Saturday, March 25, 2017

Another Way to Read Scripture



Alice C Linsley

Reading Scripture through the lens of cultural anthropology is rigorous because no assumption can stand untested, and no assertion can be made without data. This approach is distinctly different from the traditional approaches to the Bible termed "exegesis" and "eisegesis."

Exegesis draws meaning out of the text and eisegesis involves reading a personal meaning into the text. This explanation is simplistic, but it expresses the difference between reading the Bible in a scholarly way and reading for personal devotions. Both have a place in the Christian life and there are problems with both approaches. 

Sloppy exegesis leads to misrepresentation of the Biblical material and misguided sermons. Private interpretations should not be proposed as true for the Church, especially if they run counter to Church Tradition and the Scriptures themselves.

We should employ the tools of cultural anthropology to test assumptions and to discover the data that clarifies context. If we seek to understand the Bible rather than use the Bible to support an agenda, we will find the approach of Biblical Anthropology helpful. 

I invite you to learn more by visiting The Bible and Anthropology Forum where we practice the reading of Scripture through the lens of cultural anthropology. Learn to read the Bible through the lens of cultural anthropology and you will never read it the same way again!




Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Archaic and Ancient Symbols of Authority


Alice C. Linsley


Iron beads were a symbol of royal and priestly authority among Abraham's Proto-Saharan ancestors. One of the shrine cities was Naqada, site of one of the world's oldest known civilizations. Naqada settlements dating to about 4,000 BC have yielded decorated pottery, clay figurines and objects made of ivory and iron, as well as alien materials like lapis lazuli, indicating external trade. The civilization advanced due to irrigation, trade, political alliances along kinship lines, and the earliest writing.

The Naqada culture (c. 6000-4000 BC) included the sites of el Badari, Nekhen (Hierakonopolis), Qau, and Gerzeh, where Egyptologist Wainwright discovered meteoritic iron beads, the earliest known artifacts of iron. Stone tools dating to 12,000 years have also been found in the area, revealing a long established human population. The Horite Hebrew shrine city of Nekhen was thriving 5000 years ago. Some paintings found here show figures wearing what appear to be iron beads around their necks.

The ancient Egyptian word for meteroric iron - bja (metal from heaven), and they were metalworkers. Beja corresponds to the Sanskrit word bija, meaning semen or seed. Meteoritic iron was used in the fabrication of iron beads in Nubia about 6000 years ago. These beads may have been perceived as seeds from heaven which brought divine power to the wearer. Meteoritic iron was used in the fabrication of crooks and flails, the symbols of the Egyptian and Kushite pharaohs. These symbols were believed to give the ruler powers from heaven.

The ancient Egyptian rulers accessorized with meteorites. The material was associated with divine power. King Tut's dagger had a tip made of meteoritic iron. The dagger, found in 192, also had a gold sheath.

king-tuts-daggerPhoto: Courtesy Daniela Comelli et al.
Commonly, iron artifacts are found in the graves of rulers. Diane Johnson says, "Iron was very strongly associated with royalty and power." The ancient Egyptians had a hieroglyphic sign for “iron from the sky" by the 13th century BC.




The crook was another symbol of authority. The prehistoric painting below was found in Sudan. It shows warriors carrying crooks and flails.




These are the symbols of Egyptian rulers. Here is an image of King Tut's crook and flail.



Related reading: Iron Seeds From Heaven; Gerzeh: A Prehistoric Egyptian Meteorite; Nilo-Saharan and Saharo-Nubian Populations; The Shrine City of Nekhen

Saturday, February 25, 2017

New FB Group Explores the Bible and Anthropology


Learn to read the Bible through the lens of cultural anthropology and you will never read it the same way again.



Biblical anthropology is being discussed at a new Facebook group, The Bible and Anthropology. This international forum shares ideas, insights, discoveries, images, and documents that help the members gain a deeper understanding of the Bible through application of cultural anthropology. Anthropology degrees are not a prerequisite for participation!

Consider joining the group. Share what you experience where you live and how the experience relates to Scripture. Help advance the scientific field of Biblical Anthropology. The objective is to share and learn from each other.

Related reading: Support Biblical Anthropology ResearchWhy Biblical Anthropology?Haplogroups of Interest to Biblical AnthropologistsBiblical Anthropology, the Science...not speculative theologyUsing the Bible to Test HypothesesContextual Incongruities in Genesis


Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Nubian Moiety


Alice C. Linsley


A moiety is a descent group that coexists with only one other descent group within a society. Each of two groups into which a people is divided has a responsibility to the other group. Moieties are found among the Australian Aborigines, some American Natives, and the red and black Nubians of the Biblical world. Matrilineal moieties traced kinship along the mother's line. Patrilineal moieties trace kinship along the father's line.

Diagram of moieties and their relationship to clans and phratries


A society may be divided into two unilineal descent groups that serve to protect and balance each other. Such groups are called moieties. An example from the ancient world is the moiety of the red and black Nubians.




The red and black Nubians in the image above were captured by the Egyptians. They appear to be people of high tank since they are wearing the leopard skins traditionally worn by rulers, priests and chiefs. The fact that both red and black were taken captive indicates that they fought together against the Egyptians.

The individual's identity within the moiety determines who they may marry. It appears that each group in the ancient Nubian moiety married according to skin tone. Yet the two groups likely claimed descent from a common male ancestor.

Even among the red and black Nubians there was a range of skin tone. These red Nubian warriors are an example. Their wavy black hair and feathers resemble the Nabatean warriors of Petra in Edom. The Edomites were known to have a reddish skin tone. Esau is described as red and hairy in Genesis 25:25.  Also, David is described as having a red skin tone.

Nubian warriors
Moieties usually consist of a few thousand people in each group. The clans within the moieties often function in specialized teams such a metal workers, warriors, tanners and potters. The reciprocal nature of their relationship encourages barter and exchange of services.

The Nubians appear to be in the R1b Haplogroup, which indicates that they are related to Noah and the rulers listed in Genesis 4, 5, ll, 25, and 36. 




Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Canaanite Y and the Phaistos Disk

Phaistos Disk, side B


The Phaistos Disk is about 6 inches in diameter and contains 45 different symbols stamped in a spiral formation on both sides. The disk was discovered in 1908 in an early second millennium B.C. Minoan palace at Phaistos on Crete.

Brent Davis, Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Classics and Archaeology at the University of Melbourne, believes that the lack of other finds like this, apart from the Arkalokhori axe, makes attempts to decipher the disk unreliable. He explains, "Decipherment requires a corpus consisting of thousands and thousands of signs—because only with such a large corpus can we ascertain the meanings of words without guesswork."

In February 2014, Gareth Owens presented a summary of his research with collaborator John Coleman, a phonetics specialist at Oxford University. They claimed to have deciphered more than 90% of the signs on the Phaistos Disk. They concluded that the disk presents a prayer dedicated to a goddess.

The Canaanite Y appears 8 times on the disk. The prevalence of the Y suggests a link to the religious tradition of Hathor, the archetype of the Virgin Mary among Abraham's Horite Habiru ancestors. Hathor wore the horns as a crown symbolizing her appointment by divine overshadowing (cf. Gabriel's explanation to Mary in Luke 1).




The Canaanite Y represents the horns of the bull or the long-horned cow. Stone horns, called "Horns of Consecration" by Sir Arthur Evans, have been found at 7 sites on Crete. Below is a photo of the horns at the central court (north-facing door) at Knossos. Image this as a solar cradle aligned with the solar arc and probably the star Sirius.




Stone horns dating to Middle Minoan III c. 1750-1550 B.C.


The bull horn imagery is found at some of the world's oldest temples in Turkey, such as Catal Huyuk, Göbeklitepe, and Hattusa. The west wall of the Yazilikaya shrine at Hattusa is adorned with a relief of great significance (shown below). It shows the divine appointment of a woman by the overshadowing of the Sun and the divine appointment of a ruler as one who wears the horns as a solar cradle.



Monday, October 31, 2016

Walking Rocks


“… For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.”
—1 Corinthians 10:4

The Bible tells us that the people with Moses  drank “from the spiritual rock that followed them” during their time in the wilderness. But do rocks move?
In 1 Corinthians 10:4 the Apostle Paul recounts how the Israelites survived in the wilderness after their departure from Egypt. He says they “all ate the same spiritual food” and “drank the same spiritual drink.”

Paul knew the tradition of his Horite Hebrew ancestors so well that he recognized Jesus Christ in passages of the Old testament that other people might miss. This is an example. Paul sees Christ as both the rock and the source of water. Christ follows the people through the wilderness as a shepherd follows his flock to make sure that none is lost.

Some think that this narrative about the moving rock is nonsense, but scientists have found "walking" rocks in different parts of the world. Usually these are in desert areas where there is underground water or dried lake beds. The underground water acts as a lubricant that makes things move on the surface when there is geological movement such as an earthquake or a small tremor.

Moving rocks have been found in Death Valley which was once a lake. There is still movement from the ancient lake bed. The first to photograph the moving stones of Death Valley were Richard Norris, a paleobiologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and his cousin James Norris, a research engineer. Their 2013 photos provided proof that rocks move across flat dry dirt under certain conditions. Some rocks weigh more than 600 pounds and they leave "wiggle" trails in the earth like that shown in this photo of a sailing stone in Racetrack Playa.

Here are two of the rounded boulders found in the Atacama Desert in Chile. These boulders fell from the cliffs of distant mountains, likely dislodged during an earthquake.


Watch this video for further explanation.


The same conditions which move stones can move bones also. In July 2013 movement was noted of cattle skeletal remains across the surface of Smith Creek Valley Playa, in central Nevada.

Related reading:  The Atacama Rock Tumbler

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Pillars of the Earth


When I select an appointed time, It is I who judge with equity. The earth and all who dwell in it melt; It is I who have firmly set its pillars. Selah (Psalm 75:2,3)

Alice C. Linsley

A central experience of the archaic peoples who lived along the Nile was the Nile inundation. As rains fell in the Ethiopian headlands the Nile River rose above its banks, flooding the Nile Valley between June and October. This water flowed also into adjoining rivers and lakes, creating a vast wet region that extended well toward the Chad basin.

New evidence indicates that the Nile's famous floods spread nearly 100 miles west of the river and created "mega-lakes" in what is today the Sahara. Hydrological studies have verified that it was possible to go by boat from the Nile to the Atlantic coast of Nigeria along the interconnected lakes and rivers shown below in gray.

African Sheer Zone

A great deal of the water systems were along the African Sheer Zone where rifting, combined with prolonged rains, caused flooding. This is the likely location of the great flood associated with Noah, a Proto-Saharan ruler who lived near Lake Chad. Between 12 and 10 thousand years ago, the Nile connected to the Chadic and Niger water systems through a series of shallow lakes. This explains the common plant and animal species found in all three water systems.

The flooding of the Nile valley lasted for 40 days and 40 nights. As the waters receded, the highest mounds would been seen at first. Even after the waters crested and began to recede, families did not return to their homes for another 40 nights. This is the origin of the phrase "forty days and forty nights" and the context is Nilotic, reflecting the Nilotic roots of many of Abraham's archaic ancestors.

These ancestors were acutely aware of natural processes and regarded these to be the work of the Creator. One such process involved the creation of dry land from volcanic eruptions.

The young earth had many active volcanoes. Some were above the surface (extrusive) and others were beneath the surface (instrusive). Many volcanic eruptions took place under the sea. According to Genesis 1 God separated the dry land from the sea as one of the first acts of creation. We can imagine a great sea with steam rising from deep underwater fissures in the earth. Now imagine volcanoes rising up from the sea. These are the "pillars of the earth" described in Job 9:6 which says, "Who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble." These are called God's pillars according to I Samuel 2:8 - "For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s and he had set the world upon them."

Among Abraham's Nilotic ancestors the original volcanic mound that emerged from the sea was called TaTJaNuN which means the "pillars of God in the water." Pillars were used to mark sacred places, to hold up the roofs of royal tombs, and to mark the entrances to royal buildings such as palaces, treasuries, and temples.

Steering between twin volcanic pillars is like going through an entrance. In the ancient world twin pillars marked the entrance to palaces and temples. The twin pillars at the entrance to Solomon's temple were named in honor of his paternal and maternal great great grandfathers Boaz and Joachin.

In the Ugaritic creation story the two mountains likewise are indicated by the sign T. The mountains trgzz and trmg emerged from a universal ocean and held up the firmament. They also marked the entrance to the underworld. So the phrase "pillars of heaven" and "pillars of earth" refer to the work of the Creator whereby the heavens and the earth are connected.

The Latin word for door is ianua. Before it was a letter of the alphabet, the i was likely a pillar sign. That is supported by the fact that the shrine city of On (Gen. 41:45) was known as iunu, meaning place of pillars. Iunu was called Heliopolis by the Greeks because the pillared shrines and temples were dedicated to the Creator Ra, whose emblem was the sun. Many obelisks were erected there that represented the original creation mound. These were aligned to the solar arc. These obelisks are mentioned in Jeremiah 43:13.


Chaotic Waters Subdued




During the Archaic period (10,000 - 3000 BC) the Nile floods were catastrophic when the chaotic waters raged over the natural shorelines. The loss of life and property would have been great since the population was most dense along the water ways. This collective memory stands behind the Genesis description of Tehom, the chaotic "deep" that covered the whole earth before the Creator separated land and sea through volcanism. By the divine Word, the Creator subdued the raging water and set boundaries. The Tehom was subdued by the God of Wisdom, by Tehut.

The victory of Tehut over Tehom relates to the annual inundation of the Nile and helps us to understand the Nilotic concept of creation, one of the oldest creation myths. According to this narrative the first land was a mound that emerged from the waters of a universal ocean. In Hindu mythology the mound that emerged is called Meru. It emerged from the center of the cosmic ocean.

This aligns with the Biblical description of the Creator's separation of the land from the sea in Genesis 1: Then God said, "Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. God called the dry land earth, and the gathered waters He called sea; and God saw that it was good." Note that the Hebrew speaks of land and sea, not lands and seas.

Here we find a scientifically realistic scenario, given what is known about early geologic time before a supercontinent began to break apart about 200 million years ago due to plate tectonics.


Related reading: The Pillars of Solomon's Temple; Sacred Mountains and Pillars; The Pillars and Mummies of Takla Makan; The Kushite-Kushan Connection