.
Wow. We were raised on TV, weren't we. Dang straight. Well, I'll tell you who was raised on books.
Laurent Faery and who was raised on radio. Jurnee That's right. And how could you get any better as far as endings go to that? Chuck agreed. Well, everybody short stuff is at.
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