9 Iyyar 5772
Day 24 of the Omer
Talmud: "If they tell you there is wisdom amongst the other nations, believe them. If they tell you there is Torah among the nations, don't believe them." (Midrash Rabbah, Eichah 17)
...Maimonides took that last statement of the Talmud quite practically. Concerning studying astronomy from the writings of idolatrous Greeks, he writes, "Accept the truth from wherever it comes."
Okay, so he qualifies himself by saying that this wisdom was originally among the Tribe of Issachar but was lost from the Jews, so now we have to restore it by learning from the Greeks. So too, others write about all the sciences we have learned from Greeks, Persians and whoever else -- that they all originated from Abraham and later Solomon, but were then lost, only for us to regain it from other nations. (See The Murky Truth About Truth)
In response to a reader's email, I want to clarify something about the Mayan calendar system. First and foremost, it should be understood that the Mayans did not originate the technologically advanced information upon which their calendar was built. Some people have speculated that it originated with either a highly developed ancient civilization that predated the pyramids or even with extraterrestrial visitors.
Originally, Adam possessed all the ancient knowledge that is used as the basis for these calendars. It was passed down as an oral tradition until someone wrote it down. Jewish sources say...
...Seder Hadorot tells that Enoch was the first one to write a book on astronomy. In the pseudepigraph Book of Enoch, a compilation of books detailing the experiences, the prophecies, and teachings of Enoch, there is a book entitled The courses of the Heavenly Luminaries. This is chapters 72 through 82 of the Book of Enoch, and they are devoted to describing the changing times for the rising and the setting of the sun through the solar year, the waxing and waning of the moon through the lunar month and year.
The ancient Greeks identified Enoch with Hermes Trismegistus. The Greeks wrote that Enoch taught the sons of men the art of building cities, the knowledge of the Zodiac, and the course of the Planets. We also find Enoch's association with astronomy and arithmetic in Sefer Yuhasin. In the Book of Jubilees, Enoch was the inventor of the art of writing. This is also so according to Masonic lore. The correlation of these accomplishments of Enoch and the meaning of the term Maya in different cultures is immediately apparent and surely not a coincidence.
The Midrash explains how Enoch obtained his knowledge. Read more here.