Below, my "paraphrase" of an important observation made by Professor Stiebing:
"Clearly state the problems you seek to solve or the questions you seek to answer."
(p. 267. William H. Stiebing Jr. Uncovering the Past, A History of Archaeology. Oxford University Press. 1994)
This website is an attempt to identify "the pre-biblical origins" of concepts appearing in both the Old and New Testaments from a secular and anthropological point of view. I understand that the Primary History (Genesis-Kings) was written by one author in the Exile ca. 560 B.C. However, various concepts and motifs and events preserved in this "late" work are traceable to the 3rd millennium B.C. and the land of Sumer (Abraham's Ur of the Chaldees, south of Babylon).
I understand that Genesis is _denying, refuting and challenging_ the Mesopotamian myths' explanation of Who, What, Why, Where, When and How man came to made, what his purpose on earth is, and why he does not possess immortality. I understand that the Hebrews accomplished these denials or challenges by taking motifs and concepts from a variety of contradicting myths and giving them "new twists," changed the names of the characters, the locations, and sequences of events. It is my understanding that the Hebrews were deliberately CHANGING _or_ RECASTING various motifs and concepts within these myths IN ORDER TO REFUTE, DENY, AND CHALLENGE THEM, hence the "reason why" there are _no_ individuals called Adam, Eve, the Serpent, Yahweh, Noah, Shem, Japheth and Ham appearing in _any_ of the Mesopotamian pre-biblical myths. This understanding explains why there appear to be "echoes" or "parallels" or "similarities" between Genesis and the Mesopotamian concepts and motifs regarding man's creation. I do _not_ understand that the Hebrews are "copying" the Mesopotamian myths, they are _borrowing and recasting various motifs within them_ in order to _refute and deny them_ regarding why, when, where and how man came to be made, placed in a god's garden, denied immortality and his destruction sought in a Flood. These "recastings" are accomplished primarily via the employment of "inversions" which, in effect, present a 180 degree counter-argument to the earlier mythic concepts of the Mesopotamians, as was penetratingly noted by the late Joseph Campbell in his four volume series of books exploring the mythologies of the world, ancient and modern, called The Masks of God (1959-1968).
Professor Clay (1923) on the similarities between Genesis' creation account and Mesopotamian concepts as recasts of earlier Mesopotamian or Babylonian beliefs being acknowledged by numerous scholars over a period of some 50 years (1873-1923), but stripped of polytheism:
"It is generally admitted that certain parallel ideas which are found expressed in the literature of ancient Israel concerning the creation of the world, and in a story of creation as handed down by the Babylonians, have a common origin...These and other points of resemblance, it is generally admitted leave no doubt as to there being a relationship between the cosmogony of Israel and that handed down by the Babylonians. It naturally followed that either the Biblical conception was borrowed from the Babylonian; or the Babylonian was borrowed from the Biblical; or both were founded on a common primitive source...Scholars generally have dismissed the second supposition as an impossibility' and the third is excluded on the ground that the stories contain a large percentage of Babylonian ideas. The Biblical conception of creation, therefore, they say, is of Babylonian origin...In the nearly fifty years which have passed since the first translation was made, this has become the prevailing view; and it has been generally accepted everywhere as fully established. "In fact," as the late Canon Driver has written, "no archaeologist questions that the Biblical cosmogony, however altered in form and stripped of its original polytheism, is, in its main outlines, derived from Babylonia."
(pp. 66- 67. "The Creation Story." Albert T. Clay. The Origin of Biblical Traditions, Hebrew Legends in Babylonia and Israel. New Haven. Yale University Press. 1923)
Some of the themes or motifs found in the Book of Genesis regarding the Garden of Eden are to be found in the Mesopotamian myths regarding primeval man, but in a somewhat different format, the 'different format' being a series of "reversals" or "inversions" as noted by Professor Campbell.
The late (1904-1987) Professor Campbell in 1964 noted that the Mesopotamian myths understood man was created to till the fields of the gods which he equates with Adam being created to care for God's garden:
"...one of the chief characteristics of Levantine mythology here represented is that of man created to be God's slave or servant. In a late Sumerian myth retold in Oriental Mythology it is declared that men were created to relieve the gods of the onerous task of tilling their fields. Men were to do that work for them and provide them with food through sacrifice. Marduk, too, created man to serve the gods. And here we have man created to keep a garden." (p. 103. "Gods and Heroes of the Levant." Joseph Campbell. The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology. New York. Arkana. Viking Penguin. 1964, reprinted 1991)
Campbell also very astutely and penetratingly noted that the Hebrews in the book of Genesis appear to have employed at times "inversions" or "reversals" which "turn about" Mesopotamian beliefs by 180 degrees (emphasis mine):
"No one familiar with the mythologies of the primitive, ancient, and Oriental worlds can turn to the Bible without recognizing COUNTERPARTS on every page, TRANSFORMED, however, TO RENDER AN ARGUMENT CONTRARY TO THE OLDER FAITHS. (p. 9. "The Serpent's Bride." Joseph Campbell. The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology. Arkana. New York. Viking Penguin Books. 1964, 1991 reprint)
"The ultimate source of the biblical Eden, therefore, CANNOT have been A MYTHOLOGY OF THE DESERT -that is to say, a primitive Hebrew myth- but was the old PLANTING MYTHOLOGY of the peoples of the soil. HOWEVER, IN THE BIBLICAL RETELLING, ITS WHOLE ARGUMENT HAS BEEN TURNED, SO TO SAY, ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY DEGREES...One milllennium later, the patriarchal DESERT NOMADS arrived, and all judgements WERE REVERSED in heaven, as on earth." (pp.103, 105-106. "Gods and Heroes of the Levant." Joseph Campbell. The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology. Arkana. A Division of Penguin Books. 1964. 1991 reprint)
Campbell on the Hebrews "inverting" of earlier myths (Emphasis mine):
"The first point that emerges from this contrast, and will be demonstrated further in numerous mythic scenes to come, is that in the context of the patriarchy of the Iron Age Hebrews of the first millennium B.C., THE MYTHOLOGY ADOPTED FROM THE EARLIER NEOLITHIC AND BRONZE AGE CIVILIZATIONS of the lands they occupied and for a time ruled BECAME INVERTED, TO RENDER AN ARGUMENT JUST THE OPPOSITE TO THAT OF ITS ORIGIN." (p. 17. "The Serpent's Bride." Joseph Campbell. The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology. New York. Arkana & Viking Penguin. 1964. Reprinted 1991)
The Mesopotamians saw the world being created for the benefit of the gods, not man. Genesis refutes this notion, God made the world for man's benefit. I understand that the Hebrews, _employing INVERSIONS_, are recasting many of the Mesopotamian motifs and concepts by 180 degrees, turning them upside down and on their ear.
If I had to summarize my research on Genesis' motifs from the Garden of Eden to the Flood vis-a-vis the Mesopotamian "creation of man" myths it would have to be that the Mesopotamians appear to have held their gods as responsible for man's misfortunes whereas the Hebrews in refuting this, held man as culpable, absolving their God of any blame. In other words the Mesopotamians saw _MAN AS THE VICTIM_ of un-caring, exploitive, capricious gods versus the Hebrew notion that a loving, caring _GOD IS THE VICTIM_ of an ungrateful and rebellious mankind.
For the Mesopotamians man's rebelliousness is because when the gods created man of clay they animated this lifeless material with the flesh and blood of a slain rebel-god. This god, We-ila, was the "ringleader" of the Igigi gods who rebelled against Enlil (an Anunnaki god) at Nippur refusing to work anymore in his city-garden, dredging its irrigation canals and ditches of sediments. The decision was reached by Enlil and Enki to replace the rebelling Igigi with a new creature, man. So man was created and placed in a god's city-garden as a substitute for the Igigi. In other words, _man's purpose in life_ is to work forever in the gods' city-gardens growing and harvesting food to feed the senior (Anunnaki) and lesser (Igigi) gods. Man's spirit of rebelliousness against the gods is because he possesses the rebel-spirit of the slain Igigi god. That is to say man _IS A VICTIM_ of the gods, he was _CREATED A REBEL_ by his creators. The Hebrews in recasting these motifs deny man has a slain god's rebellious spirit within him, they claim man possesses a freewill, he can choose to do good or evil (obey or disobey God). In Mesopotamian myth a god (We-ila) is slain and his flesh and blood gives man mortal life and in Christian teachings a God called Jesus is slain and his flesh and blood gives man immortal life.
The Mesopotamian myths do _not_ have any knowledge of man being expelled from their city-gardens for an act of rebellion like Genesis' Garden of Eden account. The gods made man to replace themselves as agricultural laborers, it would be foolish to expell man from their city-gardens for the gods would have to care for their gardens themselves. Where then are the Hebrews getting the notion that a rebellion has occured in a god's garden and the gardener has been removed? I suspect this is a recasting of the Igigi gods rebellion in the Atrahasis myth. They were "removed" from Enlil's garden at Nippur (and Enki's garden at Eridu), and man was created to replace them. So, yes, there was indeed in the Mesopotamian myths a story about a rebellion of "man" working in a god's garden and being removed from said garden! In fact when the hardwork of the Igigi gods is described it is said: "When the gods were _man_ they did grievous labor." So "_man_" in the form of the Igigi gods was removed from a god's garden for an act of rebellion. However, the Hebrews have inverted the storyline. "_Man_" (the Igigi) welcomed this removal for now they enjoy an eternal rest from toil as already enjoyed by the Anunnaki gods (Anu, Enlil and Enki). The Hebrews portray the removal of "man" from a god's garden as punishment for man whereas it was an act of mercy and a blessing for the Igigi ending their grievous labor. Christianity hopes that one day God will allow man _back into_ his garden of Eden, whereas the Igigi would never want to return to the Anunnaki's city-gardens in the midst of the eden/edin and the grievous toil there! Christianity teaches that when man returns to the Garden of Eden he will once more enjoy God's fellowship and companionship as did Adam and Eve. But the Igigi working in the gods' gardens did not enjoy fellowship with the Anunnaki gods! The Anunnaki ruthlessly exploited the Igigi and ignored night and day for 40 years their pleas for an end of their toil at Nippur! With the "removal from the gods' gardens" the Igigi now enjoy fellowshipping with the Anunnaki, for both now are free of toil upon the earth, both can recline on their couches in indolent leisure as both ruthlessly exploit man the agricultural slave having him care for their gardens, and present them the produce to eat in the city temples. An inversion has occured! Man's (the Igigi being called "man") fellowship with a god (Enlil of Nippur and Enki at Eridu) is obtained after their removal from the god's garden instead of by remaining a complacent, obedient, and non-rebelling laborer in a god's garden! The Mesopotamian myths understand man was burdened with grievous back-breaking toil in the gods' city-gardens, this notion is _denied_ by Genesis; Adam tills and tends Yahweh's garden but it is not grievous toil. It is only _after the expulsion_ from God's garden that agricultural toil becomes grievous and burdensome for man. The Hebrews have reversed the Mesopotamian notion that man's toil from the very first moment of his being placed in a god's garden is grievous and burdensome!
The Sumerians called the uncultivated steppeland or plain _edin_ (Please note: Some professional scholars prefer to render Sumerian edin as eden, so it can appear under either spelling in the professional literature). In the beginning according to the myths, _before man was created_, two great rivers flowed through an uncultivated steppeland or plain, the eden/edin, the Sumerian Buranum, Akkadian Purattu (Euphrates) and Sumerian Idiqna, Akkadian Idiglat (Genesis' Hiddekel, the Tigris). Eventually in the midst of this eden/edin the gods built cities to dwell in with city-gardens to provide sustenance for themselves. Some gardens were within city walls, others were outside the walls; irrigation canals and ditches from the Euphrates and Tigris provided water for these city-gardens. The gods' cultivated gardens were _never_ called eden/edin, this term was reserved for describing the _uncultivated_ steppeland or plain. The gods' 'cultivated' city-gardens were in the midst of the eden/edin, or surrounded by the eden/edin, the _uncultivated_ steppeland or plain. That is to say the gods' gardens were _in_ eden/edin and Yahweh-Elohim's garden was _in_ Eden too. Tiring of their labor in building cities and maintaining their irrigated city-gardens for themselves the gods later decide to create man to care for their gardens and provide them their gardens' produce in temple offerings. Genesis _denies, refutes and challenges_ the Mesopotamian notion that the gods and goddesses created man to serve in their city-gardens in the midst of the eden/edin as a gardener to raise food to feed them that they might be at ease from earthly toil for all eternity. God loves man, he created a garden _in_ Eden (Genesis 2:8) for man's sustenance, not Yahweh-Elohim's sustenance. According to the Mesopotamian myths every city possessed a god's or goddesses' garden, Genesis denies this, there are not _numerous_ gods' city-gardens in the eden/edin, there is only _one_ God's garden in the Eden and it is not a city-garden, it lies by itself in the wilderness of Eden. In the Mesopotamian myths shepherds graze their flocks in the uncultivated eden/edin, and Abraham is portrayed as being a shepherd in his migrations from Sumerian Ur to Haran, Damascus, and Beersheba; he grazes his flocks in the "uncultivated" steppe, the eden/edin. That is to say the Hebrew patriarchs are nomadic tent-dwelling shepherds of eden/edin. God's first earthly dwelling is not a Temple in a city as in Mesopotamian myths, but a Tent in a shepherds' encampment in the wilderness of Sinai; he reveals himself repeatedly to shepherds like Abraham, Jacob, and Moses. The Hebrew God is a god of the uncultivated wilderness, the eden/edin where shepherds graze their flocks, he is not a city-dwelling god who created man to work in his city-garden in the midst of the eden/edin.
Why did the Hebrews seek to _deny, refute and challenge_ the Mesopotamian beliefs? Why did Christianity refute and deny Judaism? Why did Islam refute and deny Judaism and Christianity? Apparently each felt that its predecessor had wrong or erroneous beliefs regarding the relationship between God and Man and accordingly each sought to "correct" these "false" views via recastings or reworkings of the earlier stories in order to_deny refute and challenge_. For example, the New Testament while preserving verses from the Old Testament, gives these verses new meanings, rejecting the earlier Jewish interpretations. Islam recast certain stories in the Old and New Testaments, Abraham offered his son Ishmael to God instead of Isaac, Jesus is not the God who made Adam and Eve in his role as the Logos or Word, Allah is, not Yahweh or Christ.
As regards "the pre-biblical origins" of Christianity's beliefs and concepts: I seek to identify certain concepts and motifs in the New Testament that appear to be "ALIEN TO" the Old Testament. I understand that just as Genesis is a challenge, denial and refutation of Mesopotamian beliefs about man's relationship with God, so too, Christianity is a challenge, denial and refutation of many of Judaism's beliefs about man's relationship with God. My research has concluded that Christianity is actually a "form" of Hellenized Judaism which over time triumphed over other Hellenized Judaisms. Scholars use the term "Hellenized" to reflect the fact that a non-Hellenistic religion has to some degree assimilated Greek concepts (these adapations/assimilations can be in the form of a reinterpretation or transformation of the original Hellenistic concept or belief). I have sought in Hellenistic Greek metaphysics the ALIEN CONCEPTS appearing in the New Testament which caused Christians to deny, refute and challenge Judaism's beliefs and understandings of the relationship between Man and God.
Finally, it is my understanding that Christianity today is nothing like it was in the 1st century A.D. Christianity's outstanding success today as a major world religion in the West (Europe) was because it _abandoned_ pacifism_ Christ's teachings of turning the other cheek to one's enemies and praying for them, and instead took up the sword against the "enemy" be they Christian "heretics" or "infidels." I trace this "change" to Christianity's "accomodation" under the Roman Emperor Constantine and his successors who made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire. Prior to this accomodation Christians were threatened with excommunication if they served in the Roman army and took up the sword. After the "accomodation" they where threatened with excommunication if they refused to serve. Now that Rome was a "Christian Empire," the Empire's enemies were Christ's enemies, and the Church came to adopt a new concept, that it was okay for Christians to shed the blood of their fellow man and engage in "JUST and RIGHTEOUS WARS," no more would they turn their cheek to their enemies.
After some 30+ years in tracing the "pre-biblical origins" of the Bible, I have come to realize only recently (10 May 2007), that many of the Bible's beliefs and concepts originated in Sumerian motifs and concepts some of which were authored with a sense "humor" and "playfulness." That is to say the Sumerian gods are portrayed at times as bumbling clowns and idiots! Later generations that succeeded the Sumerian civilization, including apparently the Hebrews, objected to this farcial and satirical portrayal of the relationship between the gods and of man and via a series of inversions or reversals, transformed the "original" humorous tongue-in-cheek comedy-farces into a new story of a noble ethical God who cared about man. That is to say some of what began as Sumerian farce and comedy wound up over the past 5 thousand years to being "Gospel Truth" (cf. especially my article on the mythical Noah's Flood by clicking here).
Furthermore it is my understanding that Genesis 1-10, the Creation to the Flood, had its pre-biblical origins as a Hebrew tongue-in-cheek parody of Mesopotamian beliefs regarding primeval man's creation and his attempted demise in a universal flood sent by the gods.
In 1963 Professors Graves and Patai proposed that Adam and Eve were recasts of Enkidu and Shamhat of the Epic of Gilgamesh (cf. pp. 78-79, 81. Robert Graves and Rapahel Patai. Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis. New York. Doubleday & Company. 1963, 1964). Following up on this insight and proposal my research confirmed that they were correct. Graves and Patai however were not the first scholars to make this association, Professor Morris Jastrow, Jr. of the University of Pennsylvania, had as early as 1898 made such an identification (cf. p. 478. Morris Jastrow, Jr. The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria. Boston. Ginn & Company. 1898. pp. xvi + 780)
I eventually came to realize that what had begun as a Mesopotamian story about a "Whore and her John" (Shamhat and Enkidu) was later "sanitized" and _recast_ into a new story about Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden. What a shame that millions of Jews, Christians and Moslems are unaware that Adam and Eve are fictional recasts of Enkidu and Shamhat, and what a shame that man and womankind have needlessly beaten themselves up pyschologically over the past 6000 years agonizing over a needless guilt-burden because of the sin and "fall" of these two fictional characters. What a shame that for over a thousand years these three faiths have tyrannized man and womankind and slaughtered each others' adherents for "God and Country."
Please click here as to how the food eaten by Enkidu at Shamhat's _urging_ became Eve _urging_ Adam to eat forbidden fruit.
As noted above, as early as 1898 Professor Jastrow had noted that motifs associated with Enkidu and Shamhat appeared to have been transformed and assimilated to Adam and Eve. Today the Epic of Gilgamesh is _required_ reading for many College Sophmores in World Literature classes. What is "missed" in their English translations of this epic is that Enkidu and Shamhat meet each other at a watering hole in the _EDEN/EDIN_! Enkidu learns from Shamhat _in_EDEN/EDIN_ that it is wrong to be naked when he chooses her to be his companion instead of the wild animals of EDEN/EDIN. The Epic of Gilgamesh is written in Akkadian (Babylonian) and the Akkadian word for "steppe," "plain," or "the wild," is seri, seru, tseru, zeru, ce:ru. However, the Akkadian scribes were fond of using Sumerian logograms in lieu of Akkadian words (as a type of "shorthand") and the Sumerian logogram for seri or seru is _EDEN/EDIN_! For example: The number "three" as a word is t-h-r-e-e or four letters, but as a logogram it can be rendered in a shorthand form with only one sign as "3."
The Epic of Gilgamesh is written in Akkadian or Babylonian but scholars have determined that certain parts of it existed in Sumerian as a number of short stories about Enkidu and Gilgamesh that were later patched together and expanded into a great epic. The steppe Enkidu grows up in Sumerian is called eden/edin, in Akkadian (Babylonian) it was called seru.
The Sumerian word for uncultivated steppeland is eden/edin. The Epic of Gilgamesh although written in Akkadian which renders "steppe" as seru or seri, states unequivocally that Shamhat saw Enkidu at the watering hole as a wild man of "eden/edin" (the "steppe"). How is it that the watering hole is described as being in _the eden/edin_ instead of being in _the seru_? Akkadian scribes were trained in both Sumerian and Akkadian, they frequently used a Sumerian LOGOGRAM (a single sign) as "substitute" for an Akkadian word which had several cuneiform signs or letters as a type of "shorthand." That is to say _one_ Sumerian logogram could replace _several_ cuneiform signs making up a word. Hence Enkidu "the wild man of the steppe" was written using the Sumerian logogram eden/edin and the scribe knew upon seeing this logogram that it was synonymous with the Akkadian word seru or seri, meaning "steppe."
Professor Speiser on Enkidu's arrival at the watering hole in the steppe (steppe in Sumerian being eden/edin, Akkadian
seru), where wait Shamhat the harlot-priestess of Uruk and the Hunter (Note: the below bold print is transcribed by Heidel, which follows, into Akkadian):
"The creeping creatures came, their heart DELIGHTING in water.
But as for him, Enkidu, born in the hills-
With the gazelles he feeds on grass,
With the wild beasts he drinks at the watering-place,
With the creeping creatures his heart DELIGHTS in water-
The lass beheld him, the savage-man,
The barbarous fellow from the depths of the steppe:
"There he is, O lass, free thy breasts,
Bare thy bosom that he may possess thy ripeness!
Be not bashful! Welcome his ardor!
As soon as he sees thee, he will draw near to thee.
Lay aside thy cloth that he may rest upon thee.
Treat him, the savage, to a woman's task! Reject him will his wild beasts that grew up on his steppe,
As his love is drawn unto thee."
The lass freed her breasts, bared her bosom,
And he possessed her ripeness.
She was not bashful as she welcomed his ardor..."
(p. 44. E. A. Speiser. "The Epic of Gilgamesh." James B. Pritchard. Editor. The Ancient Near East, An Anthology of Texts and Pictures. Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton University Press. 1958. paperback)
Heidel on Enkidu's heart "delighting" with the water of the watering hole in edin the steppe, Hebrew `eden means "delight." Please note that Enkidu in the below verse is described in 1946 as a savage man from the depths of the steppe and that Heidel in his 1949 article on Sadu rendered "steppe" as Akkadian seru and Sumerian eden/edin (emphasis mine):
"The animals came to the water, and their hearts were glad.
And as as for him, (for) Enkidu, whose birthplace is the open
(Who) eats grass with the gazelles,
Drinks with the game at the drinking-place,
(Whose) heart DELIGHTS with the animals at the water,
Him, the wild(?) man, the prostitute saw,
The savage man from the depths of the steppe."
(p. 21. "The Epic of Gilgamesh." Alexander Heidel. The Epic of Gilgamesh and Old Testament Parallels. Chicago & London. University of Chicago Press. 1946, 1949, reprint of 1993)
Heidel reproduces the above words (which I have rendered above in bold print) from Spieser's translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh ("he" is in reference to Enkidu). Please note that the "scholarly" procedure in rendering Sumerian logograms into English transliterations is to capitalize them and place them within parentheses marks; the professionally trained Assyriologist upon seeing this "reads" the logogram as an Akkadian (Babyonian) word in his mind:
"...while on Tablet I. 4:7, he is called
itlu (GURUS) sag-ga-sa-a sa-qa-bal-ti seri (EDIN):
"The savage man from the midst of the seru."
(cf. p. 233. Alexander Heidel. "A Special Usage of the Akkadian Term Sadu." pp. 233-235. The Journal of Near Eastern Studies. Vol. 8. No. 3. July 1949)
My thanks to Robert M. Whiting, PhD. of Helsinki, Finland, a professional Assyriologist (Managing Editor of the world-renown Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, The Assyrian State Archives Series) for explaining to me that Heidel's 1949 transliteration reveals that the scribe actually wrote the word "steppe" using the Sumerian logogram (EDIN), and that modern scholars "read" (EDIN) as a substitution for seru. Heidel's transliteration also reveals that the Akkadian word itlu was actually written as (GURUS) another Sumerian logogram. Whiting explained that the use of Sumerian logograms _in lieu of_ Akkadian (Babylonian) words is _quite common_ in Akkadian compositions.
Whiting's explanation solved the mystery for me of how _seru_ the "steppe" came to become Hebrew `eden, I realized that the Hebrews had apparently morphed the Sumerian logogram eden/edin, used _in lieu_ of seru in the Epic of Gilgamesh into `eden! Hebrew `eden means DELIGHT, and we are told when Enkidu appeared at the watering hole in eden/edin, his heart's DELIGHT was its water. So, I understand the Hebrews took this notion of a primal naked man's _heart's DELIGHT_ over water and morphed eden's/edin's watering hole into Hebrew `eden, a place of "DELIGHT" (The "mystery" of the pre-biblical origins of Genesis' Garden _in_ Eden understood to be a "Garden of DELIGHT" solved at long last, after some 3000 years!). In other words, the story of Enkidu and Gilgamesh began as Sumerian tales, and the steppe Enkidu wandered, in Sumerian was rendered eden/edin, and the Sumerian logogram eden/edin appearing in the Akkadian written Epic of Gilgamesh is perhaps a vestige of the archaic Sumerian rendering which came to "read" as seru. Another example of Hebrew "morphing" of foreign words is the city-state appearing in Neo-Assyrian annals as Bit Adini, in the Hebrew Bible it is "morphed" into Beth-Eden ("House of Delight"), while Babylon or Akkadian Babel meaning the "gate of god" (bab= gate, il=god) was "morphed" into balal meaning "confusion." The Chaldeans, Neo-Assyrian Kaldu, were "morphed" into the Kasdim. Neo-Assyrian Urartu was morphed into Ararat by the Hebrews.
Special Update 13 November 2007 on the appearance of the word _EDIN_ in the Epic of Gilgamesh:
Yesterday (12 November 2007) as I was musing to myself over Heidel's 1949 transliteration of Akkadian seru, seri being rendered by the Sumerian logogram (EDIN), I wondered to myself _just how many times_ does edin, (EDIN), EDIN, appear in this composition?
That is to say was Heidel's transliteration the _one and only occurrence_ of this word in the Epic of Gilgamesh?
I sent an e-mail to Professor Andrew George who had recently authored one of the most comprehensive studies of the Epic of Gilgamesh in its various recensions and posed this question to him. He very graciously replied within 24 hours that the Sumerian logogram EDIN (used in _lieu_ of seru)appears _innumerable_ times throughout the 12 clay tablets that make up the Epic of Gilgamesh and he referred me to his own research posted on the internet.
This research is divided into the 12 tablets of the Epic and consists of English transliterations of the Akkadian words appearing in the Gilgamesh texts by verse and line numbers. Professor George provides several recensions for any given verse revealing the variations. To read this research one will need to first download a version of Adobe Acrobat Reader for reading PDF files
Using the "Find" key from the Adobe Acrobat Reader I plugged in the word edin and I came up with some 74 "hits" for EDIN for the 12 tablets which contain the Epic of Gilgamesh (these 74 "hits" include the various recensions). The Sumerian logogram EDIN appears in various forms (with various suffixes)such as: EDIN-ki, EDIN-su, EDIN-ia, and EDIN-ka.
My thanks to Professor George for directing me to his published research on the internet.
Please click here to access Professor George's English transliteration of the Akkadian words and their appearance in various recensions of the Epic of Gilgamesh, showing the Sumerian logogram EDIN.
The Sumerian logogram EDIN/EDEN (edin/eden being "read" as Akkadian seru, seri, tseri when it appears in an Akkadian composition like the Epic of Gilgamesh) apparently has two meanings. Firstly, it means "back" or "upper side," and secondly, by analogy, the uncultivated steppe land that abuts the cultivated and watered lands was envisioned as "the back," (the backland or hinterlands, the wilderness, or the wilds where roamed wild animals: antelope, onagers, lions, and shepherds with goats and sheep).
Professor George alerted me that in his English translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh, he rendered EDIN as "the wild" (cf. Andrew George. The Epic of Gilgamesh. London. Penguin Books. 1999, 2000, 2003).
I have gone through my copy of the aforementioned book and noted "the wild" appears some 74 times! Enkidu is described as born in "the wild," being like a panther of "the wild," and being like an ass of "the wild," while Gilgamesh is described as wandering "the wild" mourning Enkidu's death, slaying and eating the beasts of "the wild" (wild bulls, bears, hyenas, panthers, cheetahs, jackals. wild asses, onagers). Siduri the barmaid and later Uta-napishtim (of Dilmun) asks him why he wanders "the wild" seeking immortality. Gilgamesh wandering about _in_ "the wild" or EDIN after Enkidu's death seeks immortality and Genesis has Adam _in_ an Eden failing to attain immortality and facing death like Gilgamesh and Enkidu. That is to say, Genesis' Eden is associated with the themes of life and death, immortality and mortality; the EDIN wandered by Enkidu and Gilgamesh is _also_ associated with the same motifs or themes.
I have Reginald Campbell Thompson's Epic of Gilgamesh, Text, Transliteration and Notes (Oxford, England. Clarendon Press. 1930) and should alert my readers that he does _not_ render "steppe" with the Sumerian logogram edin (EDIN), instead he renders steppe as seri or seru, in other words you will _not_ find the Sumerian logogram EDIN "anywhere" in Thompson's English transliteration of this epic.
If you "want to see" the Sumerian logogram _EDIN_ in the Epic of Gilgamesh you will have to access Professor George's on-line transliteration. Below are some examples of EDIN, which is alternately rendered EDEN by other scholars (Please click here to see examples of Sumerian EDIN being rendered Sumerian EDEN). Andrew George is a Professor of Babylonian at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, London, England. He is the author of: The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic, Introduction, Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts. Oxford University Press. Published 2003. 1176 pages with drawings and photos. Please click here to purchase the 2 Volumes.
A few examples of EDIN as a Sumerian logogram being used in lieu of Akkadian seri, seru, tseru, meaning "steppe" or "plain" or "the wild" in the 12 clay tablets making up the Epic of Gilgamesh:
(The below transliterations are by Professor Andrew George. Please click here for the url)
Further e-mail exchanges with Professor George brought to my attention the fact that the Epic of Gilgamesh does _not_ exclusively use the Sumerian logogram edin (eden) in _lieu_ of tse-ri (seru, seri). The Akkadian scribe in some verses uses tse-ri and in other verses edin. So both tse-ri (seru) and edin (eden) appear in the Epic of Gilgamesh.
103 P ii 37a [ina EDI]N den-ki-dù ib-ta-ni qu-ra-du :
h ii 42 ina EDIN den-k[i-
132 P iii 11 [u·-te-li ina q®t¬-ia] bu-lam nam-ma·-·á-a ·á ED[IN]
133 P iii 12 [ul i-nam-din-a]n-ni a-na e-pe· ED[IN]
136 P iii 15 [ ]x e-lu EDIN-·u
29 bb i 4' am-mi-ni KI n[am-ma·-·e-e ta-rap-pu-ud EDIN]
105 X2 ii 7' i-tep-pi-ir um-man-ni U[GU EDIN-·u]
177 X2 iv 7 ina EDIN a-lid-ma mam-ma [
10 M3 i 10 [ -r]a-a-ta pa-gar-·u lib-la
BB2 i 10 a-na EDIN ¿i-ra-a-ti pa-gar-·ú lib-la
225 BB2 vi 3' «a»-na EDIN ¿i-ra-a-tu[m pa-gar-·ú lib-la]
107 Y2 iii 21 [x-’-al-d]am-ma ina EDIN mit-lu-ka ni-le-«’»-[i]
Tablet 5: (I could not find EDIN on this tablet)
Tablet 6: (I could not find EDIN on this tablet)
131 E3 iii 6' u ia-a-a-·i KÙ [tu-·am-flin-ni ]
L1 iii 3' [ ]-ni ina EDIN-ia
6 R i 6 [ -t]i
V2 i 6 [ k]a-lu me-er-e-ti
V3 i 6 u bu-u[l EDIN
17 V2 i 17 [ r]i-«mu a»-a-lu tu-ra-¿u bu-lum u [nam-ma]·-·u-ú ·á EDIN
e 10-11 UR.MAø AM.ME∞ a-a-lim [ ] / bu-ul nam-ma·-e EDIN
2 D i 2 ◊ar-pi· i-bak-ki-ma i-rap-pu-ud EDIN
5 D i 5 mu-ta ap-là¿-ma a-rap-pu-ud EDIN
24 K1 i 24 [E]DIN
b i 6' [ in]a EDIN
52 [u pa-an lab-bi la ·ak-na-ku-ma la a-rap-pu-ud EDIN]
53 (K ii 1) [ib-ri ku-da-nu flar-du ak-kan-nu ·á KUR nim-ru ·á EDIN]
86 J1 ii 29' [ ME]∞ um-ma-a-ni ka-li-·ú-nu ú-·e-li
T1 ii 19 [ ] «ú»-·e-li
W1 ii 23 bu-ul EDI[N] «ú»-ma-am EDIN «DUMU.ME∞ um»-ma-nu «ka-li-·u»-
150 G1 vi 6–7 ·á ·á-lam-ta-·ú ina ED[IN] na-d[a-at] / ta-mur a-ta-ma[r]
N vi 7 ·á ·á-lam-ta-·ú ina EDIN na-da-a[t
Special Note: The above transliterations are from tablets found in the Assyrian King Asshurbanipal's library at Nineveh which was destroyed by the Medes and Babylonians in 612 B.C. Other tablets exist from other locations of the Neo-Babylonian Era, circa 640-539 B.C. All of these Epic of Gilgamesh tablets reveal Sumerian logograms being used at times _in lieu of_ Akkadian (Babylonian) words. That is to say, at any point in time from 1600 B.C. to 539 B.C. an Israelite or Jew could have been aware of the story of a naked man who was "undone" by a naked woman in eden/edin and recast this as Adam being "undone" by Eve in Eden. The Bible tells us Israel (the Jews) intermarried with the Jebusites at Jerusalem and they possessed literate men who could write in Sumerian and Akkadian as witnessed by their cuneiform letters on clay tablets sent to Pharaoh Akhenaton (1350-1334 B.C.) advising him the Habiru are waging war in Canaan and only Jersualem has not yet fallen to them. Perhaps Israel's (Judah's) Jebusite ancestors (cf. Judges 3:5 for Jews marrying Jebusites) told their "Israelite" grandchildren and greatgrandchildren tales of a naked man who roamed eden/edin with wild animals who was undone by a naked woman and learned from her it was "wrong to be naked in eden/edin" and they recast this as Adam and Eve coming to realize"it is wrong to be naked in Eden"?
At the ripe old-age of 65 (born 1943) I at last realize that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are _all_ TERRORIST RELIGIONS. Their source of power and growth IS TERRORISM. All preach love and compassion, but in the end it is their employment of TERRORISM that makes them "great."
The God they all worship is himself A TERRORIST-GOD. This vindictive God allegedly destroyed the world in a flood, AN ACT OF TERROR. He allegedly "gave" Israel Canaan via ACTS OF TERROR (telling Israel to slaughter the Canaanites, man, woman and suckling child).
Christianity became the religion of the Roman Empire via ACTS OF TERROR sanctioned by the Christian Roman Emperors. Pagans outside the empire were forcibly converted via TERRORISM. Any nation that "aspires to greatness and power in the world" does so THROUGH TERRORISM.
This is "Nature's Way," the dominant in any species maintains their dominance via TERROR, be it insect, fish, fowl, animal or man (or nations). FEAR guarantees DOMINANCE and POWER; FEAR arises from acts of TERRORISM.
The Mesopotamians portrayed their gods as TERRORISTS, the god who was not feared was portrayed as being held in contempt and despised by mankind, cf. below my article on "Wrathful Gods and the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 13:9-16)," a Day when the Lord revels in the slaughter of the righteous and innocent as well as the evil, because he feels that mankind does not fear him but instead despises him. He will get fear (and "respect") by TERRORIZING his creation..
Jesus' last act when he returns to the earth as a TERRORIST-GOD is to destroy those who refuse to bow-down and acknowledge him as "Lord" in the Battle at Armageddon (Revelation 16:16).
Some moderns are surprised and disconcerted with the Hebrew Bible's (The Old Testament's) presentation of God. The image of a God persecuting his enemies and his own people seems to clash with the modern stress on God as a God of "Love, Mercy and Forgiveness."
"Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that any belief must carry the stamp of the age which fashioned or received it..."
(p. 242. "Religious Life." Georges Contenau. Everyday Life in Babylon and Assyria. New York. Saint Martins Press. 1954)
Contenau's above adage, that a work reflects the age in which it was composed, is borne out by investigations into the religious concepts of the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods (the 9th-6th centuries B.C.) which reveal that their conceptualizations of their gods mirrors to a degree that presented in the Hebrew Bible.
The Hebrews did not develop their religious beliefs in isolation. They drew from and were influenced by the beliefs of their contemporaries. This article explores the concept of God being a "Wrathful God" and the motif of the "Day of the Lord," a day when his wrath falls upon his enemies, including his own people, noting parallels in the literature of the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods.
The Assyrians and Babylonians had the understanding that war was occasioned by a god's will and purpose. The god is often portrayed as being angry with his people and to punish them, he brings a foreign army against the land. Interestingly, the god is sometimes portrayed as declaring that the source of his anger has to do with his worshippers NOT FEARING HIM, but instead, DESPISING HIM! He is portrayed as concluding that only wrathful warrior-gods get respect and thus he dons war-regalia and, with other warrior gods accompanying him, he proceeds to get respect, fear and honor by ravaging his own people, the righteous and unrighteous falling to his wrath. He always providentially leaves a remnant to honor him, in fear and trembling, who will sing praises of his valour, and inspire future generations to hold him in awe, fear and respect. All this archaic imagery mirrors the Hebrew conceptualizton of Yahweh-Elohim in the Hebrew Bible.
I am using Dalley's version of a text titled "Erra and Ishum," which has been dated by its colophon to the reign of the Assyrian king Asshurbanipal, 668-627 B.C. and found in his library at Nineveh, but Dalley suggests that it may date as early as the 8th century B.C. (cf. p.282. Stephanie Dalley. Myths From Mesopotamia, Creation, The Flood, Gilgamesh, And Others. Oxford & New York. Oxford University Press. 1989, 1991). Dalley understands Erra to be Nergal, a god of plague and lord of the underworld.. He was originally an astral diety who descended into the underworld, becoming its lord. Langdon understood Nergal to be an aspect of the sun, other texts suggest an association with the planet Mars (cf. pp. 127-8, "Nergal," Gwendolyn Leick. A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology. London & New York. Routledge. 1991)
The Hebrew Bible stresses that God is angry with his people, Israel, because they have turned from him and worshipped other gods and have ignored his commandments given them at Mount Sinai. The claim is made that Israel "DESPISES" its God. This motif of a God being despised by his own worshippers and in anger turning on them and persecuting them is encountered in the literature (Hymns) of the Assyrians and Babylonians.
"...they will turn to other gods and serve them, and DESPISE ME and break by covenant." (De 31:20 RSV)
"And the Lord said to Moses, "How long will this people DESPISE ME?" (Nu 14:11)
"...none of those who DESPISED ME shall see it." (Nu 14:23)
"Because he has DESPISED the word of the Lord..."(NU 15:31)
"They DESPISED his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers..." (2 Ki 17:15)
"Ah, sinful nation...they have DESPISED the Holy One of Israel..." (Isa 1:4)
"And if I am a master, WHERE IS MY FEAR? says the Lord of hosts to you O priests, who DESPISE MY NAME." (Mal 1:6)
"I will give them one heart and one way, that they may FEAR ME for ever...I will put the FEAR OF ME in their hearts, that they may not turn from me." (Jeremiah 32:37-41)
"Know and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the Lord your God; THE FEAR OF ME IS NOT IN YOU, say the Lord God of hosts." (Jeremiah 2:19)
"Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us? You shall say to them, "As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, so you will serve strangers in a land that is not yours." (Jeremiah 5:19)
"DO YOU NOT FEAR ME?" Says the Lord; "DO YOU NOT TREMBLE BEFORE ME?" (Jeremiah 5:22)
"THEY DO NOT SAY IN THEIR HEARTS, "Let us FEAR THE LORD our God..." (Jer 5:24)
"Says the Lord, and shall I not AVENGE MYSELF on a nation such as this?" (Jer 5:29)
"Erra made his voice heard and spoke...ALL THE OTHER GODS ARE AFRAID OF BATTLE, so that the black-headed people DESPISE THEM. But I, because THEY NO LONGER FEAR MY NAME...I shall OVERWHELM his people." (p. 290. Dalley)
"The Igigi revere you, the Anunnaki FEAR YOU, Ellil agrees with you. Does conflict happen without you? or warfare take place in your absence? The armory of war belongs to you, and yet you say to yourself, THEY DESPISE ME!" (p. 302. Dalley)
"Erra made his voice heard and spoke...When I am enraged, I devastate people!" (p. 309. Dalley)
"Your men shall fall by THE SWORD and your mighty men in battle. And her gates shall lament and mourn; ravaged, she shall sit upon the ground..." (Isaiah 3:16; 25-26; 4:2-3)
"You have feared the sword; and it is a sword I shall bring upon, says the Lord God. And I will bring you forth out of the midst of it, and give you into the hands of foreigners and execute judgements upon you. You shall fall BY THE SWORD; I WILL JUDGE YOU at the border of Israel; and you shall know that I am the Lord." (Ezekiel 11:8-10 RSV)
"And they shall know that I am the Lord when I execute judgements in her and manifest my holiness in her; for I will send pestilence into her, and blood into her streets; and the slain shall fall in the midst of her, by THE SWORD that is against her on every side." (Ezekiel 28:22-23)
"THE SWORD OF JUDGEMENT shall not come near him but peace is ordained for him." (p. 312. Dalley)
The "Day of the Lord," a day when God devastates his enemies, including his own people, some of whom who are righteous, is mirrored in the Erra hymn as the "DAY OF ERRA'S WRATH." Like Yahweh-Elohim, Erra, a great warrior-god and leader of a heavenly host (the Sebitti gods and Ishum), possesses the power to darken the sun, moon, and the stars and destroy his own people, including the just (Ez 21:3), in order to get for himself, fear, awe and respect! Jerusalem is to lay waste for a period of seventy years because of God's fierce anger. Interestingly, Marduk, the supreme god Of Babylon, in anger with his own people, decrees his city's destruction at the hands of the Assyrians and that his temple too, is to lie desolate for seventy years.
The Assyrian king, Sennacherib destroyed the city of Babylon ca. 689 B.C. His son Esarhaddon restored the city. Being pious, Esarhaddon consulted with Babylonian priests about Marduk's will in restoring his temple, called the Esagila. The priests said that Marduk, in anger against his own people, had used Sennacherib to punish his people for their sins against him and that the temple was to lie desolate for 70 years. They then reinterpreted the god's statement to a smaller number of years, permitting an anxious Esarhaddon to begin the reconstruction.
"According to the curious story about Esarhaddon's efforts at restoration, Marduk, in anger against the city, had dictated (sic!) to the priests the text of a tablet which forbade any restoration of the temple until after an interval of seventy years."
(p. 274. "Religious Life." Georges Contenau. Everyday Life in Babylon and Assyria. New York. Saint Martin's Press. 1954)
"This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation..." (Jer 25:11-12)
"Thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfil to you my promise and bring you back to this place." (Jeremiah 29:10)
"Behold THE DAY OF THE LORD comes, cruel, WITH WRATH and fierce anger to make the earth a desolation and to destroy sinners from it. For THE STARS OF THE HEAVENS AND THEIR CONSTELLATIONS WILL NOT GIVE THEIR LIGHT; THE SUN WILL BE DARK AT ITS RISING AND THE MOON WILL NOT SHED ITS LIGHT...Behold, I am stirring up the Medes against them...And Babylon, the glory of the kingdoms...will be like Sodom and Gomorah...It will never be inhabited or dwelt in for all generations..." (Isaiah 13:9-10, 17, 19, 20)
"The SUN shall be turned to DARKNESS, and the MOON to BLOOD, before the great and terrible DAY of the LORD comes." (Joel 2:31)
"Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The SUN and the MOON are DARKENED and the STARS WITHDRAW THEIR SHINING." (Joel 3:14-15)
"...the DAY of the LORD is coming, it is near...LIKE BLACKNESS there is spread upon the mountains A GREAT AND POWERFUL PEOPLE; their like has never been from of old...fire devours before them, but after them a desolate wilderness, and nothing escapes them." (Joel 2:1-3)
"How could you plot evil for gods and men? Even though you have plotted evil against the black-headed people, will you not turn back?" (p. 301. Dalley)
"...the mountains shake, the seas surge at the flashing of YOUR SWORD..." (p. 302. Dalley)
"Woe to Babylon which I planted like a luxuriant orchard, but never tasted its fruit." (p. 304. Dalley)
"The city governor will say thus to his mother. "Would that I had been obstructed in your womb on the day you bore me, would that my life had ended and that we had died together, because you delivered me to a city whose walls were to be demolished, its people treated like cattle, THEIR GOD TURNED SMITER." (p. 307. Dalley)
"I shall make Erkalla quake, so that the skies billow, I shall fell the rays of Shulpae and throw away the stars of heaven..." (p. 308. Dalley [Erkalla is the great city of the Underworld; Shulpae is the planet Jupiter])
"Ishum made his voice heard and spoke, addressed his words to warrior Erra, 'Warrior, be still and listen to my words ! What is you were to rest now, and we would serve you? We all know that NOBODY CAN STAND UP TO YOU IN YOUR DAY OF WRATH! Erra heard him and his face brightened...Ishum...began to confirm the decision concerning the scattered people of Akkad. May the reduced people of the land become numerous again...you shall put the country's gods who were angry safely back in their dwellings." (p. 310. Dalley)
"For countless years shall the praises of the great lord Nergal and warrior Ishum (be sung): HOW ERRA BECAME ANGRY and set his face towards OVERWHELMING COUNTRIES and DESTROYING THEIR PEOPLE, but Ishum his counsellor placated him so that HE LEFT A REMNANT." (p. 311. Dalley)
"The king who magnifies my name shall rule the world, the prince WHO RECITES MY PRAISE of MY VALIANT DEEDS shall have no rival...In the house where this tablet is placed, even if Erra becomes angry and the Sebitti storm, THE SWORD OF JUDGEMENT shall not come near him, but peace is ordained for him. Let this song endure forever, let it last for eternity ! Let all countries listen to it and PRAISE MY VALOR ! Let settled people see and MAGNIFY MY NAME! Colophon: Copied by Asshurbanipal, Son of Esarhaddon." (p. 312. Dalley)
The above archaic notion suggests that in offering praises to one's god, such _flattery_ insures that thisdeity will thereby give his favor and blessing to the praiser. The way to human success is to curry favor via praises and flattery of those in power over you. Such an observation is transferred from a human sphere of activity to a divine sphere: flattering one's god is beneficial, criticism of one's god will only lead to retribution. Isaiah has God saying that he formed his people Israel to declare his praise:
Isaiah 43:20-21 RSV
"The wild beasts will honor me...for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people whom I have formed for myself that they might declare MY PRAISES."
"Ah, SWORD of the Lord! How long till you are quiet? Put yourself into your SCABBARD, rest and be still!" (Jer 47:6)
"...mountains melted before the Lord...(Judges 5:5)
"...mountains shake with the swelling thereof." (Psalm 46:3)
"..the mountains quake at him..." (Na 1:5)
"...ye mountains of Israel, hear the word..." (Ezekiel 36:1,4)
"So that the mountain peaks hear and bow their heads in terror..." (p. 288. Dalley)
"...the mountains shake, the seas surge at the flashing of your sword..." (p. 302. Dalley)
"The time has elapsed, the hour passed. I promise I SHALL DESTROY THE RAYS OF THE SUN; I SHALL COVER THE FACE OF THE MOON IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT...He who grows up in times of plenty shall be buried in times of deprivation...The black-headed people will revile you, and you will not accept their prayers. I shall finish off the land and count it as a ruin. I shall devastate cities and make them a wilderness...I shall burn like Gerra..." (p. 297. Dalley [Gerra is the god of fire])
"And on that day, says the Lord God, I will make the sun go down at noon, and DARKEN THE EARTH IN BROAD DAYLIGHT." (Amos 8:9)
"Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you have the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light..." (Amos 5:18)
"The SUN AND the MOON ARE DARKENED, and THE STARS WITHDRAW THEIR SHINING." (Joel 3:15)
"BRIGHT DAY WILL TURN TO DARKNESS. A storm will rise up and COVER THE STARS OF HEAVEN." (p. 292. Dalley)
Inanna, "The Queen of Heaven," in a Sumerian hymn, is portrayed as possessing the ability to turn bright day into darkness, just like Yahweh. The darkening of the day is associated with a day of carnage and slaughter, as she, like Yahewh, pours forth her wrath upon all the earth-
"On the wide and silent plain, darkening the bright daylight, she turns midday into darkness. People look upon each other in anger, they look for combat...Her howling...makes the flesh of all the lands tremble. No one can oppose her murderous battle---Who rivals her ? No one can look at her fierce fighting...the carnage...sweeping over the earth, she leaves nothing behind...She brings about the destruction of the mountain lands from east to west...she obtains victory."
(ETCSL "A Hymn to Inana [Inana C] http://www-etcsl.orient.ox.ac.uk/section4/tr4073.htm)
Marduk to Erra:
"The very heavens I made to tremble, the positions of the stars of heaven changed, and I did not return them to their places. Even Erkalla quaked..." (p. 290. Dalley. Erkalla, the great city of the underworld)
Sennacherib (704-680 B.C.) is portrayed adoring his gods, all the male gods carrying SHEATHED SWORDS at their sides (p.256, Contenau), I note Yahweh is portrayed as possessing a sheathed sword as well.
"The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem and preach against the sanctuaries; prophesy against the land of Israel and say to the land of Israel, Thus says the Lord: Behold I am against you, and will draw forth my sword out of its sheath, and I WILL CUT OFF FROM YOU BOTH RIGHTEOUS AND WICKED. Because I will cut off from you both righteous and wicked, therefore my sword shall go out of its sheath against all flesh from south to north; and all flesh shall know that I the Lord have drawn my sword out of its sheath; it shall not be sheathed again...A sword is sharpened and also polished, sharpened for slaughter...You have DESPISED the rod, my son, with everything of wood. So the sword is given...it is against my people...you DESPISE the rod...I WILL SATISFY MY FURY; I the Lord have spoken." (Ezekiel 21: 1-17)
"I SHALL SEVER THE LIFE OF THE JUST MAN who takes on paternal responsibility, I shall set up [at the head [(?)] the wicked man who cuts off life." (p. 298. Dalley)
"I will shake heaven...at the fury of the Lord of hosts on THE DAY OF HIS BURNING WRATH." (Isaiah 13:13)
Erra describes himself as like Gerra (the fire god):
"Erra made his voice heard and spoke...In heaven I am a wild bull, on earth a lion...I am the smiter...in the reed thicket I am Gerra...I go out on to the battlefield..." (p. 289. Dalley)
"Erra, warrior of the gods...his heart urged him to make war...YOU ARE THE SWORD THAT SLAUGHTERS, O Erra, rise up, and in overwhelming the land...how joyous your heart!" (p. 285. Dalley)
"When Anu had decreed the destinies of all the Sebitti, he gave them to Erra, warrior of the gods, "Let them march at your
side!" (p. 286. Dalley)
"The star of Erra is twinkling and carries rays...His mantle of radiance will be activated(?) and all people will perish. As for (?) the dazzling stars of heaven that carry a sword (?)..." (pp. 295-296. Dalley)
Nahum's portrayal of God is intended to strike terror and fear into the hearts of sinners by portraying God's jealousy and wrath:
Nahum 1:2-8 RSV
"The Lord is a jealous God and avenging, the Lord is avenging and wrathful; the Lord takes vengenance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies...the earth is laid waste before him, the world and all that dwell therein...Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire...he will make a full end of his adversaries..."
We have seen that the Hebrew Bible's presentation of God as wrathful, capable of destroying righteous men as well as sinners, able to darken sun, moon, and the stars, is mirrored in the Erra hymn from the 8th/7th century B.C. The notion of seventy years of desolation for land and temple is also reflected in the Neo-Babylonian priests' answer to Esarhaddon, that this is their god's will, who is still angry with them. We have also seen that both the Hebrews and their contemporaries, the Assyrians and Babylonians understood that a god becomes "smiter of his own people" when he feels they despise and do not fear him. Both Yahweh and Erra (and Marduk) resort to destroying the land and its cities and sanctuaries, being ever mindful to leave a remnant to tremble and cower in fear of their wrath and might, and to sing praises to their valour, magnifying their holy name for generations yet to come.
I understand that Yahweh is portrayed as a "wrathful" God because this was the commonly perceived understanding of the Mesopotamian world of the 4th through 1st millenniums B.C., my investigations into the "pre-biblical" origins of the Bible suggest that Mesopotamian concepts underlie much of its notions. Ancient man was no fool, and quite early on came to realize that _ONLY FEAR_ commanded respect and obedience (something the late Saddam Hussein of Iraq understood quite well and employed)! Gods who did not exhibit "wrathful" personalities did NOT get respect or obedience from their peoples:
"Erra made his voice heard and spoke...ALL THE OTHER GODS ARE AFRAID OF BATTLE, so that the black-headed people DESPISE THEM. But I, because THEY NO LONGER FEAR MY NAME...I shall OVERWHELM this people." (p. 290, Dalley)
"The Igigi revere you, the Anunnaki FEAR YOU, Ellil agrees with you. Does conflict happen without you? or warfare take place in your absence? The armory of war belongs to you, and yet you say to yourself, THEY DESPISE ME!" (p. 302. Dalley)
"Erra made his voice heard and spoke...When I am enraged, I devastate people!" (p. 309. Dalley)
Surprisingly, some Christians are not aware that the "wrathful God of the Old Testament" was none-other than Jesus himself in his role as The Logos or "The Word" (cf. John 1:1-5, 14, 18). It was Jesus who made Adam and Eve, and spoke to Moses. It was Jesus who via Moses and Eleazar the priest, ordered the slaughter of the Midianites telling Israel that after killing all the men it was okay to rape the Midianite women who were still virgins, but to kill the non-virgin women and their babies or "little ones" (Nu 31:15-18).
John 1:1-5, 14,18 RSV
"In the beginning was the WORD, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only son from the Father...No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known."
Jesus' last act when he returns to the earth as a TERRORIST-GOD is to destroy those who refuse to bow-down and acknowledge him as "Lord" in the Battle at Armageddon (Revelation 16:16).
"...hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand before it?"
"The nations raged, but thy wrath came...destroying the destroyers of the earth."
"...he also shall drink the wine of God's wrath..."
"...seven angels with seven plagues...the wrath of God..."
"...pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God."
"Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war...He is clad in a robe dipped in blood...From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords."
As a Secular Humanist I understand there are no gods, they have been made in man's image. Man's loves, hates, lusts and fears have been projected onto imaginary deities. THE GODS OR GOD MUST BE PORTRAYED AS SOME ONE TO BE FEARED, NO FEAR, NO RESPECT. TERROR BRINGS FEAR AND RESPECT IN ITS TRAIN. The purpose of religion, especially Judaism, Christianity and Islam is to control human behavior via TERROR AND FEAR. God will destroy those who do not obey him. He will accomplish this via Nature (storms, droughts, disease) or via War and other acts of terror, bringing the enemy to pitilessly devastate all, righteous and unrighteous.
Religion based on only love cannot succeed. The BEASTS have their "pecking orders" dominance is achieved via terror and fear over their kind; MAN-THE-BEAST is no different, his God is modeled after Nature's rules for achieving dominance and compliance via fear, Darwin's "Struggle of the Species."
So, then, its time to answer "Life's great mysteries." Why was man created? What is his purpose in life? What will happen to him after death?
The Mesopotamian gods did not create man to work forevermore in their city-gardens of edin/eden. Man's purpose in life is not to plant, grow, harvest and prepare food for the gods from their city-gardens in edin/eden so the gods may be at ease.
No God created Adam and placed him in his Garden in Eden to care and tend for its plants. God did _NOT_ tell Israel to build him a temple and feed him twice a day a like a Mesopotamian god.
I understand Darwin is right, man is a beast. Man's negative anti-social behaviors and 'rebellious self-will' is identical to that of the beasts _its probably in the DNA of all creatures_ beasts establish their "pecking order" or dominance and compliance via terror and fear of one's fellow species.
Like a beast man has "no future" after death. The matter making up his body will be recycled by Nature into other forms of matter via his decaying body and consumed by worms and other bacterial micro-organisms. The good news? There is no "Lake of Fire" that man will be tortured in for all eternity by a "loving God" and an imaginary Devil and his Demons. What constitutes "good and evil" is decided by each society (not a god/gods), and these societies do _not_ have to agree to one standard of conduct, nor does any one society have the right to force other societies to adopt its rules of conduct and beliefs.
There is NO CONCEPT among the beasts of "good and evil", they do what they "will to do" for better or worse; man is the same except that he has "invented" a concept of "good and evil" (claiming a god "revealed" all this) to manage man-the-beast's anti-social behaviors for the good of society.
The "great mystery of life" which man has wrestled with down through the ages has been "WHENCE EVIL?" or "WHY EVIL?" There is NO Evil among beasts or a concept of "right and wrong." Evil is an "invention" of man to control his fellow man by. The beasts do experience anti-social behavior among their kind, they either fight back (assert their wills) or accept this behavior (submit their will to the dominant beast's will that they fear), they obviously do not welcome this behavior, but mankind does not call this behavior among beasts "EVIL" or "WRONG."
Life is about the "struggle of the wills," among beasts and mankind. Evil AS A CONCEPT then, is an "invention" of mankind, neccessary for society's self-preservation to protect the weak from the strong.
Amazingly, the archaic 4th-3rd millenniums B.C. Mesopotamian notions about man in the beginning being a beast, having _no knowledge of good and evil_ (not knowing it is wrong to be naked) align quite remarkably with modern 21st century evolutionary biology's understanding of man beginning life as a beast 100,000 years ago, who would, over thousands of years, 'evolve' into civilized man wearing clothing, creating cities, art, literature and laws to regulate society. Man would also come to create imaginary gods and godesses in his own image, projecting on to them his fears, hatreds, lusts and longings, and invoke them as the source of what constitutes 'right' and 'wrong' or "good and evil," to control man's behavior.
Although Nature reveals a "struggle of the fittest to survive," it also reveals among some beasts nurturing, tenderness, caring, compassion, and thoughtfulness. Many adult animals usually care for their young, providing sustenance and protection from predators. Mankind exhibits similar behaviors, he too nutures his young, provides for them, protects them, acts in unison with his own kind for protection against enemies just like the beasts. So Nature reveals a world not only of ruthless brutality and the shedding of much blood by predators (man and beast), but also paradoxically, a world filled with _love, tenderness and caring_ by these same predators (man and beast).
Inerrancy Claims for the Bible ("Whistling in the Dark")
Those who believe the Bible is the word of God make the claim it is consequently _inerrant_ and posseses no error. Any finding of Science, Archaeology, Anthropology, or Geologogy which "contradicts" Holy Writ is automatically wrong. Please click here for another scholar's presentation on the Bible's inerrancy and infallibility.
Is the Bible really "inerrant"? It exists in several recensions in today's world. Today's Jews tend to use the Massoretic Text; the Samaritans have their own text which consists only of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible); the Greek Orthodox Christians use a Greek Septuaginta translation made in the 3rd century B.C. by Jews for Jews at Alexandria, Egypt; Syrian Christians use an "Aramaic" text called the "Peshitta"; Catholics use a text which is a mix of the Massoretic and Septuaginta, derived from a Latin Vulgate composed by Jerome; Some Protestant groups rely on the King James Version of 1611, while others opt for a Revised Standard Version.
What is readily apparent in _all_ these recensions is that they DISAGREE amongst themselves and CONTRADICT each other in "the fine details." Please click here for the PROBLEM of contradicting recensions of the New Testament noted by scholars and scroll down to section 7 on the "un-uniformity" of the NT Texts (presented most interestingly by a Moslem scholar refuting Christianity via the research of a number of Christian scholars).
Some Conservative scholars, faced with these _undeniable_ "contradictions and errors" among _all_ the above recensions have been forced to admit _they do NOT know_ which text or recension is the "inerrant" text, free of any and all errors!
Some scholars have opted for a "rationalization/speculation" which argues that the original text "_must have been_" error-free" or "inerrant" but that consequent transmissions or recopyings of the text through the millennia introduced copyiest errors. The problem? This rationale implies _God is impotent and unable_ to protect his holy word from corruption and error. It also implies that todays various faiths and their doctrines are built upon _errant_ texts.
Yet these "defenders of the faith," acknowledging they possess "errant texts" which contradict and disagree with each other, argue that these "errant texts" should be regarded as the "true and inerrant" word of God, and Science which dares to contradict God's "inerrant word" is wrong.
The reality, dear reader, is that the Hebrew Bible and particularly the book of Genesis, is a later Hebrew re-working (circa 560 B.C.) and transformation of SPECULATIONS made by Sumerians in the 3rd millennium B.C. regarding the origins of the world and man's creation.
The claim that Genesis "is true" is really based on SPECULATION, not proof. No one knows if God revealed the origins of the world to Moses or not. How do we know that Moses did not "dream-up" the origins of the world and falsely claim it came from God? How do we know Moses wrote the Genesis account and not someonelse in another age? How do we know a serpent really convinced Eve to err? How do we know Adam and Eve were expelled from Paradise? No _proof_ exists for any of these "assertions." All we have are the SPECULATIONS of the ancient Hebrews set down in the Bible and the _unsubstantiated_ claim that all this was "revealed" to Moses.
I have already pointed out the problem in regards to claims of a "revelation" from a God -they are unverifiable. The ONLY revelations which are "subject to some form of verification" are specific claims to prophecies being fulfilled. I have already pointed out that my investigations revealed the prophets erred and their prophecies were NOT fulfilled.
In the end, one is left with choosing which groups' SPECULATIONS are believable: The _speculations_ of the ancient Hebrews preserved in Genesis, or the _speculations_ of modern Science, Anthropology, Archaeology and Geology?
Both groups claim they have the "correct" understanding of the origins of the world and of man.
The bible-believers DO NOT POSSESS AN INERRANT ERROR-FREE HOLY TEXT in its place they offer their SPECULATIONS about a _supposedly_ now "non-existent" INERRANT TEXT, which the Hebrew God, for unknown reasons, _allowed to be miscopied_ over several millennia and evolve into the present day plethora of CONTRADICTING recensions.
Professor Steibing on three different and _CONTRADICTING_ dates for God's creation of the world calculated by Jewish, Catholic and Protestant scholars (brackets [ ] are mine):
"Most scholars [prior to the 19th century A.D.] agreed that the world was only about six thousand years old, though there was considerable disagreement over the exact date of the creation. Jewish rabbinical calculations from the Hebrew Massoretic Text showed that the world began 3,740 years before the Christian Era. Roman Catholic tradition, based on the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible, placed the creation in 5199 B.C. And most English-speaking Protestants accepted the seventeenth-century Archbishop James Ussher's calculation of the time of creation, 4004 B.C. Ussher's dates were placed in the margins of early eighteenth-century editions of the King James version of the Bible, making them seem even more authoritive." (p. 32. "The Discovery of Prehistory." William H. Steibing Jr. Uncovering the Past. New York & Oxford. Oxford University Press. 1994 [1993 Prometheus Books])
There is yet "another problem" in regards to inerrancy claims, and that has to do with the Holy Spirit. We are informed that this Spirit is alive and well today and that all of Holy Writ is God-inspired. The Holy Spirit also guides the pious against "error" in doctrine and belief, against the wiles of Satan, the "father of error."
Several centuries ago Christendom raged with wars between various Christian sects and denominations each claiming the other was not led by the Holy Spirit but were "in error" and under Satan's influence, teaching the false doctrines of men for God's word. The Catholics eventually "excommunicated" the Greek Orthodox over doctrinal disputes and the Orthodox "returned the favor." Then arose Luther and Protestantism, a movement claiming Catholicism had "erred" and strayed from correct doctrines, when reforms were rebuffed by the Papacy the Protestants created their own churches and were excommunicated. Each group, claimed they possessed the correct doctrines" and were being led by the Holy Spirit and each claimed the others were in "error" and being duped by Satanic forces.
How can the Holy Spirit "be real" if _it could not prevent errors_ from creeping into the various recensions, and how can _all_ the various congregations, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Samaritan, Jewish, Aramaic Syrian, and Protestant all be led by it? They all can't be right, and no one knows who is right. It would appear that "the imaginary Satan" has triumphed. He has succeeded in corrupting the Holy Text with contradictions, such that no-one knows which is the correct inerrant text, and no-one knows which system of belief has the one true doctrine. Yet out of this mess of confusing and contradicting doctrines, comes a claim for the "inerrancy" of the Holy Text!
In a Court of Law the witness who CONTRADICTS HIMSELF is regarded with suspicion and distrust. If errors are discovered in his testimony, one learns "to question" all the witness' assertions. The various biblical recensions, all claiming to be God's witness, CONTRADICT themselves in various details (Please click here for contradictions in the ages of the pre-flood patriachs in Genesis in the Hebrew Massoretic Text and the Greek Septuaginta which was the "original" Bible of Christendom). As "witnesses" they must be treated with suspicion and only those claims which can be proved by examination of the evidence can be allowed. The disciplines of Archaeology, Geology and Anthropology have cross-examined "the witness," the alleged Holy Spirit, and the texts it supposedly generated by the hands of pious men and have found it "wanting". Science does _not_ support the biblical presentation of the origins of the world or of man as presented in Genesis.
The faithfuls' response is that Satan has "duped" the Scientists (Geologists, Archaeologists and Anthropologists), and that the Bible is God's trustworthy inerrant word.
There is yet one more problem regarding claims for the Holy Spirit and that is its alleged role in prophecy, especially from a Christian point of view. We are told it was the Holy Spirit that spoke to the Prophets, causing them to utter their prophecies. As I have already noted, my investigations into the Bible's prophecies revealed most if not all were unfulfilled in the lifetimes of the audiences they were intended for and unfulfilled to this present day. So this "fact" speaks volumes against the notion that the Holy Spirit is "real." Had it been "real" the prophecies would have been fulfilled in the lifetimes of the audiences hearing the prophet's words and the "manner" in which the events were to unfold would be without error.
2 Peter 1:20-21 RSV
"First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but by men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."
For me, the "proof" that the Bible is God-inspired (of the Holy Spirit) and inerrant would be that no error would exist within its pages or in its various recensions (God is NOT impotent and unable to preserve his holy word) and _all_ the prophecies were fulfilled down to the smallest details _exactly in the manner predicted_ in the lifetimes of the audiences hearing them so that these audiences would know if a false prophet was speaking or not (God does not make mistakes). The fact that the various recensions do have errors and contradict each other in various details is "proof" for me this is not an "inerrant" text, its a creation of fallible men who do make mistakes and who do err, and the claims to the existence of a Holy Spirit, a God, a Satan and Demons are all bogus unsubstantiated "speculation."
That is to say, the "imaginary" Satan is understood by Christians to be "the father of error", it follows that _any_ composition created by Satan or written under Satanic influence, will, by necessity, be FULL OF ERRORS, as "Error is Satan's HALLMARK" in all that he does. It is then, quite "impossible" for Satan to create a composition and pass it off as God's handiwork, because Satan's works will ALWAYS POSSESS ERRORS. We should expect that God's written documents or compositions inspired by the Holy Spirit SHOULD BE DISTINGUISHABLE FROM SATAN'S by possessing NO ERRORS WHATSOEVER. The problem? _ALL_ Bible recensions POSSESS ERRORS, _ergo_ ALL BIBLES are SATANIC CREATIONS. If the Bible was _really_ God's or the Holy Spirit's creation it would be distinguishable from Satan's work by having NO ERRORS WHATSOEVER _FOR ALL OF ETERNITY_.
Christian Apologists of course are LOATHE "to impute error" to the Holy Spirit or God so they dismiss the errors found in all Bible recensions as man-made and of no big-deal, not compromising God's message. Error is blamed on human fallibility not the Holy Spirit. Only the original compositions, called "autographs," now univerally acknowledged to be lost, were INFALLIBLE and FREE OF ERROR. This of course is "_pure speculation_" on the Christian Apologists' part.
The Apologists think they are absolving God and and Holy Spirit of blame in claiming the errors in today's Bibles are man-made. The reality is that this Apologetic is a "slap-in-the-face" to God and his Holy Spirit, for it implies both were _impotent or didn't care_ and were UNABLE to preserve the holy word from Satan who led the scribes and translators down through the ages into making numerous textual errors, in defiance of the Holy Spirit.
So, in the final analysis, ALL BIBLE RECENSIONS ARE FULL OF ERRORS, revealing they are Satan's handiwork, and the Bible is not the handiwork of God or his Holy Spirit, for God's handiwork _ought to be_ distinguished from Satan's handiwork by an absence of ALL ERROR FOR ALL ETERNITY. Why? because Christian Apologists claim the Holy Spirit is _still alive today_ and guiding the scribes and translators of todays Bibles, and this Holy Spirit also guides the Church in correct doctrines from the Biblical texts. The errors in today's Bibles are proof the Holy Spirit does not exist and is bogus. The contradictory dogmas and beliefs embraced by hundreds of Christian denominations, each in the past accusing the others of being in error and led by Satan reveal Christianity's notion of a Holy Spirit's existence is false. For why would the Holy Spirit allow Christianity to fragment into so many contradicting denominations and give them Bibles full of man-made errors? In past ages Christians tortured fellow Christians into confessing heresy, then they burned the heretics alive at the stake in public pageants called Auto da Fe's (Roman Catholic). Protestants returned the favor (in England Catholics wre burned alive by Protestants). The wars of the Reformation of the 1500's and 1600's witnessed the savage butchery of Protestant against Catholic, each claiming the Holy Spirit led them into victory over each other, and that torture and burnings were with the Holy Spirit's blessings! What nonsense! The Holy Spirit told Christians to "turn the other cheek to their enemies and to pray for them", not torture, burn alive and kill fellow Christians! No, dear reader, there is NO Holy Spirit, NO God, NO error-free Bible. All of the foregoing Christian behaviors better fit the God of this earth, Satan.
Of course, I am being "tongue-in-cheek facetious" (playing the Devils' advocate) in the above discussion of the Bible being Satan's work, for I am a Secular Humanist who understands _all_ religions are bogus, they are the creations of men's imaginations, projecting man's loves, hates, fears and lusts onto imaginary gods.
I found Tarnas' work exploring the evolution of ideas leading to the modern Secular mindset (which I embrace) most interesting. Here are some reviews from the book's back cover (Richard Tarnas. The Passion of the Western Mind, Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our Modern World View. New York. Ballantine Books. 1991. Please click here to purchase this book):
"The best intellectual history of the West in one volume I have ever seen." Huston Smith.
"Here are the great minds of Western Civilization and their pivotal ideas, from Plato to Hegel, from Augustine to Nietzsche, from Copernicus to Freud..." (Publisher's Synopsis of the book?)
"The most thrilling narrative of the West's 3,000-year odyssey in pursuit of truth accessible to a broad public of which this reviewer is aware...A work of genius." Harrison Sheppard.
As a Secular Humanist I found most interesting the rise of Secularism, and fall of Faith. Following are various excerpts:
"The Christian injunction to love and serve all humanity and high valuation of the individual human soul now stood in sharp counterpoint to Christianty's long history of bigotry and violent intolerance -its forcible conversion of other peoples, it ruthless suppression of other cultural perspectives, its persecution of heretics, its crusades against Moslems, its oppression of Jews, its depreciation of women's spirituality and exclusion of women from positions of religious authority, its association with slavery and colonialist exploitation, it pervasive spirit of prejudice and religious arrogance maintained against all those outside the fold. Measured by its own standards, Christianity fell woefully short of ethical greatness, and many alternative systems, from ancient Stoicism to modern Liberalism and Socialism, seemed to provide equally inspiring programs for human activity without the baggage of implausible supernatural belief." (p. 318. Tarnas)
"Despite their high-minded doctrines, the organized churches seldom seemed to concern themselves with the plight of workers or the poor. This seeming contradiction, Marx held, was in fact essential to the churches' character, for the true role of religion was to keep the lower classes in order. A social opiate, religion, effectively served the interests of the ruling class against the masses by encouraging the latter to forego their responsibility for changing the present world of injustice and exploitation in exchange for the false security of divine providence and the false promise of immortal life. Organized religion formed an essential element in the bourgeoisie's control of society, for religious beliefs lulled the proletariat into self-defeating inaction. To speak of God and build one's life on such fantasies was to betray man. By contrast, a genuine philosophy of action must start with the living man and his tangible needs. To transform the world, to realize the ideals of human justice and community, man must rid himself of the religious delusion." (p. 314. Tarnas)
"The tenor of Christianity no longer suited the prevailing mood of man's self-sustained progress in and mastery of his world. Modern man's capacity to understand the natural order and to bend that order to his own benefit could not but diminish his former sense of contingency upon God. Using his own natural intelligence, and without the aid of Holy Scripture's divine revelation, man had penetrated nature's mysteries, transformed his universe, and immeasurably enhanced his existence. Combined with the seemingly non-Christian character of the scientifically revealed natural order, this new sense of human dignity and power inevitably moved man toward his secular self...Man was responsible for his own earthly destiny. His own wits and will could change his world. Science gave man a new faith -not only in scientific knowledge, but in himself." (p. 319. Tarnas)
"The West had "lost its faith" and found a new one, in science and in man..." (p. 320. Tarnas)
"But regardless of what attitude was maintained toward Christianity, the conviction that man was steadily and inevitably approaching entrance into a better world, that man himself was progressively improved and perfected through his own efforts, constituted one of the most characteristic, deep-seated, and consequential principles of the modern sensibility. Christianity no longer semed to be the driving force of the human enterprise. For the robust civilization of the West at the high noon of modernity, it was science and reason, not religion and belief, which propelled progress. Man's will, not God's, was the acknowledged source of the world's betterment and humanity's advancing liberation." (pp. 322-323. Tarnas)
"The premodern world had been permeated with spiritual, mythic, theistic, and other humanly meaningful categories, but all these were regarded by the modern perception as anthropomorphic projections...The scientific liberation from theological dogma and animistic superstitions was thus accompanied by a new sense of human alienation from a world that no longer responded to human values, nor offered a redeeming context within which could be understood the larger issues of human existence...Science may have revealed a cold, impersonal world, but it was the true one nonetheless...With Darwin, these consequences were further amplified...Man was a highly successful animal. He was not God's noble creation with a divine destiny, but nature's experiment with an uncertain destiny...All was in a flux. Man was not an absolute, and his cherished values had no foundation outside of himself. Man's character, his mind and will, came from below, not above. The structures not only of religion but society, of culture, of reason itself now seemed to be relatively arbitrary expressions of the struggle for biological success.
Thus too was Darwin liberating and diminishing. Man could now recognize that he rode forth at the crest of evolution's advance, nature's most complex and dazzling achievement; but he was also just an animal of no "higher" purpose. The universe provided no assurance of indefinite success for the species, and certain assurance of individual demise at physical death...The chief facts of human history until the present were fortuitously supportive biophysical circumstances and brute survival, with no apparent larger meaning or context, and with no cosmic security supplied by any providential design from above." (p. 327. Tarnas)
"The true wellspring of human emotions was a seething caldron of irrational, bestial impulses...Not just man's divinity but his humanity was coming into question. As the scientific mind emancipated modern man from his illusions, he seemed increasingly swallowed up by nature, deprived of his ancient dignities, unmasked as a creature of base instinct...Marx exposed the social conscious. The philosophical, religious, and moral values of each age could be plausibly comprehended as determined by economic and political variables, whereby control over the means of production was maintained by the most powerful class. The entire superstructure of human belief could be seen reflecting the more basic struggle for material power. The elite of Western civilization, for all its sense of cultural acievement, might recognize itself in Marx's dark portrait as a self-deceiving bourgeois imperialist oppressor. Class struggle, not civilized progress, was the program for the foreseeable future..." (p. 329. Tarnas)
Draper (1811-1882) a Professor of Chemistry in 1878 predicted the struggle which exists today, that of Religion versus Science as to what constitutes Truth:
"The antagonism we thus witness between Religion and Science is the continuation of a struggle that commenced when Christianity began to attain political power. A divine revelation must necessarily be intolerant of contradiction; it must repudiate all improvement in itself, and view with disdain that arising from the progressive intellectual development of man. But our opinions on every subject are continually liable to modification from the irresistible advance of human knowledge...The history of Science is not a mere record of isolated discoveries; it is a narrative of the conflict of two contending powers, the expansive force of the human intellect on one side and the compression arising from traditionary faith and human interests on the other.
No one has hitherto treated the subject from this point of view. Yet from this point it presents itself to us as a living issue -in fact, as the most important of all living issues.
A few years ago, it was the politic and therefore the proper course to abstain from all allusion to this controversy, and to keep it as far as possible in the background. The tranquility of society depends so much on the stability of its religious convictions, that no one can be justified in wantonly disturbing them. But faith is in its nature unchangeable, stationary; Science is in its nature progressive; and eventually a divergence between them impossible to conceal, must take place." (pp. 7- 8. "Preface." John William Draper. History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science. New York. 1878. Reprint 2006 by BiblioBazaar. South Carolina)
"...Christianity and Science are recognized by their respective adherents as being absolutely incompatible; they cannot exist together; one must yield to the other; mankind must make its choice -it cannot have both." (p. 290. Draper)
Draper understood that the Garden of Eden story was a fable and consequently there was no "fall of man" requiring Christ's intervention to "restore" man to God's good graces:
"The incidents contained in Genesis, from the first to the tenth chapters inclusive (chapters which, in their bearing upon science, are of more importance than other portions of the Pentateuch), have been obviously compiled from short, fragmentary legends of various authorship...From such Assyrian sources, the legends of the creation of the heaven and earth, the garden of Eden, the making of man from clay, and of woman from one of his ribs, the temptation by the serpent, the naming of animals, the cherubim and the flaming sword...Does not the admission that the narrative of the fall in Eden is legendary carry with it the surrender of that most solemn and sacred of Christian doctrines, the atonement?" (pp. 185-186. Draper. 1878)
"As to the issue of the coming conflict, can any one doubt? Whatever is resting on fiction and fraud will be overthrown. Institutions that organize impostures and spread delusion must show they have a right to exist. Faith must render an account of herself to Reason. Mysteries must give place to facts. Religion must relinquish that imperious, that domineering position which she has so long maintained against Science. There must be absolute freedom for thought." (pp. 292-293. Draper. 1878)
Professor Andrew Dickson White, a co-founder of Cornell University, composed a somewhat similar tome, A History of The Warfare of Science With Theology.
White (1832-1918) on the fact that some scholars had by 1896 (over 100 years ago) come to realize that Genesis was a later recast of Chaldean religious notions:
"What matters it then, that we have come to know that the accounts of Creation, the Fall, the Deluge, and much else in our sacred books, were rememberances of lore obtained from the Chaldeans?...What matters it that those who incorporated the Creation lore of Babylonia and other Oriental nations into the sacred books of the Hebrews, mixed it with their own conceptions and deductions?"...What matters it...that the anthropologists, by showing how man has arisen everywhere from low and brutal beginnings, have destroyed the whole theological theory of the "fall of man"?"
(p. 208. vol. 2. Andrew Dickson White. A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom. 2 vols. Macmillan & Co. 1896. 1960 reprint by Dover Publications, Inc. New York. 2 vols. paperback)
"This book is a complete and monumental history of the most important conflict man has known -the warfare of science with theology. The author, co-founder and first president of Cornell University, states in his introduction,"In all modern history, interference with science in the name of religion...has resulted in the direst evils..." The persecution of Galileo, the attacks on Darwin and his "Origin of the Species," the great plagues of history -all are shown to have their common origin in man's unwillingness to give up his mistaken theological beliefs. Mr. White's book has been acclaimed as the classic effort in America to do away with superstition and dogma.
The author shows how the literal acceptance of the book of Genesis led theologians to violent attacks on the Theory of Evolution; how the belief that the earth was the center of the universe led religious leaders to even more violent attacks on Galileo; how the belief that disease was caused by devils led to the great plagues of the Middle Ages; how the Scripture-supported idea that the earth was 4004 years old led certain churchmen to revile geologists who showed it was some billions of years older; how the belief that storms were caused by Satan led to withering attacks on Franklin and his experiments in electricity. In hundreds of similar conflicts, the gradual victory of science over ignorant and harmful beliefs is chronicled in full by Mr. White.
This is the most thorough account ever written of the great religious-scientific battles, and remains an eloquent testament to the scientific spirit. It is also, by the nature of its subject, a detailed collection of the important myths of Western culture. And finally, it becomes a history of the changes in religious dogma made necessary by advances in man's knowledge of his universe. Although scholarly in its preparation, it is written for the general reader in clear and readable prose."
If Darwin and the Evolutionists are right (and I believe they are) about life being nothing more than a "struggle of the fittest among the species" and our existence is the result of "blind chance" or mindless fortuitous mutations of DNA can man "survive" without religion?
Man still loves, cares, displays tenderness, seeks the welfare of others to some degree: wife, children, parents, community. Can man survive without "imaginary gods" who supposedly are _the source_ of "knowledge of good and evil" (right and wrong) via divine revelations to pious men and women? Only time will tell.
Must everything boil down to a dog-eat-dog existence, "might makes right, the ends justify the means," tolerance is foolishness, only ruthless intolerance prevails?
It would appear that tolerance is the sure way to destruction by the intolerant from my studies into the history of mankind.
A "tolerant" pagan Roman empire was in the end destroyed by an "intolerant" Christianity. Paganism was ruthlessly suppressed by "Christian" emperors over a span of some 300 years from Constantine the Great to Justinian the Great (the 4th through 6th centuries A.D.). Critics of Christianity were silenced via imperial decrees, threatening imprisonment, death or exile. The writings of Christianity's critics were gathered under imperial decree and burned. Laws were passed that all within the empire were to be baptized or face harrassment by the imperial government. Christianity did not triumph over paganism within the Roman Empire because of superior and convincing "reasoning" and intellectual debates winning the hearts and minds of everyone, it succeeded via the employment of terror fostered by the imperial government with the blessings of the Christian church. The imperial government refused to fund anymore pagan churches or priesthoods. The government ordered the closing of temples, forbade sacrifices, and turned a blind eye when Christian mobs desecrated pagan churches, seizing them, destroying the statues of the gods, making the temples into Christian churches. Via imperially sponsored fear, terror and intolerance Christianity prevailed over paganism in the Roman empire. The very terror-tactics employed by Christianity which overthrew European paganism are today being used by radical Islam to destroy the non-moslem world. Terror works, it worked for Christianity and it will work for Islam. Tolerance it would appear, from history's lessons, is foolishness, intolerance will always be the winner.
A Police Detective tries to establish a "motive" for the "crime scene." In this case the "crime scene" and its "motive" is WHY DID THE HEBREWS DO THIS? WHY DID THEY SEEK TO REFUTE, CHALLENGE AND DENY the Mesopotamian concepts about _naked_ primeval_man's_appearance_in_the_edin_ (Eden) and his relationship with his creators?
THE ANSWER: The city-dwellers of Lower Mesopotamia (Nippur, Uruk, Eridu and Ur in Sumer) had concocted these myths, they DESPISED and FEARED the nomads of edin, so the nomads of edin (Terah, Nahor and Abraham) took these myths and turned them upside down and on their ear via a series of _inversions_ or _reversals_ IN DEFENSE OF THEIR WAY OF LIFE. Tent-dwelling shepherds and nomads were not murderers and despised by God, the descendants of Cain the first muderer and founder of cities were! God did not build a city to dwell in and plant a city-garden for himself and put man in it, his garden was in the eden (edin) "uncultivated steppe." God was a God of the Wilderness (edin/eden). His 'first home" would not be a temple in a city, it would be a humble shepherd's tent, the Holy Tabernacle at Mount Horeb in the midst of the great and terrible wilderness of Sinai where he earlier had revealed himself to Moses while he herded Jethro's sheep!
I understand that Israel's "origins mythology" is that of NOMADIC HERDERS who have recast the "origins" myths of the city-dwellers of Sumer in order to glorify their way of life as shepherds of the edin. We are told that Israel's fathers were originally polytheists, but through a revelation to Abraham, formerly a resident of Ur of the Chaldees (originally a Sumerian city-state), a new concept emerged about God and his relationship with Man. It is my understanding that Terah, Nahor and Abraham while living in Ur, came to reject the Mesopotamian notions because these urbanites despised and mocked their nomadic herdsman way of life in the edin steppelands.
I understand that the Hebrews' ancestors as "shepherds and tent-dwellers of edin the steppe" (Abraham wanders edin the steppe with sheep, goats and cattle from Ur to Haran, Damascus and Canaan) took the creation of man myths concocted by Mesopotamia's city-dwellers and recast them in order to refute, deny and challenge them. Why? The City-dwellers portrayed the edin steppelands as a place of desolation, fit only for wild animals, and tent-dwelling thieves, brigands and cut-throats. They despised and feared the nomadic tent-dwellers and regarded them as a threat to their way of life. In defense of their way of life (grazing their flocks in the edin steppelands) the Hebrews probably recast the city-dwellers' myths, having a place of desolation (Enkidu's watering hole) become a God's lush garden _in_ the edin, and having the world's first murderer, Cain, founding the first city thereby mocking city life as depraved, cities being full of murderers and thieves. God's heart's delight was not a city-garden it was the remote eden/edin where roamed the wild animals and naked man (Enkidu).
Professor Crawford on the animosity between nomadic herders and settled urbanites or agriculturalists (Emphasis mine):
"However, in essence the population can be divided into those people in permanent settlements, who relied primarily on agriculture and stock rearing for their subsistence, and those who wandered between settlements with their herds of sheep and goats...conflicts arose between the groups, and THE URBAN DWELLERS TENDED TO DESPISE THE NOMADS AS UNCOUTH BARBARIANS."
(p. 12. "Pastoralists and farmers." Harriet Crawford. Sumer and the Sumerians. Cambridge, United Kingdom. Cambridge University Press. 1991, 2004)
Professor Frymer-Kensky on Israel's religion being indebted to Mesopotamian concepts, and its challenging via "counterpoints" some of its notions:
"Many Israelite ideas about justice, society, and even religion developed from and in counterpoint to Mesopotamian ideas."
(p. 83. Tikva Frymer-Kensky. In the Wake of the Goddesses, Women, Culture and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth. Ballantine Books. 1993. First Edition by Freepress 1992)
The _contradicting_ Sumerian myths have man being created at Eridug (Eridu) and at Nibru (Nippur) and the chief gods at these locations are Enlil (Elil) and Enki (Ea). Enlil sends a flood to destroy mankind but is foiled by his brother-god Enki who warns one man (Ziusudra) to build a boat and save the seed of man and animalkind for a new beginning. In Genesis man is created by Yahweh-Elohim and this God sends a universal flood to destroy mankind, but he warns one man to build a boat and save the seed of man and beast for a new beginning. Quite clearly _for me_, Enlil and Enki have been recast as Yahweh-Elohim and their cities, Nippur and Eridu (which lie in the midst of the Sumerian uncultivated steppe or plain called the edin) where man was first created to replace the rebelling Igigi gods, were recast into Genesis' garden _in_ `eden (Ge 2:8). The watering hole Enkidu (Adam) met Shamhat (Eve) three day's journey into the an edin "high plain/steppe" south of Uruk has been fused to the walled city-gardens at Eridu and Nippur to create Genesis' garden _in_ `Eden.
I have proposed that only a person intimately familiar with the Mesopotamian myths and their motifs and concepts regarding primal man and his animal companions of the edin could have "cherry-picked" all these motifs and concepts and brought all this together in a series of inversions, refuting, challenging, and denying these myths originally conceived by the city-dwellers of Lower Mesopotamia (Ur of the Chaldees, modern Tell al-Muqayyar and Nippur, Eridu, Uruk), and that individual is most likely Abraham (circa 2100-2000 B.C.others suggest circa 1800 B.C.) who was _originally_ a polytheist and thus well-acquainted with Mesopotamian notions about primal man's beginnings, who later repudiated these notions, substituting them with a belief in one God. According to the Bible Abraham was called by God at the age of 75 years to leave Haran for Canaan. Beyond "the river" (the Euphrates) Israel's patriarchs are portrayed as polytheists. Certainly 75 years as a polytheist would give Abraham "ample time" to be intimately familiar with the Mesopotamian gods and their stories about how man came into being and how a naked primal man without father or mother (Enkidu) was "undone" by a naked woman in the eden/edin (Shamhat) and separated from his animal companions, and in eden/edin he learned it was wrong to be naked, clothing himself before leaving eden/edin at the woman's urging.
Joshua 24:14 RSV
"...put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt, and serve the Lord..."
If the proposals made here "are on the mark," that Adam and Eve are recasts of Enkidu and Shamhat as proposed back in 1963 by Professors Robert Graves and Raphael Patai, what a shame that the world does not know the truth, that the Genesis story about the Garden of Eden is a myth and a later recast of motifs appearing in a much earlier composition, the Epic of Gilgamesh.
What an unjust burden of guilt has afflicted man and womankind over the past 4000 years for the believers in the myth of the Garden of Eden: Jew, Christian, and Moslem.
What a shame that today Jews, Christians and Moslems are killing each other because of these myths and what a shame that womankind has been marginalized and tyrannized by this Adam and Eve nonsense not only in the past but the present as well.
Just think, had the Epic of Gilgamesh never been composed, perhaps the story of Adam and Eve as recasts of Enkidu and Shamhat would never have been composed too. What a difference this would have made for the world over the past 4000 years, to be "free" of this nonsense.
Today, the great plain through which courses the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is called Iraq. In antiquity it was known to the Sumerians as the edin and within it were the gods' city-gardens which man was created to toil in for all eternity.
Today Iraq is the scene of a great carnage. Blood flows from Iraqi Moslems as well as American and European Christians in what was formerly the gods' city-gardens of edin from whence came Genesis' Garden _in_ Eden:
Genesis 2:8 RSV
"And the Lord God planted a garden _in_ Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he formed."
That is to say that today Jews, Christians and Moslems are slaughtering each other in the Middle East and elsewhere (Europe, Asia and Africa) over a recast Sumerian myth about man's creation by Sumerian gods to work in thier city-gardens located in the midst of the edin.
Reflecting on all of the above, it was only recently, 24 August 2007, that it crossed my mind to do an internet search via Google on just "_how early_" anyone had made the identification of Adam and Eve with Enkidu and Shamhat. I had "missed" this connection on earlier attempts because I failed to realize that Enkidu and Shamhat in the earliest research were rendered Eabani and Ukhat or Uhat. When these two names were plugged into Google up came Professor Jastrow's 1898 research. Here I am, 64 years old and it took me all this time to "discover" that the association had been made over 100 years ago!
I have often wondered why it is that the world is ignorant of this research published over 100 years ago. Millions today, Jews, Christian, and Moslems are unaware that Adam and Eve are fictional recasts of Enkidu and Shamhat. How did this sorry state of affairs come to be? I finally realized what was going on. A tacit "gentleman's agreement" had apparently been reached between Secular scholars and the bible-believing societies they live in. Secular scholarship would not actively and vigorously pursue in the public media the revelations they had uncovered. The educational system would go along with this and not teach that Adam and Eve were fictional recasts. So Primary, Elementary, Junior High and High Schools all agreed, treat with respect the religious beliefs of all and do _not_ "let the cat out of the bag" that all this is fictional nonsense. Why? The educational system serves for the most part a bible-believing public and community. These schools exist at the public's tolerance and goodwill, they dare not offend their community and face retaliation by a withdrawal of funds, nor do they want to face public ostracization, humilation and ridicule. So the farce of religion continues because of _fear_ of the bible-believing public. It is "unpatriotic" to reveal the truth, that the Bible is not the word of God, and that many of Genesis' motifs are recasts of Mesopotamian beliefs and notions. So Secular scholarship publishes its findings "quietly" for fellow Secularists in obscure Professional Journals and the bible-believing public gets to continue with its system of belief that it insists through laws passed in Congress that are binding on all (laws based on the Bible against homosexuality and abortion).
There have been a "few brave souls" who dared to trangress the unspoken tacit "gentleman's agreement" and made an effort to announce via the national media their findings to the public at large.
Darwin and his Theory of Evolution (1859) was one such brave soul. Another brave soul was the German Assyriologist Friedrich Delitzsch who declared (1902-1904) that the Bible was indebted to Babylonian religious beliefs and this assertion resulted in a howl of outrage from all quarters of European Christendom. More recently an Israeli scholar, Professor Ze'ev Herzog of Tel Aviv University via an Israeli newspaper called Ha'aretz, in its magazine cover story "Deconstructing the Walls of Jericho: Who are the Jews?" (Friday 29 October 1999) stated that there was no evidence for an Exodus and that too brought a howl of outrage from worldwide Judaism. In the USA a Jewish Rabbi David Wolpe announced in a Los Angeles Synagogue on Passover of 2001 there was no evidence of an Exodus, which again upset the faithful.
Recently a U.S. News TV program (The Paula Zahn Now show of 31 January 2007) aired noting Atheist families being harrassed and fleeing to live in another community that knew nothing of their lack of belief. Please click here for a U-Tube video presentation in two segments of the original TV News Program titled "Discrimination Against Athiests."
Christian intolerance is alive and well in America as well as Europe, Islam's intolerance has nothing on Christianity in that regard.
Now you know _why_ for over the past 100 years millions of Christians, Jews and Moslems have no knowledge that Adam and Eve are fictional characters and recasts of still earlier fictional characters, Enkidu and Shamhat of The Epic of Gilgamesh believed to have been composed circa 2000 B.C., a later copy being found by archaeologists at Ur of the Chaldees in ancient Sumer where Abraham once lived according to the Bible; Shamhat's urging Enkidu to eat the food he initially balked at in the edin being recast as Eve urging Adam to eat forbidden food in Eden.
Draper noted back in 1878 the tacit gentleman's agreement which he broke ranks with:
"A few years ago, it was the politic and therefore the proper course to abstain from all allusion to this controversy, and to keep it as far as possible in the background. The tranquility of society depends so much on the stability of its religious convictions, that no one can be justified in wantonly disturbing them. But faith is in its nature unchangeable, stationary; Science is in its nature progressive; and eventually a divergence between them impossible to conceal, must take place." (pp. 7- 8. "Preface." John William Draper. History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science. New York. 1878. Reprint 2006 by BiblioBazaar. South Carolina)
The American Public Educational System (Elementary-High School) does not want to upset the bible-believing communites they serve. So to keep the peace, the truth is suppressed. The subject is not allowed to be discussed or brought up as to how the Sciences (Astrophysics, Geology, Hydrology, Archaeology, Anthropology and Literary Criticism) have proved the Bible is not the word of God, but merely a later recasting of Mesopotamian motifs and concepts regarding the origins of naked primeval man who wanders the Sumerian edin/eden with wild animals for companions, unaware it is wrong to be naked in edin/eden.
I guess I am a "slow-learner," at the ripe old age of 65 years (born 1943) I realize now that religion to some degree is an expression of mankind's _abhorrence_ of the "dog-eat-dog" world he lives in and witnesses daily.
Thomas Paine (1737-1809) said if you want to know God don't waste your time studying the Bible which is a spurious book, study Nature and you will know God. How right he was.
Charles Darwin (1809-1882) correctly observed life is about the struggle of the species, the fittest survives. There is no right, no wrong, in the animal and plant kingdoms as each organism contends with others to survive and reproduce itself. Millions of life forms are born each day, plant and animal, and millions are killed and devoured by other life forms. The living can live only by consuming another living organism. Nature reveals a brutal world without any concept of right or wrong. Down through the ages caring, reflective men and women have been appalled by this and have sought an escape from this reality by creating a "fantasy-world" that never existed, a world where man LIVES IN PEACE without fear of his fellow man or wild animals killing and devouring him.
The Garden of Eden was then the Hebrew's "fantasy-world," itself a recasting of earlier Mesopotamian myths of a naked man wandering edin the steppe with herbivore animals and having no fear, a world which as revealed by Nature never ever existed except in one's imagination.
Religion provides a means for a mental "escape" from Nature's reality and its brutality, wistfully hoping for what can never be: a world without bloodshed, fear and danger, a world filled only with PEACE, love, caring and tenderness for man and beast.
Finally, some readers may be wondering to themselves: "If Mattfeld's research reveals that there never was a Garden of Eden or Adam, Eve, Serpent or Fall from Grace, why is he wasting his time and money researching all of this?"
You see dear reader I am a "knowledge-junkie," addicted to an insatiable search for knowledge. At first this quest began because I wanted to know: "Is any of this (the Bible) true or not?"
I came to realize after years of research it was in reality "a mixed bag," some events did occur as attested by the findings of archaeolgy, as for example the destruction of Hezekiah's kingdom of Judah by the Assyrian King Sennacherib, but other parts were pure fiction like Genesis' Garden in Eden and Noah's Flood, but that was not the "end" for me of my knowledge quest.
Next, I wanted to know "where" were the Hebrews possibly getting their notions from of a Garden _in_ Eden and a "Fall" of a "naked" Primeval Man?
That quest would lead me into exploring the ancient Mesopotamian myths regarding Primeval Man's origins, Sumerian and Babylonian.
Having satisfied my curiosity and having established that the Hebrews were _recasting_ motifs and concepts appearing in the earlier Mesopotamian myths because they objected to the Mesopotamian reasons for man's creation and his attempted demise in a Flood, I then thought to myself perhaps there are "others" out there in cyber-space (the internet) who, like myself, share this insatiable curiosity who might be interested in what I have found-out? Hence this website.
This website has been in existence for about seven years (17 Dec. 2000 to 17 Feb. 2010) and has witnessed over threequarters-of-a-million "visits" from all over the world, so obviously, I am _not_ "alone" in the insatiable quest for knowledge about the Bible's pre-biblical origins.
I am a "fan" of Police Detective TV shows like C.S.I. Miami, The Forensic Files, Cold Case Files, etc.
I am constantly taking "notes" on the various procedures used by the Detectives to determine "The Truth," such as When was the crime comitted, How, Who did it, Why did they do it?
As I watch these shows I am struck by a repeating observation made over and over again by the Detectives: that they are forever being amazed by _"all the unexpected and surprising twists and turns"_ that crop up in the course of their investigations as they follow the trail of clues to solving the crime.
Here are some comments I have jotted down as I watched different Crime Detective shows:
"Follow one small clue to uncover a web of deep dark secrets."
"There were so many bizarre turns and twists encountered in the investigation."
"There were a lot of surprising twists."
"There were a lot of shocking twists ahead."
"Sometimes the truth is as unpredictable as the investigation itself."
"It didn't make any sense."
"We must find the truth within the lies."
"The evidence is always stacked against the false witness."
"Compare the evidence against the testimony to discover the truth."
This website's research in seeking answers for the pre-biblical origins of the Bible has repeatedly turned up time after time, _unexpected surprising twists and turns_ I never dreamed of or envisioned as I followed the trail of clues to solve the mystery of Who done it? Why? When? Where? and How?
The Detectives repeatedly state: "Follow the evidence wherever it leads it you." Another Detective noted: "People lie, forensic evidence doesn't." In other words, Detectives have learned from bitter experience that people's statements are often misleading, perhaps via confusion or perhaps via deliberate lying. While it is important to take statements these statements are regarded with suspicion and are not accepted as "gospel truth" until they have been first compared to the physical evidence. Only after the physical evidence has corroborated statements/accounts are they then accepted as true.
This Police Detective methodology can be applied (with modifications) to the Holy Bible and its statements or accounts.
Nothing in the Bible should be accepted as true until its statements have been corroborated by the physical evidence. If the physical evidence _contradicts_ the biblical statements or accounts then the Bible's testimony has to be regarded as unreliable and un-trustworthy.
Sadly, Christian Apologists do_not_ follow Police Detective methodologies. Contra the Detectives who are "wary of" _all_ witnesses' (or "persons of interest") statements and accounts, Apologists _assume automatically as a matter of faith_ that the Bible is the word of God and it is _not_ to be questioned or held in suspicion regarding its statements or accounts. Therefore Apologists reject any and all findings that _contradict_ or _challenge_ the Bible's accounts. They claim that the physical evidence is being _misinterpreted_ by Scientists if the Scientists' findings challenge Holy Writ's account.
After some 40+ years of research I now realize that the Bible is _not_ the word of God. The physical evidence does _not_ corroborate Genesis' account of when the earth and universe were created, how life began and evolved, the Bible's internal chronology suggests for some conservative Catholic scholars the Universe was created in 5199 B.C. or 4004 B.C. for some conservative Protestant scholars vs. Science's understanding the earth is 4.5 billion years old and the Universe is 13.7 billion years old as revealed by data collected and analyzed by Astrophysicists from the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope while Geologists and Archaeologists have found no physical evidence of Noah's worldwide flood which the Bible's internal chronology dates to the 3rd millennium B.C.
I began this research in 1970 as a "Bible-believer" thinking I could find corroborating physical evidence via the study of Archaeology and Geology that the Bible was "true." I ended up realizing it could not be true because the biblical statements or accounts were _contradicted_ by the physical evidence from the fields of Astrophysics, Geology, Biology, Hydrology, Archaeology as well as the literary discipline of Textual Criticism.
Just like the Police Detectives I too encountered time after time "unexpected and surprising bizarre twists and turns" in persuing the trail of clues to uncover "The Truth."
My methodology in a nutshell:
Identify motifs, concepts and scenarios appearing in Genesis and see if they existed in earlier Mesopotamian myths. I discovered that they did exist but in an altered or transformed manner. These altered forms I came to realize did not all exist in one myth or account (as for example like Genesis), they existed in scattered bits and pieces under several different genres: annals, myths and hymns, which I had to laboriously trackdown, gather and assemble together, rather like a jigsaw puzzle. So I understand Genesis' motifs are drawing from _a wide spectrum_ of Mesopotamian sources and not _one_ literary source or account. I also understand that many Mesopotamian literary protagonists have been fused together into one character in Genesis. That is to say events, scenarios and motifs associated with the actions of several gods and goddesses in Mesopotamian myths have been fused together and abscribed to _one_ God, Yahweh-Elohim. As for example: Yahweh sends a flood to destroy mankind but warns one man, Noah, to build a boat and save self, family and animals whereas in Mesopotamian accounts the flood is instigated principally by the god Enlil while the god Enki warns a man called Utnapishtim to build a boat and save self, family and animals, that is to say the actions of Enlil and Enki have been fused together and ascribed to Yahweh-Elohim. Events and motifs associated with several literary characters in Mesopotamian myths like Enkidu, Adapa, and Utu have been fused together and ascribed to _one_ literary character: Adam. Several gods involved in man's (Adapa's) being denied immortality and who bore the Sumerian epithet ushumgal meaning "great serpent dragon," have been fused together and recast as one protagonist: Eden's Serpent who tempted Eve and thereby Adam causing them to be denied immortality for their act of disobedience. The gods' city-gardens associated with Edin's cities: Eridu, Nippur, and Uruk have been fused together and transformed into _one_ location: a garden in Eden. Cain's "first" city Enoch in the land of Nod is a fusion of two locations: (1) Eridu the "first" city in Sumerian Mesopotamian myth and (2) Uruk, Sumerian: Unug (the Bible's "land of wanderers" or "land of Nod" being a recast of the Sumerian eden/edin where wanderers, bandits and murderers roam, in other words "the land of Nod" is ancient Sumer's eden/edin, the uncultivated wilderness surrounding Sumer's cities).
Here are some of the unexpected _bizarre_ twists_and_turns_ I have "uncovered" (or were uncovered by others):
Bizarre Twist 1:
Eden, Hebrew `eden, meaning "delight" or a place "well-watered" is perhaps a homonym and or homophone confusion of Sumerian eden/edin, meaning "back" and applied to the uncultivated land "backing" (surrounding) Mesopotamia's cities and their city- gardens of the gods. Adam and Eve's clothing of their nakedness before leaving Eden is a twist on Enkidu and Shamhat clothing their nakedness before leaving the eden/edin (eden/edin being a Sumerian logogram used by the Epic of Gilgamesh's Akkadian scribe at times in _lieu_ of the Akkadian word seru meaning "steppe") to dwell at Uruk and meet Gilgamesh.
Bizarre Twist 2:
Motifs and events associated with Adam and Eve and God are recasts of earlier Mesopotamian stories: Adam is a conflation and fusing of Enkidu, Adapa and Primeval Naked Man who wanders edin near Uruk and Eridu; Eve is Shamhat the harlot-priestess and Inanna her goddess. God is a recast of Anu, Enlil, Enki, Saidu the Hunter, as well as Enkidu.
Bizarre Twist 3:
Adam and Eve's expulsion is a "twist" of (1) Adapa's removal from Anu's heavenly abode after failing to consume the food that would have given him and mankind immortality; (2) Enkidu and Shamhat's leaving the watering hole in edin in the Epic of Gilgamesh, clothing their nakedness before leaving; (3) the removal of the Igigi from the gods' city-gardens at Eridu and Nippur for rebellion against Enki and Enlil, their removal for rebellion being recast as Adam and Eve's rebellion and removal.
Bizarre Twist 4:
Eden's Serpent held responsible for conning man into eating forbidden fruit and thus causing man to be cursed with death is a "twist" or recast of gods associated with serpents, they bearing the Sumerian epithet ushumgal meaning "great serpent" or "dragon" such as Anu, Enlil, Enki, Dumuzi, and Inanna. Adapa was offered immortality by Anu, Dumuzi and Ningishzida presenting him the bread of life to eat, he refuses it because his lying god Ea (Enki) told him it was the bread of death and he would die if he ate of it. So deities associated with serpents via their epithets, offered man immortality and a deity (Ea/Enki) bearing a serpent epithet "great serpent" (ushumgal) conned man (Adapa) out of chance to obtain immortality.
Bizarre Twist 5:
Eve's being _blamed_ for encouraging Adam to disobey God and eat forbidden fruit in Eden is a recast or twist of Shamhat's urging Enkidu to eat the bread offered him by shepherds at their camp in the edin, his initial balking or refusal to eat this food being overcome when he subjects his will to her will. The notion that Eve ate _first_ of the forbidden fruit, then later Adam is a twist on Shamhat as a city-dweller having had eaten bread _first_ long before Enkidu _later_ did so, she encouraging him to eat this food when presented to him. The Epic of Gilgamesh has the sun-god Shamash reminding Enkidu that Shamhat _caused_ him to eat food fit for the gods when Enkidu curses the Harlot-Priestess, blaming her for his loss of innocence and impending death (recast as God cursing Eve for causing Adam to sin and eat forbidden fruit).
Bizarre Twist 6:
The Mesopotamians had no account of a primal man and woman "falling from a state of innocence" via an illegal acquisition of knowledge by eating of a forbidden fruit. There was _no_ "fall from innocence" because man was made in the image of the gods some of whom are portrayed as slaying each other in various conflicts, murdering their fathers and mothers, engaging in incest with their children, being unfaithful to their spouses by having extramarital sex with others, and even propositioning humans for illicit sex too, as well as being sponsors or patrons of cultic acts of prostitution with male and female prostitutes in temples. In other words all the nefarious activities of humankind were, _before man's creation_ , engaged in by the gods, so there could be _no_ "fall from innocence" for primal man and woman for man cannot be "better" than his _immoral_creators_ in whose image he was made! That is to say in Mesopotamian myth man's immorality is because he was made in the image of immoral gods and goddesses. For all the sordid details please click here.
Bizarre Twist 7:
The Cherubim who guard the tree of life are twists or recasts of (1) Huwawa (Humbaba) of the Epic of Gilgamesh who guards the sacred Cedars; (2) Winged Syrian Sphinxes guarding sacred trees on a wall mural at Mari circa 1700 B.C. (3) Canaanite winged Sphinxes of the Late Bronze found at Megiddo and Phoenician Byblos, they in turn being derived from (4) Egyptian winged sphinxes; and (5) human dieties with animal faces found with sacred trees in Neo-Assyrian art forms of the 9th-7th centuries B.C.
Bizarre Twist 8:
The Tree of Knowledge (which also brought death to Adam) is a recast of the cedar or pine tree Inanna eats of (consuming pine nuts) to acquire knowledge (Inanna bore the Sumerian epithet nin edin, "lady of edin"). The Tree of Knowledge and of death is also a recast of the "bread of death" which the god Ea (Enki) warned Adapa not to eat or he would die.
Bizarre Twist 9:
The Tree of Life is a recast of the "bread of life" offered Adapa, who had been mislead by his god Ea (Enki) of Eridu into thinking it was the "bread of death."
Bizarre Twist 10:
The gods created man to be their slave, so they would no longer have to toil in the city-gardens of edin for their food, vs. the biblical notion God created man to fellowship with, providing the garden's fruits for man's sustenance, not God's sustenance.
Bizarre Twist 11:
The gods slew each other _before_ man's creation. The Igigi gods _rebelled_ against the toil enforced upon them by the Anunnaki gods in edin's city gardens. Man is made in the image of the gods so he can be no better than his creators who shed their fellow god's blood, thus man like his creators, is a shedder of human blood too vs. the biblical notion there is only one God who therefore does not shed his fellow gods' blood and who is outraged that man "made in his image," is a shedder of human blood and a rebel to his Creator.
Bizarre Twist 12:
The flood is sent by the gods to destroy man's noise which disturbs the god Enlil's rest. Man's noise was because he was protesting the grievous labor he endured toiling in the gods' city-gardens in edin. This clamor was "bestowed upon man" at his creation it being transferred from the clamoring Igigi gods who had earlier protested their grievous toil in edin's city gardens. The biblical account makes man a shedder of human blood and filling the world with violence against God's wishes. That is to say man is a victim of unrighteous gods in the Mesopotamian flood myth vs. God being the righteous victim who exterminates mankind for his evil ways with a flood.
Bizarre Twist 13:
Enlil, the god who instigated the flood is portrayed as having a sexual appetite, he rapes his future wife Ninlil. Enki the god who warned one man to build a great boat to save the seed of mankind and animalkind from the flood raped his daughter, grand-daughter and great-grand-daughter at Dilmun. Both of these gods who possessed sexual appetites and who were sexual predators were transformed by the Hebrews into Yahweh-Elohim who sent a flood and who warned one man (Noah) to build a boat and save the seed of man and animalkind. Yahweh was made into a God that has no sexual urges or sexual appetite, who consequently does not engage in sex with goddeses or mortal women like the other gods.
Bizarre Twist 14:
Enkidu and Shamhat (a John and his Whore) as well as Inanna and Dumuzi (a Whore and her John) were transformed into Adam and Eve in the recasting of the Mesopotamian myths and their motifs.
Bizarre Twist 15:
I realize that the Bible-believing public will never accept that God, Adam and Eve were in the beginning literary protagonists who were driven by sexual needs and lusts, and that the Hebrews suppressed all this and recast them as being free of sexual urges and needs.
Bizarre Twist 16:
All the gods rest on the 7th day of the 2900 B.C. Shuruppak flood because man has been annihilated, his clamor or noise is no more, the stillness or silence thus allows the gods a rest. In other words by DESTROYING A WORLD and man the gods came to rest on a SEVENTH DAY vs. God resting on a SEVENTH day after _CREATING A WORLD and man. An inversion or twist has occurred to explain how a deity came to rest on a seventh day (cf. the Atra-Khasis/Atrahasis myth for details).
Bizarre Twist 17:
The gods would _never_ expell man from their city gardens in the midst of the edin because they would then have to till the earth themselves for their food, a task they dreaded hence the reason why they made man, vs. the biblical notion that there is no grievous toil for Adam in God's garden, agricultural toil becomes grievous only after his expulsion.
Bizarre Twist 18:
The gods must eat twice a day via temple sacrifices earthly food grown in their city gardens in the midst of the edin or they will starve to death. In myths the gods can be slain and wind up in the underworld after their deaths. But even in the underworld they still must eat and drink to nourish their bodies vs. the biblical notion that God demands twice a day to be fed by Israel at Mount Sinai and later at the Jerusalem Temple, giving Israel a detailed list of foods and drinks acceptable to him. If a God is immortal he/they should _not_ need to eat and drink as this activity's purpose is to _sustain_ mortal life. So the fact that the Hebrew God must eat and drink daily reveals he really is not immortal.
Bizarre Twist 19:
Despite the "debunking" of the Bible as being God's word by the findings of Scientists over the past 200 years who have noted that the physical evidence does _not_ corroborate the biblical accounts but _contradicts_ them, the public still adamantly refuses to believe the Scientist's findings and desperately clings to the belief that the Bible is God's Holy Word. Because of this false belief, that the Bible is the Word of God, Moslem, Christian and Jew are engaged in slaughtering each other in today's world. The Jews claim Israel was given them by their God because Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac. Islam denies this claiming Abraham was willing to sacrifice Ishmael and thus God gave the Promised Land to Ishmael's descendants, the Moslems. Thus the existence today of the state of Israel is an affront to Allah and Islam, it must be destroyed. Christianity, The West, supports the existence of Israel and arms her and acts as her ally. Islam's motto: "Today Saturday, Tomorrow: Sunday!" That is to say "first we destroy the Saturday Sabbath observing Jews and the state of Israel, then we attack and destroy the Sunday observing Christian world, the allies of Israel and the enemies of Islam. Already millions of Moslems are settling in the West and seeking its overthrow via acts of terror (bombings in the USA, Britain, Spain) while the West's Government Heads of State feed their people news release lies about Islam not seeking the overthrow and destruction of Christianity and Democracy, replacing all this with Islam and Shar'ia Law.
Bizarre Twist 20:
I realize that of the billions of people now alive and walking this earth, probably not more than a few thousand, at best, will ever come across this website and read its contents and become aware that the Bible is not the word of God and come to realize that the murderous hatred between Moslem, Jew and Christian is all predicated upon recast Mesopotamian myths. The slaughter, sadly, will continue for centuries yet to come. The Hebrew God is an intolerant God, there can be no religious freedom for mankind anywhere on planet Earth, all must bend the knee and worship Him or else they will be violently and ruthlessly destroyed by His followers: Moslems, Christians and Jews. Jesus' last act as a ruthless intolerant God is to _destroy all_ who dwell upon the earth who have refused to worship him at the battle of Armageddon according to the Book of Revelation (Rev 16:16). Islam understands its mission is to convert all the world to the worship of Allah via fire and sword. The future does _not_ look bright for mankind or for religious freedom on planet earth, more slaughter awaits man from an Intolerant God's followers be this God called Yahweh, Jesus or Allah.
Bizarre Twist 21:
The Mesopotamian gods created man in order to obtain their release from grievous agricultural toil in the gardens of eden/edin. In other words the gods wanted the equivalent of the Hebrew Shabbat, "a ceasing of toil," and "rest from toil." Man was created to be their agricultural slave, he would make possible "THEIR SHABBAT," "their ceasing of toil and obtainment of rest." The worldwide flood sent by the gods to destroy mankind was because man was denying the gods "THEIR REST," his noisely clamor objecting to the back-breaking toil in the gods' gardens of eden prevented the gods from resting in silence and peace so the gods obtained their rest, THEIR SHABBAT, by annihilating man with the flood. I am reminded of an old adage: "Be careful what you wish for, you might get your wish (and come to regret it)." Man's clamor or noise in the gardens of eden/edin was because he wanted a SHABBAT, a "ceasing" of toil and "rest." In a sense, the gods gave him what he clamored for. They annihilated all of mankind and with this annihilation man achieved a cessation and rest from toil eternally. The rest from toil was "the rest" which befalls all human beings when they die. American tombstones sometimes have engraved on their surfaces R.I.P. meaning "Rest In Peace." Man "got" his eternal rest from toil from the gods via the flood. This of course was not the kind of rest or cessation from toil that man had clamored for, he wanted to live forever like a god and do no toil like a god, but this was not to be. If man was released from agricultural toil in the gods' gardens in eden/edin the gods would have to care for their gardens themselves, an onerous task that they dreaded. So they had no choice, man must remain an agricultural slave and be denied immortality and god-hood.
All this is to say in the Mesopotamian belief system: "IF THERE WAS NO MAN TO DO THE GODS' BACK-BREAKING WORK IN THE GARDENS OF EDEN/EDIN THERE COULD BE NO REST FROM EARTHLY TOIL FOR THE GODS. Man's creation was absolutely necessary to provide the gods their Shabbat/Sabbath rest from toil.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam took these Mesopotamian motifs and transformed them in such a way as to refute, challenge and deny them. Man was _not_ made to be an agricultural slave of the gods, to provide the gods a rest from toil, he was made to fellowship with God and he is to look forward, AFTER DEATH, to a return to Eden's garden and fellowshipping once again with God as was the case with Adam and Eve before their expulsion. The gods gave man a rest from toil by annihilating him, the rest from toil that accompanies death whereas in ChrIstian doctrine, man _again_, AFTER DEATH, will enjoy a rest from toil in a Garden of Eden in God's presence. In both instances, Mesopotamian and Christian, it is AFTER DEATH that man comes to enter into an eternal rest from toil, an eternal Shabbat or Sabbath if you will.
Just think dear reader, you enjoy your weekly rest from toil, be it a Friday (Moslems), Saturday (Jews) or Sunday (Christians) because of a Mesopotamian myth about gods resting on a seventh day after destroying man and the world in a flood in order to obtain their rest (THEIR SHABBAT OR SABBATH).
If the ancient Sumerians could be brought back to life today and be told how millions of Jews, Christians and Moslems are eager to spend eternity in the Garden of Eden they would shake their heads in disbelief!
The Sumerians' response would probably be as follows:
"What? You want to be allowed into the Garden of Eden? Are you crazy? The Igigi gods HATED and PROTESTED their life in the Gardens of Eden/Edin, the toil was grievous, there was no rest for them! The gods created man to work in their place in Eden's/Edin's gardens. Under _NO_ circumstances would anyone, god or man, want to ever return to the Gardens in Eden/Edin and the back-breaking toil there, excavating irrigation ditches to provide water for the crops, hoeing out weeds and brambles in the hot sun, and laboriously harvesting the produce to feed to the Anunnaki and Igigi gods who regarded man as their agricultural slave to ruthlessly expoit!"
"What? You say people are literally "dying" to get into the Garden of Eden? Four U.S. passenger jets were hijacked with hundreds of passengers aboard them and crashed into two huge World Trade Center Towers in New York City and the Pentagon, the hijackers were assured by their Mullahs that they would go straight to the Gardens of Eden for this act of heroism on behalf of Islam? (Note: Islam teaches that the Gardens of Eden are in Heaven and those who die in Holy Jihad against the infidels or non-believers are given immediate admittance into Eden, all earlier sins being forgiven)
"Geezh, we Sumerians know nothing about life being "idyllic" in the gardens of eden/edin, life for us in the gardens of eden/edin was a back-breaking hell that no man or god would ever want to endure. NO THANKS, we will pass on your offer to get us into the Garden of Eden/Edin, we've already been there, digging irrigation canals, clearing them of sediments, sowing seed, hoeing out weeds, harvesting the crops (apples, figs, dates) in the hot sun and we don't want to return to the Gardens of Eden/Edin ever again! In death we have our Shabbat/Sabbath REST FROM TOIL, goodluck in pedalling your nonsense about life being wonderful in the garden of eden/edin, WE KNOW BETTER, YOU SEE, WE'VE ALREADY BEEN THERE IN OUR FORMER LIVES AND WE KNOW LIFE IS A BACK-BREAKING TOILSOME HELL IN THE GARDENS OF EDEN/EDIN, _YOU_CAN'T_CON_US_ LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD!
The following e-mail exchange may be of interest to some:
Your hunch is correct about why these authors appear to be "almost apologetic" regarding archaeology's non-support of biblical events. They _fear_ a backlash from the public who does not want to hear their beliefs are founded on fables and not facts. Finkelstein like Dever, knows from his archaeological experience that the Bible is _not_ supported by archaeological findings for the book of Genesis. Archaeology supports to some degree however the period of the Monarchy.
Politically speaking for Christians and for Jews their interest is in having archaeology appear to support the Bible and thus support their political actions to maintain and promote the growth of Christianity and Judaism. This explains somewhat the historical and present antagonisms between Jew, Christian and Moslem. Reconciliation between these three groups is impossible in my estimation until _all_ give up the notion that the bible is God's word. Guess what the chances are of that happenning? Very remote indeed!
Knowing that political states (the USA, Israel, Europe, Moslem world) all justify their actions based on the Bible, the archaeologists always are walking on eggshells, fearing a backlash from the bible-believing public.
Public schools, Kindergarten through College, will _not_ allow teachers to teach the young that archaeology and science do_not_ support the Bible but contradict it. Why? Fear! Fear of the bible-believing public who want their children to continue in their faiths. So the truth is known by a few (archaeologists and scientists) but this truth is _deliberately suppressed_ and kept from children (and the general public) in the interests of "religious harmony" and of the State, which wants to foster and promote religion.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam have millions of adherents who have _no_ knowledge of much of the information presented here: That the findings of the Sciences: Anthropology, Archaeology, Geology, Paleontology and Astrophysics do _not_ support the Bible but flatly _contradict_ it!
Attempts to suppress and deny this scientific knowledge "in the service of Religion and the State" have been going on for over 200 years and still continues today at all levels of society by the activities of Religious leaders, Politicians, Parents, Schools, News Media and Governments in cahoots with each other.
I grew up a Bible-believer, naively _unaware_ that the Bible was contradicted by the above disciplines. Only after devoting the past 30 years of my life to determining if the Bible was really true of not by studying the findings of these scientific disciplines did I come to realize it couldn't be true.
Professor Dever (2001) on the dilemma facing mankind if the Bible has been scientifically proven not to be true (it is not God's word):
"The "secular" approach to the Bible advocated here may seem radical, even heretical. But it is one taken today by virtually all archaeologists; by most biblical scholars, at least those who teach in universities, rather than in seminaries; and indeed by a surprising number of educated lay people. Why is that thought to be a problem? What apparently disturbs many is the fear that approaching the Bible with skepticism about it as "history" puts one on a slippery slope, one that inevitably leads to the rejection of the Bible altogether -as, in effect, a "pious fraud." How can such a fraudulent literature be the basis for any system of belief, morality, or cultural value?"
(p. 282. "Faith and History." William G. Dever. What did the Biblical Writers Know and When did They Know it? What Archaeology can tell us about the Reality of Ancient Israel. Grand Rapids, Michigan. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 2001)
Do Mesopotamian myths understand that man _after_ death will spend eternity in a location called eden/edin with a God (noting here that Jew, Christian and Moslem understand the righteous dead will spend eternity in a paradise called Eden, with a God)?
Yes. The Sumerians sometimes euphemistically called the Underworld edin. They understood all men, good and evil, upon death would spend eternity in edin with its resident gods and goddesses (Nergal being the ruling god and his wife Erishkigal
being the ruling goddess ). The only "man" who was allowed a resurrection back to life to roam the earth's surface and feel the heat of the sun on him was Dumuzi, the king of Uruk. Dumu-zid, "the righteous son" was slain in the edin at his sheepstall under the great apple tree near Uruk by demons at his wife Inanna's instigation to be her surrogate in Hell, securing her release from the netherworld's edin. Dumuzi, a shepherd and a king once upon a time, then, dwelt in two edins: (1) the edin at Uruk and (2) the underworld edin. In myths, once a year he ascends (is resurrected) from the Underworld's edin to dwell for six months in the earthly edin at Uruk, being the "life-force" in the edin's plants: grasses, herbs, fruit-trees and grain. So, Dumuzi who bore the epithet ushumal, "great serpent" or "dragon" offered man (Adapa) immortality with the "food of life" and "water of life" but another ushumgal, Ea/Enki conned man (Adapa) into falsely believing it was the food of death and forbidden to him in order to deny man immortality because he did not want to lose man as his slave and have to toil in the edin's city-gardens for his own food and thus give up his eternal sabbath rest from earthly toil.
Leick on edin being a euphemism for the Underworld:
"In Mesopotamia the underworld was known by various euphemisms, such as Sumerian kur, 'mountainous country', or 'abroad', ki-gal, 'the great place', edin, 'the steppe', arali, kur.nu.gi -'land of no return', which have their equivalents in Akkadian."
(p. 159. "Underworld." Gwendolyn Leick. A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology. London & New York. Routledge. 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998)
It is my understanding that Judaism, Christianity and Islam's notion that _after_ death_ man will spend an eternity in a paradise called Eden with a God is a recast of earlier Sumerian myths regarding man being made by the gods to toil in their gardens of edin/eden in Sumer, and _after_ death, man's dwelling for all of eternity with the gods in the edin known as the Underworld. Dumuzi's resurrection to the earthly edin/eden at Uruk was recast under Christianity and Islam into a resurrection to dwell in an Edenic paradise free of toil after the faithfuls' deaths. A _resurrected_ Shepherd-King Dumuzid [dumu="son," zid="righteous"]
(a prototype of Adam and a "Righteous-Son-and-Good-Shepherd-King Jesus) both dwell in myths in two locations (1) the earthly edin/eden about the city of Uruk in Sumer [recast as an earthly edenic-city-garden at Jerusalem in the book of Revelation] and (2) a heavenly edin/eden (Sumerian an-edin) and both control the admittance of man to the presence of the supreme god (Anu/Yahweh); both of whom offered man (Adapa) once upon a time the bread and water of life which would confer on mankind immortality. That is to say King Jesus has assimiliated motifs originally ascribed to King Dumuzi. Both are portrayed as semi-divine kings of a city (Uruk/Jerusalem); both die and are resurrected; after resurrection they live in two locations an earthly eden (Sumerian ki-edin) and heavenly eden (Sumerian an-edin); they both stand at the righthand of the supreme god (Anu/Yahweh-Elohim) in heaven and both have the power to offer man immortality via the food and water of life.
This is not new information dear reader, its old information. Dr. Hugo Radau PhD noted this in 1913 in his scholarly tome on Babylonian Lenten Hymns as forerunners of Christianity's Easter/Lenten Holy Days. Its just that Christianity has successfully _suppressed_ this information for over 100 years, not allowing it to be taught in public schools so as to not disturb the faithful in the communities they serve.
Thank you, dear reader, for taking some time from your busy life to visit, however briefly, this website!