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Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by ShamashUruk, Jan 23, 2018.

  1. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
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    My assertion is that biblical monotheism develops from early polytheistic cultures, but my assertion is not really “my assertion”, it is actually shown throughout the annals of history that this is how the ancient Israelites developed.

    Hence, it can be shown that Christianity will have been developed from the perspective of the ancient Israelites.

    This excerpt is from “The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel
    By Mark S. Smith” and the rest of the text shows that not only YHWH has a role as the divine source of rain and appears elsewhere in postexilic prophecy (Zechariah 10:1) as well various aspects of the mountain tradition being the divine location of Yahweh’s roar, also the site of divine battle and the origin of divine reins issuing fertility as these motifs and themes are associated with Baal in Canaanite literature that manifest in Israelite tradition.

    Various West Semitic descriptions emphasize 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. 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 ) 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.

    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.

    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.
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    Lulav Older than ZIP Codes Supporter

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  3. Nihilist Virus

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    Is it true that Ashtoreth was once the wife of Yahweh?
  4. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

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    I am unaware of the two being related. Ashtoreth will originally be Astarte, and if it is in Mesopotamia it will be Ishtar the Female God of Mesopotamia and long before that she is Inanna in Sumerian, who represents love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, combat, justice, and political power. Yahweh is more connected as Baal, as in origin he is the storm God as well Baal is the storm God. In fact YHWH may have been introduced from the South of Mesopotamia to the early Israelite's (Canaanite's) and is seen as well in Ugaritic materials.
  5. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    I think you are thinking of Asherah. She was the consort of YHWH at the Jewish temple at Elephantine in Egypt, and is mentioned as the consort at Kuntillet Arjud inscriptions.

    What connection this has with the Asherah pole, is the actual question. We see Asherah poles being placed next to altars to YHWH in the Bible and eventually cut down by the prophets and righteous kings. The goddess Asherah likely developed as a female personification of this pole, as this seems to be her origin as consort of El as well. William Robertson wrote extensively on it in the book Religion of the Semites. The pole likely originally represented a tree of some sort, hence Life, and is perhaps mirrored in biblical references to the Tree of Life and paralleled in surrounding religious thought as well.

    I think Ugaritic connections to Israelite religion is a bit oversold. They are distantly related, as both are Semitic in nature, but direct transference is a hard sell.

    Our earliest references to YHWH are anyway the Egyptian ones to Shasu of YHW in Midian, and along with the oldest Biblical portions saying YHWH descended from Seir, and actual Biblical narrative and the Kenites, an introduction from the areas south of Palestine seem more plausible. This is strengthened by the Israelites recognising some form of kinship with the Edomites.
    That El and Baal was placed on some connectivity or syncreticism with YHWH is obvious, even from the Biblical narrative - hence Ahab and Jezebel's attempted revolution. The Northern prophets essentially opposed an attempted syncreticism or such of the Tyrians, or elements opposed to their development of YHWH worship from its monolatric roots into a semblance of monotheism.

    As to connecting YHWH to Mesopotamia or Ebla, this is quite doubtful. Even Delitszch and Bottero, that initially suggested it, largely backtracked. I wrote about it before, so I just quoted it below:

  6. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

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    You always have well rounded responses, I concur for the most part of your assertion. It's clear from the Ugaritic texts and elsewhere that Astarte was a consort of Baal, as also was Anat. However, whereas Astarte was apparently more prominent as Baal's consort in the world reflected in the Old Testament (as is certainly the case in first-millennium Phoenician inscriptions), it is Anat who plays the preponderant role as Baal's consort in the Ugaritic texts.

    Astarte does appear as Baal's spouse in the Ugaritic mythological texts, but she is less dominant. These differences may reflect regional or temporal variations. Awareness of Astarte as the consort of Baal clearly lived on late, since in Philo of Byblos (c. 100 CE or AD) we read that 'Greatest Astarte and Zeus, called both Demarous and Adodos, king of gods, were ruling over the land with the consent of Kronos' (Praeparatio Evangelica 1.10.31).

    Astarte may be the 'Queen of Heaven' mentioned in Jer. 7.18 and 44.17-19, 25 to whom the women made cakes of bread, burned incense and poured out drink offerings.

    The name of the goddess Astarte occurs in the place name Ashtaroth or Ashteroth-Karnaim, 'Ashtaroth of the two horns', which may be compared with the statement in Philo of Byblos that 'Astarte placed upon her own head a bull's head as an emblem of kingship'.

    The name of the goddess also lingers on in an interesting expression found in the book of Deuteronomy. This is the phrase 'aWrot so'neka (Deut. 7.13; 28.4, 18, 51), commonly rendered as 'the young of your flock', and in each case mentioned alongside Segar 'a ldpeka, 'the offspring of your cattle'. This expression is clearly a hangover from an earlier stage of belief in which the goddess Astarte was thought to be responsible for the fertility of the flocks of sheep. We may compare the fact that concern for livestock is explicitly attested of Astarte's Mesopotamian equivalent, Ishtar, and the Ugaritic phrase, 'ttrt sd 'Astarte of the field' (KTU 1.148.18), presumably alludes to her concern for the fertility of the field and what was in it.

    What relation, if any, did Astarte have to Yahweh? If, as has been seen, Astarte was the consort of Baal, and if, Yahweh and Baal were sometimes equated, then it follows that Astarte could sometimes function as Yahweh's consort.

    For the interesting part, unlike in the case of Anat (who is attested in the form of Anat-Yahu at
    Elephantine), there is no explicit evidence of this. The goddess Anat is never directly mentioned by name in the Old Testament, in contrast to the goddesses Asherah and Astarte. Nevertheless, there are indirect allusions. The most obvious occurrences are in place names, where her name forms a part—Beth-Anat (bet-'a ndt)in Naphtali (Josh. 19.38; Judg. 1.33); Beth-Anot (bet-'a not)in Judah (Josh. 15.59), and Anathoth in Benjamin ('anatdt, in Josh. 21.18; 1 Kgs 2.26 and'"natotin 1 Kgs 2.26; Isa. 10.30; Jer. 1.1,11.21, 23, 32.7, 8, 9; 1 Chron.6.45; Ezra 2.23; Neh. 7.27; cf. also the adjective 'the Anathothite', ha'anne toti in 2 Sam. 23.27, 1 Chron. 12.3 and Jer. 29.27; and hd'anne tdtim 1 Chron. 11.28, 27.12), most famous as the birthplace of Jeremiah, but also as the place to which the priest Abiathar was exiled by Solomon (1 Kgs. 2.26). The place names Beth-Anat and Beth-Anot indicate the presence of a temple to the goddess Anat there.
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  7. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    It makes sense that Biblical texts relating to the House of Omri's support of Baal worship, would thus reflect Astarte and not Anat. After all, Jezebel was of Tyre. It makes more sense to think that Jezebel equated YHWH and El from general Canaanite mythos, in which case Baal would act as a son, or active agent of El. This is the idea of a successor acting for an older god, that can be seen with Marduk as well, and can perhaps underlie the imagery in Daniel of the Ancient of Days, where thus this general Semitic imagery was subverted for prophetic and midrashic Jewish usages.
    I haven't come accross this quote before, but clearly there is a lot of Interpraetio Graecorum going on here. Demarous is probably a transliterated Tammuz or Dumadis, Adodos likely some form of the word that Adonis is derived from. To think Zeus equals Baal, with El being Chronos, makes some sense, but Tammuz is not really Baal. This may reflect more the myth of the dying and reborn god, more Dumuzid the Shepherd than Astarte and Baal. This Zeus is thus not necessarily Baal, I'd think, but could perhaps be construed more along the lines of the descent into the underworld and restoring of fertility motief. This may be Astarte and Tammuz instead of Astarte and Baal.
    As far as I am aware, the Queen of Heaven in Jeremiah is more likely Asherah, El's consort and fertility goddess, one who acts as a 'mother-goddess' or hearth goddess (a similar role to say Hera for instance), for whom it makes sense the women of Jerusalem would bring cakes and offerings. Astarte is far more warlike, and Asherah fits better the general biblical setting of Canaan. We have a proven association of Asherah and YHWH. The argument that this refers to Asherah is therefore much stronger and far more plausible. What specifically are your reasons for saying otherwise?
    I think one must be careful equating gods too readily. They clearly have similar cultural backgrounds, but they cannot be directly equated. East Semitic and West Semitic are perhaps analogous to West Germanic and North Germanic pantheons - as Thor and Donar or Odin and Wotan have a lot in common, they are very far from equivalent. One can even argue that east and west Semitic are to one another in relation as Greek mythology is to Germanic, in which case Zeus and Thor are very difficult to closely reconcile, in spite of general storm characteristics in common.
    Ishtar's characteristics of defending flocks of sheep are again related to the Tammuz mythos, which has not really been found in an Israelite or non-Syrian context in the West Semitic cultures, so this seems highly conjectural. It seems to be mostly based on importing directly Mesopotamian mythology, which I would think requires much more argument.
    Astarte was on occasion Baal's consort, but I doubt Baal was really equated to YHWH. It seems more as if YHWH was equated to Canaanite El in Jezebel's religious movement, so that Baal would act in relation as El/YHWH's successor, as was customary in much of the surrounding mythos. Thus Astarte as a consort of YHWH seems a stretch, instead of Asherah - of which we have direct evidence in forms of inscriptions. It should be remembered that YHWH and Baal are referred to separately at Kuntillet Arjud.
    The question here is what is Anat's role? Anat is not really a consort, in fact the combination Anat-Yahu seems more to be a sort of hypostasis of YHWH's 'female' characteristics. This may explain why it is not condemned in the Biblical narratives, as it was not conceived as a separate goddess, but an aspect of YHWH. Thus it was maybe not perceived as another goddess, as happened to YHWH's consort or Astarte. It is perhaps similar to Philo's ideas of the Logos, or later Second Temple Binitarianism of God. This would explain the dearth of Biblical references to Anat-Yahu, when other gods that the Israelites whored after were named and shamed. As you yourself noted, Anat was far less prominent than in Ugarit, which perhaps reflects early absoption of the mythological role into YHWH or El. This is perhaps analogous to how Ra disappeared in Hellenistic times as he largely became absorbed into Osiris, who in turn became the syncretic god Sarapis.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  8. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

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    El however is not necessarily YHWH, it is more likely that YHWH is BAAL. Various West Semitic descriptions emphasize 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. 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 ) 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.

    Before I get started here, I would state that in order for a myth to come about, some true even had to happen, thus the myth gets started. Tammuz in Babylonia has differing roles, he is seen in the Biblical mythologies as rising and dying God, transliterated from Aramaic he is the month of July. He is crucified and he returns again, I believe this (indirectly albeit) shows the affinity of the myth hero Jesus as being an amalgamation of earlier Gods and their inheret roles in their perspective cultures, as Jesus is equated similarily. BAAL is a storm God as is YHWH a storm God, a look at Luke 8:25 shows Jesus as master of the storm, similiarily may be equated with BAAL and YHWH in the Old Testament. Or in Hosea 2:16 I believe that YHWH commands his people to no longer refer to him as BAAL but as ISHI, see my above posting on BAAL being YHWH.

    On the contrary it would make sense that Astarte in origin fits this role in Jeremiah 7:18, in Greek context Astarte is a Hellenized form of the Middle Eastern goddess Astoreth, and Astoreth (Northwest Semitic), a form of Ishtar (East Semitic), was worshipped from the Bronze Age through classical antiquity. Ishtar will be the Sumerian Inanna in origin, if we are talking cross pollination, and I believe we are. Inanna is the female God of love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, combat, justice, and political power. Also (and I'd have to check my sources) she is one of the seven Gods who decree fate. While Asherah is shown dating in Akkadian as Ašratu(m) and if so then in Sumerian she is the name Ningisjzida and is a Female God of the underworld or afterlife. In Akkadian she (Ashera) is the consort of Anu the Akkadian sky God. For the most part the Old Testament was happy to appropriate elements of El religion to Yahwism, though it rejected the symbolism of El as a bull, which some Israelites associated with Yahweh. Another aspect of El religion which the Old Testament rejected was his wife. The Ugaritic texts reveal that El's consort was a goddess named Athirat. In equating Yahweh with El it would not be surprising if some Israelites appropriated El's wife to Yahweh. As we shall see, this seems to have taken place, and the name Athirat occurs as Asherah in the Old Testament, but understandably the Yahweh-alone party which compiled the Old Testament rejected the notion that Yahweh had a wife Asherah. The word 'Asherah' occurs forty times in the Old Testament, sometimes in the singular and sometimes in the plural. As I shall argue below, although most of these refer to a wooden cult object symbolizing the goddess Asherah, there are several passages where Asherah refers directly to the goddess herself: Judg. 3.7; 1 Kgs 14.13, 18.19; 2 Kgs 21.7, 23.4. Prior to the discovery of the Ugaritic texts in 1929 onwards, however, it was common for scholars to deny that Asherah was ever the name of a goddess in the Old Testament,or when this was conceded it was often thought that she was the same as Astarte The view generally held today that Asherah in the Old Testament occurs both as the name of an independent goddess and as the name of her wooden cult symbol had already been put forward by A. Kuenen in the nineteenth century, but this remained a minority view and did not become widely accepted till the discovery of the Ugaritic texts, which refer to the goddess Athirat (Asherah) as the consort of El.

    It would seem that cross pollination occurs between the cultures, one adaptation of one God is shown in another cultural adaptation of another God. AN is called the Sky God in Sumerian and when the people of Akkad who speak the first Semitic tongue refer to AN, he is then refered to as ANU the Sky God. Having a similiar role with a differing name and perhaps slightly different characteristics. Hence, ANU is the same as AN, with roles based upon the cultural aspects of each culture. It would appear that in this fashion as time moves along, each culture adapts their own language from their language family tree and each God is seen differently.

    See my above posting on YHWH and BAAL, in Ugaritic material we see an interesting occurance between EL and BAAL and MOT as all three are compared to bulls:

    Mot was strong; Baal was strong. They gored like wild bulls. How can you fight with Valiant Baal? How will Bull EL your father not hear you?

    The text goes on, however, to consider Baal is challenged to offer a substitute, so redeeming human victims from Mot's threat. Who 'the first of his brothers' is remains unclear. One possibility is that it is the first of the seven Baals of KTU 1.47.5-11 and parallels, that is Baal himself. Cf. also the putative son in KTU 1.9. Baal himself appears to fulfil some obscure self-sacrificial, atoning role in KTU 1.12 ii 46-49. Baal appears to have tricked Mot into eating his own brothers. El is also seen as bull.

    In Ugarit I believe Anat is called a virgin in some instances, and could attribute to the Virgin Mary in Christian/Catholic texts. YHWH is seen in the symbolism of the ancient Israelite's, as tents in Israel will have significant symbolism. Yahweh inhabits a tent from Sinai until the construction of Solomon's Temple; accordingly, a tent is pictured as ancient Israel's cultic center during its formative period. Tents are intimately connected to the judgeships of Deborah and Samuel, as well as the monarchy under David and his successors. Later Israelite and Judahite prophets romanticize and idealize their tent heritage, even praising nomadic contemporaries who forgo urban trappings in favor of the perceived superior lodging provided by tents. The tent in the Hebrew Bible serves as a metaphor for God, life, the universe, Israel, and Judah. Three passages utilize the root ^n« verbally, with the meaning "to pitch one's tent." The majority of nominal uses (148) refer to the Tabernacle, most frequently designated "tent of the appointed time" (ii?io Vnk), but also "the tent of the covenant" (rvnrn ^rm), "the tent of Yahweh" (mrr ^rm) and simply "the tent" (brmn).At times the heavens are conceived of as a tent stretched out by Yahweh. Tents also symbolize life. It would seem you are then stating that Yahweh has a femininity, I am not clear on this. But, like the tents in Israel, I can see the symbology directly associated with YHWH.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  9. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    El was conceived as an High god, a sky god, so much of that imagery is also applicable to El. Such evidence is at best, ambigious therefore on this question. The lack of references of El in assumed systems where YHWH is equated to Baal, is odd. Based on the Biblical account of YHWH as opposed to Baal, along with separate referencing to Baal and YHWH at Kuntillet Arjud, makes this seem unilkely to my mind. We shall have to agree to disagree.

    I fail to see the relevance of this to what I wrote. Tammuz is not Baal, which you seem to agree with as well.
    I will address its implications to Jesus in a following post though, by quoting Lewis on the Corn King mythos.
    You seem a bit confused here. You say it makes sense Jeremiah is referring to Astarte, but then go on to list evidence that YHWH's spouse is Asherah, from both Ugaritic and Biblical sources. The Queen of Heaven in Jeremiah, is clearly conceived in relation to YHWH, as is tophet sacrifice, so the argument for Astarte is quite weak.

    Similarly you made an error. Astarte is the Greek form of Ashtart. Asthoreth is a Hebrew reading of the Consonants of Ashtart, but combined with the vowel points for Bosheth, or shame. This is a method often employed by the Masoretes to damn the memory of someone, such as Ishbaal being read as Ishbosheth or Bar Kosiba as Bar Kohba. So Asthoreth is not an original form. I would also be wary of equating goddesses too readily.

    Which is an argument why one should be wary of equating gods from different cultures, even if they are known to be related. Even Ares and Mars are quite different, as are Venus and Aphrodite or Roman Hercules and Herakles.
    Here with Anu we enter deep time and the change over between non-Semitic Sumerian to Semitic Akkadian, which perhaps had marked implications. Again, caution is advised.

    I agree El was seen as a bull as well. Yet in that material, Baal, El and Mot are still treated separately. This does not support YHWH being Baal anymore than YHWH being El. Again though, Ugarit is not as closely applicable to Israel as most people would think. You yourself mentioned known descrepancies between the myths, such as Anat.
    I don't understand what the relevance of trying to associate Anat with the Virgin Mary is. I don't really see how much such an association can be made, as that is largely based on Zechariah's Almah giving birth, which was rendered as Parthenos or Virgin in the LXX. There aren't strong parallels to the Virgin Mary here, perhaps more to Athena?

    Anyway, it is possible that feminine characteristics were ascribed to YHWH as He became conceived as Supreme and largely lost His wife and so forth. After all, much mystic language is tinted by feminine ideas, and what is more feminine than Creation - moulding someone in their mother's womb? As such, religious ideas perviously of godesses, became of part to Him, perhaps in part via ideas like Anat-Yahu. We see similarly the Christian Church taking on a feminine role as bride of Christ, or the Virgin Mary acting as the premiere feminine saint. This is though a highly speculative suggestion, as the religion as we have it today, has largely rejected much of this thought. Jewish Binitarianism was important, but would have been forgotten, if much of it was not subsumed into the developing idea of the Christian Trinity and use of the Hellenistic Logos.
  10. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    Excerpt from the Grand Miracle, by CS Lewis:

    "Now, if one asks whether that central grand miracle in Christianity is itself probable or improbable, of course, quite clearly you cannot be applying Hume’s kind of probability. You cannot mean a probability based on statistics according to which the more often a thing has happened, the more likely it is to happen again (the more often you get indigestion from eating a certain food, the more probable it is, if you eat it again, that you will again have indigestion).

    Certainly the Incarnation cannot be probable in that sense. It is of its very nature to have happened only once. But then it is of the very nature of the history of this world to have happened only once; and if the Incarnation happened at all, it is the central chapter of that history. It is improbable in the same way in which the whole of nature is improbable, because it is only there once, and will happen only once. So one must apply to it a quite different kind of standard.

    I think we are rather in this position. Supposing you had before you a manuscript of some great work, either a symphony or a novel. There then comes to you a person, saying, “Here is a new bit of the manuscript that I found; it is the central passage of that symphony, or the central chapter of that novel. The text is incomplete without it. I have got the missing passage which is really the center of the whole work.”

    The only thing you could do would be to put this new piece of the manuscript in that central position, and then see how it reacted on the whole of the rest of the work. If it constantly brought out new meanings from the whole of the rest of the work, if it made you notice things in the rest of the work which you had not noticed before, then I think you would decide that it was authentic. On the other hand, if it failed to do that, then, however attractive it was in itself, you would reject it.

    Now, what is the missing chapter in this case, the chapter which Christians are offering? The story of the Incarnation is the story of a descent and resurrection. When I say “resurrection” here, I am not referring simply to the first few hours, or the first few weeks of the Resurrection. I am talking of this whole, huge pattern of descent, down, down, and then up again. What we ordinarily call the Resurrection being just, so to speak, the point at which it turns.

    Think what that descent is. The coming down, not only into humanity, but into those nine months which precede human birth, in which they tell us we all recapitulate strange prehuman , subhuman forms of life, and going lower still into being a corpse, a thing which, if this ascending movement had not begun, would presently have passed out of the organic altogether, and have gone back into the inorganic, as all corpses do.

    One has a picture of someone going right down and dredging the sea bottom. One has a picture of a strong man trying to lift a very big, complicated burden. He stoops down and gets himself right under it so that he himself disappears; and then he straightens his back and moves off with the whole thing swaying on his shoulders.

    Or else one has the picture of a diver, stripping off garment after garment, making himself naked, then flashing for a moment in the air, and then down through the green, and warm, and sunlit water into the pitch-black, cold, freezing water, down into the mud and slime, then up again, his lungs almost bursting, back again to the green and warm and sunlit water, and then at last out into the sunshine, holding in his hand the dripping thing he went down to get. This thing is human nature; but, associated with it, all Nature, the new universe.

    Now, as soon as you have thought of this, this pattern of the huge dive down to the bottom, into the depths of the universe and coming up again into the light, everyone will see at once how that is imitated and echoed by the principles of the natural world; the descent of the seed into the soil, and its rising again in the plants.

    There are also all sorts of things in our own spiritual life where a thing has to be killed, and broken, in order that it may then become bright, and strong, and splendid. The analogy is obvious.

    In that sense the doctrine fits in very well, so well in fact that immediately there comes the suspicion, Is it not fitting in a great deal too well? In other words, does not the Christian story show this pattern of descent and reascent because that is part of all the nature religions of the world? We have read about it in The Golden Boughs. We all know about Adonis, and the stories of the rest of those rather tedious people; is not this one more instance of the same thing, “the dying god”? Well, yes it is. That is what makes the question subtle.

    What the anthropological critic of Christianity is always saying is perfectly true. Christ is a figure of that sort. And here comes a very curious thing. When I first, after childhood, read the Gospels, I was full of that stuff about the dying god, The Golden Bough, and so on. It was to me then a very poetic, and mysterious, and quickening idea; and when I turned to the Gospels never will I forget my disappointment and repulsion at finding hardly anything about it at all. The metaphor of the seed dropping into the ground in this connection occurs (I think) twice in the New Testament, and for the rest hardly any notice is taken; it seemed to me extraordinary. You had a dying God, Who was always representative of the corn: you see Him holding the corn, that is, bread, in His hand, and saying, “This is My Body,” and from my point of view, as I then was, He did not seem to realize what He was saying. Surely there, if anywhere, this connection between the Christian story and the corn must have come out; the whole context is crying out for it. But everything goes on as if the principal actor, and still more, those about Him, were totally ignorant of what they were doing.

    It is as if you got very good evidence concerning the sea serpent, but the men who brought this good evidence seemed never to have heard of sea serpents. Or to put it in another way, why was it that the only case of the “dying god” which might conceivably have been historical occurred among a people (and the only people in the whole Mediterranean world) who had not got any trace of this nature religion, and indeed seemed to know nothing about it? Why is it among them the thing suddenly appears to happen?

    The principal actor, humanly speaking, hardly seems to know of the repercussions His words (and sufferings) would have in any pagan mind. Well, that is almost inexplicable, except on one hypothesis. How if the corn king is not mentioned in that book, because He is here of whom the corn king was an image? How if the representation is absent because here, at last, the thing represented is present? If the shadows are absent because the thing of which they were shadows is here?

    The corn itself is in its far-off way an imitation of the supernatural reality; the thing dying, and coming to life again, descending, and reascending beyond all Nature. The principle is there in Nature because it was first there in God Himself. Thus one is getting in behind the nature religions, and behind Nature to Someone Who is not explained by, but explains, not, indeed, the nature religions directly, but that whole characteristic behavior of Nature on which nature religions were based. Well, that is one way in which it surprised me. It seemed to fit in a very peculiar way, showing me something about Nature more fully than I had seen it before, while itself remaining quite outside and above the nature religions."
  11. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

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    One scholar who equates the myth of Isa. 14.12-15 with that of Ezek. 28.12-19 and Psalm 82 is M.H. Pope, but he also thinks that it ultimately reflects the attempt of El together with his cohorts, including Yam, to regain his throne on Mt Zaphon from Baal. However, it is dubious whether El and Baal were in opposition to one another or that El was dethroned, so that this understanding of Isa. 14.12-15 is to be rejected. Also concerning El, considering various aspects of the Canaanite god, El, which were appropriated by Yahweh and which have been taken up into the Old Testament. There were a couple of aspects of the El cult, however, that were accepted by many Israelites, but ultimately came to be rejected by the Old Testament. One was the appropriation by Yahweh of El's wife, Asherah. The other concerns the symbolism of the deity by a bull. In the Ugaritic texts El is frequently referred to as the 'Bull El' (tr '//), as, for example, in KTU2,, and elsewhere. This bull symbolism seems to have been symbolic of El's strength rather than fertility, as El was not particularly associated with fertility. Golden calves set up by King Jeroboam I at Bethel and Dan (1 Kgs 12.26-30) reflect ancient Yahwistic symbolism deriving from the god El. (That bull symbolism—whether associated with El or some other god—was known in Palestine prior to Jeroboam is attested archaeologically.

    YHWH also takes on other forms in Old Testament literature, in Numbers 22:22-35 Balaam, a non-Israelite seer, sets out on a journey, an act that incurs God's wrath. God responds by dispatching his celestial messenger, the malak YHWH, described as a satan, who stations himself on the road upon which Balaam is travelling. Balaam is ignorant of the swordwielding messenger but his donkey sees the danger and twice avoids the messenger, for which Balaam beats the animal. The messenger then moves to a place in the road where circumvention is impossible. The donkey lays down, and is again beaten. At this point Yahweh gives the donkey the ability to speak, and she asks why Balaam has beaten her. A conversation ensues and then Yahweh uncovers Balaam's eyes so that he can see the sword-wielding messenger, and Balaam falls down to the ground. The messenger asks why Balaam struck his donkey and then asserts that he has come forth as a satan because Balaam undertook his journey hastily. The messenger states that, had the donkey not seen him and avoided him, he would have killed Balaam. Balaam then admits his guilt, saying that he did not know that the messenger was standing on the road, and offers to tum back if the messenger judges the journey to be wrong. The messenger gives Balaam pennission to continue, but adjures him to speak only as instructed. Prior to the work of GROSS (1974) most scholars attributed the above passage to the J source, which would have made it the earliest context in which the noun satan is applied to a celestial being. However, since Gross' study the tendency has been to date the passage to the sixth century BC or later. With the exception of the above story, which obviously ridicules Balaam, he is characterized in an extremely positive way in Num 22-24. Outside those chapters, the first clear indications that he is being viewed negatively are attributable to the P source (Num 31: 16) and Dtr 2 (Josh 13:22), both of which are typically dated to the sixth century. Thus the available evidence suggests that Balaam was viewed positively in earlier, epic tradition, but negatively in later sources. Given that the story under discussion views Balaam negatively, the story most likely stems from a later source. As can be readily seen, the heavenly being who acts as a satan in Numbers 22 has very little in common with later conceptualizations of Satan. He (satan) is Yahweh's messenger, not his archenemy, and he acts in accordance with Yahweh's will rather than opposing it. Indeed, Yahweh's messenger here, as elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible, is basically an hypostatization of the deity. Hence, as KLUGER (1967:75) has remarked, the 'real' satan/adversary in Numbers 22 is none other than Yahweh himself.

    Also, we would need to consider who is introduced to the ancient Israelite's first, either YHWH or EL.

    I agree Tammuz is not Baal, I wasn't trying to make that point at all. The simple point is this, Jesus is an amalgamation of earlier Gods (rising and dying), regardless of CS Lewis interpretation of the Corn King. Also, not every single God will function the same way a previous God will function, we need to take in to account cultural, social, and other surrounding aspects. I will look at the CS Lewis and Corn King reference in a short while, seems interesting.

    So I will clarify this point, as per my earlier point I make the connection of Baal being equated to Yhwh, to which you "agree to disagree". You further claim that "Astarte was on occasion Baal's consort" and per my claim in Jeremiah 7:18 Astarte in origin fits this role.

    Even in error, the name will be Inanna in Sumerian and we'd need to look at the function of Inanna.

    Whereas, in Ugaritic and Biblical sources we see Asherah as the Queen consort of The Sumerian God An and Ugaritic God El. Wherein Akkadian literature Inanna and Anu engage in a sexual romance. The people of Ugarit and the Yahwehist who penned the Biblical myths may not have seen it that way, in sum, it would seem that since Biblical literature has a habit of incorporating various parts of Mesopotamian myth's into its text, there is bound to be confusion.

    I have an issue with this as the Bible will conflate it's myths and does make this fatal error itself . A quick example, per the KJV, Jonah 1:17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. The Hebrew text reads dag gadol (דג גדול), which literally means "great fish". The Septuagint translates this phrase into Greek as mega ketos (μέγα κῆτος). The term ketos alone means "huge fish", and in Greek mythology the term was closely associated with sea monsters. Cetus is commonly depicted as fish like, serpentine, with a long muzzle. Alternate depictions may include long ears, horns and legs instead of flippers. It is often depicted fighting Perseus or as the mount of a Nereid. The Bible ensues an epic of a man who disobey's his god and is thrown to the ocean and swallowed by a great fish, which in Greek mythology is seen as Cetus, in sum, the epic of Jonah is conflated with Cetus from Greek mythology.

    These are neighboring countries, there are bound to be differences, even between Sumer and Akkad there are differences. It's characteristics of these Gods that are important which allude to names and infer to cultural adaptations.

    I would objurgate and reconsider what sources are being looked at either P E J D for the earlier texts of the Bible.

    I don't disagree with the feminine nature of YHWH, and one aspect for this is that in the Old Testament, God's chosen people, Israel, is commonly referred to as female and sometimes also as virgin. A few examples will suffice to illustrate this point:

    2 Kings 19.21: "... the virgin daughter of Zion ..."
    Isaiah 37.22: "... the virgin daughter of Zion ..."
    Isaiah 52.2: "... Ο captive daughter of Zion ..."
    Isaiah 62.11- "... Say to the daughter of Zion ..."
    Jeremiah 6.23: "... Ο daughter of Zion ..."
    Jeremiah 14.17: "... the daughter of my people ..."
    Jeremiah 1813: "... the virgin Israel ..."
    Lamentations 1.15: "... the virgin daughter ofjudah ..."
    Lamentations 2.13: "... virgin daughter of Zion

    In these and many similar passages a female symbolizes the totality of the people of God. The image may have come from two preconceptions, one, the idea of God as male and second, the concept of the covenant, that is, the idea of a unique relationship between God and Israel as a people chosen for his unique service.

    This covenant relationship is like a marriage and thus "Israel" was naturally imagined as the female counterpart of God. The message of the prophet Hosea is built on this concept. Thus the image of Israel as female, virgin, and wife was familiar to readers of the Old Testament. Israel as bride is a natural analogy to the church as bride and God as "husband of Israel" is paralleled in Jesus as "husband" of the church. This analogy raises human marriage to cosmic levels:

    not only is it a reflection of Yahweh's relation to Israel, it is a proleptic realization of the eschatological consummation in which the primordial henosis of male and female (i.e. the condition before the sexes were separated) is restored. This is another aspect of the recapitulation theory of Irenaeus and Paul and thus brings us to the

    Adam =Christ/Eve = Mary parallelism.

    Implicit in these speculations about Mary is the idea that she plays a necessary part in the economy of salvation:

    without her, incarnation is impossible and the whole redemptive process cannot take place. The word "implicit" needs to be underlined, because no church father spelled this out. Explicitly, they placed Mary into the context of Romans 5 by enlarging the Adam-Christ parallel to include Eve-Mary. This did not quite work because the biblical references point to the church, not Mary, as the bride and spiritual wife of Christ. Consequently, with an unerring instinct, they began to draw the parallel between Mary and the church.

    When this mystical identity was sufficiently common, the expanded recapitulation theory of Romans 5 posed no difficulties. It was easy to think of the church as female, the Old Testament having paved the way by calling the chosen people of God "daughter," "virgin," and "wife." The church as the new Israel could easily adopt these names, and the universal role assigned to Eve supplied the vehicle for transforming Mary into a collective personality.

    Of course in much earlier Mesopotamia we see Gods as having a husband and even wife role of a sacred marriage. Such as An (Heave) and Ki (Earth) in Sumerian Cuneiform.

    We also see other virgin births, Apuleius (Metamorphoses 11.7-17).

    Soon after sunrise the streets were already full of people. All nature seemed joyful, birds were singing melodiously "making sweet welcome ... to the mother of the stars, the parent of times and mistress of all the world." The trees seemed to rejoice in their fertility, and the sky was fair and clear.People came dressed in the habits of various professions: one came as a warrior, another as a hunter, another as a gladiator, yet another as a fisherman, and so forth. In the midst of the multitude one might see the "saving goddess" triumphantly marching forward. Women, dressed in white and wearing garlands on their heads, spread herbs along her way; others held mirrors in their hands turned toward the goddess; yet others had ivory combs in their hands, indicating that they were trained to adorn the hair of the goddess. Some people dropped balm and precious ointments on the way, and a multitude of men and women held lamps, candles, and torches in their hands in honor of the one who was "born of the celestial stars."
  12. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    Jesus was a Jewish Carpenter crucified by Rome two thousand years ago. I believe He was God Incarnate and brought to fruition all human mythology, along with all human experience, in fact. I consider Dying and Rising gods as the mythological antecedents crystalising into historicity. But even if we are to look at the question from a purely secular viewpoint, to argue Christ an amalgam of previous gods is specious. The early Church is clearly an outgrowrh of Judaic thought, and to ideas of rising and dying of God is not really present in Judaism as such.
    As I have told you before in another thread, I don't see 'incorporation of parts of Mesopotamian myth', but a shared Semitic cultural mileue. There are no grounds to assume direct transference as such, and fairly good grounds for separate development (with the caveat of significant syncreticism perhaps, but not overt adoption of Mesopotamian myth. More an equating of their own similar myths to it, which may be possible, but is highly conjectural).
    The LXX is not "the Bible", but merely a Hellenistic translation to Greek. That it used Greek terms that have Greek mythological antecedents means nothing. Hades is also mentioned, but this does not mean Hades was syncreticised into the Bible. It is how native words for God are sometimes used to refer to the Christian God, without that god's characteristics thus accrueing to His worship. This really means very little, and really does not count as "conflating myths" anymore than say Renaissance depiction of Greco-Roman myths in a Christian context does.
    Which is highly conjectural. The evidence is flimsy and often at odds to depictions of the gods themselves within those self same cultures - especially Ugarit vis a vis the OT. So such things need to be taken with a grain of salt.
    As you stated, Mary is not explicitly thought as a necessary to Redemption. She is not an active participant therein, anymore than Judas would be. In like manner as Mary had to bear Jesus, so Judas had to betray Him. Neither gain essential participation in Atonement thereby. There is a reason the Fathers don't mention such a thing - it is not Christian Doctrine.

    As to Virgin Births - there are many, true. Many that are called 'virgin births' by popular groups are nothing of the sort, such as Horus or Mithras. This to me is again prefiguration amongst the Pagans, brought to historicity. For again, the virgin birth of Jesus is largely based off Zechariah and the interplay of Almah and Parthenos. It has no intercontextual relation to any other such narrative, with significant differences.
  13. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

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    Dumuzid is also crucified so I wouldn't give any more credit to Jesus being a savior than Dumuzid, I'd go a step further and state that Dumuzid predates Jesus as being a savior. In that same manner I could state that Dumuzid was the good shepherd and have a divine meaning and his countenance was reflected in earthly religious traditions. In other words it's "fruitless" to make such claims about Jesus, when the concept of Jesus is a young, fresh, mythological concept. Not really Jesus has all the markings of Dionysus, Dumuzid, Haya, Tammuz, Inanna, Baal, and other various deities, even the concept of salvation isn't a new concept, I guess in sum nothing under the sun is new or hasn't been done before. Jesus, hence, is miscellany and itemized from older Gods and is made out to be an original savior for modern Christian's that the church saw fit to incorporate. If you want to go back earlier, you can even say that Yahwehist pen the original Biblical texts from other sources.

    Sumer is not Semitic, Akkad will be your first Semitic speaking people. Sumer has a language isolate, however when discussing mythology, it is important to define terms. The myths are for the most part religious narratives that transcend the possibilities of common experience and that express any given culture's literal or metaphorical understanding of various aspects of reality. In this sense myths have to do with the relation of the culture, or of human beings in general, to the unknown in the cosmos. The myths in Sumer are not directly passed to the Israelite's, the myths are adopted in Akkad, later in Babylon, in Ugarit and to the ancient Israelite's. I agree the myths are not directly modified in Christian mythology, but the YHWH'ist will have known of these myths and incorporate them into their texts.

    I wouldn't even call the "Bible" the "Bible", as the oldest copies might be about 1213 BC, but nothing previous to this. Also, which transliteration is appropriate to make up such a "Bible"?

    Hades for example is the Greek name for the underworld and its ruler, as is the case in the Bible. The spelling of the name sometimes varies (Aides Hades, Aidoneus) and the etymology is debated. The most recent analysis sees a link with the root ·a-wid-, 'invisible' (RuUGH ]99]:575-576, but see also BURKERT 1985: 196). Most likely, Hades first denoted a place name and was only later personified. Only the personification will be discussed here. Hades occurs II] times in the LXX. most often as equivalent of Heb Je'61, and 10 times in the NT. Hades is a shadowy god in Greece who has few myths and even fewer cults; he does not even occur with certainty on the archaic vases (DALINGER 1988:389). His connection with the underworld makes him 'horrible' (II. 8.368) and 'the most hated of all the gods' (II. 9.158). Such a god can hardly receive a cult and in Greece only EJis seems to have worshipped him in a temple (Strabo 8.3.14: Pausanias 6.25.2).

    In the Bible Hades usually occurs as the abode of the dead but a few passages employ the name of Hades as Death (-·Thanatos) personified (I Cor 15:55 v.l.; Rev 6:8, 20: 13-14). This personification of Death probably derives from OT usage (-oMot) and the idea of the personal Greek god is hardly present in these cases.

    The Bible makes unclear Hades at times refering to Hades as death and at others as an abode for the dead.

    Hence, I don't then understand what you mean by Hades was not incorporated into the Bible?

    Ugaritic culture as I know is near the age of the ancient Israelite's, no two cultures are the same, yet no two culture's have any other sources to which they derive their religious practices, unless from a previous culture or from a neighboring culture. I would implore you to show that the people of Ugarit did not believe in El or Baal, I would similarily implore you to show that the Israelite's in the same context were not polytheistic or engaged in polytheistic practices.

    For example, the Mesopotamian pantheon that can be derived from the various sources is clearly based on the Sumerian model contained in the Old Sumerian or pre-Sargonic Fara god list, but aspects and identities of deities change from place to place and from era to era. Sometimes several gods become one or one divides into several. Collectively the deities are the Anuna (Anunnaki), the "royal ones." The names in parentheses below are Semitic (Akkadian) equivalents to the Sumerian originals unless otherwise indicated. The gods and goddesses of the pantheon as originally conceived were often personifications of natural phenomena or aspects of the cosmos, concepts rather than anthropomorphic beings.

    Often they were paired as male and female aspects of the same phenomenon. They tended to be associated with particular cities or areas and to reflect the characteristics of those areas. These were some of the most important gods and goddesses in the myths of the region.

    As for the Christians, their mythology, in the New Testament and various noncanonical or apocryphal gospels and writings and traditions, centers on the person of Jesus of Nazareth, a Jewish reformer whose god and "father" was the god of the Jews. As it evolved, Christian mythology was able indirectly to incorporate various aspects of Middle Eastern and Greek mythology, especially in relation to dying god and hero motifs and that of the mother goddess. Most of all, however, Christianity is a religion that looks back to its Jewish roots but in so doing expands the possibility of redemption by extending the "kingdom" and the "promised land" beyond the Hebrew race or Jewish religion to the world at large. To the extent that the religion has insisted over the centuries that its way is the only way and/or that its myths are literally true, it has developed a militancy and a tendency toward fundamentalism that have often placed it at odds with the actual teachings of its de facto founder by instigating or supporting violence, abuse, and repression.

    A Semitic word for "god" is el or //(thus Elohim and al-ilah or Allah}. In second-millennium B.C.E. god lists found at Ugarit there are several Els or versions of El. There is the El of the holy mountain Sapan (Tsafon); the Ilib (Elib), or "father god," who contains the spirits of the dead; and the El who, like so many Near Eastern high gods, is associated with the bull and is perhaps the creator (Cooper, 37). The Greeks thought of El as Kronos, the father of Zeus. Dagan (Dagon) is another vehicle for the high-god concept, perhaps an early personification of El. He has fertility aspects, as his name seems to mean "grain." Dagan existed at Ebla as early as the third millennium B.C.E. and was assimilated as the high god of the Philistines in the late second millennium.

    It can be argued that the most important expression of the high god in Canaan, however, was Baal in his many forms. But usually Baal took second position to a father, sometimes El, sometimes Dagan. Baal was at once a weather-storm god of great power and a dying god and fertilizer of the earth. For the Philistines he was Baalzebub, a healer, whom the Greeks associated with Asklepios. In a list of Phoenician deities contained in a 677 B.C.E. treaty between the king of Assyria and the king of Tyre he was the chief god, Baal-Shamen, the "lord of heaven," the El, the storm god, Baal-Safon of the Holy Mountain, Zeus of Phoenicia.

    The Aramean high god, Hadad, was a counterpart of the Mesopotamian-Assyrian weather-storm-fertility god Adad. He was sometimes combined with or displaced by the Canaanite Baal—as Baal-Hadad or at least as the baal, or "lord." Later he was associated with the Greek Zeus and Roman Jupiter.

    The god of the Hebrews dominates the myths of the Hebrew scriptures. This god, too holy to name, was expressed in the form of the tetragrammaton YHWH (usually transliterated as Yahweh or Yahveh), based on the verb for "to be"—thus he reveals himself to Moses as "I am." In later times the name of this god was not to be spoken, since to speak the name might release its power and bring about destruction. Rather, he is addressed as Adonai ("my Lord") or Elohim ("the god"). At first he may have been, like the Moabite Chemosh or the Canaanite Baal and numerous other Middle Eastern gods of the third and second millennia B.C.E., a tribal god among many gods. It seems apparent both from scriptural and historical sources that in common practice the Hebrews assimilated the gods and goddesses of Canaan. The lack of cohesion among the early Hebrews in Canaan made even monolatry—the exclusive worship of one god among many—an impossibility. The pull of polytheism was so strong that even the monarchy frequently succumbed to it.

    Monotheism (as opposed to monolatry) among the Israelites was not common until the time of the exile in Babylon and the reestablishment of Israel after the exile, that is, not until the sixth century B.C.E. And even then it can be argued that the firm establishment of monotheism in Judaism required the rabbinical or Talmudic input of the first century B.C.E. to the sixth century C.E.

    Whether one among many or one alone, the god of the Hebrew Bible possessed many familiar Middle Eastern characteristics. He was a storm or weather god who could push aside the sea and lead with a pillar of fire. He was a god of war who could mercilessly kill the enemies of the Israelites. He was a fertility god who could create the world, replenish the earth after the flood, and make even the barren Sarah bear a child. And he was a jealous god of judgment who expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and punished his
    chosen people for their sins. He was the god who denied humans a common language—through which they might become too powerful—by destroying the Tower of Babel, the Babylonian ziggurat-temple (Genesis 11:1-9). He was the angry god who answered the much-maligned Job "out of the tempest," asking him sarcastically, "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundations?" (Job 38-41).

    It seems almost certain that the god of the Jews evolved gradually from the Canaanite El, who was in all likelihood the "god of Abraham." Karen Armstrong reminds us that in Genesis 17, an eighth-century B.C.E. text, God introduces himself to Abraham as El Shaddai (El of the mountain), and that El's name is preserved in such words as Elohim, Israel, and Ishmael (Armstrong, History of God, 14). In Exodus (6:2-3) the deity introduces himself to Moses as Yahweh and points out that he had revealed himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shaddai and that they had not known that his name was Yahweh.

    Mary is not in Christian mythology at all a savior or personified as one.

    To the virgin births, it is a much earlier concept.

    I am unfamiliar with the concept "pagan" as in origin it is a slanderous label placed by Christians against non Christians.

    The virgin birth of Jesus is specifically designed to show a "holy" conception, but as in other mythologies the birth itself is immaculate.
  14. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    You are being a bit silly here. Dumuzid is not 'crucified', but dragged to the underworld by Galla demons. Likewise, he is not a 'saviour', as nothing in his myth has any relation to any form of soteriology, nor is he in fact someone who 'overcame death'. The myth of Inanna's descent into the underworld ends with his death, Dumuzid is not resurrected, nor is her descent in order to do so. Likewise, the myth of Dumuzid's Return is about him swopping places with his sister - no defeat of death or resurrection occurring. It is an agricultural myth of the seasons, not a soteriological one. Dumuzid cannot be a 'saviour' by any account, so is a poor juxtaposition to Jesus. One cannot even really consider him a Frasierian dying and rising god.
    I have yet to see any of these myths being incorporated into the Biblical texts. I see similar myths, with similar ideas, but that does not mean they are derived one from the other, and derivation from common mileue is far more likely. You have in the past argued for the code of Hammurabi, which I have disagreed with; similarly Noah and Utnapishtim are significantly different. They belong to the same genre, as for instance let us say Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express and a Dick Tracy novel, but that doesn't mean one is from the other.

    After all, we see a Tree of Life in the Bible, the Golden Apples in the Garden of the Hesperides in Greek, the Tree dripping with Soma with a serpent in its roots in Iranian, etc. This is both Semitic and Indo-European. What relation, if any, such myths bear are largely lost in the hoary ages of the past. Vague resemblence does not mean derivation. Japanese Feudalism and European Feudalism are very similar, but have no relation. Or Newton and Leibnitz developing Calculus independantly of one another. You need a much stronger argument than sussurations somewhere between them, as the cultures are similar to one another and where syncreticism begins or ends is almost impossible to determine.
    The word Hades was used to translate Jewish concepts of the Underworld, but the myths of Greek Hades were not incorporated. Using a word does not mean the entire mythological baggage goes with it, and from context, nothing of the conceptual Greek Hades is present in the LXX.
    This is how Allah is used by Muslims and Christians and Baha'i in the Middle East, but what they are referring to are radically different concepts - though overlap as the idea is the same, of a Supreme Being, and in this case, even related. But Islamic Ideas of Allah are not therefore applicable to a Christian, if he terms God as Allah. Likewise, Hades and Cetos are not saddled with Greek mythological baggage, because Hellenistic Jewish sages decided to use these words to translate Jewish ideas into Greek.
    What are you on about? I never said they didn't believe in El or Baal in Ugarit, nor that Canaanite and Israelite culture did not have a polytheistic substructure. Even the Bible clearly shows this. I am saying that directly lifting evidence from one to argue the nature of the other, is suspect. It is like various forms of Indo-European mythologies - Jupiter is not Zeus, is not Thor, is not Dyaus, is not Indra. Common cultural factors make these gods similar in some ways, but it is conjectural to thus take one culture's view and transplant it to the other. For they are different, as you yourself freely admit when you are not trying to make some kind of point, which largely escapes me. We know Anat and Resheph, or concepts of atoning sin, are treated differently between them, so why assume the rest has to be so similar?
    Well, I disagree Christianity incorporated anything of importance. Some syncreticism with symbolism or reified saints occurs, true, but Hero Motiefs and Dying and Rising gods are not incorporated. Jesus died in the 30s AD under Pontius Pilate. Not only Christian records, but Josephus, the Talmud and Bar Serapeon all confirm this. The early church has its writings within a hundred years that already incompass most of the ideas of the Church, and these were from devout Jews and are completely rooted in Jewish thought. Trying to incorporate foreign elements at this early stage is laughable, and Clement and the early Fathers show that the Church in the early 2nd century already had these ideas. They are not derived from the other traditions that hold similar ideas, therefore. This is why they are mythological forshadowings in my opinion, of the historical actuality of Jesus of Nazareth. Vague gods of the remote past are not the same as a recent event, with recent peoples that accepted it. Besides, Christian soteriology is much different from the implications of an Orphic or such myth, so the character thereof matters a great deal.
    You are assuming things on flimsy grounds and with little support from vague similarity - most such ideas were set aside after their heyday in the 19th century by Assyriologists and historians (with the exclusion of the lunatic fringe of the Christ Myth theorisers, who are largely a joke and embarrassment).

    Yes? What is your point? We have been over most of this already. There is no reason to assume Baal is YHWH more than El, and our inscriptions support El more. Why not argue Dagon is YHWH then? Oh yes, he was a fish or serpentine god (hence his association with Asklepius).
    Similarly, Romans made any major god Jupiter, as did Greeks. Amun in Egypt became Zeus Ammon or Jupiter Ammon, but is not a storm god. Bel in Palmyra became an almost god of the oath, yet still a form of Jupiter. Or Jupiter Dolicenus, which may be a Hurrian god. Or even Greek and Roman attempts to syncretise the God of the Jews with Jupiter and Zeus, under Hadrian and Antiochus IV Epimanes respectively. This says next to nothing on the question of YHWH being equated to Baal or El during Ahab's days, though Baal seems much less likely politically and from biblical narrative. This is an interesting historical debate, but as I said, we shall have to agree to disagree. I don't understand why you keep trying to harp on this. Even the Bible clearly records the Israelites going from a form of monolatry to Monotheism, as they chuck out Asherah poles and the Nehusthan, or close High places.
    This is a bit disingenuous. The first reference to YHWH is in the Sinai, under the Shasu of YHW of Egyptian sources. So while aspects of El might have accrued to YHWH, He had a separate derivation. We see an ongoing Jewish myth of Revelation of YHWH which is very different from surrounding Canaanite myth. The oldest parts of the Bible, like the Song of Deborah or Song of the Sea, clearly point to a southern origin. The Kenites amongst Israel, as well as their mythological close relation to Edom, all mirror this.
    While perhaps a "tribe of Joseph", consisting of Ephraim, Mannasseh and Benjamin, may have entered a pre-existing Israelite confederacy, thus introducing and syncretising their God with the preceding one, this is speculative. A full on derivation from Canaanite El simply does not make sense from our sources. You are also misrepresenting Armstrong's much more nuanced, though substantially biased in my opinion, viewpoint - which she freely admits to being highly speculative.
    If we assume an aetiological tidying up occured in the Torah, we may see the 12 children of Jacob, between his two wives and their handmaidens, might represented the coming together of disparate religious and cultural units into confederation, but El is YHWH is a laughably simplistic way of looking at it. Besides, again what would be the point of this? Does it matter? This is anyway what we see in the Biblical narrative, as the Israelites go on to syncreticise God with Golden Calves - both Aaron and Jerobeam said that they were the "gid that delivered them from Egypt". Even more pointed is Micah's Idol or the worshipping of Gideon's Ephod. The Jews were influenced by the surrounding peoples and often such as with Gibeah or the Maccabean treatment of the Idumaeans, even incorporate them.

    Correct, but you said she was necessary for the 'economy of salvation'. This means nothing, as even Pilate or Judas would fall in this. You attempted to place Mary somehow in relation to divine pairs or marriages in post 11, which is deeply flawed therefore.
    Again depends. Many 'virgin births' are present, but they aren't necessarily of the same sort. Mithras born from a rock or Athena from Zeus' forehead or Aphrodite from sea foam, are really not the same.

    Jesus was a secretive virgin birth, to such extent that early slurs from Jewish sources about Him being an illicit child of a Roman centurion Pantera, abound. The character is very different and clearly an independant tradition derived from a translation choice made in the LXX. So other virgin birth narratives are largely irrelevant to this one, except perhaps if seen as foreshadowing by Christian apologists (as I do).

    Just to be clear though, the Immaculate Conception is a Catholic doctrine regarding the conception of Mary, not Jesus. It doesn't seem to me as if you fully understand what is meant here. This was made necessary by later Augustinian derived ideas of the the heritability of Original Sin, which since Jesus was born 'of the flesh' in Paul's terminology, would apply to Him. It is about the abscence of Original Sin in Mary and therefore in Jesus. This is full on Christian Doctrine, so no other Virgin Birth narrative has anything to do with an 'Immaculate' birth, as this is about Sin and Augustinian ideas thereof. It isn't even fully present in Eastern Christianity, such as amongst the Orthodox or non-Chalcedonian churches.
    I hope I could clear up your confusion on this matter.

    I mean no offense by use of the term Pagan. I realise it arose from the ignorant country bumpkin still adhering to the old gods in the 5th century, but it has long ago shed any associated derogatory meaning in most usages. It is however a well known term, that encompasses all I would mention, and replacing it would require a full on awkward sentence. So I shall continue to use it, if called for, but again with the caveat that no offense is meant to adherents of such religions thereby.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
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  15. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

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    From my posting I did not make a claim that Dumuzid is crucified, I stated that he is no more deified than Jesus is and I cannot give any more credit to Dumuzid for being a savior than Jesus. Let's not get what I stated out of context. Also, the symbol for Dumuzid is a cross.

    He is seen as a good shepherd, indicating a savior. The role of savior has everything to do with saving, in manner of savior in which you speak of Jesus refers to those who die and are saved from eternal damnation. Dumuzi is seen as the savior and his "sheep" are his people, an Akkadian text froom ETCSL concerning Dumuzi:

    May my sheep eat my ...... which is growing in the fields, my plants, my camel-thorn. May my sheep eat my ......, my plants, my winnowed barley. May my sheep eat my life of the Land which is growing in the fields, my plants, my stubble. May my sheep eat my support of orphans and sustenance of widows, my plants, my cakir plants. May my sheep eat my string of clay balls (?) which is growing in the fields, my plants, my colocynth. May my sheep eat my beer wort mixed with honey, my plants, my marsh reeds. May my sheep eat my calves going together with their bulls, my plants, my reed shoots. May my sheep eat my blossoming garden of apple trees, my plants, my rising reeds.

    In this his sheep are his people who are given sustenance from Dumuzid, similiar to Biblical texts of the Christian-Judeo God providing for his people.

    Note: I don't like to use the term Christian-Judeo God as that is either seen as El and YHWH.

    In a late Kassite kudurru, the worship of Nanaya spread to Borsippa. From around the middle of the eighth century comes another kudurru-like stone from Borsippa (VAS I 36), in which it is stated that the deities Nanaya and Mar-bTti chose the recipient of the divine grant upon his induction into temple service. From the same time comes the royal grant by Marduk-zakir-sumi J, whose concluding curse formula joins Nabu and
    Nanaya. During the reign of Esarhaddon (680-669), Mar-IStar was his ambassadorat-large in northern Babylonia. In his report (ABL 1202 = Parpola, LAS, 281 = SAA X 353) on Borsippa, his statement that the decoration of the god Nabu is completed and the offered ungelded bull which was sacrificed to Nanaya had a missing right
    kidney places both divinities together. The Neo-Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562) proudly proclaimed his reinstallation of the statues of Nabu and Nanaya in the Ezida of Borsippa. He established the daily sacrifices at the same time. Nanaya's temple in Borsippa was also called e - u r5- S a - b a 'House, Oracle (?) of the Heart.'The Neo-Babylonian temple Ezida is said to have comprised a central complex containing the quarters of Nabu, adjoined on either side by the chapels and courts of the goddesses Tasmetum and Nanaya.

    Also, Dumuzid is yearly sacrificed as a dying and rising God, which alludes to agricultural issues in Mesopotamia. Of course, I'd have to ask what references you are using and to which Cuneiform you are going on about concerning Dumuzid being dragged to the underworld by the Galla, as Gallu demons in Akkadian stem from Sumerian.

    I think one of the elements you are missing is cross pollination, we even see Akkad adopting ideologies from Sumer. It's not only the Biblical texts that do this, it is earlier polytheistic cultures as well that engage in this.

    Generally, the origins of the Bible are difficult as well to establish.

    One issue, Christian texts have as a whole; all the original copies of those texts are missing, and it would seem the authors get basic geography wrong, indicating they were not there. Plus, everything canon was made up by worshipers of YHWH in church councils.

    Bringing me back to my point that cross pollination occurs between those ancient cultures, even polytheistic Sumer to polytheistic Babylon. I would go as far to say the ancient Israelite's included. And of course not every single thing is imported, a pure example of people suffering early deaths in ancient times due to disease, etiological issues, and other circumstantial complications must be taken into consideration. The Biblical texts however, denote people with important and significant roles in Biblical literature as having long live's such as Noah, however, much earlier Ziusudra means "man of long life". The concept of living a long and fruitful life is incorporated, the name "noah" is directly not incorporated, I think each myth requires a detailed study.

    Once again, Hades is seen as death:

    I Cor 15:55
    Rev 6:8, 20: 13-14

    Hades is seen personified in Biblical texts also, this isn't the same issue that you refer to either wherein Allah is incorporated into Christian, Islamic, Baha'i faith traditions. Allah is characterized as a Godly figure (generally), the issue is the usage of Allah even in those faith traditions.

    It still doesn't compute, to what you are inferring. For example, the characteristics of the God Allah being used in those faith traditions indicates a Godly figurehead, wherein a deity like Tiamat will not be used to describe Allah.

    Allah is the head of that specific pantheon, it makes little sense to equate any other God that is not head of a pantheon.

    A good example, An is Sumerian, Anu is Akkadian due to societal influence from one religious as well cultural expressions to another.

    Also, the characteristics of those Gods for the most part remain in tact.

    There is an inherent problem with all of this, clearly Sumer predates the ancient Israelite's, we see this in linguistics, as well other areas of study, including archaeology.

    We have an issue of sources as well, such as P E J D being used in Biblical texts.

    I don't understand why you are looking at such late records. For example Jesus dies by being crucified is no different than the Gods in Mesopotamia being sacrificed in their death and life cycles. In short the death of Jesus is of no more importance, than those in Mesopotamia at least historically, religiously it has as much impact on a Sumerian Polytheist as it would Jesus for a Christian.

    I wouldn't call incoporating myths into other myths "laughable" at all.

    What is interesting, the Bible fails and attempts to incorporate loan words from its predecessors.

    Genesis 6:14–16 "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."

    Let's assume that this an original writing instruction, and that there was a Noah. Let's assume that Noah is venerated in Christianity and is a Biblical hero, looking at the above texts, let's assume that there was a world wide flood, and that no loan words were borrowed to complete the above the text, we would still have an issue.

    The biblical word tēvāh, which is used for the arks of Noah and Moses, occurs nowhere else in the Hebrew Bible. The flood and baby episodes are thus deliberately associated and linked in Hebrew just as the Atrahasis and Sargon Arks are linked associatively in Babylonia.
    Now for something extraordinary: 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.

    In order for the Ark for example to be an original writing, we would have to assume that nothing was borrowed and all was originally written, yet we have this issue with the usage of the word tēvāh.

    Another issue is that we would have to assume that the epics of Ziusudra and Atrahasis are much later written Cuneiform, but we can't do that with Ziusudra or even Atrahasis as Cuneiform predates Biblical writings.

    Or another issue, we can look at Genesis 7: 13–16

    "On the very same day Noah with his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons, entered the ark, they and every wild animal of every kind, and all domestic animals of every kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every bird of every kind—every bird, every winged creature. They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God
    had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in."

    Reading this over, I find it remarkable in such a consequential matter as the future survival of the entire life of the world that the long-suffering Noah should be confronted by conflicting instructions. What was he supposed to do? Can this vacillation perhaps be explained?

    In fact, the feature of two distinct instructions can be understood from the inside history of the Hebrew text itself. As is the case with many passages in the Old Testament, a close look at the received Hebrew wording makes it clear that certain paragraphs or even sentences have been woven together out of more than one strand of underlying text. This approach to the Hebrew text of Scripture depends on a long-established and largely non-contentious branch of biblical scholarship known as the Documentary Hypothesis. This distinguishes four principal sources as lying behind the text of the Hebrew Bible on the basis of, primarily, which name was used for God. These sources are referred to by the theologians who work on such matters
    as J (Yahwist source), E (Elohist source), D (Deuteronomist source) and P (Priestly source). It occurred to me to separate out the sources behind the Flood Story, and the animals section in particular as an experiment. The wording of Genesis 6–8 is constructed out of two sources, J and P, of which the former is considerably the shorter:

    Genesis J first paragraph: 1Then the LORD said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and all your
    household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation. 2Take
    with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals
    that are not clean, the male and its mate; 3and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male
    and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth …

    Genesis J second paragraph: 7And Noah with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, 9two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah.

    Genesis P first paragraph: ‘You shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive. 21Also take with you every kind of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them.’ 22Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him

    Genesis P second paragraph: 13On the very same day Noah with his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons, entered the ark, 14they and every wild animal of every kind, and all domestic animals of every kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every bird of every kind – every bird, every winged creature. 15They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. 16And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in
    as God had commanded him

    So, the input of the seven pairs motif comes only from the source J first paragraph; it was already rejected in J second paragraph and did not occur at all in P. Here we can visualise unmistakably the hand of
    a human editor, attempting to amalgamate traditions distinct in their content and wording. Faced with divergent traditions about the numbers of animals, he felt unable to decide on such a serious point and so included both.

    Hence, when the Biblical texts fail at incorporating loan words, it does so the same with myths.

    Bringing me to my next point, we look at characteristics of each God in their traditional roles in Mesopotamia.

    No, the inscriptions support YHWH being Baal, we don't see El as a storm God. Baal is a storm God in Canaan and as YHWH is a storm God. Also, YHWH is not a singular deity in Biblical texts and neither is Baal, both are distinct even in Biblical and Extra Biblical literature. This is why characteristics are important for describing a God in their inherent role.

    There is an issue even you admittedly address, what we see are that in Assyria, the two major Ištar-associated goddesses were Ištar-of-Nineveh and Ištar-of-Arbela. Each goddess’s city was a military and political stronghold
    in the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Likewise, the Assyrian Ištar played a greater role in state administrative documents when Assur was still the capital, and Ištar-of-Kidmuri became more relevant when the capital moved to Nineveh, where one Kidmuri temple was located. Likewise, Baal-of-Aleppo was the patron deity of the politically important city of Aleppo in the west, and Baal-of-Ṣapān was the deity associated with the mythical home of the unspecified Baal in the so-called Baal Cycle. Each geographic last name located its deity in a significant location. Similarily with the case of the Yahweh-named deities, the significance of the location is equally significant. As the capital city of the northern state of Israel, Samaria was a political powerhouse, especially during the Omride dynasty in the mid-ninth century. KAjr 18 is the only piece of textual or archaeological evidence that explicitly links Yahweh with Samaria, but despite the Bible’s silence on the subject, the deity likely had some sort of cultic presence in the capital city, in fact Yahweh would have to as he is worshiped vehemently in Israel. King Jeroboam I of Israel established shrines at the northern and southern extremes of his kingdom, at Dan and Bethel (1 Kings 12:29-30). He built these and other cult sites in order to prevent the
    Israelites from worshiping Yahweh in Jerusalem and, as a result, then politically returning to the kingdom of Judah (vv. 26-27 and 31).

    The Hittite's will speak an Indo-Euro language, so the connection we will have with storm Gods transferance from Mesopotamia to Indo-European cultures concerning storm Gods might remain largely with the Hittite's.

    Note: in ancient Mesopotamia there are deities with identical
    first names and different last names in three different ancient Near Eastern religious and
    political contexts: the IŠKUR/storm-gods, LAMMA/tutelary deities, and Ištar-associated
    goddesses from the Hittite imperial period; Baal-named deities from the Northwest
    Semitic texts from the second and first millennia; and the Ištar-associated goddesses of
    the Neo-Assyrian period.

    With Yahweh-of-Samaria we see a similair role with Baal, the ‘ôlāh sacrifice belonged not only to
    the cult of Yahweh in Jerusalem and elsewhere but also to the cult of Baal in Samaria (2 Kings 10:24; cf. ‘lt in KAI 159:8). A ritual of general expiation was not only an Israelite feature (e.g., Leviticus 16; 17:11; cf. Gen. 32:21 for a noncultic example); it was also a Ugaritic phenomenon (KTU 1.40).170 Both Ugaritic texts (1.46.1; 1.168.9) and biblical rituals (Leviticus 4-5) provide for divine forgiveness (*slḫl*slḥ). This incidence of highly specialized sacrificial terms suggests a common West Semitic heritage. Although other terminological parallels between Israelite and Ugaritic and Phoenician texts are found also in Mesopotamian
    culture, these links further mark the closely related Israelite and Canaanite cultures. Biblical names with a Canaanite background for cult personnel include “priest,” kōhen (2 Kings 10:19; cf. KTU 4.29.1; 4.38.1; 4.68.72), “dedicated servants,” nětûnῑm/nětunîm (Num. 3:9; 8:19) and nětînîm (Ezra 2:43, 58, 70; 7:7; 8:17, 20; Neh. 3:26, 31; 7:46, 60, 72; 10:29; 11:3, 21; cf. 1 Chron. 9:2; cf. Ugaritic ytnm in KTU 4.93.1), and qādēě, a cultic functionary of some sort in both Israelite religion (Deut. 23:18 [E 17]; 2 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:47; 23:7; Job 36:14) and Ugaritic cult (KTU 1.112.21; 4.29.3; 4.36; 4.38.2; 4.68.73). Similarly, BH hakkōhēn haggādôl, “chief priest” (Lev. 21:10; Num. 35:25-28; Josh. 20:6; 2 Kings 12:11; 22:4, 8; Neh. 3:1, 20; 13:28; 2 Chron. 34:9; Hag. 1:1, 12, 14; 2:2, 4; Zech. 3:1, 8; 6:11 ) compares closely with Ugaritic rb khnm, “chief of the priests”
    (KTU 1.6 VI 55-56). Furthermore, the “tent of meeting” (’ōhel mô‘ēd) derived from Canaanite prototypes (2 Sam. 7:6; KTU 1.4 IV 20-26).172 To be sure, parallels in terminology do not establish parallels in cultural setting in each of these cases. Yet cultural continuity appears likely in these instances. It is evident from many areas of culture that Israelite society drew very heavily from Canaanite culture.

    Once again are we looking at the P E J or D sources for this? I am not aware.

    Bare in mind that the the original copies of the Biblical texts are missing, and that the authors get basic geography wrong, meaning they were not there. Plus, everything canon was "made up" by those who worshiped YHWH.

    In Mariology the virgin birth of the myth hero Jesus begins with (El or YHWH) beseeching Mary into a conception of a savior hero. You can't have a Jesus without a Mary, it sounds silly, but honestly, there is no Jesus without a Mary.

    No virgin birth is of the "same sort", that would not make sense at all if they were.

    I wouldn't call those "virgin" birth irrelevant, you would then have to say that about every single virgin birth, that one is irrelevant to another.

    My bad, I didn't differntiate between Catholic and Christian doctrines. However, the concept of "sin" begins in Sumer, it is a personal offense, and later I believe it is latinized with "missing the mark". Not you, but Christians as a whole I am under the impression do not get this point concerning what sin is. There is an inherent difference between "sin" and crimes committed in Sumer, wherein one is brought before a court and the other is divine disobedience. However, the two will at times merge in a legal setting, hence the laws of Hammurabi and earlier the Code of Ur-Nammu, bringing to my point of those being reflected in the Exodus. We see the same ox goring laws in Exodus as we do in Hammurabi, there are casuistic and apodictic laws that aptly apply.

    I get that about the usage of pagan, but I consider myself a polytheist, and I assume you consider yourself a monotheist, I respect that aspect. I do understand that you get that concept, but other Christians reading this posting may not. Yes, by all means use the term pagan freely (not that I am giving permission) but it was just a "marker" for me to explain where I am coming from.
  16. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

    You explicitly said Dumuzid was crucified in post 13:
    I am completely unaware Dumuzid's symbol is a cross. Citation? As far as I know, it is two horizontal indents followed by four vertical longstrokes. Or are you confusing it with the determinative for god, the dingir or An symbol that looks like an asterisk? I've heard that called erroneously a cross too many times to count.

    To assume Dumuzid to be yearly sacrificed is to assume Frasier applies, which has not been established. We don't know if recorded Greco-Roman Tammuz worship or Adonis correlates to older usages regarding Dumuzid. What we well know is that our two most complete extent texts, Dumuzid's Return and The Descent of Inanna, are not really a dying and reborn god. Dumuzid dies in Descent and is not revived in either work, as his return is facilitated in a Pesephone-like exchange with the underworld. He thus does not defeat death per se. This is beside the point to our discussion though.
    Dumuzid is not a saviour god. Saviour gods achieve by their actions salvation of some form for their adherents, a form of Grace, such as with Amitabha, or Krhisna in Bhakti cults, or Mithras. Just being a 'protector' does not make one a saviour god, for all gods are 'protectors' of their worshippers on their specific sphere.

    I agree some syncreticism occurs, but I think you are greatly overestimating it. As my examples of Indo-European gods shows earlier in the thread, parallelomania is probably at play here. Remember, the Jews were vehement that their God was different by at least the time of Esra, so it is doubtful that much occured thereafter, and prior we are probably dealing more with localised Canaanite usages than broad strokes of Semitic adoption.
    These are translation issues, not adoption. No aspect of Greek mythological Hades appears amongst the Jews, only the name to translate the concept of Death or the Underworld. This is not syncretic at all.

    Allah is used for a monotheistic deity usually, but those deities don't thus adopt characteristics of each others' theology. It is merely translation, not adoption. This is the same as Cetos and Hades.

    Sumerian gods becoming Akkadian is a different kettle of fish, as their gods are mediated through the adoption of Sumerian as classical language. This is the same as Roman gods vis a vis the Greek ones. The situation between East Semitic and West Semitic Pantheons is radically different, as it would be between separate constituent nations therein. This is a completely false extrapolation to assume equivalence between such gods elsewhere, because a highly Sumerianised Akkad had equated their gods so closely.

    What are you talking about? This isn't late, but when Jesus existed according to almost all historians. There is no prior tradition of rising or dying gods in Judaism before this, and virtually nil chance it would then have been adopted, so this is its origin. Sumerian gods are completely irrelevant to the tradition, unless they played a syncretic role at this time - which is doubtful.

    The death of Jesus is far more historically important than any Sumerian gods, as our dominant modern civilisation was historically Christian and a direct descendant of Greco-Roman civilisation, which although influenced by middle eastern peoples at times, such as with Mathematics and the alphabet, is a fairly separate historical development. Their religious influence was minimal.
    Your are frankly assuming a 'failure to incorporate loan words'. This has not been established. That we today might be unsure what those words meant, does not mean that there was an inherent failure utilising them. Words change meaning or are misunderstood. For instance, Nice initially meant a Simpleton. These words were understood when the Torah was written, but became archaic. The words might have an underlying Babylonian loan. I don't know, but we'd have to look at each etymology, but that doesn't mean that this was a failure to incorporate a foreign myth. The very fact that they survived within the text, through multiple potential redactions, shows that they were considered imbued with meaning.

    Anyway, I said many supposed incorporations are laughable, not that incorporation is laughable in general. There is a constant Semitic undercurrent.

    You still appear profoundly confused. Yes, the Israelites are Semitic. I don't get what you are trying to achieve at all. Similarity does not mean adoption.

    Again though, we shall have to agree to disagree on El vs Baal for YHWH. El is a storm god, in fact a high god. This is why he was associated with both Chronos or Zeus in the first place by the Greeks. Your own quotes keep showing El with storm characteristics, and most notably, the whole Elohist narrative is filled with it (if you buy the simplistic four grouping of the Documentary Hypothesis).

    These are all irrelevant to the discussion. This is an Archaeologically based, on findings like Kuntillet Arjud and Egyptian Shasu of YHW, argument. General Jewish tradition support it further, whatever source you would apply to it. If you must know, Aaron is Yahwist as far as I know, and Dan and Bethel Elohist, with Micah and Gideon Deuteronomist.

    To argue it was 'made up' is to put the cart before the horses. You can't discard myth and their implications as invented, because they don't fit your pet theory of origins of the religious tradition. You need to address the evidence and show why it would be, which you have not even attempted to do. Again though, even if thus could be done, the solid Archaeological evidence I mentioned would still have to be accounted for as well.
    Nope. An Angel informs Mary, called Gabriel. No beseeching. In fact, it is a blessing as she is considered "blessed amongst women". Jesus is considered pre-existent, a begotten part of the Trinity, as in "In the beginning was the Word" and "Before Abraham was, I AM". Mary is told "Mother there is your son", referring to John at the Cross, repudiating her in essence as mother at that stage. Mary is not a coredemptrix anymore than the people who gave Jesus food to keep on living. Mary is not responsible for Jesus, just baring him. You should look up the controversy on the use of the term Theotokos. You should perhaps look up what a religion actually says, before making wide assumptions.
    We have talked before in another thread about the stark differences between Sumerian and Jewish conceptions of sin. AsI have told you this before, I see no reason to repeat myself. These posts are too long as it is. A personal offence and an idea of a separating metaphysical stain, are not the same. The ideas are distinct.

    Anyway, a lot of cross purposes and confusion is present here, so I thank you for your time and discussion, but I am not sure much will be gained by continueing this discussion. We have veered far into the tangential from the OP, in which we have a fundamental disagreement as to how YHWH was viewed in relation to El.
  17. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
    Other Religion
    There is an issue of directly Romanizing and including Greek mythologies directly from ancient Mesopotamia. As I know the Hittite's are Indo-Euro and migrations en masse may have had significant influence on these cultures, but direct influence is not seen at all.

    Interestingly I always equate Dumuzid in Sumer with Tammuz in Akkad, of course Tammuz is seen later on Babylon and in Aramaic transliteration he is the month of July and as I recall has something to do with daylight savings.

    Similarily, Haya the grain God in Babylon is often crucified and as I know there is a yearly rising and death of the God Haya who is a fertility God and functions the same way Tammuz and Dumuzid do, as each God plays multiple roles. Hence, the equating of Jesus, he plays many differing roles, savior, shepherd, fisherman, and so on.

    I am not sure I have this literature on me directly concerning crucifixion, however, on the biblical evidence for Tammuz, see E. M. Yamauchi, “Tammuz and the Bible,” JBL 84 (1965): 283-90; McKay, Religion in Judah, 68-69. Regarding Dumuzi in Mesopotamian religion, see also T. Jacobsen, “Toward the Image of Tammuz,” History of Religions 1 (1961): 189- 213 = Toward the Image of Tammuz and Other Essays on Mesopotamian History and Culture, ed. W. L. Moran, HSS 21 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1970), 73-103; idem, “Religious Drama in Ancient Mesopotamia,” 65-72; Livingstone, Mystical and Mythological Explanatory Works, 161-64. On the medieval evidence for the cult
    of Ta’uz (= Tammuz) among the Sabeans of Harran, see Livingstone, Mystical and Mythological Explanatory Works, 162. On Hadad-Rimmon, see J. C. Greenfield, “The Aramaean God Rammān/Rimmōn,” IEJ 26 (1976): 197-98; J. Gray, “Baal,” IDB 1:329. See the recent discussion of these figures byT. N. D. Mettinger, The Riddle of Resurrection: “Dying and Rising Gods” in the Ancient Near East, ConBOT 50 (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 2001), esp. 185-215. See also n. 27 below.

    I believe the aforementioned covers the reference to the cross symbol.

    We can see the "evolution" of the cross in Black and Green's Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia. Apart from the swastika, the cruciform motif attested as a distinct element in Mesopotamian art is the 'cross formée', a form approximating to that today known as the Maltese cross. In prehistoric and early historic art, the form occurs only as part of geometric and floral designs, or in isolated contexts to which it is difficult to attach with any certainty a religious meaning. After the Early Dynastic Period the motif disappears from art until the mid-second millennium BC. Appearing frequently on Kassite Period cylinder seals (with a rarer variant on Middle Assyrian), the 'Kassite' cross, as it has been called, had an independent origin. It has been a symbol of the Kassite sun deity. It appears in contexts which strongly suggest that it is a sun symbol, substituting for the solar disc, or in positions later occupied by the winged disc. These include, most commonly, positioning between a god with raised hand and a worshipper (the latter sometimes, in fact, omitted), above scenes of hunting, or in association with the stylised tree. The cross does not, however, appear on the kudurrus, where the solar disc represents the sun god.

    In Middle Assyrian and Neo-Assyrian art, the cross was apparently normally replaced by the winged disc. Sculptures of Assyrian kings, however, can show them wearing divine symbols as earrings or as pendants strung upon a necklace, and in these cases it is the cross rather than the winged disc which is invariably to be seen. It is only rarely that the cross stands in place of the winged disc on Assyrian seals, but here in some cases it is shown with four undulating projections, probably solar rays, emerging diagonally from its intersections.
    These are strong indications for the cross as a further symbol (together with the solar disc and winged disc) of the sun god Samaš (Utu).

    Though crucifixion is a running theme in all of these ancient cultures a famous case under Tiberius seemed to give colour to such fears and accusations; it certainly produced a reaction very similar to the case of the Bacchanals: the statue of Isis was thrown into the Tiber, the temple razed to the ground, the ceremonies forbidden, and several priests were crucified. The occasion was the debauchery of a chaste married woman, Paulina, by Decius Mundus, a man of equestrian rank who had fallen in love with her and been several times sent off with a flea in his ear. He had even offered her a large sum of money to oblige his infatuation.

    I cannot conclude thusly that the epic of Jesus and the death of Jesus is any more significant than any other God who dies and is resurrected, no matter what semantics are involved.

    I guess the bottomline question is, if I am a polytheist who worships Dumuzid and you are a monotheist who worships Jesus, does it mean Dumuzid is any less a savior than Jesus, as each Godly figure engages in their own roles inheret to their perspective cultural adaptations.

    My answer is 'no', for that fact that each God in each culture makes a claim and thus it is the significance of that claim to the worshiper that is involved.

    It means very little that the Jews were making these claims about their Gods being different. Sumer predates anything Jewish, the claim from Sumer is that their Gods will have been adopted in Akkad, Babylon, Hittite collections, as well Israelite belief traditions. Which clearly the characteristics are shown, hence my comparison of Baal and Yahweh being storm Gods. Even in Luke 8:25 Jesus is seen as master of the storms. This only parallelism going on is the characteristics, but each culture adopts their Gods differently, so of course Israelite traditions are entirely different than Sumerian, that is due to culutral influence and language adaptations.

    Then we have to assume that Hades is an actual place, then we have to assume that Jonah is swallowed by a great fish and that even if the translation is Cetus in Greek mythology, that Cetus was made up by the Greeks, when the story of Cetus being a great fish is placed in the Bible we then have to assume that the epic of Cetus or Ketos is completely fallible and has no weight, except with usage in Biblical literature.

    Here is an even better example, I buy a car and call it a truck, therefore truck's don't exist, but my car is called a truck and therefore even though the nomenclature is not the same as a truck, because I call it a truck even though it is a car it must be called a truck.

    There are plenty of death and ressurection epics alongside the Israelite's such as in Ugarit. The storm-god Baalu (Haddu) worshipped in the city of Ugarit. But the abundance of information available for Baalu of Ugarit and Baalu of Mt. Íapuna (›azzi, Zaphon, Cassius, modern ]ebel al-Aqraa) should not distract from the fact that the texts from Ugarit represent the tradition of only one of the most important city-centres of Late Bronze Age Syro-Palestine. We know almost nothing of the myths and cults of the later Phoenician cities of Byblos, Sidon and Tyre or of the land of Amurru. On the other hand one has to take into account that especially the cult of Baalu
    Íapuna had trans-regional significance. Baalu embodies the type of young king of the gods who attains the
    worthiness of kingship among the gods by struggle, but who remains at the same time in principle subordinated to his father hIlu, the inactive father of the gods who is dependent on the deeds of his son (cf. e.g. the relationship between Ninurta and Enlil in Nippur). Both gods stood with their different functions together at the top of the local pantheon and were addressed by the kings as the main gods of the city (cf. CAT 1.14 obv. II 22ff.). The special role of the young king of the gods, Baalu, is that of representing the interests of the earthly king before the divine father (cf. CAT 1.15 obv. II 11ff.). The close relationship between the human king and his divine counterpart is also illustrated by the fact that the mythological episodes dealing with the burial of Baalu resemble rites performed at the burial of Ugaritic king

    See Wettergottgestalten, 532f. For the last point see D.M. Clemens’ important article “KTU 1.45 and 1.6 I 8-18, 1.161, 1.101”, UF 33 (2001, publ. 2002) 65- 116, and cf. also M.S. Smith, “The Death of ‘Dying and Rising Gods’ in the Biblical World. An Update with Special Reference to Baal in the Baal Cycle”, SJOT 12 (1998) 289-309 and the critique of this article by T.N.D. Mettinger, The Riddle of Resurrection. “Dying and Rising Gods” in the Ancient Near East, Stockholm 2001, 64-66.

    Have you not read Inanna queen of Heaven by Sam Noah Kramer? In the epics she descends and ascends, in Sumer she descends and in Akkad she ascends, these are Gods that face death and are resurrected.

    The death of Jesus is certainly popularized, but I wouldn't conclude important.

    The key is the adoption and ideologies inherent with Jesus, his characteristics to these older saviors and Gods.

    Words do change in meaning, such as the word Sin in Sumer being different in Latin.

    But to state the obvious when calling an Ark Tevah when clearly it means something else is an entirely different animal. Tevah in strongs concordance means to be startled or alarmed, to use the term Tevah for Ark is totally misleading, yet the Bible does this.

    Adoption means adoption, the ancient Israelite's when in Canaan are not in Jerusalem nor in Bethelehem, they have a relationship with their neighboring city-states in ancient Iraq, just how hard is that to understand?

    You keep repeating agree to disagree, but never explaining the "why" of it. El is not a storm God explicitly, though he will have connection, Yahweh and his theophany will reflect storm motifs, such as rider on a cloud similiar to Baal.

    El is only shown as head of the Israelite pantheon, similiar to Zeus, or An and so on.

    Okay, fine, The Kuntillet ˁAjrûd inscriptions represent an exciting non-official aspect of ancient Israelite religion – or religious ideas that might have been common among the general population that do not correspond with the religious ideas officially promoted by the state and its cults – but they belong to a very small corpus of texts from which to derive conclusions about ancient conceptions of local Yahwehs. H

    owever, P. K. McCarter has identified two biblical epithets that may reveal additional local Yahweh-named deities – a Yahweh-in-Hebron (2 Samuel 15:7) and a Yahweh-in-Zion (Psalm 99:2).17 According to McCarter, each of these Yahwehs existed as a “semi-independent” deity in much the same way as Ištar-of-Nineveh co-existed with Ištar-of-Arbela in Assyria.

    Mary is impregnanted by the Judeo-Christian God as I understand, but that is not really important here. The theme here is that there is no Jesus without a Mary (otherwise there would be another name used), this is significant to the myth itself. The trinity is no more important than the Triquet in Celtic occultic practices, which significantly may have been adopted from Celtic influence.

    Mary is a conduit in a sense or a vessel for Jesus that is important to note. Mary is a virgin and that is important to note. This is not the first time there has been a "virgin" birth", this epic of Jesus is only popularized through Christian dogmatic councils. It is only significant for the myth itself.

    Why even post in the first place on any forum if you are not seeking to engage in any discussion?

    Veering from the OP I'm sure is strange for you, but it requires a look at many different issues.

    I would dissent from that opinion about Sin, you would then have to conclude that Sin in a Jewish-Christian sense doesn't offend the Judeo-Christian God and as I am aware it does.
  18. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis


    I thank you for the discussion, but the posts have become a tad too long for me to easily respond to them. We have substantially different views.

    Firstly, the fact of mythological precursors to crucifixion (I wouldn't specifically call such passion narratives necessarily Crucifixions though), coupled with the Historical Crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth and the claims coupled to it, strongly suggest to me the truth of that event's significance. It is the crystalisation of Myth into Historicity. As if man was prepared in a mythopoeic manner, or that God decided to manifest in a manner in accordance with our mythologic mileue. You would dismiss it on the same grounds, so that is an impasse.

    I couldn't find any reference in my mythological or Assyriology books on Dumuzid using a cross symbol, but I'll check your references if and when I have time. Regardless, Dumuzid is not conceived as a saviour god per se, he is an agricultural season god. It is a different paradigm, as I indicated above.

    Secondly, El is a storm god. The God of the Bible is depicted as a storm god and is the God of IsraEL. So if you would deny that, you cut out the heart of the argument for association to Israel's polytheist neighbours. I have anyway given you examples how El was conceived as Zeus or Jupiter in Hellenistic times, and you yourself have given evidence of El seen with storm characteristics (such as an association with a Bull, which is coupled to thunder analogously seen as the hooves of stampeding cattle. This is analogous to association of hooved herd animals with gods of sandstorms or such as well, such as with Mot). But I really don't understand what you are trying to prove here, nor why you are harping on about this. If YHWH is associated with Baal or with El, what difference does it make? The former just makes the Biblical narrative of Prophetic opposition to Ahab and Jezebel more difficult to explain, as well as our Archaeological evidence, but either way, such associations were gradually repudiated following the death of Queen Athaliah. What do you seek to show by associating with Baal that differs from El? You clearly consider this an important point for some reason, but it seems frankly immaterial to anything but antiquarian interest, in my opinion. And again, we shall have to agree to disagree as nothing you have posted seems better evidenced than the reverse case. I am simply not convinced.

    Thirdly, Jesus is conceived as the Incarnate Logos. The Trinity to a Monotheistic Religion is of the utmost importance. You may dismiss it is trivial, but you are an avowed polytheist. It is fundamental to any conception of Mary and her role. Your knowledge of Christian theology in this regard is lacking, as shown by your initial confusion as to what 'Immaculate' means. For as she is a conduit to His birth, any person giving Jesus food or shelter during His life, or Pontius Pilate or Judas, would thus also be conduits to allow the Crucifixion and Resurrection. For the point is not the Incarnation of God as much as the Sacrificial Atonement of God as Man. The Cross is the symbol of Christianity for a reason, not the manger. I suggest you read up more on this, but it is thoroughly tangential to the topic of this thread. It has nothing to do with how YHWH was conceived vs the polytheistic religion surrounding it and of which it is related.

    Fourth, the use of terms does not imply all factors thereof to be applicable. Bunyan or Milton used Death as a person or Dante personified Dis as a place. Christian works are full of references to Greco-Roman deities. The Statue of Liberty is a Roman goddess, as is Blind Justice. Their rhetorical iconographic usages has nothing to do with their cultus or mythology, today. Similarly Cetus and Hades are of like kind. There are in fact four different ways traditionally of reading scripture, the Literal, Anagogical, Tropological and Moral. So no, use of Greek terms imply nothing of the sort. They must be understood in context of the text they are found in, and the tradition and culture utilising that text.

    Fifth, on Sin. Sin is conceived as a relation between deity and people. Not a stain on honour or such. It is why there is such a strong Virtue ethic, a statement that a desire to do a sin is a sin itself, rather than the more practical idea of simple transgressing law as found in more archaic conceptions. Sumer's Sin, although translated as such, is frankly almost a completely different, though related, concept to the Judaeo-Christian. I suggest you read a little Ludwig Wittgenstein. Words meaning are determined by the manner in which they are used, their meaning within the language used. Just because words are translated similarly or artificially equated, does not mean they are. A lot is often lost in translation, even more so when centuries and often millenia, are interposed between the instances of terms that are so equated. Caution is advised.
  19. ShamashUruk

    ShamashUruk Hello

    United States
    Other Religion

    I will post as briefly and as agreeably as possible to this post of yours. I must start off by stating that you are a true gentleman and I appreciate your time, though you and I do not necessarily agree. You are well rounded in your studies, though I give less thought to Roman and Greek mythologies as I do Sumerian and other Mesopotamian studies and influences, in my opinion you don't have Roman and Greek mythologies without the influence of Sumerian (albeit indirect) influence. This goes the same relationship concerning Canaan and the ancient Israelite's. Also, archaeology points to this factor of influence, we even see adoption in the pottery period with the stylizing of dwelling places, pottery bowls, religion, culture, legal issues, and so on.

    In fact I was in a heated discussion with a Babylonian Polytheist over Marduk and Marduk's comparison to Enki, which I vehemently disagreed that Enki and Marduk are even the same, so as to disagreements I disagree with other polytheists (of course this discussion was on FB). Furthermore, I compared Marduk to Esther's uncle, Mordechai.

    I will look for the references to Dumuzid, but a close FB polytheist friend of mine "Steffy Von Scott" provided that reference. In fact I have a myriad of references, if you want email me and I will send them to you.

    As a polytheist I can only posit that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus are as important to you as the epics of Enki are for me. I can further state that death and resurrections are running themes in ancient cultures. I am not attempting to parallel them with the myth hero Jesus, but I tend to think that myths do have validity behind them and Jesus certainly has a strong and alluring presence in Christianity. Whereas, you might be dismissive of Enki and his scribes that copied onto Cuneiform what I and other polytheists consider important.

    I see YHWH as a storm God, similar to BAAL, but EL being head of the Israelite pantheon for a time. I can see him equated as well to a storm God. No doubt, the God El (now whether he is a Canaanite deity or Israelite deity is another topic) has a very important role in the shaping of Judeo-Christian world views.

    As to Mary and her being a conduit I don't disagree here, but to make it seem like people are interchangeable makes it seem as if people are not held "important" to their roles they play in the Bible, you can't have a defeated Goliath without a David, and so on. I tend to think that the authors of the Bible purposefully dictated the Bible to fit a target audience and through different councils the Bible is fashioned in this manner. I don't see this with Cuneiform, and that is unfortunate that the Bible has gone through so many changes.

    On your 4th point I will remain in disagreement, I think using a term to fit an epic, doesn't fit the epic at all. Wherein terms are used but are adoptive, which this is where the issue resides; it is adoption and morphology that concerns the usage of terms and appended writings into religious views.

    Sin in Sumer is an offense to one's God, as in Sumer we see city-states and inherent differences (although not all differences were excluded) between legal codex and religious short comings.

    But, of course we disagree, and it has been a pleasure writing back and forth with you, you have given me a lot to ponder.