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Debate on the polytheistic past of monotheism

Discussion in 'Ethics & Morality' started by ShamashUruk, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
    Other Religion
    I wonder if it is possible to find copies of the Old Testament from 1213 BC or earlier. As I know the oldest known script used for the Bible is Phoenician and occurs in The Tetragrammaton. It's possible there were older written copies in other, maybe older scripts. The tradition is that most of it was written down by St. Moses, who maybe contemporary with Ramesses II, who supposedly died 1213 BC. The earliest alphabet was made for Semitic languages, maybe Hebrew, impossible to know, and it's from 1900 to 1800 BC. Search for the Wadi El-Hol Script. If there are digs in Israel it's possible we could find the Old Testament in Hebrew using the Ugaritic alphabet. The Ugaritic writings (hill's and in ruins north of Israel) sound like they're imitations of the Bible and are all from about 1300s to 1180 BC. So there are older copies of a few Ugaritic Bible writings than copies of the Bible, however a copy of the original bible, no one has that.

    Which leads me to the beginning of my debate, Bronze Age translatability. The observations in history as the Egyptians had identified foreign gods with their own deities, so that the goddess of Byblos was a Hat–Hor to them and various Asiatic gods which were Seth to them. There were also two cosmopolitan forces at work a worship of Asiatic gods as to the shrines in Asia and the domestication of Asiatic gods in Egypt. The identifications of Egyptian and Western Semitic deities that resulted from the Egyptian counter with religious culture of Western Asia. And indicates such identifications were based on a perception of function and gender shared by the deities in question. Another thing is to acknowledge attendant conditions, which signal at this early point in the study the fact that translatability, was oft related to larger culture and religious factors.

    Here's an example of translatability, the substitution of divine names in the poem describing ramsesses II battle of Kadesh known from the Luxor text. The Egyptian king brags "I was like seth in his time". The same poem as recorded at Abydos, has the name of the God Montu instead of Seth; and a third copy known from a papyri has baal. The substitutions show the names of three warrior gods, to them Egyptian, Seth and Montu, and third Baal who would have been a West Semitic import. Just as I have seen other texts the function of each God relates to the culture of each God, but more so each is a figure of divine might. Certain observations seen by many other Near East researchers have discussed cross-cultural recognition of deities. Concerning the subject of "intercultural translation", of deities. The characterization or quality of intercultural translation is that the conviction that God or the Gods are international was characteristic of polytheistic religions of the ancient near East.

    Concerning this the deities of these polytheistic cultures are clearly differentiated and personalized by name, shape, and function. The great achievement of polytheism is an articulation of a common semantic universe. The gods are given a semantic dimension, by means of mythical narratives and Theo-cosmological speculations. Because tribal religions are ethnocentric, the powers worshiped by one tribe are different from the powers worshiped by another tribe; in contrast the highly differentiated members of polytheistic pantheons lend themselves easily to cross-cultural translation. For example, the end interpretatio Latina of Greek divinities and the interpretatio Graeca of Egyptian ones. Translation functions because the names have not only a reference, but also a meaning. The meaning of a deity is his or her specific character as it is in hymns, myths, rites, and so on.

    We can see this with isker and later on hadad and then Baal, all three are storm Gods.

    The Bible itself ignores a great deal of how other culture's functioned and what other culture's wrote, how other culture's had influence on other culture's, unless it specifically is pointing out a specified event, at the same time Biblical symbolism is manifested in Biblical scripture. The Bible does this very well and often the reader has a biased viewpoint of the Bible.

    We can begin with structure's of divinity to build a basis for biblical aforethought. So anthropomorphic deities and divine monsters, would be a good place to start.

    Benevolent deities are often rendered anthropomorphically, whereas destructive divinities appear as monstrous in character. Moreover, theriomorphic representations reflect the dichotomy between deities and cosmic enemies. Whereas cosmic enemies are monstrous or undomesticated, the animals associated with benevolent deities (“attribute animals”) lie within the orbit of cultural domestication.

    Here is a Biblical example, El often bears the title, “Bull” (CAT 1.1 III 26, IV 12, V 22; 1.2 I 16, 33, 36, III 16, 17, 19, 21; 1.3 IV 54, V 10, 35; 1.4 I 4, II 10, III 31, IV 39, 47; 1.6 IV 10, VI 26, 26; cf. 1.128.7). In this connection, the personal name ’iltr, “El is Bull,” may be noted (4.607.32).37 Baal is presented as a bull-calf (1.5 V 17–21; 1.10 II–III, esp. III 33–37; cf. 1.11), and here we may note P. The characterization of the bull as the storm-god’s “attribute animal” in Syrian glyptic.

    In this connection, the bull or bull-calf mentioned in the Bible may reflect the iconography associated with El and Baal. El’s iconographic representation may underlie the image of the divine as having horns “like the horns of the wild ox” in Numbers 24:8, for this passage shows other marks of language associated with El. Many scholars are inclined to see El’s rather than Baal’s iconography behind the famous “golden calf” of Exodus 32 and the bull images erected by Jeroboam I at Bethel and Dan (1 Kings 12), but this iconography has been traced back to Baal as well. Here we might include not only the depiction of Baal in the Ugaritic texts but also the “fierce young bull” (symbol) of the storm-god, Adad. Nonetheless, the tradition in ancient Israel favors Bethel originally as an old cult-site of the god El (secondarily overlaid—if not identified—with the cult of Yahweh), perhaps as the place-name Bethel (literally, “house of El”) would suggest (Genesis 28:10–22).

    The biblical hymn of Psalm 148:7 calls on the cosmic sea creature Tannin to join in praising Yahweh. Mesopotamian culture, too, regarded monstrous creatures as subservient to deities, so the kindly attitude toward cosmic monsters may not be an Israelite innovation. Indeed, this view of the monstrous enemies recalls El’s special relationship with these foes, expressed through various “terms of endearment” and other nomenclature. The Ugaritic material is especially rich in terms of endearment between El and the cosmic enemies. The locus classicus for this phenomenon is Anat’s speech to Gpn w-Ugr in CAT 1.3 III 36–1.3 IV 1, which you can search for online.

    Different images are used for the monstrous cosmic forces’ relationship to El. Here Yamm and Arsh are called his “beloved” (ydd ’il/mdd ’il). Like these cosmic monsters, Mot is cast with the same title elsewhere. This title bears a particular cultural freight and association. Commonly taken as an expression of El’s preferred feeling for Yamm, the word may more precisely denote El’s legal selection of Yamm over the other gods in his family.

    This is just a small example of relation between how "monsters" and "demons" are categorized in both ancient near eastern texts and biblical text.

    Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan by author John Day

    Another Near East comparison is Ezekiel 30:10-13 Thus saith the Lord God; I will also make the multitude of Egypt to cease by the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon. 11 He and his people with him, the terrible of the nations, shall be brought to destroy the land: and they shall draw their swords against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain. 12 And I will make the rivers dry, and sell the land into the hand of the wicked: and I will make the land waste, and all that is therein, by the hand of strangers: I the Lord have spoken it. 13 Thus saith the Lord God; I will also destroy the idols, and I will cause their images to cease out of Noph; and there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt: and I will put a fear in the land of Egypt. The poetic imagery in those verses reflects Nabopolassar (Nabopolassar | king of Chaldea) when he engaged in a campaign of death and literal apocalyptic destruction against Assyria and its allies, which was continued by his son Nebuchadnezzar. In short, much of the biblical prophecy you see reflects earlier events and behaviors of earlier kings.

    As far as an "end times" prophecy is concerned, there is a Sumer tablet that talks about animals becoming extinct, which has happened wherein animals have become extinct, 11 Animals That Are Now Extinct... Thanks To Humans this is not to say that all animals will become extinct but some have and some will or might become extinct. But, this does not point to an "end times" prophecy.

    Of course a Christian can argue that this is much different than the "prophetic" visions of John on Patmos. However, in the book of revelation we see a running theme and throughout much of the Bible with Horses being used for war scenarios, divination concerning Horses is called Hippomancy. From (The King and I: Exiled To Patmos, Part 2) we can see that researchers found a Hippodrome (ancient Grecian stadium for horse racing and chariot racing) on the Island of Patmos. The rest of the article asserts that "the book of Revelation seems to reflect life on the island. Weather phenomena like white clouds (14:14), thunder and lightning (11:19; 14:2), great hail (8:7; 11:19; 16:21) and rainbows (4:3; 10:1) are common. From the peak of Mt. Elias, 269 m (883 ft) above sea level, one has a spectacular view of the Aegean Sea islands to the west and the mountains of Asia Minor (Turkey) to the east. There are at least 22 references to the “sea” in Revelation (4:6; 5:13; 7:1, 2, 3; 8:8, 9; 10:2, 5, 8; 12:12; 13:1; 14:2, 7; 15:2; 16:3; 18:17, 19, 21; 19:6; 20:13; 21:1). J.C. Fitzpatrick, visiting the island in the 1880’s, observed:

    The islands to the west stand out darkly against the brightness of the horizon; and the others are lighted up with the glory of the setting sun, whilst the track of its last rays is a “sea of glass, mingled with fire” (Rv. 15:2; 1887: 16).

    In Revelation 6:14 and 16:20 John describes the islands of the Aegean and the mountains of western Turkey disappearing."

    Of course I am not debating this issue, but can at a later time; we should stick to the argument of the polytheistic past of monotheistic belief systems.

    Even in the flood of Noah, we find issues with the relation of usage of wording by the Bible.

    Make yourself an ark (tēvāh) of gopher wood [came the instruction]; make rooms

    (qinnīm) in the ark, and cover it (kāpar) inside and out with pitch (kopher). This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and put the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks. Genesis 6:14–16

    The biblical word Tēvāh, which is used for the arks of Noah concerning gopher wood in the Hebrew Bible. The flood is thus deliberately associated and linked in Hebrew just as the Atrahasis and Sargon Arks are linked associatively in Babylonia.

    Problem is no one knows what language Tēvāh is or what it means. The word for the wood, gopher, is likewise used nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible and no one knows what language or what kind of wood it is. This is a peculiar state of affairs for one of the most famous and influential paragraphs in all of the

    world’s writing.

    The associated words kopher, ‘bitumen’, and kāphar, ‘to smear on’, are also to be

    found nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible, but, significantly, they came from

    Babylonia with the narrative itself, deriving from Akkadian kupru, ‘bitumen’, and

    kapāru, ‘to smear on’. In view of this it is logical to expect that tēvāh and gopher are similarly loanwords from Babylonian Akkadian into Hebrew, but there has been no convincing candidate for either word. Suggestions have been made for gopher-wood, but the identification, or the non-Hebrew word that lies behind it, remains open.

    Ideas have also been put forward over the centuries concerning the word tēvāh, some linking it – because Moses was in Egypt – with the ancient Egyptian word thebet, meaning ‘box’ or ‘coffin’, but these have ended nowhere. The most likely explanation is that tēvāh, like other ark words, reflects a Babylonian word.

    Even if you were to reference Strong's concordance, you will not find that Tevah means gopher wood, so my question is if the Biblical texts misenterprets the word Tevah for gopher wood, what were the intentions of the Biblical God by misinterpreting that specific word?

    The Ark before Noah by author: Irving Finkel

    Lastly the talk of storm Gods, the original epithet Baalu as personal name of the Semitic storm-god, Haddu, as primarily attested in texts from Ugarit for the Late Bronze Age, continued without interruption in the Iron Age cultures of Syro-Palestine and South Anatolia. The storm-god is always called Baaal in Phoenician texts; the ‘Canaanite’ storm-god is also called Baaal in the Old Testament.36 By contrast the inherited Semitic name of the storm-god lived on in the form Hadad

    (Hadda) in the Aramaean dominated interior of Syria and in Upper Mesopotamia (see 4.3.4). Of course the name Baaal did not always stand for a storm-god, for, as in earlier periods, particularly in connection with a place-name it could serve as an independent epithet of a local leading deity of any kind. In those regions which

    were in contact with Babylonia, Bèl(-Marduk) was then appropriated and fused with the Syrian Baaal (cf. the god Bel [< Bol] in Palmyra).

    Storm Gods of the Ancient Near East by author: Daniel Schwemer

    Similarly we find in Biblical verses the myth hero Jesus as similar to the functions of Ba'al in Canaanite literature, Mark 4:39 "And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm." Matthew 8: 23-27 In these verses we see Jesus and specifically verse 26 "And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm." A clear indication of the attributes of a Storm God who would also be considered a Sky God. One of important manifestation of the Hittite Tarhun(t) was regularly called “storm-god of heaven” (from the Old Hittite period; similarly to be assumed for Hattic Taru). An epitath refers to the main manifestation of the individual deity (residing in heaven) by contrast to the diverse local manifestations, which were associated with particular earthly places. But this may be a weak point, so I offer this instead.

    "Some of the older Israelite poems juxtapose imagery associated with El and Baal in the Ugaritic texts and apply this juxtaposition of attributes to Yahweh. It was noted that Genesis 49:25-26, for example, exhibits language deriving from El and Asherah. According to F. M. Cross, 256 Deuteronomy 33:26-27 mixes El and Baal epithets. Verse 26 describes Yahweh in storm language traditional to Baal while verse 27 applies to Yahweh the phrase, ‘ĕlōhê qedem, “the ancient god,” a description reflecting El’s great age:

    There is none like God, O Jeshurun,

    who rides (rōkēb) through the heavens (šāmayim) to your help,

    and in his majesty through the skies.

    The eternal God (’ĕlōhê qedem) is your dwelling place ...

    Psalm 18 (2 Sam. 22):14-16 (E 13-15) likewise juxtaposes El and Baal imagery or titles for Yahweh:

    Yahweh also thundered in the heavens,

    and the Most High (‘elyôn) uttered his voice,

    hailstones and coals of fire.

    And he sent out his arrows,

    and scattered them;

    he flashed forth lightnings,

    and routed them.

    Then the channels of the sea (’ăpîqê mayim) were seen ...

    This passage bears two explicit hallmarks of El language within a passage primarily describing a storm theophany of the type predicated of Baal in Ugaritic literature. The title ‘elyôn is an old epithet of El.

    In Genesis 14:19 it occurs as a title of the god of the patriarchs, and it appears in the older poetic compositions for the god of Israel (see also Num. 24:4; cf. Deut. 32:8). It is a common divine title in the Psalter (Pss. 93; 21:8; 46:5; 50:14; 57:3; 73:11; 77:11; 78:17, 35, 56; 83:19; 91:1, 9; 92:2;

    107:11). In Psalm 82:6 it appears in the phrase bĕnê ‘elyôn. There it refers to other deities and reflects El’s role as father of the gods. The “channels of the sea” (ăpîqê mayim) perhaps echo the description of the waters of El’s abode, called mbk nhrm//’apq thmtm, “springs of the two rivers//the channels of the double-deeps” (KTU 1.2 III 4; 1.3 V 14; 1.4IV 21-22; 1.5 VI 1*;

    1.6 1 34; 1.17 VI 48; cf. 1. 100.2-3). Besides the features associated with El in Canaanite tradition, Psalm 18:14-16 describes Yahweh as a divine warrior, manifesting his divine weaponry in the storm like Baal in the Ugaritic texts.

    In these passages, Deuteronomy 33:26-27, Psalm 18 (2 Sam. 22):14-16, as well as Genesis 49:25-26, imagery regularly applied to El and Baal in Northwest Semitic literature was attributed to Yahweh at a relatively early point in Israel’s religious history. Moreover, in applying this imagery to Yahweh, these passages combine or conflate the imagery of more than one Canaanite deity. Other poetic passages treated in subsequent chapters, such as Psalm 68 and Deuteronomy 32, offer further examples of conflation or convergence of divine language associated with a variety of deities in Canaanite literature. Such convergence in Israel’s earliest history occurs in other forms. The modes and content of revelation appropriate to El and Baal appear in conflated form in the earliest levels of biblical tradition.263 Likewise, Psalm 27 describes the divine dwelling in terms

    used of El’s and Baal’s homes in Canaanite tradition. Psalm 27:6 calls Yahweh’s home a tent (*‘ōhel) like El’s dwelling in the Elkunirsa myth. Psalm 27:4 calls Yahweh’s home a “house” (bêt), language more characteristic of Baal’s abode (KTU 1.4 VII 42) than El’s dwelling (cf. KTU 1.114). As J. C. Greenfield has noted,264 other terms in Psalm 27 evoking language of Baal’s home include nō‘am in verse 4 and yiṣpĕnēnî (*ṣpn) in verse 5."

    The Early History of God by author: Mark S Smith

    I'd like to possibly see some meaningful responses.
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  2. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    What specifically would you wish to discuss around this topic? For we know similar cultures use similar religious expressions and the Israelites were West Semitic. We see this in the Bible, where YHWH worship arises on a background of monolatry, with patriachal teraphim, Micah's idol, asherah poles, high places, etc.
  3. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
    Other Religion
    I'd like each topic discussed. To quickly answer "We see this in the Bible, where YHWH worship arises on a background of monolatry, with patriachal teraphim, Micah's idol, asherah poles, high places, etc", I'd agree the Israelite's are West Semitic, I'd go even further to state their language is Canaan based, actually it is Canaanite language (Canaanite languages). Last time I checked Canaan was polytheistic, and Israel would come from Canaan as a mix of races and not one singular group.

    However, Yahweh and El were originally separate deities, the question is raised where Yahweh originated. Yahweh himself does not appear to have been a Canaanite god in origin: for example, he does not appear in the Ugaritic pantheon lists. Most scholars who have written on the subject during recent decades support the idea that Yahweh had his origins outside the land of Israel to the south, in the area of Midian (cf. Judg. 5.4-5; Deut. 33.2; Hab. 3.3, 7) and there has been an increasing tendency to locate Mt Sinai and Kadesh in N.W. Arabia rather than the
    Sinai peninsula itself.

    It is interesting that the Old Testament has no qualms in equating Yahweh with El, something which stands in marked contrast to its vehement opposition to Baal, let alone the equation of Yahweh with Baal (cf. Hos. 2.18 [ET 16]). This must reflect a favourable judgment on El's characteristic attributes: as supreme deity, creator god and one possessed of wisdom, El was deemed wholly fit to be equated with Yahweh. Baal, on the other hand, was not only subordinate to the chief god El,but was also considered to be dead in the underworld for half the year, something hardly compatible with Yahweh, who 'will neither slumber nor sleep' (Ps. 121.4).
  4. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    Yes, but what is 'each topic'? You wrote a lot that I broadly agree with, especcially YHWH arising from the south (as YHWH arising from Seir or the egyptian references to Shasu of YHW attest), but nothing that is specifically for discussion. Do you wish to discuss factors in support of this, opposed to it, its relation to monotheism as it arose later? Why is this in Ethics and Morality, and not the history forums?

    From my perspective, El is merely titulature later, so such an equating comes naturally. Especcially when the Northern Kingdom, IsraEL, has such a natural progression to it. Baal however, has a separate existence in the house of Ahab and foreign introduction.
    I find these topics really interesting, but I am finding it hard to determine what exactly you wish to discuss, as you have superficially broached many separate strands and topics.
  5. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
    Other Religion
    I am fairly new to the forum, so I guess maybe it should be listed in the history section. I was focusing on its relation to biblical monotheism, sure, however more so how monotheism began from it. Biblical monotheism places its beginning with a creation epic of 7 days, 7 being a holy number in Sumer, Sumerian's being polytheist. But more so there is also emphasis on a story of Adam and Eve, however, Adam and Eve weren't penned until St. Moses (at least most scholars agree) would have penned that particular story and around 1700 BC. The garden itself is interesting for its parallels in Sumerian, and later Babylonian cultures. The gods were said to like plants and growing things. For this reason Temples had farms and gardens. Ziggurats were given gardens that made the long ascent up to the most holy of places at their tops more pleasant.

    Even the word Eden comes from Sumer. It is derived from Edin meaning steppe plain or grazing land. The Sumerian word implied that it was between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers as that would be the logical place for such a land.

    In one of the Gilgamesh writings Inanna had a garden of her own. In that garden she had a tree. At the base of this tree was a snake. In Genesis 3:1 there was also a tree and a snake. Rather than being a threat, this snake was more of a tempter.

    In Genesis 4:15 Cain is banished to the land of Nod, a place east of Edin. If we take the garden as being the fertile crescent that is made lush between the Tigris and the Euphrates, then the land of Nod would be the Island of Dilmun.

    The land of Dilmun itself is closely associated with gardens. The myth of Enki and the Garden is set in Dilmun. Utu, the sun god, was even said to bring fresh water up from the ground to water Dilmun.

    On their own each of these things is little more than an interesting coincidence. Together these coincidences paint a picture of the sort of background that inspired the first parts of Genesis.

    Concerning Ba'al the storm God. Since the Baal promoted by Jezebel was the same Baal who had been worshipped by the Canaanite population of Israel and syncretistic Israelites, it can readily be understood how he gained such a large following. This would not be the case with Melqart, the city god of Tyre, and, Ahab would have committed political suicide had he attempted to promote such a foreign god. Strong polemic against Baal is clearly to be seen in 1 Kings 18, where Yahweh defeats Baal in the contest on Mt Carmel by making fire come down from heaven. Since this is immediately followed by the return of the rain after the long drought (1 Kgs 18.41-45) we must understand the fire from heaven as lightning. Accordingly, the polemic is especially marked, as Yahweh is shown as the God who can bring lightning and the rain, which were regarded as Baal's particular sphere of influence.

    Also, I think I posted on the Noah deluge I didn't see a response to that either. For now I won't discuss the first Epic flood story of Ziusudra, a much earlier polytheistic version of the flood of Noah.
  6. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
    Other Religion
    Also, concerning Biblical mythology we can see that the composition and nature of the Covenant Code (Exodus 20:23–23:19). Contends that this law collection, the pinnacle of the revelation at Mount Sinai according to the story of Exodus 19–24, is directly, primarily, and throughout dependent upon the Laws of Hammurabi. The Biblical text imitated the structure of this Akkadian text and drew upon its content to create the central casuistic laws of Exodus 21:2–22:19, as well as the outer sections of apodictic law in Exodus 20:23–26 (along with the introduction of 21:1) and 22:20–23:19.2 This primary use of the Laws of Hammurabi was supplemented with the occasional use of material from other cuneiform law collections and from native Israelite-Judean sources and traditions. The time for this textual borrowing was most likely during the Neo-Assyrian period, specifically sometime between 740 and 640 BCE, when Mesopotamia exerted strong and relatively continuous political control and cultural sway over the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and a time when the Laws of Hammurabi were actively copied in Mesopotamia as a literary-canonical text. The Covenant Code also appears to be a unified composition, given the influence of Hammurabi’s laws throughout, the thematic integrity resulting from this, the unique scribal talents and interests necessary for the text’s composition, and its temporal proximity to the basic laws of Deuteronomy, which depend on the Covenant Code’s laws and date not much later, probably to the latter half of the seventh century. Moreover, because the Covenant Code is largely a creative rewriting of Mesopotamian sources, it is to be viewed as an academic abstraction rather than a digest of laws practiced by Israelites and Judeans over the course of centuries. Its selective character and the manner in which it reshapes the political and theological landscape of the Laws of
    Hammurabi, in fact, make it appear to be preeminently an ideological document, a response to Assyrian political and cultural domination.

    Inventing God's laws How the Covenant Code of the Bible Used and Revised the Laws of Hammurabi by author: David P Wright
  7. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    I would just point out that Moses is generally not taken to be the author of the Pentateuch, especially seeing that he dies within it.

    Secondly, how do you determine Dilmun to be equivalent of Nod? This is a stretch with no etymologic backing. Dilmun has the best chance of lying somewhere around the Shatt-al-arab, which of course did not really exist in its modern form in Sumerian times. Unless you are thinking of the theory that Bahrain is Dilmun? The problem here is that it is not east of Mesopotamia as such. Dilmun has not really been found.

    The Baal narrative with Jezebel does not necessarily imply Melqart, which was more a Phoenician development itself. As you well know, quite a lot of syncretism is possible, especially in related West Semitic religious traditions, so it could just as well have been a foreign Baal so syncretised. It is probably meant to represent the tribal god of the Northern Kingdom, as the Calves at Dan and Bethel did (or perhaps acted as a seder for him). Sufficed to say, the northern prophets vehemently objected, but it seemed to be more the infiltration of these ideas into their parochial practices that seems to have been their chief opposition, and in so doing, we see a true Monotheistic idea emerging therefrom. We see this clearly in Isaiah, Hosea, Amos or Jeremiah; the paring down of their practices from monolatry to monotheist.

    What response are you looking for regarding Noah vs Utnapishtim? Indo-European peoples also had flood myths like Deucalion in Greece or Matsya in India. It is likely something that goes back to Proto-Indo-European here, as so many different groups have similar myths. Semitic people also share such myths in common, so perhaps this myth descended from some pre-Semitic, Pre-Proto-Indo-European period where those two groups diverged. Who can really say? It is the same argument with the garden of Eden and Snake motief. The Indo-European peoples have their own versions, like the Garden of the Hesperides, the Persian Soma tree, or Yggdrasil with Nidhogg eating its roots. What specifically you are trying to imply, by associations between Sumerian and Semitic beliefs, are no different than those between both these groups and Indo-European, but I am unsure what that would be?

    I disagree here. The Code of Hammurabi was not commonly copied and used in the neo-Assyrian period. The Assyrians used their own law codes, such as the code of the Assura. Hammurabi's code was copied and used in the Old-Babylonian period, but largely seems to have been superseded thereafter. The Elamites looted copies of Hammurabi's code and this was in turn then seized by Cyrus of Persia at Susa. So copying a defunct code is unlikely here.

    Regardless, it is not really copied at all, in my opinion. Law codes from similar peoples will have similar laws. Murder is illegal in Britain and in France, it does not mean one copied the other. They may have cultural affinities and derivation from commonly held ideas before this, as in my example, but they are hardly derivative one from the other. Superficial similarities for crimes prevalent in both cultures are expected and likely will have similar punishments - they are culturally kin, so this is really not unexpected.
    The code of laws in Exodus are anyway highly religious, having a structure from God to the people. Hammurabi's code, while saying it was given by help of Shamash, is almost entirely civil in nature. There is no idea of covering Sin within it, more punishment for wrongs. The closest is the part saying that those that steal from the gods are to be put to death. Exodus is largely based on the notion of Sin, and the need to expiate it, that it can bring the downfall of all. It is about restoring purity in that way. In this way, as you also wrote, it is different from the code of Hammurabi, but to call it a "creative rewriting of Mesopotamian sources, it is to be viewed as an academic abstraction rather than a digest of laws practiced by Israelites' - is flawed and has no basis in actual Archaeology or our sources. This is merely a supposition, that seems poorly supported, especially seeing that we have firm historic evidence of the code being practiced in Maccabean and Hellenistic times, and by any measure, all agree it has been in existence since at minimum the 6th century BC. So for what reason do we thus doubt that it had not been practiced or for thinking that it is merely a priestly exercise in reinterpreting foreign civil laws?
  8. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
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    Yes, about St. Moses, many scholars agree he would have penned the Pentateuch (if he did exist at all), and others disagree, I myself tend to think the name Moses is reflected by early Israelite culure, and "Moses" is possibly of Akkad or Sumerian descent. The "Sumerian Kings" list a hotly debated writing, many of the kings in it, you find the same characteristics in Biblical tales, with the Sumerian kings list being much older this is no surprise. The 1st 5 books of the Bible is up for debate, some don't agree that St. Moses wrote the Pentateuch. Most likeley who penned the Pentateuch were Yahwehistic cults, Elohist, and Deuteronomist. The Pentateuch wouldn't have been penned until much later and possible around 1700 bc or so, due to it most likely being written on Papyri, the main conclusion I make is that it isn't found in Cuneiform, due to it being written in a Semitic based language and not Sumer language. Concerning Cuneiform (clay tablet writing) and the language of Sumer; so Sumerian is a Pre Semitic aggulagnative language, and Cuneiform writing is thought to come from this, the University of Chicago gives a lecture on it. So your early Sumerian's would have carved in stone their writing, after that period the people of Akkad, Babylon, Hittite's (who spoke an Indo-Euro language) would have used Cuneiform. Eventually Cuneiform became defunct, the reconstruction of the 10 commandaments would have been a reconstruct of the laws of Hammurabi, which as I understand the laws of Hammurabi would be on clay tablet, the comparison is that in Biblical myths the 10 commandments are said to be clay tablets, I suggest checking out Inventing God's laws by author: David P Wright (https://www.amazon.com/Inventing-Gods-Law-Covenant-Hammurabi/dp/0199974950).

    This is kind of an interesting discussion concerning Dilmun, before I delve in. I was actually chatting on facebook about Humbaba a gaurdian of the Cedar forest in the Epic of Gilgamesh. In the later versions of Gilgamesh Humbaba is treated as a foreign king. In the earlier versions he reads a lot more like the descriptions of Indo European gods. Note how Gilgamesh and Enkidu could not look directly at him. This is common to descriptions of Indo European gods, but generally isn't seen in Sumerian gods. Note also that Gilgamesh had to travel a good distance to get to the cedar forest, the tree associations of Humbaba, and the way he was essentially slain and had his strength spread to various entities associated with Gilgamesh. The Sumerians came in contact with neighboring cultures. To me this reads like one of those encounters. So you see neighboring cultures come into contact with neighboring culture's, even from Sumer to Indo Euro cultures with the advent of the later version of the Epic of Gilgamesh. So to not confuse you in Biblical mythology, Cain is banished to the land of Nod, a place east of Edin. Edin being Steppe or plain a Sumerian term and not necessarily Semitic. There is hot debate on Dilmun actually being Qatar (though it may not totally be part of the Fertile Crescent) (keep in mind land shifts and even in the Bible I think this is thought to happen after Peleg or during, but there are Archaeological references to land shifting) and not necessarily Shatt-al-Arab (which is not an Island), of course the fertile crescent encompasses much of this area, from Turkey to the Arabian Sea when it was not underwater. Also, keep in mind Archaeologist tend to think at one time the Nile and Amazonian river ran through the Fertile Crescent. So east of Edin (not Eden) isn't a stretch. I don't consider Dilmun to be Nod, I consider Nod to be Dilmun as Sumer would have existed long before the Semitic people came along. It isn't until the ending period of Sumer that the adoption of these ideas are in place. Equivalent due to gardens, there is quite a bit of evidence that Iraq and surrounding areas were once gardens and not desert. So the size of the area would be rather large. Do you disagree it would be east? What draws you to conclude that Shatt-al-Arab is near Dilmun? Dilmun in Sumer is an Island, not an actual part of the land. Also, you might want to check out some Sumerian Cuneiform, there is a reference to Enki being in a Garden, check Enki and Ninhursag in the garden (Enki and Ninhursanga: translation).

    Ba'al being orignally Ishkar the storm God of Sumer, and not a fertility God as Christian theologians point out, in each city-state their specific God did a certain thing, so fertility God is associated with a female God in Sumer and in Canaan Ba'al is inherently male if he is associated with El who is seen as the Bull Calf. People of Sumer didn't develop connecting words in their time, they would have wore bracelets, but didn't necessarily know the word "bracelet" as an example.

    However, concerning Ba'al and I agree about syncretism being more than coincidental. Yes there were other Ba'al families, Bible mentions this. It would appear that Yahwistic hostility to Baal greatly intensified from the time of Elijah and Jezebel in the ninth century BCE. What was the identity of the Baal whose worship Jezebel promoted in Israel (cf. 1 Kgs 18.19, 'the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table') and against whom the prophet Elijah struggled, made famous in the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18?

    The god is simply called Baal in 1 Kings 18. However, a majority of scholars tend to suppose that this is not the familiar Baal known from elsewhere in the Old Testament, but rather Melqart, spoken of by modern scholars as the Baal of Tyre and the chief god of Tyre.

    What evidence is adduced to support this view? Basically, three main points of comparison have been made. First, Elijah's allusion to the possibility that Baal is musing (1 Kgs. 18.27) has been compared to the description of Herakles (with whom Melqart was equated) as a philosopher (e.g. Chronicon Pascale 43, inPG XCII, col. 161). The suggestion that Baal might be on a journey (1 Kgs 18.27) has been compared with the fact that the Tyrian Herakles is alleged to have made a journey to Libya (Eudoxus of Cnidus, in Athenaeus 9.392). Thirdly, the possibility that Baal 'is asleep and must be awakened' (1 Kgs 18.27) has been compared with the fact that there was a ceremony of waking Melqart from his winter sleep (Menander of Ephesus, in Josephus, Ant. 8.5.3). However, none of these points is compelling. For a start, it should be noted that the sources in question are late, and there is no certainty that they reflect traditions going back to the ninth century BCE. Moreover, a much better case can be made that Jezebel's Baal was Baal-Shamem,
    another important god worshipped at Tyre, whose role as a storm god suggests that he was essentially the same as the Ugaritic Baal and the Baal known elsewhere in the Old Testament.

    For instance, with regard to the third point above, bearing in mind that death could be spoken of as sleep (cf. Isa. 26.19; Dan. 12.2, etc.), it may be argued that the death and resurrection of the Ugaritic Baal is a more appropriate parallel to 1 Kings 18 than is Melqart, since the celebration of Melqart's awakening from sleep in the month of Peritios, that is, February/March (Josephus,
    Ant. 8.5.3), does not cohere with a storm god, whereas the Ugaritic Baal's summer sojourn in the underworld corresponds to his role as a storm god who brought the lightning and the rain, the point at issue between Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18.

    An important indicator is that it was not Melqart, but rather BaalShamem who was endowed with the attributes of the weather god at Tyre in the seventh century BCE—only two centuries after the incident at 1 Kings 18—as is illustrated by the treaty between Esar-haddon and Baal, king of Tyre. There, in the list of Tynan deities, we read, 'May Baal-sameme, Baal-malage and Baal-saphon raise an evil wind against your ships, to undo their moorings, tear out their mooring pole, may a
    strong wave sink them in the sea, a violent tide [...] against you. May
    Melqart and Eshmun deliver your land to destruction, your people to be
    deported; from your land [...]

    Moreover, this passage, which clearly distinguishes Melqart from various Baal deities, makes it very dubious whether at this early period it is even correct to speak of Melqart as a Baal deity at all, as scholars frequently imagine when they refer to him as Baal-Melqart or the Baal of Tyre. The title 'Baal of Tyre' is, in fact, only attested of Melqart much later, in a second-century BCE Phoenician
    inscription from Malta ('Our Lord Melqart, Lord of Tyre [b'l sr]' [KAI 47.1]). Classical sources regularly equate Melqart with Herakles, not Zeus, who was the equivalent of Baal. Nor, it will be noted, does the Esar-haddon treaty associate Melqart with the storm, unlike the varioius manifestations of Baal.

    If Melqart was really the most important god of Tyre, it is surprising that the element 'Melqart' does not occur in any of the names of the kings of Tyre. On the other hand, a large number of them contain the theophoric element, Baal, which most naturally refers to Baal-Shamem. That Baal-Shamem was, indeed, the most important Tyrian god at this period is also indicated by the above-mentioned treaty between Esarhaddon and Baal, king of Tyre, since Baal-Shamem (Baal-sameme) is, in fact, the Tyrian deity mentioned first.

    Yet a further piece of information supports the view that it was BaalShamem
    who was the deity promoted by Jezebel. In 1 Kings 18 the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal takes place on Mt Carmel. The god of Carmel was always equated with Zeus, and it was Baal-Shamem who was identified with Zeus, Melqart being rather equated with Herakles. This is most interestingly reflected in an inscription discovered on part of a marble foot on Mt Carmel itself, in whithe dedication is made 'to Heliopolitan Zeus [god of] Carmel', and in the fourth-century BCE Pseudo-Scylax's Periplus104 attests Mt Carmel as the 'holy mountain of Zeus'. This is presumably the 'Mount Ba'lira'-si [Baal of the Headland] which is (over against) the sea and by (over against) the land of Tyre' referred to in the annals of Shalmaneser III in 841 BCE.

    Since the local Baal would have been simply a local form of the universal Baal, there is no need to follow A. Alt and K. Galling in seeing the Baal of 1 Kings 18 as simply the local Baal of Mt Carmel and nothing more.

    Since the Baal promoted by Jezebel was the same Baal who had been worshipped by the Canaanite population of Israel and syncretistic Israelites, it can readily be understood how he gained such a large following. This would not be the case with Melqart, the city god of Tyre, and, as MJ. Mulder has emphasized, Ahab would have committed political suicide had he attempted to promote such a foreign god.

    Strong polemic against Baal is clearly to be seen in 1 Kings 18, where Yahweh defeats Baal in the contest on Mt Carmel by making fire come down from heaven. Since this is immediately followed by the return of the rain after the long drought (1 Kgs 18.41-45) we must understand the fire from heaven as lightning. Accordingly, the polemic is especially marked, as Yahweh is shown as the God who can bring lightning and the rain, which were regarded as Baal's particular sphere
    of influence. A few scholars have attempted greatly to increase the number of
    passages in the Elijah and Elisha stories which are to be envisaged as
    displaying polemic against the Baal cult, more or less seeing any healing
    or nature miracle on the part of these prophets as an implicit sign of
    the superiority of Yahweh to Baal, but this is not clearly indicated in
    the text and seems to go beyond the evidence.

    Yahweh and the Gods and Goddess of Canaan: By John Day

    Right, there are about 300 flood myths. Yes, my point is that the flood myth descended from Sumer and not from the Semitic Israelite's, even in linguistics if Sumer is a Pre Semitic aggulagnative language, it would not be possible for the flood myth to have come from "Noah", unless Noah is Ziusudra, yet there is a difference as Ziusudra flood myth is polytheistic while Noah a monotheistic version of the flood myth.

    There were many snake cults, I tend to think of the "Garden of Eden" myth and the snake tied to it as a fear of snake cultic worship. Which is possiblly due to Canaan being an example of having snake cults, this doesn't include Egypt (who also worshiped the snake), but the Egyptians are influenced by the people of the Sahara.

    Essentially my point is that the Israelite's like other culture's borrowed ideas, myths, stories, and so on and included it in their oral history as well written history. To which later on comes the development of the Bible as a monotheistic book with adoption polytheistic ideas. Scholarly Christians wouldn't deny this at all, however to borrow a polytheistic idea and then call it monotheistic negates from recognizing a polytheistic past that the Christian religion has had all along.
  9. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
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    Image of Ba'al and Yahweh

    Yahweh and Gods and Goddess of Canaan: Author John Day

    Various West Semitic descriptions emphasize either Baal’s theophany in the storm (KTU 1.4 V 6-9, 1.6 III 6f., 12f., 1.19 I 42-46) or his role as warrior (KTU 1.2 IV, 1.5 I 1-5, 1.119.26-29, 34-36; RS 16.144.9 334). These two dimensions of Baal are explicitly linked in KTU 1.4 VII 29-35, 1.101.1-4, and EA 147.13-15 as well as some iconography.335 F. M. Cross treats different descriptions of Baal as a single Gattung with four elements, which appear in these passages in varying degrees. The four components are: (a) the march of the divine warrior, (b) the convulsing of nature as the divine warrior manifests his power, (c) the return of the divine warrior to his holy mountain to assume divine kingship, and (d) the utterance of the divine warrior’s “voice” (i.e., thunder) from his palace, providing rains that fertilize the earth.336 Biblical material deriding other deities reserves power over the storm for Yahweh (Jer. 10:11-16; 14:22; Amos 4:7; 5:8; 9:6). Biblical descriptions of Yahweh as storm-god (1 Sam. 12:18; Psalm 29; Job 38:25-27, 34-38) and divine warrior (Pss. 50:1-3; 97:1-6; 98:1-2; 104:1-4; Deut. 33:2; Judges 4-5; Job 26:11-13; Isa. 42:10-15, etc.) exhibit this underlying unity and pattern explicitly in Psalm 18 (= 2 Sam. 22):6-19, 68:7-10, and 86:9-19.337 Psalm 29, 1 Kings 19, and 2 Esdras 13:1-4 dramatize the meteorological progression underlying the imagery of Yahweh as warrior. All three passages presuppose the image of the storm moving eastward from the Mediterranean Sea to the coast. In 1 Kings 19 and 2 Esdras 13:1-4 this force is portrayed with human imagery. The procession of the divine warrior is accompanied by a contingent of lesser divine beings (Deut. 32:34; 33:2; Hab. 3:5; KTU 1.5 V 6-9; cf. Judg. 5:20). The Ugaritic antecedent to Resheph in Yahweh’s entourage in Habakkuk 3:5 may be KTU 1. 82.1-3, which perhaps includes Resheph as a warrior with Baal against tnn, related to biblical tannînîm.338 Though the power of other Near Eastern warrior-gods was manifest in the storm (e.g., Amun, Ningirsu/Ninurta, Marduk, and Addu/Adad),339 the proximity of terminology and imagery between the Ugaritic and biblical evidence points to an indigenous cultural influence on meteorological descriptions of Yahweh. Israelite tradition modified its Canaanite heritage by molding the march of the divine warrior specifically to the element of Yahweh’s southern sanctuary, variously called Sinai (Deut. 33:2; cf. Judg. 5:5; Ps. 68:9), Paran (Deut. 33:2; Hab. 3:3), Edom (Judg. 5:4), and Teiman (Hab. 3:3 340 and in the Kuntillet ‘Ajrûd inscriptions; cf. Amos 1:12; Ezek. 25:13). This modification may underlie the difference between Baal’s epithet rkb ‘rpt, “cloud-rider” (e.g., CTA 2.4[KTU 1.2 IV].8), and Yahweh’s title, rokeb bāa‘ărābôt, “rider over the steppes,” in Psalm 68:5 (cf. Deut. 33:26; Ps. 104:3),341 although a shared background for this feature is evident from other descriptions of Baal and Yahweh. The notion of Baal riding on a winged war chariot is implicit in MDL, one element in Baal’s meteorological entourage in KTU 1.5 V 6-11.342 Psalm 77:19 refers to the wheels in Yahweh’s storm theophany, which presumes a divine war chariot. Psalm 18 (2 Sam. 22):11 presents Yahweh riding on the wind surrounded by storm clouds. This image forms the basis for the description of the divine chariot in Ezekiel 1 and 10. Psalm 65:12 (E 11) likewise presupposes the storm-chariot image: “You crown your bounteous year, and your tracks drip with fatness.” Similarly, Yahweh’s storm chariot is the image presumed by Habakkuk 3:8 and 15:

    Was your wrath against the rivers, O Yahweh?

    Was your anger against the rivers,

    or your indignation against the sea,

    when you rode upon your horses,

    upon your chariot of victory?

    You trampled the sea with your horses,

    the surging of the mighty waters.

    The description of Yahweh’s horses fits into the larger context of the storm theophany directed against the cosmic enemies, Sea and River. (The horses in this verse are unrelated to the horses dedicated to the sun in 2 Kings 23:11, unless there was a coalescence of the chariot imagery of the storm and the sun.343 ) The motif of chariot-riding storm-god with his divine entourage
    extends in Israelite tradition to the divine armies of Yahweh riding on chariots with horses (2 Kings 2:11; 6:17). Other features originally attributed to Baal also accrued to Yahweh. Albright and other scholars 344 have argued the epithet ‘ly, “the Most High,” belonging to Baal in the Ugaritic texts (KTU 1.16 III 6, 8; cf. RS 18.22.4’), appears as a title of Yahweh in 1 Samuel 2:10, 2 Samuel 23:1, Psalms 18 (2 Sam. 22):14 and 68:6, 30, 35 (cf. Dan. 3:26, 32; 4:14, 21, 22, 29, 31; 5:18, 21; 7:25), in the biblical hypocoristicon ‘ē/î, the name of the priest of Shiloh,345 and in Hebrew inscriptional personal names yhw‘ly, “Yahu is Most High,” yw‘ly, “Yaw is Most High,” ̔lyhw, “Most High is Yahu,” and ‘lyw, “Most High is Yaw.”346 The bull iconography that Jeroboam I sponsored in Dan and Bethel (1 Kings 12:28-31) has been attributed to the influence of Baal in the northern kingdom. This imagery represented an old northern tradition of divine iconography for Yahweh used probably as a rival symbol to the traditional royal iconography of the cherubim of the Jerusalem temple.347 The old northern tradition of bull iconography for Yahweh is reflected in the name ‘glyw, which may be translated, “Young bull is Yaw,” in Samaria ostracon 41:1.348 The ca. twelfth-century bull figurine discovered at a site in the hill country of Ephraim and the young bull depicted on the tenth-century Taanach stand likewise involve the iconography of a god, either Yahweh or Baal. 349 Newer discoveries have yielded iconography of a deity on a bull on a ninth-century plaque from Dan and an eighth-century stele from Bethsaida.350
    Indeed, evidence for Yahweh as bull appears in Amherst Papyrus 63 (column XI): “Horus-Yaho, our bull is with us. May the lord of Bethel answer us on the morrow.”351 Despite later syncretism with Horus, the text apparently preserves a prayer to Yahweh in his emblem-animal as a bull invoked as the patron-god of Bethel. The further question is whether these depictions were specific to either El or Baal (or both) in the Iron Age. The language has been thought also to derive from El, frequently called “bull” (tr) in the Ugaritic texts. There is some evidence pointing to the application of this iconography to El in the IronAge.

    The title, ‘ăbîr ya‘ăqōb, “bull of Jacob” (Gen. 49:24; Ps. 132:2, 4), derived from the bovine imagery of El. The image of Yahweh having horns “like the horns of the wild ox” (kĕtô ̔ăpōt rĕ’ēm) in Numbers 24:8 also belongs to this background. Other Late Bronze and Iron I iconographic evidence might favor a connection with Baal.352 The reference to kissing Baal in 1 Kings 19:18 and the allusion to kissing calves in Hosea 13:2 353 would seem to bolster the Baalistic background to the bull iconography in the northern kingdom. However, the mention of kissing bulls in the apparent context of the Bethel cult in Papyrus Amherst 63 (column V) would point to the Yahwistic background of this practice.354 It is also possible that a number of major gods could be regarded as “the divine bull,”355 as this title applies also to Ashim-Bethel in Papyrus Amherst 63 (column XV).356 The polemics against the calf in Samaria in Hosea 8:5 and 10:5 may reflect indignation at the Yahwistic symbol that was associated also with Baal. Similarly, Tobit 1:5 (LXX Vaticanus and Alexandrinus) mentions the worship of “the Baal the calf” ( te Baal tē damalei) in the northern kingdom. Despite the evidence for the attribution of “bull” to Baal in the first millennium, a genetic solution tracing the imagery specifically to either El or Baal may not be applicable. B. Vawter argues that “bull” means no more than chief “male,”357 a point perhaps supported by the secular use of this term in KTU 1.15 IV 6, 8, 17, 19 and 4.360.3.358 The anti-
    Baalistic polemic of Hosea 13:2 and Tobit 1:5 may also constitute a secondary rejection of this Yahwistic symbol, because bull iconography may have represented both gods in the larger environment of Phoenicia and the northern kingdom.

    In any case, the Canaanite tradition of the bull iconography ultimately provides the background for this rendering of Yahweh. Common to both Yahweh and Baal was also a constellation of motifs surrounding their martial and meteorological natures. The best-known and oldest of these motifs is perhaps the defeat of cosmic foes who are variously termed Leviathan, ‘qltn, tnn,

    the seven-headed beast, Yamm, and Mot. A second-millennium seal from Mari depicts a god thrusting a spear into waters, apparently representing the conflict of the West Semitic war-god with the cosmic waters (cf. the piercing, *hll, of the serpent in Job 26:13 and of tannîn in Isa. 51:9).359 This conflict corresponds at Ugarit with Baal’s struggle with Yamm in KTU 1.2 IV, although Yamm appears as Anat’s adversary in KTU 1.3 III 43. Yamm appears as a destructive force in the Ugaritic texts (KTU 1.14 I 19-20; cf. 1.2 IV 3-4) and a proud antagonist to the divine warrior in the biblical record (Job 38:11; Ps. 89:10 [E 9]). Baal’s victory over Yamm in KTU 1.2 IV 27-34 presents the possibility of Yamm’s annihilation (*kly; cf. KTU 1.3 III 38-39, 46) and then proclaims his death, an image that appears rarely in biblical material (Rev. 21:1; cf. Testament of Moses 10:6). 360 Various biblical texts depict the divine defeat of Yamm with other images: the stilling (*sbhl *rg’) of Yamm (Pss. 65:8 [E 7]; 89:10 [E 9]; Job 26:11); the crushing 361 (*prr) of Yamm (Ps. 74:13; cf. the crushing, *dk’, of Rahab in Ps. 89:11 [E 10]); the drying up (*hrb) of Yamm (Isa. 51:10); the establishment of a boundary (gĕbûl) for Yamm (Ps. 104:9; Jer. 5:22; cf. Prov. 8:29); the placement of a guard (mišmār) over Yamm (Job 7:12); and the closing of Yamm behind doors (Job 38:8, 10); compare the hacking of Rahab into pieces (*hsb; Isa. 51:9); and the scattering (*pzr) of cosmic enemies (Ps. 89:11 [E 10]).

    A seal from Tel Asmar (ca. 2200) depicts a god battling a seven-headed dragon, a foe identified as Baal’s enemy in CTA 5.1 (KTU 1.5 I).3 (and reconstructed in 30) and Yahweh’s adversary in Psalm 74:13 and Revelation 13:1.362 A shell plaque of unknown provenance depicts a god kneeling before a fiery seven-headed dragon.363 Leviathan, Baal’s enemy mentioned in CTA 5.1 (KTU 1.5 I).1 (and reconstructed in 28), appears as Yahweh’s opponent and creature in Isaiah 27:1, Job 3:8, 26:13, 40:25 (E 41:1), Psalm 104:26, and 2 Esdras 6:49, 52.364 In Psalm 74:13-14 (cf. Ezek. 32:2), both Leviathan and the tannînîm have multiple heads, the latter known as Anat’s enemy in 1.83.9-10 and in a list of cosmic foes in CTA 3.3(D).35-39 (= KTU 1.3 III 38-42). This Ugaritic list includes “Sea,” Yamm//“River,” Nahar, Baal’s great enemy in CTA 2.4 (KTU 1.2 IV). In Isaiah 11:15 the traditions of Sea//River and the seven-headed dragon appear in conflated form:

    And the Yahweh will utterly destroy the tongue of the sea of Egypt, and will wave his hand over the River with his scorching wind, and smite it into seven channels that men may cross dry-shod. Here the destruction of Egypt combines both mythic motifs with the ancient tradition of crossing the Red Sea in Egypt. The seven-headed figure is attested in other biblical passages. In Psalm 89:10 the seven-headed figure is Rahab, mentioned in Isaiah 51:9-11 in the company of tannîn and Yamm. The seven-headed enemy also appears in Revelation 12:3, 13:1, 17:3 and in extrabiblical material, including Qiddushin 29b, Odes of Solomon 22:5, and Pistis Sophia 66.365 Yamm appears in late apocalyptic writing as the source of the destructive beasts symbolizing successive empires (Dan. 7:3). J. Day has suggested that this imagery developed from the symbolization of political states hostile to Israel as beasts.366 For example, Rahab stands for Egypt (Isa. 30:7; Ps. 87:4), the River for Assyria (Isa. 8:5-8; cf. 17:12-14), tannîn for Babylon (jer. 51:34).367 This type of equation is at work in a less explicit way in Psalm 18 (2 Sam. 22):4-18. In this composition, monarchic victory over political enemies (w. 4, 18) is described in terms of a storm theophany over cosmic waters (w. 8-17). Because of the political use of the cosmic enemies, Day suspects that a political allusion lies behind the figure of Leviathan in Isaiah 27:1.368

    Finally, the figure of Mot, “Death,” is attested in KTU 1.4 VIII-1.6 and 2.10 and in several biblical passages, including Isaiah 25:8, 28:15 and 18, Jeremiah 9:20, Hosea 13:14, Habakkuk 2:5, Psalm 18(2 Sam. 22):5-6, Revelation 21:4 (cf. Odes of Solomon 15:9; 29:4).369 Biblical Mot is personified as a demon, in the manner of Ugaritic Mot in KTU 1.127 and Mesopotamian mütu. As J. Tigay has observed, this background would explain the description of Mot in Jeremiah 9:20 better than either U. Cassuto’s recourse to the episode of the window in Baal’s palace (KTU 1.4 V-VII) or S. Paul’s comparison with the Mesopotamian demon Lamashtu.370 Biblical descriptions of the east wind as an instrument of divine destruction may have derived from the imagery of Mot in Canaanite tradition, although mythological dependency is not necessarily indicated in this instance. The juxtaposition of the east wind and personified Death in Hosea 13:14-15 may presuppose the mythological background of Mot as manifest in the sirocco.371

    Like the motif of the divine foes, the biblical motif of the divine mountainous abode derives primarily from the Northwest Semitic tradition of divinely inhabited mountains, especially the Baal’s mountainous home of Sapan (ṣpn), modern Jebel el-Aqra‘. This dependency on language connected with Sapan in Ugaritic tradition is especially manifest in the identification of Mount Zion as yarkĕtê sāpôn, “the recesses of the north,” in Psalm 48:3 (cf. Isa. 14:13) and the MT’s apparent substitution of Zion for spn in the Aramaic version of Psalm 20:3 written in Demotic.372 According to Josephus (Antiquities 7.174), Belsephon was a city in the territory of Ephraim.373 Saphon is the site of conflict between Baal and his cosmic enemies, Yamm (KTU 1.1 V 5, 18) and Mot (KTU 1.6 VI 12). The same mountain, modern Jebel el-Aqra‛, Mount Hazzi in Hittite tradition, occurs in the narrative of conflict between the storm-god and Ullikumi.374 In classical tradition, the same peak, Mons Cassius, was one site of conflict between Zeus and Typhon (Apollodorus, The Library 1.6.3; Strabo, Geography 16.2.7).375 Herodotus (History 3.5) records that Typhon was buried by the Sirbonian Sea, which was adjacent to the Egyptian Mount Saphon.376 Similarly, Zion is the place where Yahweh will take up battle (Joel 3:9-17, 19-21; Zech. 14:4; 2 Esdras 13:35; cf. Isa. 66:18-21; Ezekiel 38-39). The descriptions of Yahweh’s taking his stand as warrior on top of Mount Zion (Isa. 31:4; Zech. 14:4; 2 Esdras 13:35) also echo depictions of the Hittite and Syrian storm-gods standing with each foot on a mountain.377 Saphon and Zion share a number of epithets. For example, KTU 1.3 III 13-31 (cf. IV 7-20), cited in full in the previous section, applies qdš, “holy place,” n‛m, “pleasant place,” and nḥlt, “inheritance,” to Baal’s mountain. Similarly, Psalms 46:5 and 48:2 describe Zion as *qōdeš (cf. Exod. 15:13; Pss. 87:1; 93:5; KAI 17:1, 78:5 [?]), while Psalm 27:4 calls Yahweh’s mountain nõ‛am (cf. Ps. 16:6).378 As Greenfield has observed, nō‛am in Psalm 27:4 is followed in the next verse by wordplay or paronomasia on the root *ṣpn.379 Yahweh’s mountain is called a naḥălāh, “portion” (Ps. 79:1; Jer. 12:7; cf. Exod. 15:17; Ps. 16:6). The epithets for Zion and the way they are listed together in Psalm 48:2-3 likewise recall the titles for Sapan in KTU 1.3 III 29-31.380 The mountainous temple home from which Baal utters his voice and rains lavishly upon the earth (KTU 1.4 V-VII) appears not only in descriptions of Yahweh roaring from Zion (Joel 3:16; Amos 1:2) or giving forth rains (Isa. 30:19; Jer. 3:3; 5:24; 10:13;
    14:4; 51:16; Amos 4:7) but also in postexilic discussions of the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. The tradition of the temple home that guarantees the life-giving rains underlies the relationship between tithe and temple in Malachi 3:10. This passage reflects the notion that payment of the tithe to the temple would induce Yahweh to open the windows of heaven and pour down crop-producing rains. Similarly, Haggai 1:7-11 attributes drought and scarcity to the failure to rebuild the temple.381 Yahweh’s role as the divine source of rain appears elsewhere in postexilic prophecy (Zech. 10:1). Joel 4 (E 3) presents various aspects of the mountain tradition. It is the divine home (4:17 [E 3:17]), the location of Yahweh’s roar (4:16 [E 3:16]), the site of divine battle (4:9-15 [E 3:9-15]) with heavenly hosts (4:11-13 [E 3:11-13]; cf. 2:1-11), and the origin of the divine rains issuing in terrestrial fertility (4:18 [E 3:18]).

    In sum, the motifs associated with Baal in Canaanite literature are widely manifest in Israelite religion. The Baal cycle (KTU 1.1-6) presents the sequence of defeating the enemy, Sea, followed by the building of the divine palace for the divine warrior, and concluding with the vanquishing of the enemy, Death. This pattern of features appears in a wide variety of biblical texts describing divine presence and action. Rabbinic aggadah and Christian literature continue these motifs. Indeed, the defeat of Sea, the building of the heavenly palace, and the destruction of death belong to the future divine transformation of the world in Revelation 21:1-4. These motifs are of further importance for the long life that some of them enjoyed; for example, the motif of Leviathan is attested in religious documents into the modern period.
  10. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
    Other Religion
    You didn't respond to this one yet, but when I stated the 10 commandments (sorry for the confusion) I was talking about the laws in exodus, not specifically the 10 commandments. There is a different study for the 10 commandments and the code of Ur-Nammu, which I can get into much later on.

    Your example of murder being illegal in Britain and France is exactly my point on one culture adopting a common theme, without adopting exact specifics. So while muder in France is illegal and let's say punishable by beheading, in Britain it might be illegal and punishable by 10 years in prison depending the circumstance.

    I know you'd disagree comparing the code of Hammurabi to laws of exodus, however we can consider that Hammurabi is not offering just a legal codex, but a spiritual one as well. Sumerian culture, the people who lived in the land of Sumer, were religious in the land of Sumer as polytheists, would have engaged in spirituality, and so would have Hammurabi, so if the laws in Exodus are highly religious and so was Hammurabi I don't see the lack of comparison. But we can delve a bit further into this interesting discussion. You'd have to conclude that Hammurabi was not spiritual and instead was purely legal, but this is not so.

    So a generality, the standard critical understanding of the Covenant Code and its relationship to Mesopotamian legal tradition. This viewed the biblical law collection as the result of stages of development over several centuries. The similarities it had with texts such as the Laws of Hammurabi were due to Israel’s and the Bible’s inheriting oral traditions that circulated in Syria and Canaan before Israel appeared on the historical scene. There even might be an assumption, that the laws of the Covenant Code in large part reflected the practice of early Israel. To yout statement, "The Assyrians used their own law codes, such as the code of the Assura. Hammurabi's code was copied and used in the Old-Babylonian period, but largely seems to have been superseded thereafter. The Elamites looted copies of Hammurabi's code and this was in turn then seized by Cyrus of Persia at Susa." Hammurabi being Sumer of course his code as used in Old-Babylonian period as well Akkadian, even if superseded there is still a reference to Hammurabi by the early Israelite's, but let's take a closer look at the comparisons.

    Sin, that is in early Sumer a personal offense against one's God, much later on it develops into missing the mark. So sin while a concept in Sumer, does not assert a cosmic Good guy and cosmic Bad guy. The word "demon" in Sumer was also akin to words like angel that we use today to describe angelic beings, I recommend "Sumerian Gods and their representations" which I have a copy of, you can try to get a copy online but it is a $400.00 USD and up book, if you'd like I can give you my copy. So sin is a concept much later connected to an adversary system, which Sumer didn't have, they did however know what an offense against their personal God was.

    On to the laws of Hammurabi and the laws of exodus, Hammurabi being a Sumerian would not have been as early 600 bc, while I can agree that Maccabean and Hellenic practices may have adapted Hammurabi code, they weren't necessarily adopted the way the Israelite's adopted that code. But let's see some similarities.

    Ever since the Laws of Hammurabi (LH) were discovered in excavations at Susa in 1901–1902 and quickly published by Scheil in 1902, scholars recognized their similarity to the laws of the Covenant Code (CC). The past century of scholarship, however, has generally perceived correspondences with LH atomistically and only in the casuistic portion of the text (i.e., Exodus 21:2–22:19).15 The goring ox laws are the clearest and most famous example of the observed similarities (we can see this later).

    I provide:

    Exodus 21:28–32 28 If an ox gores a man or woman and he dies, the ox shall be stoned, its flesh shall not be eaten; the owner of the ox is not liable. 29 If an ox is a habitual gorer, from previous experience, and its owner has been warned, but he did not restrain it, and it kills a man or woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner shall be put to death. 30 If ransom is laid upon him, he shall pay the redemption price for his life, according to whatever is laid upon him.31 Or (if) it gores a son or daughter, it shall be done for him according to this law.
    32 If the ox gores a male slave or a female slave, he shall pay thirty shekels of silver to his (the slave’s) master and the ox shall be stoned.

    Laws of Hammurabi 250–252 250 If an ox gores a man while passing through the street and kills (him), that case has no claim. 251 If a man’s ox is a habitual gorer, and his district has informed him that it is a habitual gorer, but he did not file its horns and did not control his ox, and that ox gores a man (lit. son of a man) and kills (him), he shall pay one-half mina (thirty shekels) of silver. 252 If it is the slave of a free person, he shall pay one-third mina (twenty eight shekels) of silver.

    We can exhibit in CC notable differences, its laws are nonetheless remarkably similar to those in LH, having the same basic content, formulation, and sequence. On the basis of the similarities in these laws alone, we can concluded that there must be a literary connection between the two texts.

    the similarities with LH are much broader than what are observable
    between individual laws here or there and are found throughout its two genres
    of casuistic and apodictic laws. The casuistic laws, with the style “if . . . then . . . ,” occupy the central portion of the text (21:2–22:19). These laws are surrounded by bookends of apodictic laws, with the style “do this/don’t do that” (20:23–26 and 22:20–23:19). CC’s central casuistic laws have close associations with the central casuistic laws of LH (LH 1–282), and CC’s outer apodictic laws have close thematic associations with the outer sections of LH, its prologue and epilogue, especially one particular section of the epilogue. The casuistic laws of CC for their part display the same or nearly the same topical order as the laws in the last half of Hammurabi’s collection (I am going to attach a table to this if I can)In only a few laws is the order inexact. These differences are explainable by the creativity that CC used in revising LH. Homicide, mentioned only in a passing way in LH 207 in a law on striking (cf. LH 206), was moved to the beginning of CC’s assault laws. The topic of talion (i.e., “an eye for an eye . . . ”) was moved from earlier in the striking laws of LH (LH 196–201) to provide penalties for the injury or death of a woman in a case of aggravated miscarriage. This replaced vicarious punishment prescribed by LH 210, a penal principle that CC rejected (see Exodus 21:31 in the goring ox law, cited previously). The other variation in CC’s order, the breakup of the goring ox laws with a negligence law, is partly due to the shift in context from human victims to animals (a shift also visible in LH) and also to using a law from another cuneiform law source (similar to Eshnunna Law [= LE] 53) to supplement the basic goring ox law from LH.

    Some scholars such as Malul concluded:
    By applying the clear and objective criteria discussed above, this study arrives at the unmistakable conclusion that the biblical laws of the goring ox, contrary to the views held by some scholars, are closely dependent upon their Mesopotamian counterparts. Furthermore, it suggests that the biblical author or editor knew first-hand the Mesopotamian law and that he may have even had a copy (or copies?) of them in front of him when he composed or edited his biblical version.

    For now I will stop but we can go on and compare casuistic laws and examine apodictic laws and Hammurabi's prolouge and epilouge.'

    Inventing God's law by author David Wright
  11. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    Hammurabi is Babylonian, not Sumerian, and dates from 1800 BC roughly. There are no late codes of Hammurabi extent for Biblical origins to be dependant thereon except by roundabout derivation. Please keep your periods and peoples straight, as else it becomes confusing: Old Sumerians, Gutians, Neo-Sumerian, Akkadian, Old Babylonian, Kassite, Neo-Babylonian, Assyrian, Persian, to be precise; if we ignore regional subdivisions like late, middle, and neo-Assyrian, etc.

    What this shows is cultural affinity, something we are well aware of. Even the Bible says this, as Abraham is from Ur. Direct derivation need not be implied. European law codes are similarly phrased without being based on one another. There is a preamble, the law, then exceptions. I would expect nothing less.
    Also, one or two laws do not equal a complete derivation. It might be a later interpolation or redaction as much as an original component. Especcially taking the Captivity into account, this would be equally as likely. I don't really follow why such a highly suppositional line of inquiry is being pursued? For it is frankly not provable and inevitably remain conjectural and does not really shed light on Israelite culture much, sering that such influence is openly acknowledged by all, even the Bible itself.

    The development of the Sin concept remained alien to East Semitic peoples right through to the end of their religion in the 10th century at Harran. So any way you slice it, that would not be a East Semitic concept, and certainly not Sumerian.
  12. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    Dilmun is written to be "toward where the Sun rises" regarding Sumer. Now in the 2000-3000 BCs, the silt, that is slowly silting up the Persian gulf, had not deposited as far south. This means the land of the Shatt-al-Arab was still water instead of marshy land as today. This is also why the ancients said the Tigris and Euphrates had separate mouths, while today they have one. Following East from Sumer, this is the only area that would give you the possibility of Islands, for else you reach Elam and the Iranian plateau, which we know as another contemporaneous civilisation. This renders it the best candidate.
    Dilmun likely controlled significant stretches of the gulf though, seeing that it is recorded as controlling trade, making outposts in Bahrain quite likely, but probably based mostly around north-eastern Arabia and Kuwait. I have not heard of Qatar associated with them, though, usually more the odd barrows of Bahrain.
    Utnapishtim in most Gilgamesh accounts anyway only intimate Dilmun, it is not always expressly stated, so may be a later development of the myth.

    To equate gods in the Interpraetio Graecorum is anyway very much a hit and miss. The Romans connected Odin with Mercury and Thor with Zeus, for instance. That is not a good fit. Often gods became Zeus at one place or another god entirely somewhere else. A good example is Jupiter Dolicenus, whose equation with both Zeus/Jupiter and Dionyseus is attested.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2017
  13. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    You must also beware of false friends.

    A good example to illustrate the principle is the Zulu impi vs the Roman Legions:
    Shaka Zulu shortened the Assegai, the throwing spear, into a stabbing weapon; He enlarged the cowhide shields that his people traditionally used; he organised his people into Impis, groups of warriors conjoined by rites and that had to get permission as a group to settle somewhere, etc.; he developed encircling tactics called the bull's horns which outflanked their opponents forcing them onto the central veteran body of warriors; and proceeded to build a strong kingdom. This was before European intervention.
    The Romans abandoned their traditional spears for short stabbing swords; enlarged their shields; organised their legions into cohorts that had their own rites, etc.; they used auxiliaries to enfold their enemy onto a core of hardened legionaries; and proceeded to build an Empire (although they already started before this whole process was completed).

    Now the Zulu today are westernised and clearly if we look back in time, and only had fragmentary records (as we have for the near-east), we could argue that the Zulu Impi was based on the Roman military and show later examples of Zulu usages of Roman practices to support it, like the use of the Latin alphabet. They are however, in no way related. How much more striking would such parallels have been if the peoples in question had cultural affinities?
    I can take the analogy even further. The British were a successor of Roman Civilization, as Babylonian or Assyrian was of Sumerian, and via them the Zulus gained their modern superficial 'Romanisation in a sense'. Neither the British nor the Assyrians were of the same stock exactly as their predecessors, the Roman or Sumerian respectively. Perhaps a similar Sumerisation can thus be seen in the Hebrew? Although again, Abraham as being from Ur, means that they do acknowledge Sumerian or at least Mesopotamian connections.

    One must be careful lest one end up in bouts of parallelomania and see connections everywhere. It must be cautiously made and firmly supported, as fake connections on spurious or specious grounds can easily occur.
  14. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
    Other Religion
    Sumer obviously came first. Some unknown amount of time later Akkad came to join them. For a time the two peoples lived pleasantly side by side. There was an internal collapse in Sumer and they invited Akkad to come in for a time, but then went back to their own rule. Babylon, under Hammurabi, took over the region. Meanwhile in the north Assyria was growing in power. Eventually Assyria conquered Babylon but Chaldea later took Babylon's place. Somewhere in there Assyria also conquered Egypt for a short dynasty until the nubians kicked them out. Just a quick summary.

    Code of Hammurabi is 282 laws, and written in Akkadian, Akkadian writing is not necessarily Babylonian so Hammurabi would be traced to Akkad and not have his origins in Babylon; even though I don't disagree he can be traced in Babylon during the Old Babylonian Dynasty as a ruler. The only older code than the Hammurabi code is the Code of Ur-Nammu, which I'm sure you are readily familiar with. So I would disagree with him being Babylonian, I don't disagree he could have ruled in Babylon and most likely he did. However, I'd also state the code is bilingual Sumerian-Akkadian in language as copies of the complete Laws, extracts of the Laws, commentaries to the Laws, and even a bilingual Sumerian-Akkadian extract of the Laws, were found in the scribal and cultural centers throughout Mesopotamia. Well over fifty manuscripts are known, coming originally from the ancient centers in Susa, Babylon, Nineveh, Assur, Borsippa, Nippur, Sippar, Ur, Larsa, and more. Some of these manuscripts are almost contemporary with Hammurabi and with the stelae he had erected; others are copies from at least a millennium later.


    My assertion is that the book of Exodus was written much later, but has its roots in that period of time. Correct, Ibrihim (Abraham: a common stock West Semitic name) is from Ur, if he did exist his origin is Sumerian.

    Interestingly there isn't evidence for an actual Egyptian captivity (concerning captivity and a Biblical exodus; there is one proclamation it was the Akhenaten who were in captivty but I am not sure whether I agree on that or not), but it is possible that the proto Jews left mesopotamia between 1900 bc and 1750 bc and stayed in the area between Egypt and the levant for a time before returning to the levant merging with some Canaanites, and becoming the Jews. Concerning directly deriving with the laws of Exodus and Hammurabi, Hammurabi got his law codes from other cities here and there, but it is likely that the Jewish law code came directly from Hammurabi's code. There is an argument though that Egyptian morality may have strongly influenced the Jewish law code. The argument that Canaanite moral codes influenced them doesn't seem to hold ground however.

    A brief pause before I continue and answer on. Are you then stating there is no intertextual concept between the laws of Exodus and Hammurabi laws?

    As far as "sin" it isn't inherent sin or universal sin and the development of an adversary system comes later, but "sin" isn't necessarily foreign to East Semitic and Sumerian people. There seems to be a lot of confusion on this, as there is an equating of "sin" with an adversary system. In Sumer The various words in Sumerian and Akkadian which are translated as'sin' (offences against moral or divine law) are equally used to refer to 'crime' (infringement of civil or criminal law)
    or to social ills, such as the prevalence of crime in a country. Assyrian kings were fond of talking about 'punishing' the 'crimes' of their enemies (crimes which consisted in resisting the Assyrian Empire or failing to adhere to a treaty imposed upon them), but this is largely propaganda. Nonetheless, a distinction was recognized between offences that had to be dealt with by the courts and offences of a more social nature. Such 'sins' might be deliberate, but one whole magical rite is devoted to relieving the patient of the numerous sins which might be committed by negligence unwittingly. The patient might not even know which god or goddess he or she had offended. Such sin could be 'undone', 'expelled' or 'annulled' by a god, and it is stressed that 'prayer can undo sin'. The use of the word 'patient' in this context emphasises the Babylonian view of sin as comparable with disease. Babylon is definately pre 1000 bce or 10th century bc, so I would state yes there was an idea of "sin", but not as a inherent sin or universal sin as there is not an adversarial system at the time.

    God demons and symbols of ancient Mesopotamia "Green and Black"

    To clarify my original thought was:

    In Genesis 4:15 Cain is banished to the land of Nod, a place east of Edin. If we take the garden as being the fertile crescent that is made lush between the Tigris and the Euphrates, then the land of Nod would be the Island of Dilmun

    Your response is:

    Secondly, how do you determine Dilmun to be equivalent of Nod? This is a stretch with no etymologic backing. Dilmun has the best chance of lying somewhere around the Shatt-al-arab, which of course did not really exist in its modern form in Sumerian times. Unless you are thinking of the theory that Bahrain is Dilmun? The problem here is that it is not east of Mesopotamia as such. Dilmun has not really been found.

    Before I can even begin on this one, Cain and Abel are equivaolent to the story of Enten and Emesh a Sumerian moral tale, so even in Biblical literature if Cain is banished to Nod, whether it was an actual event and not just story I have no evidence to support Cain and Abel were actual brothers or even existed. That is the first issue, also there is an issue as to whether or not the Amazonian and Nile river alongside the Tigris and Euhprates ran through Mesopotamia at the time. I would disagree and state that South East of Sumer in the Qatar province was also Dilmun. To your point Dilmun, Magan, and Melluha are not set locations. Their location changed over time. Qatar was Dilmun at one time, but at other times it was located in other places. Utnapishtim is the Babylonian version while Ziusudra is the Sumer version, keep in mind there is an "evolution" of the Epics of Gilgamesh throughout time, but most likely the land between Tigris, Euphrates would be subject to flooding at the time.

    I would agree and disagree on comparing Gods and so on in each culture. We see traces of the sky God Anu in Sumer as having traces of the sky God An in Akkadian. The characteristic are the same, yet the cultures are inherently different. So while I see your point, I only quasi concede your contention.

    Good discussion so far, I have only ran into you and another person (Seminary professor) who has had this discussion with me. While I agree with you for the most part, there are parts I don't agree but that is due to my reference material. Being a polytheist (and I assume you are monotheist) I think we'd either disagree on the concept of the afterlife, whether or not there is a singular God figure, and even some concept of morality. This is certainly fantastic, and is intriguing discussion, but I'm sure you have debated this before with others, feel free to email me
    [email protected]
  15. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
    Other Religion
    You must also beware of false friends.

    A good example to illustrate the principle is the Zulu impi vs the Roman Legions:
    Shaka Zulu shortened the Assegai, the throwing spear, into a stabbing weapon; He enlarged the cowhide shields that his people traditionally used; he organised his people into Impis, groups of warriors conjoined by rites and that had to get permission as a group to settle somewhere, etc.; he developed encircling tactics called the bull's horns which outflanked their opponents forcing them onto the central veteran body of warriors; and proceeded to build a strong kingdom. This was before European intervention.
    The Romans abandoned their traditional spears for short stabbing swords; enlarged their shields; organised their legions into cohorts that had their own rites, etc.; they used auxiliaries to enfold their enemy onto a core of hardened legionaries; and proceeded to build an Empire (although they already started before this whole process was completed).

    Now the Zulu today are westernised and clearly if we look back in time, and only had fragmentary records (as we have for the near-east), we could argue that the Zulu Impi was based on the Roman military and show later examples of Zulu usages of Roman practices to support it, like the use of the Latin alphabet. They are however, in no way related. How much more striking would such parallels have been if the peoples in question had cultural affinities?
    I can take the analogy even further. The British were a successor of Roman Civilization, as Babylonian or Assyrian was of Sumerian, and via them the Zulus gained their modern superficial 'Romanisation in a sense'. Neither the British nor the Assyrians were of the same stock exactly as their predecessors, the Roman or Sumerian respectively. Perhaps a similar Sumerisation can thus be seen in the Hebrew? Although again, Abraham as being from Ur, means that they do acknowledge Sumerian or at least Mesopotamian connections.

    One must be careful lest one end up in bouts of parallelomania and see connections everywhere. It must be cautiously made and firmly supported, as fake connections on spurious or specious grounds can easily occur.

    While I agree, the issue central to this is, the people of Sumer are polytheistic, and if their culture, language, religion, legal codex' are polytheist based and we know that Cuneiform is pre Bible in writing, and in language. Then there is an issue as to whether or not monotheism was an original concept, which I assert it is not.
  16. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    I agree Sumer predates all of this, and that they were polytheists. I am unaware of a specifically Sumerian form of Monotheism though.
    I know a monolatric tendency is clearly seen, as each city has a localised god whose city it was (Uruk for Inanna, Eridu for Enki, etc), but that does not denote Monotheism as such. Even ideas of supreme gods, like later tendencies in Assyria to make Asshur supreme, did not go to this extent.

    Anyway, have you ever heard of Ur-Monotheismus? This is a theory in anthropology, specifically of the Vienna School, that all religious thought started out monotheistic or at least having a Supreme god, a sort of Sky father perhaps. They derived this from inductively investigating primitive tribes in the Amazon, Andaman Islands, etc. and then juxtaposing it to later mythologies. Most seem to have some aspect of a paternal father figure god, related to the tribe, who acts as originator or perhaps creator, only to have a trickster figure or descendant gods largely supplant him somehow. Anu and Enki might act in these roles in Sumer.

    I doubt that Hammurabi would be of either Akkadian or Sumerian blood, seeing that Babylon was founded by Northwest Semitic speaking Amorites. It retained Akkadian as its language of rule, and obviously its rulers likely became bilingual, if not abandoning their original language entirely. We see the same happening later with the Kassites. Babylonia is a misnomer, like how Russia was called Muscovy after Moscow, as the land was still called Mat Akkad.
    Sumerian acted as their classical language, like Latin in the mediaeval period, well into Hellenistic times, so obviously Hammurabi had his code transcribed in the language of state (Akkadian) and the language of learning (Sumerian). Hammurabi himself was an Amorite, of Amorite stock, as even his name is Amorite from 'Ammurapi' - my family heals.

    If we assume the Torah to be written in Israel during the period just prior or after the fall of Samaria, or during the Babylonian captivity, then the Code of Hammurabi was an archaic set of laws, as Assyria used their own codes - admittedly partially based thereon, but a direct relation seems less likely in my mind than cultural affinity and perhaps minor cross-pollination. I see no reason to think otherwise, as even the pieces you have presented, acknowledge significant differences, hence using words like "creative reinterpretation". I don't think the argument at all strong enough to make except on highly suppositional grounds.

    No, Exodus and the code of Hammurabi have a lot of things in common, but that is what I would expect from culturally akin law codes. I don't think the commonalities sufficiently strong to argue derivation one from the other. As you now describe, the Sumerian and Akkadian conception of Sin is markedly different than that presented in the Pentateuch. Sin to the Hebrews was of inclination, of desire, of a moral dimension, which could be 'covered'. It is innate. Sumerians saw it as a crime committed or illness that had befallen them. The concepts are quite different, and no Mesopotamian text before Judaism that I am aware of, conceptualises it in a similar manner. This suggests to me that significantly different factors were ethno-culturally at play in Israel, than in Mesopotamia, and this explains there differences and is strong evidence against a straight connection - a roundabout one is certainly still possible, but this is even more suppositional.

    A connection between Nod and Dilmun is thus just hypothetical? In such a manner, I agree one could see it that way, but it doesn't really give us much to build off of. You keep roping in Qatar as being of Dilmun, and certainly they could have ruled Qatar seeing that they seemed to control trade on the seas, but from whence did you derive a Qatar/Dilmun connection?

    As to the Amazon and Nile flowing through Mesopotamia, that is obviously bonkers geologically. The Bible mentions four rivers in Eden - Tigris, Euphrates, Pishon, Gihon.
    Gihon was associated traditionally with the Nile, but it may refer to the Karun river in Iran, with its flowing through 'Cush' thus referring to the Kassites and not Ethiopic Cush. Pishon may refer to some of the dry wadis in Kuwait, and thus render a Garden of Eden lying at the mouth of all these rivers in the third millennium BC, lying somewhere in Mesopotamia.
    Alternately, some have argued for an Azerbaijani or Armenian location based on the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates and some other rivers identified as the Gihon and Pishon.

    When gods are compared, there are things they have in common and things they do not. Even overt ones like Zeus and Jupiter are actually a little bit different, with Jupiter being more a god of the oath. With Sumerian and Akkadian gods, we see local gods given Sumerian equivalents, but even if using the same signs, their pronunciation clearly shows a subtlely different god was envisioned, like Ishtar/Inanna with the former having originally been a separate goddess that came to be equated with the latter and eventually fused in all respects, such as in the poems of Sargon's daughter Enheduanna. Trying to retroactively sort out such mixes is sinking into a quagmire of hypothetical elements, unfortunately.

    I thank you for the discussion as well, for you are very knowledgeable and have given me a lot of very interesting information. Might I ask what kind of polytheist you are? A reconstructed Neo-pagan form of Sumerian gods, perhaps? I am a plain Protestant Christian myself.
  17. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

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    First issue is that we'd have to acknowledge that the people of Sumer (and because only 10-15% of Sumerian Cuneiform have been translated) that they wouldn't have known what Monotheism was, or even what Polytheism meant. I think I mentioned earlier that in Egypt there was a sect of Monotheistic Egyptians, the Ankht (spelling could be off) but in Sumer I don't see Monotheism as a concept. However, I don't see Monotheism developing until much later with the Israelite's right after Babylonian captivity, but there is strong indication that they adopt Monotheism from Henotheism. Right, city-states had their own local God both male and female, I know it doesn't specifically assert Henotheism, but if one city-state is recognizing a specific God among others it is plausible, but largely they remain Polytheistic.

    Interesting theory, I think an idea of Monotheism in Sumer would be inherently different than that in Abrahamic Monotheism, as in Sumer it allows for a God figure but does not deride other Gods in rule. Anunna has children, this I do agree with, but in Sumer Cuneiform Anu is a creator, with the exception of mankind, in another Cuneiform it is Enki and Ninmah who engender human beings. Enki journey's to Nibru (Nippur, located in Iraq) and he comes from the Abzu (the deep) and provides a meal for Enlil, of course the Cuneiform is Akkadian so in that sense Enlil is seen as the father of Enki and not his brother, the Cuneiform uses An to denote Anu in Sumerian. But I get the concept of having original Monotheism come from largely inheretant Polytheistic belief systems, but the only issue is the worshipers recognize other Gods from one Supreme Burrito (LOL). Definitely there are syncretism values for each "theistic" belief, but whether these cultures recognize Monotheism inherently remains a question. The idea is that a Head Deity breaks off into other Deities, and from the other deities we then get things like heroes, legends, and so on that supplant that concept.

    The people of Sumer would call Amorite's, Martu, but there might be some misconception as simultaneously the people of Egypt would not be in relation to Amorite's but they would be the people of the Sahara, one could argue the people of the Sahara are from Syria, but I doubt it as they are Nomads. The issue focuses that the laws of Hammurabi were in Akkadian circles, one would have to purport these laws are an adoption into Akkadian language, but I don't see how Amorite language would be adopted into Akkadian language, I do see Sumero-Akkad language, I'd have to research further. The only issue with code of Hammurabi if he is from the Northwest (which I think points to Syria) is that in Ur, they have the code of Ur-Nammu which comes out of Nibru (Nippur) and do include holy or divine laws. Such as:

    "If a man is accused of sorcery he must undergo ordeal by water; if he is proven innocent, his accuser must pay 3 shekels".

    So I would then have to conclude that the code of Ur-Nammu a much older "law" code (because in this sense law and religion are combined there is no separation of church and state in a sense) that the code of Hammurabi attempts the same. Even if Hammurabi is an Amorite, one would have to conclude he wasn't "spiritual" in a sense. But, also Sumer language goes from archaic to post Sumerian from 31st cent BCE to 1700 BCE or so, but with the invention of the mother tongue by the Akkadian's we see a Sumero-Akkadian language at least as far as linguistics is concerned. I don't doubt that Babylon is setup by Northwest people', but due to the Akkadian language of the Hammurabi code I'd disagree. Then again there is another issue, names were simultaneously used. I had always thought that Nimrod was Sargon of Akkad, but this isn't so, in the Sumerian Kings list Etana is most likely Nimrod. Etana, the shepherd, who ascended to heaven and consolidated all the foreign countries, became king; he ruled for 1500 (ms. P2+L2 has instead: 635) years, of course I'm sure different sources will disagree. It would definitely be a very complex study, and I'm curious on your thoughts.

    Yes I can see the obstacle with Code of Hammurabi being directly Akkadian, however it is found in Akkadian circles. The only issue is that Babylon is established much later than Akkad, and if Akkad had the laws of Hammurabi I'd think there might be a language issue. The people of Akkad essentially created the Semitic mother tongue while the people in Sumer spoke Sumerian. So while Amorite is a Northwest Semitic language, Akkad is a Semitic based language, and the Semitic based Akkadian would then inherently predate Northwest Semitic based language. This means that there would have to be a commingling of languages from Northwest Semitic to Semitic at the arrival of Babylon, yet since Akkad is earlier and the code of Hammurabi is found in Akkad, it would be hard to conclude that Hammurabi is strictly Syrian based.

    Right, law codes did have common intertextual inferences, how much was adopted I think depends on the law code.

    Sumerian's didn't separate law and spirituality, and neither did the Israelite's, but there is a running theme in Mesopotamian thought and that is "personal God" as even in city-states they would have had a personal God. Also, it's different due to a concept of an adversarial system, which doesn't develop until much later. Even "Lucifer" is a mistranslation and isn't penned until 382 AD, and yes I'm aware it is used in Isaiah. Yet, in earlier books of the Bible such as Genesis a serpent is a tempter. This wouldn't be seen in Sumerian culture per se, as the Gods didn't take issue with each other, and is quite the opposite. In the Sumerian concept of "sin", it was an offense against a personal God, so they would conduct exorcisms and prayers to rectify the sin committed. I do have reference material on Sumerian exorcism and anti witchcraft ceremonies that would take place. The difference is that Monotheism is adopted as a concept, the worship of One God, while Polytheism is already established as a concept. You can't really have a Tankh without the people of Babylon, Sumer, Akkad and so on. If the people of Israel do adopt monotheism from Babylonian captivity then that adoption is supported by Babylonian's, and less an Israelite innovation.

    Goes back to my:

    Biblical hymn of Psalm 148:7 calls on the cosmic sea creature Tannin to join in praising Yahweh. Mesopotamian culture, too, regarded monstrous creatures as subservient to deities, so the kindly attitude toward cosmic monsters may not be an Israelite innovation. Indeed, this view of the monstrous enemies recalls El’s special relationship with these foes, expressed through various “terms of endearment” and other nomenclature. The Ugaritic material is especially rich in terms of endearment between El and the cosmic enemies.

    The only connection is the geographic location, whether it has any other significance remains to be seen. Also, Dilmun changes periodically, have you looked at Cuneiform from ETCSL? These are texts from ETCSL and are Akkadian. Isin is an archaeological site in Al-Qādisiyyah Governorate, Iraq.

    "Before the land of Dilmun yet existed, the E-ana of Unug Kulaba was well founded, and the holy ĝipar of Inana in brick-built Kulaba shone forth like the silver in the lode."

    "To create offspring for thousands of young women, to make things in order like a potter, to cut the umbilical cord, to determine destinies, to place a hand on the door of the Niĝin-ĝar (a part of Ninisina's temple at Isin)."

    "I am the lady, the youthful woman, the great strength of Enlil! I am the beautiful woman Ninisina, daughter of holy An! My father An the king, shepherd of the gods, sat me in the Land on a holy dais. My mother Uraš, the lady of the gods, had momentous sexual intercourse with An, relaxing in the holy bedchamber; my place of engendering by holy An was a holy place."

    Shatta Al Arab lays south of Isin, Isin which has the temple to Ninisina, which is Al-Qādisiyyah, even further south of that is Qatar. Temple of Inana is Uruk and Nippur. So in Cuneiform we see different references to Dilmun, and being in different locations. But a strong indicator is that trade routes between Mesopotamia and Qatar would be noted, and they would have traded copper. But, even in Cuneiform itself there is no one set location for Dilmun. The earliest references to a temple would be the temple of Inana in either Uruk or Nippur, there is another Cuneiform of Enki being on Dilmun and being in Nippur (Nibru) as well. Enki inhabits Dilmun as one Cuneiform is written (it is an Akkadian Cuneiform):

    "When Utu steps up into heaven, fresh waters shall run out of the ground for you from the standing vessels (?) on Ezen's (?) shore, from Nanna's radiant high temple, from the mouth of the waters running underground."

    "May the waters rise up from it into your great basins. May your city drink water aplenty from them. May Dilmun drink water aplenty from them. May your pools of salt water become pools of fresh water. May your city become an emporium on the quay for the Land. May Dilmun become an emporium on the quay for the Land."

    Indicating there is salt water that becomes fresh water (or this is a miracle by Enki), the temple of Nanna is located in Uruk, however Uruk migrants settled in the South, and later in the North Caucasus.

    Biblically I think there is a splitting of the lands concerning Peleg, I'd have to research the issue. But yes Bible mentions 4 rivers, I always used Mesopotamia as land with 4 rivers, not 2, and was subject to flooding, but I agree Tigris, Euphrates, Pishon, Gihon. However, consider that land structure may have actually been different, or land was en masse at one period. This would require more research, but I don't have a database for it unfortunately. The only thing I can reference is splitting of land with Peleg, problem is, who is Peleg compared in other cultures? Keep in mind like Peleg, most names are just titles. Ziusudra is called man of long life, while Noah in Biblical lit is thought to live a long time I think either 650-950 years old. What does make sense is that the Gihon and Pishon are other rivers, but it would have to be proven at least scientifically.

    Correct about Gods, I was inferring to intertextuality. But we do see characteristics displayed in later Gods. Of course we also see this with offspring as having their paternal characteristics or even maternal. Enki impregnates 7 female Gods (7 being a holy number), and has children. So the issue is then concept, like I said USA has a president, Mexico has a president, and the concept is adopted while the characteristics are different.

    I am with the Temple of Sumer we are small group of reconstructionist, and we communicate on Facebook. I consider myself Polytheistic, and not "Pagan" as that is a hick or country bumpkin. But yes I do or am attempting to reconstruct the Sumerian religion. I guess I consider myself an original Christian, just kidding.

    Oh I provided my email; I was going to send you my reference collection if you want.

    [email protected]
  18. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    Are you thinking of Akhenaton and the worship of the Aten, in Egypt? That was a short-lived religious revolution under the Pharoah during the 18th dynasty. It did however build on centuries of Heliopolitan ideas of Ra, that essentially built toward it. It largely failed, so the Aten and Akhenaton was chipped out of inscriptions and an attempt was made to erase it from history. There are similarities between the Great Hymn to the Aten and Psalm 104. This is the first unequivocal monotheism in history, as far as I am aware, as it predates the later developments in Israel as well. Any connection between the two are tenuous.

    I agree Sumer does not have a clearly articulated monotheism-concept, but Ur-monotheismus argues that at a very primitive level, they would have been, and as tribes become more advanced, they develop other concepts, long before we even see the first rudimentary civilisation. So an idea of syncretism or seeing gods as aspect of one, is not what it argues at all. It is a developmental model. I suggest reading Schmidt's The Origin of the Idea of God, if you are interested in their reasoning and supports.

    I don't think the Code of Hammurabi was Amorite per se, more that it was a later code, based on earlier Mesopotamian ones, like Ur-Nammu's. It arose as an interplay between a mostly Akkadian people being ruled by foreign Amorites that likely quickly acultured to the former. This is why it is Akkadian and Sumerian, but under the Aegis of an Amorite dynasty.
    Akkadian and Sumerian had a sprachbund, a true bilinguality, that eventually saw Sumerian go extinct as a mother tongue. Such linguistic considerations are very complex, I agree.

    I don't think Nimrod can be shown to be any one king decisively. There are many arguments, from Enmerkar of Uruk, to Tukulti-Ninurta, to Sargon, etc. I think a composite origin of the legend, from many figures, is just as plausible, if not more so, than any individual derivation.

    I don't understand what analogy between Egypt and the Nilo-Saharan peoples, and Akkad and the Amorites, you are trying to make here.

    I agree the codes are not strictly Syrian based, as I explained earlier. Akkadian is our first written Semitic language, but that hardly means they 'created the Semitic mother tongue'. All Semitic languages probably go back to a proto-Semitic language, unattested, that Akkadian is also a descendant of. It cannot be considered the progenitor of the rest, and even more when we take into account the Afro-Asiatic languages as a whole (the old Hamito-Semitic).

    You essentially are agreeing that there are significant differences here, so again, I don't understand what you are arguing. We all agree there is a significant cultural Semitic backdrop to the Israelites and their later Monotheism, but as we have no evidence of an earlier monotheism there, this remains an 'innovation' of the Israelites based on the cultures and traditions of their epoch. What do you mean by adoption? I think we are at cross-purposes.

    Agreed, there are cultural elements in common. I am not following what you are trying to imply thereby?

    I still don't specifically see a reason to assume Qatar, but I am not very familiar with these particulars. I am just used to thinking of Dilmun as being a quasi-Persian gulf Civilisation, but the important references 'East of Sumer' and 'at the mouth of the Rivers' suggest at least partially, or at one time, a Shatt-al -Arab location, at least in my opinion. I shall look into this one day, when I have more time. Thank you for the translations.

    Yes, Pagani were hicks that hadn't converted to Christianity in the late Roman Empire, hence the term. I find reconstructed Ancient religions fascinating, especially on how much its adherents actually believe their recreations, or whether they merely see them as Psychological Archetypes or somesuch. I myself am quite fond of Rome, so if I had been tempted in that direction, that is where I would go.

    I thank you for the kind offer of your references, but you have given many references already in this thread, and a lot of very interesting information. I am not currently at liberty to undertake intensive study in this rich subject, a man has to eat, but I try to keep abreast of new developments in Archaeology and wherever my historic interests take me at any certain time. I am sure I will return to Sumeria at some future date, but alas, I need to focus more on human physiology currently for my day job. So I am unlikely to follow up much of the referencing at the moment, but I have enjoyed our discussion so far. It is enjoyable finding people who like to speak on such historic questions.
  19. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
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    However, I am unaware of any extra Biblical references to a mass exodus from Egypt concerning the Israelite's. The reference material I think of when it comes to this idea of an exodus en masse is Secrets of the Exodus (Sabbah - Secrets of the Exodus - The Egyptian Origins of the Hebrew People (Revolutionary Study on Origins of Monotheism)(2004) | Akhenaten | Eighteenth Dynasty Of Egypt) and bare in mind I am not a fan of this work, the reason being there is very little reference if any at all to Sumer and origins from Sumer. However it is provided "Is the Hebrew Exodus history or legend? On the other hand, Egyptian history and archeology do happen to report a significant exodus, which occurred around 1344 BC. The population of an entire city - the capital of Egypt at the time, Akhet-Aten -departed from Egypt and settled in the Egyptian province of Canaan. The people who made this astounding trip were monotheists, believers in the One God. They left the polytheistic land of Egypt in an exodus that is well recorded in Egyptian history, and is verified by modern archeology." Kind of an interesting read, but I still am unaware of any extra Biblical references to an exodus en masse from Egypt, and especially from Egyptian sources.

    On Ur-Monotheismus even in remote areas we see cultural diffusion, all of these groups are polytheist, monotheism is rare for religions, and a supreme sky god is not universal. Schmidt's The Origin of the Idea of God I will look into that for sure, thank you. Development through each culture? I will have to see the reference material you provided.

    I do agree that Hammurabi could be based on Ur-Nammu and most likely is as Ur-Nammu is a much older code, however this raises three issues. First the subject would then be that Ur-Nammu does incorporate divine law, as courts were also used to interpret theological issues of morality, demon possession, blessings, societal wrongs, civil wrongs, contract disputes and so on. Secondly, Ur-Nammu (and I'd have to verify) is Akkadian in language or Sumerian in language. Either way it has a Semitic or early Sumer dialect to it. But, I would still vie that Northwest Semitic doesn't necessarily pre date and does develop from Semitic language in origin.

    Nimrod is shown in Jasher 9:25-26 as a desiring to ascend to heaven, hence the characteristics of Etana as actually ascending to heaven. However, once again in Sumer the concept of Heaven is reserved for the Gods, so this is a much later development. Then again to your point, the name Sargon was most likely used repeatedly throughout ancient history.

    Okay so to clarify, we see an influence of Saharan Nomadic dwellers pertaining to transformation concerning Egyptian as a development. While if Akkad had a much earlier Semitic tongue, the Amorites would have had to develop their Northwestern tongue, I hope this clears up the explanation.

    I agree and I disagree, I tend to think that Sumer doesn't have any Semitic tongue as their communication is a Pre Semitic aggulgnative tongue (Samuel Noah Kramer is the researcher for this), so for the people of Akkad Semitic is endemic for them until it spreads. I don't see it as ancestral, but if I recall Sumer is conqured by the people of Akkad. I think I agree that Afro-Asiatic languages differ in origin from Sumer, but it is possible other languages do as well. But as civilization is concerned I don't see evidence of other prominent beginnings with other cultures other than Sumer that are Sumerian tongue. While Semitic language relates to Semitic cultures which we see thriving.

    I think I agree there are differences (how significant remains a question), I also agree there is influence. By adoption the easiest way for me to explain is that we see culture adopting concepts and ideas in other cultures, not directly of course. We can observe this in the development of language, wherein the Israelite's Semitic based language develop originally from Canaan. Also, symbology is another aspect to adoption of ideas, beliefs, and so on. To my earlier example USA has a president, Mexico has a president, both have presidents, each president has a distinct trait or set of traits, one country idea of a president is adopted from another. But, obviously this is just an example and not specifically how the cultures operated.

    As a partial example, If you look at the biblical disposal rites in the Old Testament in Leviticus significance of the scapegoat rite as a ritual of disposal by paying attention to the relationship of the rite to the larger scheme appear location on the day of atonement, the evil that the ritual seeks to remove, the figure Azazel, and the meaning of dispatching to go into the wilderness. This can be compared to Hittite and Mesopotamian parallels using the method of contrastive comparison, which focuses on differences between broadly similar phenomena in discrete cultures and asks questions about the nature and differences and why the differences exist. The answers to these questions lead to a better assessment of the significance of the rituals in their respective contexts.

    We begin with Anatolia; Hittite ritual material is abundant and contains a vast range of responses to impure conditions. In order to better comprehend this variety, a brief survey of the various purification techniques is in order. There is a list of 10 occasional motifs which appear in Hittite rituals. This classification is provisional, subject to expansion and reorganization as more is learned about Hittite ritual. Furthermore, it hardly be said that the list does not necessarily represent how an ancient Hittite would view the rituals. It is somewhat artificial arrangement, structured according to modern intellectual outlook and conventions. It's formulated in order to better perceive the content of the rituals. It also must be stressed that such a simple rubics do not fully bring out the complexity of the symbolism contained in it ritual, or any other culture to which they may be applied. The various motifs often occur in combinations, or a particular motif which generally accompanies a certain ritual act may be replaced by another. Such fluidity in the manifestations of these motives is not very troublesome, if one keeps in mind that a particular symbol- and a ritual act, is a symbol- does not always demand uniform significance throughout a given culture.

    These motifs, apart from serving a basis for understanding the Hittite rituals themselves, can be viewed generally in comparing both Hittite and Mesopotamian rituals with the biblical scapegoat rite.

    The question is what motifs exist in the scapegoat ritual and then inquire the same motifs existed in scapegoat rite. The presence or lack of certain motifs in the rituals over a more ready perception of their difference or similarity. Furthermore, using these motifs for comparison will allow us to focus on conceptual and systemic differences between the rites of the different culture and avoid obvious and general insignificant differences or similarities in regard to formal content and physical objects employed in the rites.

    I will go more into this later, as it is a much longer viewpoint.

    Right, concerning the locations of those ancient towns, is an interesting research. Problem is you have differing (and not just limited to two) the Biblical texts and the Sumerian cuneiform, Sumer gives way to Ziggaurats (which btw the Egyptians are not influenced by), my only point is that Dilmun like the name Sargon is annotated different times in different locations. So it is very hard to pinpoint an origin with a vague reference to "edin" or later use of the term "eden". Also keep in mind my Qatar reference is from geological findings about the possibility of the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea being dry land or fertile at one time. Of course, this goes to the thought that land split at one time. More research is required. I don't disagree that Shatt-Al-Arab had temples surrounding it at one time, making it very plausible for that area to be a viable location. But most of the area from Turkey to Oman are where civilizations would have begun, though the theory of life coming from Africa is plausible.

    I myself being ex Christian find Christianity fascinating as a religion (the reasons why I left the religion are obvious), but it doesn't mean it isn't a fascinating religion per se. The idea of salvation doctrine (which admittedly some Christians disagree on) is convoluted between Christians alike and for this reason I think should be explored by disagreeing Christians, but to disagree on a fundamental at least in my opinion makes it difficult to establish a basis for other doctrines, but then again that is another disagreement as I am sure it is. I am with the Temple of Sumer and like other socialites (LOL) we have a Facebook page, yet some of them are simply researchers and I think we have a linguist and a few archaeologist' on board and an atheist as well. It ends up being a lot of discussion on archaeology, philanthropy, and of course political topics. In Sumer it is said that the Gods wanted humans to thrive and procreate, so some of them are actually against abortion. I myself am not, in limited circumstance of course. A baby who will be born a vegetable or with a congenital heart disease should be terminated early on as not to suffer and then to die early anyways. So I think abortion depends on the circumstance. But otherwise I am opposed to abortion for non exigent circumstances related to health of the baby.

    No problem on the references, I also take this as more of a discussion obviously me being polytheistic and you being monotheistic we will decidedly disagree on aspects of religion. What are your thoughts if you will on Christianity and its development from its beginnings in Rome and its spread?
  20. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

    United States
    ShamashUruk, why are you so intent on saying that monotheism came from polytheism, and not the other way around?
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