Saturday, October 14, 2017

Akkadian Lexicon

This fragment of a tablet from Nimrud contains a list of synonyms.
It gives Malku as a synonym for Šarru.
(British Museum ND 5434.)
Alice C. Linsley

This partial list of Akkadian words will be helpful to biblical anthropologists. These words should be compared to words in ancient Egyptian, Old Arabic, Hungarian (Magyar), and Bulgarian (Thracian).

Akkadian is an inflected language with grammatical cases. It is a Semitic language with grammatical features similar to those found in Classical Arabic, and as with all Semitic languages, Akkadian words are built on consonantal roots. Most Akkadian roots are tri-consonantal. Some roots are composed of four consonants (four radicals). Between and around these radicals there are various infixes, suffixes and prefixes.

Akkadian has three numbers (singular, dual and plural) and three cases (nominative, accusative and genitive). However, the dual number is largely confined to natural pairs (eyes, ears, etc.) or binary sets. This appears to reflect a very archaic pattern. Adjectives are never found in the dual. In the dual and plural, the accusative and genitive are merged into a single oblique case.

abal - without
abaru - lead (metal)
abatu - to flee from, to run away; also to completely destroy
abnu - stone
abum - father
abdu - servant, slave
abru - priest
abrutu - priesthood, a caste of priests
adikanna - time
ammeni - why
amtu - handmaid
ana - to, for, after, approximately
anaku - tim
Anu/Anum - the High God whose son is called Enki.
arbu - fugitive, runaway
arhu - month
assatu (Variants: assutu/issutu) - principal wife
assatu awili - veiled principal wife (in public)
ayyu - which?
azu - physician priest (Sargon was born in Azu-pir-Anu - house of divine healing/temple)

ba - water
babum - gate, door
bantu - mother
bel - lord of
birûtu - human (clean, pure)
bit durani - fortress (bit tuklati - stronghold)
burumitu - sky blue; lapis lazuli

Da-odu - David (Corresponds to the Yoruba Daw-odu.)
dahh-ubu - gold (also hurusam)
dannum/danim - strong, powerful
daris - for ever
darutu - long life
datu - law, decreee
dû - hill

ebar - beyond, the other side of
ebebu - to be clean
Edinu - Eden
edû - flow, spring
eka - where?
ekallim - palace (place where deity resides?)
eli - up, over
ellum - ritually pure
em - wherever
erbe/arba - four
erebu/erbum - sunset, time of setting sun
eridu - home away from home
erimtu - baked brick
ersetu - Earth (also ki or gi)
ersu - bed (related to resû, Akkadian word for riverbed, channel.)
esirtu - concubine

gam - also
gārû - opponent in war
guruvash - servant (related to karauash - servant)
garru/garrum - a box
girginakku (Variant: garginakku) - a box for written tablets
gisnu - bed (also ersu or isersu)
gud - powerful bull (also a solar symbol)

haddu - joyful
ḫāpiru - human being
harrani - road (also yol?)
hirtu (Variants: hiratu/histu) - wife
hubullu - debt, obligation
hurusam - gold  (Hur/Horus + sam refering to the sun.)
hush - reddish

Idiqlat - Tigris
ilum - deity
im - rib (also ti)
immu - day
ina - in, on, out, through, under
isḫu - human, physical body (male)
ištēn (M); ištāt (F) - one (cardinal number)
itti - with, also

kabattu - liver
kalab - dog
kan - blood
kanu - convict
karmu - ruin
kiprat arba - four regions/four peoples (related to Kirat Arba, archaic name for Hebron.) 
kisallu - court
kulturi/kultari - dwellings, habitations
kur - land owned (related to kur/kar - rock shelter or fortified high place)
kurtum - territory

letu - cheek
lemnu - bad
lū - or

maklu - burnt offering (Variant: maqlu)
malku - ruler-priest (Synonym: Šarru)
mannu - who?
māru - son (māru rabu - eldest son)
martum - daughter
maṣṣarum - guards
matum - country
mīnū - what?
mittu - mace

nabu - prophet, seer
nagasu - roam  (naga - snake, Azag - the Great Serpent, one shining like metal - zag)
nanna - moon
nesû - (1) distant; from far, exotic; (3) to withdraw; to depart from, abandon; to remove; (3) to deport (people); to make recede/repel

parzillu - iron
purkullu - stone cutter

qannu - horn
qannuntu - curly haired (F)
qaštu - bow (with arrow)
qātu - hand

rabum - great
rapšum - wide
resû - river bed, branch of river

sag - head
šamû - heaven
samsum - sun
sandu - red
šarratum - queen
šarrum - king
šattu - year
sebet babi - seven gates
šepum - foot; šepān - feet
sibbu - serpent
šinā (M); šittā (F) - two (cardinal number)
siparru - copper
sisu - horse
sittu - rest
šumeru - Sumerian
tamtu - sea
tiamatu - ocean, abyss

u - and
ud - fire
ul - high, elevated (sky)
utu - sun power, divine overshadowing, high noon (Similar to Aker in ancient Egyptian.)
ummum - mother

wasabu - sit  (Possibly related to the seated harwa, a healer-priest, called "wabau" in Egyptian.)
wasu - small

zag - shining, like copper
zeru - seed

Related reading: Ancient Egyptian Lexicon, Hungarian Lexicon; The Sumerian Language

Friday, September 22, 2017

Hungarian Lexicon

Listen to spoken Hungarian

Alice C. Linsley

The Hungarian language is classified by linguists in the Uralic family. This means that Hungarian words have affinity to words in related Uralic languages: Estonian, Finnish, Lappish, Mordvin and Samoyed. It is related to ancient Scythian or Saka. There are also words that show the influence of classical Latin, and in more recent centuries, German.

The Hungarian alphabet is similar to the English, but there are extra vowels: á, é, í, ó, ö, ő, ú, ü, ű; and extra consonants: cs, gy, ly, ny, ty, sz, zs.

Hungarian is largely phonetic. Once you master the sound values of the alphabet, you will be able to read Hungarian texts. The values are always the same, making it easier to master Hungarian pronunciation.

As with Greek, Latin and Russian, it has cases: genitive, dative, instrumental, etc. Here is an explanation of how words change case.

The language shows causation in the verb semantics

People who have studied Latin, French of Spanish will be familiar with verb conjugation. This is done in Hungarian also. Hungarian also has reflexive pronouns.

What follows is a limited Lexicon of old Hungarian words. The * indicates words with an explanation in the NOTES.

The Hungarian/Magyar Lexicon

áldás - blessing

barlang - cave, grotto, den
betegség - sickness, illness, disease
*bíró - judge

dal - song
dél/deli - shine, brightness, splendour

*Ég - heaven
egész - whole
egy - one
erdő - forest (variant of Eredo and Eridu.)
*eskű - oath

fal - wall  (Körfal refers to a circular fortification.)
fej - head
fény - light
folyó - river (also pojo)

gyula - war chief

hab - water (also viz)
hadak ura (hadúr, hodúr) - warlord, military commander
hajnal - dawn
hajó - ship
hamu - ashes
hely - place
hegység - mountain
hold - moon
hon - home

jár - to walk
jász (gyász) - mourning
jó - good

kályha - fire, stove, brashier
kan - male
kar - arm
keleti - eastern
kende (also kündü) - deified ruler
kés - knife
kéz - hand
kis - little, small
kör - circle (also év)
körpad - round mound
kürt - horn
kuruzslók - healers
kű - stone

lé - liquid (also té)
lék - leak
ló - horse

*mag - seed (mg root also expresses great and kinship)
*Makar (Magor, Magar) - archaic name for the Creator, whose emblem was the Sun
mat - country
méh - bee
mező - field
mocsar - swamp
mocsok - dirt, soil

nap - sun (also means day.)
nap kör - sun circle, circular threshing floor
nedű - liquid
nő - woman
nyit - to open

óg - exalted, elevated, a ruler
őr - guardian, sentry, watchman
öreg - old
örök - eternal
orom - high place, mountain peak
ős - ancestor
ősember - cave-dwelling ancestor
os haza - original house, main house
ősz - grey (used to describe hair)

piros - red (used to describe inanimate objects)

saj - river
sár - shine
sarok - corner
száj - mouth
szem - eye

táltos - shaman, wise man, healer
tehén - cow
túr - to dig

váj - to carve
*vér - blood (related to the Latin vir, meaning man)
vörös - red (used to describe animate objects)
viz - water


*The old Hungarian world for judge is bíró. This is likely related to the words biru and piru, which pertain to places of sacrifice.

*There is a clear relationship between these words Ég - heaven, egész - whole, and egy - one.

*The word erdő (forest) is a cognate to Eridu (Sumerian place name) and Eredo (Nigerian place name).

*The Hungarian word for oath is eskű, and is related to the word kű, meaning stone. Stone were erected to mark the places where oaths were pledged.

*Mag means seed, son, and can refer to a brother. The biblical word Magog is likely Mag-Og (Magóg), meaning the seed of Og, a ruler. Mag is related to the Sanskrit mah, meaning great. The word Magi refers to ruler-priests. They were mathematicians, astronomers and the builders of the first cities, known as high places. According to Clement of Alexandria, "Egypt is the mother-land of the Magi". It appears that among the biblical peoples there was a 3-clan royal confederation of Og, Gog and Magog.

*Makar (also Magor) is the High God. Kar refers to a mountain. The high God was believed to make appearances on the tops of mountains, as this was the sacred spatial center between earth and heaven.

*The Hungarian word for man and blood is vér. This parallels the Hebrew adamah (Adam), which refers to man and is derived from the word dam, meaning blood.

Dr. Tibor Baráth believes the word "Celtic" is derived from the Magyar word keleti, meaning eastern.

The ancient Hungarian “sun-houses” were round huts. Some had a bee hive shape.

The Old Hungarian script, called rovás, is a runic script written from right to left.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Physician Priests of Antiquity

Alice C. Linsley

The earliest medical texts are found among the ancient Nilotes. These include the Ebers Papyrus, the Hearst Medical Papyrus, and the Edwin Smith papyrus, the world's oldest known surgical document (c. 1600 BC). These texts, most of them based on older texts dating possibly from 3000 B.C., are comparatively free of the magician’s approach to treating illness. Priests were the first to practice medicine at "Houses of Life" or temples along the Nile.

Only members of the elite strata of society learned and practiced medicine. One of the earliest known medical practitioners was Eanach (Enoch). He served the Pharaoh as his priest-physician, a wab sxmt (wab sekhmet). Eanach lived around 3000 BC, and is said to have "healed the pharaoh's nostrils." Likely, this means that he performed a healing ritual that involved placing the cross-like Ankh against the Pharaoh's nose and offering prayers for his healing.

The wab sekhmet appears to be a distinct role from the non-priest healer called a wabau. It may be that the wabau was a shaman. The priest and the shaman represent different approaches to healing. The priest is forbidden to consult spirits in a drug-induced state. The shaman believes that disease and illness happens when the spirits have been offended. He or she will enter a trace state to discover the cause of the disease and how the spirits are to be appeased.

It is also possible that the wabau was a priest of lesser rank who served the common people, rather than the nobility. More research is required to gain a better understanding of the different types of healers, but it is known that the physicians specialized in one part of the body: head, stomach, heart,etc.

"The study of medicine with them was divided between specialists; each physician attending to one kind of illness only. Every place possessed several doctors; some for diseases of the eyes, others for the head, or the teeth, or the stomach, or for internal diseases." (Diodorus Siculus, i. 91)

The Mesopotamian physicians learned their skills from the priest caste that moved into the Tigris-Euphrates from ancient Kush (Gen. 10). The Akkadian word for a physician priest is azu. Sargon was born in Azu-pir-Anu, a house of divine healing/temple of Anu, the High God. The physician priest sat beside the sick person. This suggests that the Akkadian word wasabu - sit,  is related to the Egyptian word wabau, a healer-priest. In ancient Egyptian images the harwa, Horite priest, was often shown seated.

Another high ranking wab sekhmet was Imhotep (2600 BC), the High Priest of Heliopolis (biblical On) and royal vizier. He was so famous that after his death he was venerated as a god (deified). His skill as a physician became legendary. The Greeks linked Imhotep to Asklepius around whom a cult of healing grew. The rod of Asklepius is a snake-entwined staff and the symbol of modern medicine. Some consider it to be like the rod Moses held up in the wilderness for the healing of the snake-bitten Israelites. However, the serpent on Moses's rod was a solar image. It had a coiled shape like that on the bishop's crozier below.

Egyptian physician-priests advanced medicine by keeping written records of which treatments worked and which did not. One such record book is the Ebers Papyrus, written about 1500 BC. One of the remedies described in this papyrus is medicinal clay made from red and yellow ochre. The Ebers papyrus has a treatment for asthma. The patient was to sit over a mixture of herbs heated on a brick and inhale the fumes.

Surgical procedures are described in the Edwin Smith papyrus, the world's oldest known surgical document (c. 1600 BC). It is written in the hieratic script and gives detailed descriptions of anatomy, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of forty-eight types of medical problems. It describes closing wounds with sutures, preventing and curing infection with honey and moldy bread (both known to contain antibiotics), application of raw meat to stop bleeding, and treatment of head and spinal cord injuries.

Ancient Egyptian doctors used copper to sterilize water and wounds around 2,400 BC.They also used herbs and minerals medicinally. They mixed the substances with honey, wine, or beer. Some medicines were worked into dough balls to form pills.They used ointments for wounds, and treated chest complaints by getting the patient to inhale steam infused with essential oils.

Water and oil were two substances commonly used by healers. The idea of sacred pools can be traced to the priest-physicians of the Nile Valley. The sick came to them at the Nile shrines and temples. Water was used to cleanse wounds, ease strained muscles, and for ritual healing of the inner being. Oil was used to prevent infection, treat dry skin, and for anointing the sick with prayers for healing.

The tradition of healing by the priest is an ancient one. It is a holistic approach that seeks the health of body and soul. In the English village the curate was a clergyman who had pastoral responsibility for the welfare of the people in his parish or his cure. The word "curate" is derived from the Latin words curatus and is related to the Latin cura which refers to the clergyman's care for his flock.The Latin verb curare means to take care of, to cure or heal.

The first hospitals in the West were founded when Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire. In Byzantium, there had been monastic centers for healing. Toward the end of the early Middle Ages, Benedictine monks founded hospitals which served the monks and people living in the area of the monastery. Hospitals also were needed to care for those who were sick and wounded due to the hardships of the crusades. The Hospitaller Knights specialized in this.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Why Zipporah Circumcised Her Son

Alice C. Linsley

Exodus 4:24-26 is one of the most difficult passages of the Old Testament.
Thus saith the LORD.... And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn. And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him, and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, "Surely a bloody husband art thou to me." So he let him go: then she said, "A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision." (Exodus 4:22-26)

Many Bible scholars believe that this puzzling story is an episode from a larger narrative. It is mysterious because of its brevity and lack of context. We are told only that this happens on the journey back to Egypt and at night.
3200 BC flint knife 
from al-Badari

There is no explanation as to God's motive. Was Moses to pay for killing another man with his own life? Why would God want Moses to die when He has given Moses clear directions about what he is to say to Pharaoh when he arrives back in Egypt?

What is the significance of all this talk of first born sons? Israel as God's firstborn appears to parallel the firstborn of Egypt, but was the child circumcised by Zipporah Moses's first born son?

In what sense is Israel God's firstborn. Surely this is not a statement about the primacy of birth, since Israel, that is, Jacob, was not Isaac's first born. Is it a reference to the great antiquity of the Hebrew priesthood?

Note that Moses is not named in the passage.When Zipporah circumcised her son what did she touch with the bloody foreskin? The pronouns do not make it clear. Did she touch the legs of her son or the legs of her husband? Is the word "legs" a euphemism for genitals? Scholars have debated this for years.

Zipporah appears to accuse Moses. What is the substance of her accusation, and is she angry with him? Normally, Hebrew babies are circumcised on the eighth day. Did Moses delay his son's circumcision for some reason?

What is the significance of the word hatan for bridegroom? Does this word provide greater insight into the mysterious text?

Some of the difficulty of this passage can be cleared away when we remember that Moses was a Horite Hebrew and his marriages followed the pattern of his father and his ancestral Horim. The Horite Hebrew chiefs had two wives. The first was the wife of the man's youth and was a half-sister. Moses's first wife was his half-sister and she is referred to as his "Kushite" bride. The second wife was usually a patrilineal cousin and this wife was taken close to the time when the man would become a chief.

Zipporah was Moses's second wife; his cousin bride. Presumably, the son who Zipporah circumcised was their first born. If this is the case, Zipporah performed the rite that would have been performed by her father, the priest of Midian. This is because the first born son of the cousin bride belonged to the household of his maternal grandfather. This is a feature of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Abraham's people.

Zipporah's father was a Horite Hebrew priest who ruled in the region of Midian.The land of Midian was named for one of Abraham's sons, born to Abraham's cousin wife, Keturah (Gen. 25). To explore the account given in Exodus 4:24 we need to understand the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the Horite Hebrew chiefs.

As Moses and Zipporah were by now too far away from Jethro for Jethro to perform the circumcision, it was done by Zipporah. The daughters of priests performed circumcisions, but only on females. It is called "Pharaonic circumcision" and pertained only to the wives and daughters of high-ranking Kushite priests. The Bible does not say much about this, but there is extra-biblical evidence for female circumcision among the Nilotic rulers. This is not to be confused with what is termed today "female genital mutilation."

In November 1982, Canadian anthropologist Janice Boddy's fascinating essay on Pharaonic circumcision appeared in American Ethnologist. The essay was titled "Womb as Oasis: The symbolic context of Pharaonic circumcision in rural Northern Sudan" (Vol.9, pgs. 682-698). Here Boddy sets forth her research on Pharaonic circumcision among the people of Sudan. She found that the practice of female circumcision parallels male circumcision. It expresses recognition that humans are created male or female. This binary distinction is one of the more important binary distinctions found in the Bible.

Boddy explains (p. 688): 
"In this society women do not achieve social recognition by becoming like men, but by becoming less like men physically, sexually, and socially. Male as well as female circumcision rites stress this complementarity. Through their own operation, performed at roughly the same age as when girls are circumcised (between five and ten years), boys become less like women: while the female reproductive organs are covered, that of the male is uncovered. Circumcision, then, accomplishes the social definition of a child's sex by removing physical characteristics deemed appropriate to his or her opposite: the clitoris and other external genitalia, in the case of females, the prepuce of the penis, in the case of males." 

Herodotus (BC 485-425) wrote concerning the origin of circumcision:
"Egyptians and the Ethiopians have practiced circumcision since time immemorial. The Phoenicians and the Syrians of Palestine themselves admit that they learnt the practice from the Egyptians, while the Syrians in the river Thermodon and the Pathenoise region and their neighbours the Macrons say they learnt it recently from the Colchidians. These are the only races which practice circumcision, and it is observable that they do it in the same way with the Egyptians."

Among the ancient Nilotic peoples, and especially among the ruler-priests, circumcision was a blood rite. Blood was regarded as the substance of life and shed blood was a protection or a covering.  The tent that covered the Tabernacle was made of the hides of rams dyed red to symbolize the blood covering (Exodus 26:14)Purification was made by the ashes of a red heifer (Numbers 19:9). This stands as a "perpetual sacrifice" for Israel and points to the Son of God who was sacrificed outside the city. The blood of the lamb on the doorposts in Egypt signaled divine protection for all in that house. Likewise, the scarlet cord let down from Rahab's window symbolized blood protection. She and her household were spared when the Israelites entered the city.

This brings us to the term hatan.  The word has multiple related meanings. It means husband. Moses was both Zipporah's husband and her covering. We recall how in seeking Boaz's protection, Ruth asked him to cover her with the hem of his robe. This is a very ancient custom which is observed in many cultures. In the Akkadian, hatan means protection. However, in Arabic hatan (or khatin) refers to circumcision (Hebrew Study Bible, pp. 113-114).

It is possible that Zipporah claimed concerning her husband: "You are protected by blood" (Sarna, N., The JPS Torah Commentary on Exodus, Jewish Publication Society, 1991, p. 26).

It is significant that the blood that protects is the blood of the Son. Let those who have ears to hear, hear the message of our Messianic Faith.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Temple of the Winged Lions

Alice C. Linsley

It is said that the Temple of the Winged Lions was built to honor al-Uzza, a goddess of the pre-Islamic Quraysh. The temple stands on a promontory overlooking Petra and was accessible by ascending a massive staircase. The entrance was flanked by huge columns and the inner chamber has multiple columns, typical of the ancient Nilotic temples. The twelve columns surrounding the main podium were adorned with “winged lion” capitals.

In the ancient world, the lion was the animal totem of the rulers identified in Genesis as the "mighty men of old." This is why the names of many biblical rulers have the ar affix. It signifies both the lion and the ruler. Ari was an honorific for a man of distinction and power. The Hebrew word ari (or aryeh), the Akkadian aria, the Aramaic arya, and the Sanskrit word aryeh  mean "noble." In Genesis 49:9, Jacob refers to his son Judah as Gur Aryeh גּוּר אַרְיֵה יְהוּדָה, a "young lion."

The totem of Shobal's clan was the lion, fierce in it youthful strength. Shobal was one of the Horite Habiru kings named in the Genesis 36 ruler list.

The ruler Ar-pacshad is named in Genesis as one of Abraham's ancestors. His name means "happy ruler" or "happy lion." He ruled sometime in the period between 2445–2160 BC.

The narrative surrounding the goddess Uzza comes from a later time, about 200 AD, and mainly from Islamic sources. In his effort to eradicate idolatry Mohammed is said to have ordered the destruction of shrines dedicated to al-Uzza.Yet this monumental temple stands and was clearly a prestigious religious site in the time of Jesus when the Nabateans controlled the Arabian incense trade and a kingdom that stretched from Damascus to the Hejaz.

The Nabataean warriors had long wavy hair and wore feathers. 

Was Uzza a goddess or a clan designation?

It is strange that to find the name Uzza associated with a goddess because Uzza is a man's name. In Hebrew the names Uzza עזא and Uzzah עזה apply only to men. A man named Uzza tried to stop the Ark from falling off a cart (1 Chronicles 13:7; also 2 Samuel 6:6.) 

Another Uzza is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 8:7 as a son of Gera of Benjamin and a brother of Ahihud. Ezra 2:49 mentions a temple servant named Uzza who returned with Zerubbabel from Babylonian captivity.

There is also a man named Uzza associated with a palace garden in which king Manasseh is interred (2 Kings 21:18). Some think this might king Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:23).

The root of the names Uzza, Uzzah, and Uzziah is Uz. The "land of Uz" is Job's homeland, according to Job 1:1. Uz is also associated with the rulers of Edom, the region where Petra is located. Uz was a grandson of Seir the Horite (Genesis 36). 

It seems likely that the temple of Uzza was dedicated to Hathor, not a goddess named Uzza. The Horites of Edom venerated Hathor, the mother of Horus. The three trees symbolism at the temple of the Winged Lions likely represents the divine Triad: Ra, Horus and Hathor. Generally, the architecture at Petra reflects the Horite three-part structure of the Divine Triad

The Nabataean kings, such as Harithath IV, bear the Horus name. King Harithath is called King Aretas in II Corinthians 11:32. Coins bearing the image of Aretas have been found in the Nabataean town of Avdat. He was called "King of the Nabatu, who loves his people" (Philopatris), and it was during his reign that the greatest of Petra's tombs were created.

The word Nabataean is related to Naba or Nabu, the guardian of scribes and prophets. This is the origin of the Hebrew word nabi, meaning prophet. The earliest scribes were Horite priests. The cult of Nabu was introduced into Mesopotamia and Babylon by the Kushites. Kushite kings sometimes bore the name Nabu, as with Nabu-shum-libur, an early Kushite king in Babylon and Nabu-apluiddina.

The first ruler of Petra was Obodas. This name is derived from the Edo/Edomite name for ruler which is Oba. Linguist Helene Longpre recognizes that Demotic Egyptian (7th-5th c. B.C.) and Nabatean Aramaic most closely correspond to Meroitic or Old Nubian. (Longpre, "Investigation of the Ancient Meroitic Writing System", Rhode Island College, 1999.) Demotic is the script of the Rosetta stone in the Ptolemaic period (BC 332-30).

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Afro-Asiatic Influences on the Deuteronomist

Map shows the dispersion of the peoples in Haplogroup R1b. 
Among these are the rulers of the Afro-Asiatic Dominion.

Alice C. Linsley

I receive many questions about articles posted at Just Genesis and Biblical Anthropology. Here is a question that brings into focus the development of the Hebrew canon, or Old Testament.
Alice, I am interested in how Leviticus, Numbers, & Deuteronomy were influenced by the Afro-Asiatic Dominion. I can't find discussion of this at either of your blogs. Thanks.
Articles pertaining to this discussion are linked at the bottom of this post under related reading. In this post, I provide definitions of terms and explain how the Deuteronomist Historian is rooted in the religion of the Afro-Asiatic rulers, and where he departs from that religion.

To understand the Afro-Asiatic influences on the Deuteronomist, we must note the incongruities between the contexts of Abraham, the Horite Hebrew in Edom, and the later Deuteronomist whose theological perspective expresses the wounds of the Babylonian captivity.

 "The Afro-Asiatic Dominion"

Archaeogenetics has shown conclusively that a vast dispersion of Proto-Saharan peoples dominated the archaic world. These are in Haplogroup R, traced by Y-chromosome DNA, passed through the fathers. Another term for peoples in this group is "Euroasian" but this is misleading because the point of origin of these peoples is Africa.

The range of the dispersed Proto-Saharans extended from the Benue Trough and Lake Chad, to the Nile Valley, the Indus Valley, Southern Europe, and parts of Asia during the Holocene Wet Period. This represents a late movement of peoples out of Africa; a period of kingdom building by Afro-Asiatic rulers. I have termed this expanse the “Afro-Asiatic Dominion” because the words spoken by these peoples would have roots in the Afro-Asiatic language family. This is the oldest language group.

The Afro-Asiatic Dominion is older than the Axial Age (c. 900-200 BC) and the Vedic Age (c. 1500-500 BC). The rulers of the Dominion were the earliest kingdom builders on earth. These were the builders of huge stone temples such as that found at Göbekli Tepe, the two Ġgantija temples at Gozo in Malta, the stone temple at Baalbek in Lebanon, and the great pillared temples of the Nile.

The term "dominion" is appropriate because these territories were ruled by kingdom builders who shared a common religious tradition and common ancestors. They also had a common conception of divine appointment of rulers by the overshadowing of the sun. The sun was the emblem or symbol of the Creator God. The Deuteronomist points to this in the story of the bronze serpent on Moses's staff. This would have been a coiled serpent, a solar orb. The people were to look to the Creator's symbol for deliverance. The same image is used to represent the authority of bishops appointed to rule in the Church.

Bishop's crozier

The rulers of the Afro-Asiatic Dominion are the rulers of the archaic world (BC 1000-2000). In the book of Genesis they are called the "mighty men of old" and are described as "heroes" and "men of renown." In Genesis 6:2, these rulers were presented as "sons of the gods" (elohiym), which means they ruled after their deified fathers. The deified rulers were believed to ruler by divine appointment, as with Moses. The Deuteronomist seeks to strengthen the authority of Moses in Exodus 22:28: "Thou shalt not revile the gods (elohiym), nor curse the ruler of thy people."

The burial practices of the archaic rulers reflect a common conception of the body and spirit, and the hope for immortality. The destiny of their people was believed to depend on the destiny of their ruler in the next life. Examples include the royal tombs of Alaca Hüyük in Anatolia (Turkey). At Horoztepe, in northern Anatolia, they built royal tombs dating from 2400-2200 BC. These are richly furnished with finely crafted artifacts in bronze, silver, and gold.

The mighty men of old built shrine cities at high elevations, temples, palaces, pyramids, and circles of standing stones. These "high places" were centers of religious ritual. In southern Anatolia, royal stone masons built Catalhoyuk beginning around 7500 BC. The word catal means fork and hoyuk means mound. This settlement was built on two mounds (east and west) and a channel of the Çarşamba River once flowed between them. The houses excavated in Catalhoyuk date between 6800-5700 B.C.

The Deuteronomist encourages the destruction of all high places except Jerusalem. The targets to be destroyed were the bamot. Bamot is the plural form of the word bamah, meaning high or exalted. (The word appears in names like Oholibamah and Obamah.) The Deuteronomist mentions the destruction of Jericho, a pre-pottery Neolithic (PPN) settlement (10,500 to 9,500 BC) whose prestige as a fortified shrine city surpassed that of Jerusalem.

 These peoples maintained settlements at sheltered high places (tamana, kar, or oppidum) near water sources. These were the Sun Cities of the archaic world. At the center of these royal cities were the temple, the palace, housing for priests, and quarters for the royal guard. The temple typically was aligned to the solar arc and was called O'piru, which means "house of the Sun."

The sun temples include those found at Göbekli Tepe and Nekhen. Nekhen (called Hierakonpolis by the Greeks), is the oldest temple known to have association with Abraham's ancestors. The temple was located on the Nile, making it easy for temple officials to weigh and measure shipped cargo, and assess tolls on the vessels that docked there.

The priests who served at the ancient shrine cities were called 'apiru, ha'piru or Ha'biru. The English word Hebrew is a variant of Ha'biru. Abraham is called "Hebrew" (Ha'biru) in Genesis 14:13. The Harris papyrus speaks of 'apriu of Re at Heliopolis, the shrine of the Sun. Plato, who studied under a Horite priest at Memphis for thirteen years, wrote "Tell me of the God of On, which was, is and shall be."

Revising biblical history

The Deuteronomist is the final editorial hand on the Old Testament, especially Genesis through First and Second Kings. In these books there is a tendency to religious extremism expressed in willingness to commit genocide and iconoclasm. YHWH alone is to be worshiped, though the Creator was known by other names among archaic peoples. The people are to live in obedience to the prophet Moses (Deut. 18:18). Moses and the Law are to be the Jew's primary authorities. Jerusalem is to be the sole center of true worship, and authority over all aspects of Jewish life is vested in the religious leaders in Jerusalem.

The Deuteronomist revises the history of Abraham's Horite Hebrew people to present a narrative about Moses and the Law that serves to strengthen Jewish identity.The focus is shifted from the archaic rulers and their hope of a Righteous Ruler who would be conceived by divine overshadowing, to the Jerusalem cult. The Deuteronomist seeks centralized worship at the Jerusalem temple, and the reshaping of the Passover and Tabernacles into national observances. He promotes the power of the religious rulers in Jerusalem, and Israel’s rightful possession of the land. This is the beginning of political Zionism.

The Deuteronomist makes reference to the things of old, such as the tabernacle at Shiloh and the Ark of the Covenant, but there is no evidence that the Deuteronomist has first hand experience of these things. In his narrative, anthropologically significant details are entirely lacking. The editorial work of the Deuteronomist is from a much later time, the Neo-Babylonian Period (c. 700-300 BC). 

The Deuteronomist writes from a context that is about 1500 years after the time of Abraham. This perspective does not align with the historical, archaeological, linguistic, and anthropological data concerning Abraham. It ignores his R1b cattle-herding ancestors who lived 4500 years ago in central Africa. The result is a disconnection between the Deuteronomist's portrait of Abraham and the earlier portrait of Abraham as a Horite Hebrew (Habiru) whose ruler-priest ancestors are named in Genesis 4 and 5. Among them are many righteous men: Methuselah, Enoch and Noah.

The Deuteronomist would have us believe that Abraham's ancestors did not worship the true God. Against all the evidence, he asserts in Joshua 24:2: “In olden times, your forefathers – Terah, father of Abraham and father of Nahor – lived beyond the Euphrates and worshiped other gods.” This simply is not true. Terah and his father Nahor were Horite Hebrew rulers who acknowledged the supreme Creator God whose symbol was the sun. Moses is one of their descendants, and the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Moses's family is identical to that of Abraham's father and grandfather.

A central theme of the Deuteronomist is that God abandons Israel because He is angry. He allows His chosen ones to fall before their enemies and to be taken as captives. The Deuteronomist seeks to explain why God would allow his appointed people to be carried into exile. The explanation given is the moral failure of the people and their leaders. Moses's half-brother Korah was a priest who, according to the Deuteronomist, died in the wilderness after he challenged Moses's authority. Moses's other brother was Aaron, also a priest. The Deuteronomist would have us believe that Aaron too failed in righteousness when he created an image of the divine calf overshadowed by the sun, a Messianic reference among Abraham's cattle-herding Nilotic ancestors.

The Deuteronomist urges the smashing of images: "... thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire." (Deuteronomy 7:5) Rulers who comply are praised. In the ancient world, the horse was associated with the sun and the Creator. During his reform, Josiah banned horses as a religious symbol. II Kings 23:11 reports that "He removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun at the entrance to the House of the Lord."

Biblical rulers who did not kill their enemies and did no smash images are presented a moral failures who bring divine wrath upon their people. For the Deuteronomist that wrath is concretely expressed in the harsh treatment the Jews received at the hands of their Babylonian captors.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Theotokos and Weaving

Orthodox icon shows Mary, the Mother of God, weaving purple thread

Alice C. Linsley

Long before Christianity a connection existed between Hathor, the mother of God's son, and weaving. Hathor was the patroness of weavers. On ancient monuments of the Nile she is shown giving gifts of clothing. In spell 486 of the Coffin Texts, she receives a dress specially woven for her. This is the tribute of weavers who venerated her. The spell is entitled: “Weaving the Dress for Hathor.” In return, the weavers sought the protection and intercession of the mother of the Creator's son.

For the Horite Hebrew (Habiru) this image of Hathor would have held special significance. They were devotees of the Creator and his son, Horus, and they lived in expectation of the Righteous Ruler who would overcome death, leading his people to immortality.

The earliest Messianic reference in the Bible is Genesis 3:15. It concerns the Mother and the Son. She shall bring forth the Seed of God who will crush the serpent's head. Note this was expressed in the Pyramid Texts about 1000 years before the Psalms were written.

"Horus has shattered (tbb, crushed) the mouth of the serpent with the sole of his foot (tbw)" - Pyramid Texts, Utterance 388 (681)

In the Coffin Texts, Hathor is also given a role in defeating the serpent (spells 370, 375, and 378).

The connection of Mother and Son is also expressed in how both are pierced. Jesus was pierced in his side and Mary in her heart.

The Horite Hebrew of Edom

Seir of Edom is designated as "Seir the Horite" in Genesis 36. Many of the greatest rulers of the Bible have Edomite blood. Among them are Abraham, David and Herod the Great. Genesis 36:31 speaks to the antiquity of the Edomite rulers: "These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom, before any king reigned over the children of Israel.” 

Edom was Abraham’s territory. As a Horite Hebrew ruler he maintained two wives in separate settlements on a north-south axis. Sarah resided in Hebron, and Keturah, his second wife, resided in the area of Beersheba. His wives’ settlements, with their royal guards, servants, handmaids, flocks and slaves, constituted the northern and southern boundaries of Abraham’s territory. This territory was entirely in the land of Edom, south of Judah.

The data of Genesis indicates that Abraham controlled the territory from the wells of Gerar, where he formed a treaty with the local chief, to the waters of Engedi. In other words, Abraham’s territory was ancient Edom. The Greeks called this region Idumea, meaning "land of red people." Both Esau and David are described as red.

The Ark rested in the house of Obed-Edom in the region of Jaar, the Weaver

Israel’s first king was Saul, from Gibeah. He was a “son” of Benjamin. Ben-jamin means “son of the south” and likely refers to the land of Edom. As a sign of Saul’s royal status, the Ark with the symbols of Moses, was placed in Gibeah. After David became king, the ark was brought "from the house of Abinadab, that was in Gibeah” to Jerusalem (II Sam. 6:1-12). However, for three months the Ark rested in David’s hometown of Bethlehem in the house of Obed-Edom. The designation of Obed-Edom is significant. It traces David’s lineage by his father’s line and his mother’s line. Obed was David’s paternal grandfather. His mother was Edomite.

The Ark was guarded by the priests of Bethlehem until David was able to have it moved to "the city of David," a 12-acre ridge south of the Temple Mount (II Sam. 5:9). Psalm 132:1-7 makes it clear that David had the Ark moved from Gibeah to Bethlehem, a Horite settlement (I Chronicles 4:4; 1 Chronicles 2:54).
O Lord, remember in David's favor
his extreme self-denial,
how he swore to the Lord,
vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
'I will not enter my house,
nor will I mount my bed,
I will not give sleep to my eyes,
or slumber to my eyelids
until I find a place for the Lord,
an abode [mishkanot- footstool] for the Mighty One of Jacob.'
We heard it was in Ephrath [Ephratha - Bethlehem]
we came upon it in the region of Jaar the Weaver. (Hebrew Study Bible, p. 424)
II Samuel 21:19 states that Jaar was from Bethlehem. 

Iconographic evidence from the Christian Era

The connection between the Mother of God and weaving is found in non-canonical books as well as in canonical books. Chapter 9 of the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew describes how Mary and the other virgins were spinning thread in the Temple compound. Carrying a pitcher, Mary went out to a fountain where the angel said to her, "Blessed art thou, Mary; for in thy womb thou hast prepared an habitation for the Lord." The next day the angel appears to her again while she is spinning. The Annunciation at the fountain is depicted on this 13th-century fresco in Croatia.

A 4th-century sarcophagus in Sicily has a panel that appears to convey the Annunciation at a fountain. This is likely the earliest context of the Annunciation, and it aligns with Christian iconographical and the Biblical data. In the Biblical narrative, royal brides are met at wells and fountains.

In the West, some early images show seated Mary spinning purple thread or with the thread in a basket. Examples include a 5th-century mosaic in Rome and a textile fragment from the 8th or 9th century. 

Horus was conceived when Hathor was overshadowed by the Sun. Likewise, in Luke 1:35, we read how Gabriel told Mary, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God." It appears that Messianic expectation is much older than Judaism. Indeed, Christianity is the only true Messianic Faith on earth today. Judaism rejects Jesus as Messiah, and the Quran denies that God has a Son.