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OLD TESTAMENT ARCHEOLOGY: Timely Truths for the Modern World

Re: Living Sumer: The Historical Evolution of Yahweh


Part 5

Some Snake You Are
As the most significant predators of primates for millions of years, snakes have certainly made a lasting imprint in the collective memory of humanity. They evoke such fear, naked terror, and potent awe that kings from the dawn of humanity have always appropriated the images of snake or serpent, or dragon as their very own in order to strike fear in the hearts of enemies and inspire their own armies in the fields of battle.

As did kings, so did their gods, and the Sumerian priesthood made the most of this potent symbolism in their written religious body. Again, a first in the recorded history of humanity.

The serpents could shed, replace their skin, and apparently become young and regenerate new life, so they possess great knowledge and wisdom, with control over death and life—of immortality—itself. Unfortunately, the same great wisdom and knowledge could be employed in the use of the most cunning trickeries out there when there is a prey in sight or the practice serves their best interest.

The behaviour of snakes and their facial features—e.g. the unblinking, lidless eyes—imply supreme intelligence, that they lived by reason and not instinct, and yet their thought-processes were as alien to humans as their ways of movement.

Like other cultures, the Sumerians appeared to take prominently to the serpent in all its manifestations: symbol of fertility, tempter, trickster, wisdom, arcane knowledge, power over life and death, the secrets to the universe itself, and of course as a fierce, fiery, and fearsome incarnation in the form of a fire-breathing dragon, a favorite war creation of the gods. Kings and gods portray themselves as snakes, serpents, or dragons.

The Sumerian priesthood also appeared to speculate freely on the nature of snakes. They seemed to entertain the idea that snakes started life as some other reptiles possessed of hands and feet and capable of upright posture. How they lost it then? The tale of Dumuzi/Tammuz suggests the Sumerian priests assumed the snake lost its hands and feet for long-term benefit, enabling it to slither and escape away from grave threat, while the Hebrews took the exact counter position: it was by incurring some god’s wrath and earning curse for it.

As seen previously, Dumuzi/Tammuz the husband of Inanna is one of such gods who bore the epithet of some great serpent. Others who did likewise include Enki/Ea, An, Ningishzida/Gishzida, Enlil, Marduk, Inanna herself, Nergal who ruled Hell like Satan, Saidu the Hunter, and Shamhat, that tempter of Enkidu.

Thus the Sumerians portray Enki/Ea and Enlil as the two great serpents who took responsibility in the creation of the minor gods Igigi—posthumously and euphemestically called the first “men” after they were escorted out of the garden of eden never to return to a life of toil and service to the senior gods—as well as in the creation of mankind.

An/Anu the great father serpent god tempted Adapa with the immortality-bestowing bread and water of life so man could take his place among the gods, only to be outdone and undone by the other great serpent Enki/Ea who tricked Adapa not to have anything with the magically-enhanced bread and water or else the man will surely die if he did so, good as a line for line source for the Genesis authors later on though pushing for a different end. Enki/Ea was not about to lose his priest and servant Adapa to that annoying An and his moment of generosity to the detriment of the other gods who would have to go back working the garden of eden themselves.

Yet again, it has to be another snake who would foil Gilgamesh of his painstaking labors to acquire the plant of life to revive his loyal friend Enkidu, trapped in the hell of the underworld. After Gilgamesh managed to have the plant of life, the wily snake snatched it from him in order to ensure immortality for itself. Evidently, the serpents have it all against the labors of humans and their ultimate destiny in the universe.

Before all this, An/Anu and Enki/Ea first squared in the matter of knowledge that An specifically forbade the humans to have: this time, it might be recalled, it was Enki/Ea who defied the divine mandate and taught his favorite servant/priest Adapa exactly this forbidden knowledge, after he himself endeavored to cover Adapa’s nakedness in order to pass the code of propriety among the gods and start civilization in good order.

Settling the Score: The Theme of Cain and Abel

The first mention of murder in the Genesis involves a jealous Cain slaying his brother Abel first chance he got after Yahweh appeared to favor the taste of Abel’s burnt offering of animals rather than Cain’s bland agricultural sacrifices apparently with zero culinary appeal. The blood of Abel was said to “cry out to god from the ground.” Yahweh then saw fit to condemn Cain to wander in the land of Nod, a name that also means “to wander.” There the blood murderer is said to suffer the fate of constant fear from fellow men conspiring to take his own life. Cain is credited with being the creator of the world’s first city.

In contrast, the Sumerian priesthood seemed to take a liking for intrigue, adorning their mythologies of gods regularly murdering each other for the slightest infraction even before the arrival of man.

Enki/Ea is responsible for a significant number of these divine murders although his actions were portrayed to have just cause, and his last act of murder involves the slaying of the leader of the minor gods who rebelled against their fate slaving in the garden of eden, the blood of the murdered brother god said to be “calling to high heavens.”

The said slain leader of the rebellion also happens to be the chief planter and gardener—agriculturist or farmer—of the garden of eden.

Enki’s solution to the rebellion involves the creation of man to replace the first “men”—the rebelling gods—to be the new workers and caretakers of the garden of eden. Some of Enki’s men creations, like the aforementioned Enkidu, were left abandoned to wander the wilderness to fend for themselves against the ferocious wild beasts and the elements.

When humanity took root and multiplied, the outcasts of respectable city societies who defied existing laws had no resort but to run and wander the wilderness to escape the wrath of law, thus giving the wilderness of eden the reputation as the abode of lawlessness, of brigands and cut-throat criminals, where life is as much a game as the untamed animals who are both predator and prey any time while roaming the place absent of laws. A place where the air of death is a constant companion.

Famously, Gilgamesh had an episode of wandering the eden constantly in fear of meeting death as did his loyal friend Enkidu (see further discussion below) after their battle with Enlil's Cedar Mountain guard.

Enki, like Cain, is credited as the first creator of human city.

To the chagrin of pastoral nomads peopling the wilderness of eden, the Sumerian priests seemed to favor the agriculturists rather than the animal lovers. And distinctly so.

In the “Debate between Sheep and Grain,” a disputative creation myth found among the thousands of Sumerian cuneiform tablets, Lahar the cattle goddess enters into a substantive argument against Ashnan the grain goddess over who brought the most gifts to civilization. Predictably unable to settle the dispute between themselves, Enlil and Enki entered the fray and threw their judgment in favor of Ashnan and his gift of grain and agriculture to the advancement of civilization.

Curiously, history itself bears them out about this subject. Cities emerged when men started gaining enormous surplus in planting and harvesting grains and other useful plants, consigning the previously heralded pastoral nomads and their era to a minor role in the push by humanity to advance forward.

But Abraham would have none of any of this. First he disposes of the criminally inclined gods. He leaves out one god who he imagined to be perfect and passes the murderous impulse to men alone, inventing the story of Cain as the vehicle for this new interpretation. The dual identification of Cain with cities made it doubly worth the relish.

Whereas the Sumerians clearly reasoned that the murderous nature of men merely mirrors the image of their murderous gods, the Hebrews leave this mirror image issue severely ignored and unaddressed in their new religious formulation, inventing the concept of original sin in its place, one that opens a host of other contentious questions to the trained mind.

As Abraham personally saw the increasing rise to prominence of the agriculturist city dwellers and their towering ziggurats to declare their glory, first in Eridu and later in his hometown Ur, he endeavored to correct the plate of injustice served in the nomadic pastoralists’ way, internalizing his wrath at these developments, making it his mission to reverse the eroded status of his kind even if it meant consigning himself to a life of wandering, ironically like the fate of Cain—except that this time Abraham was guilty of murdering the rest of the gods except one—first from taking flight from Ur to escape the wrath of his kinsmen and fellow citizens, and from thence to Haran and finally to Canaan to establish footing for his new vision of religion.

Cherubim, Angels, Loss of Innocence Revisited

Although the Sumerian priestly mythologists missed out on Tolkien’s elves and orcs, they understood well enough that they can’t have gods walking around conducting their affairs with nothing to separate them from their mortal subjects and underlings either in appearance or other aspects.

Not only are they able to sit on thrones with winged sphinxes or other forms of creatures about, they could also ride those creatures bare or chariots attached, if not riding clouds to roam the realms. In times of battle, a run-of-the-mill uninspiring sword or battle ax would simply not cut it: they need special enchanted weapons, and the Sumerian gods and even genii and demons appeared to have a thing with flaming swords or daggers. And why not, they already have flame-billowing dragons around as allies or enemies to contend with, along with a host of mighty creatures like the Leviathan. The supreme gods and their chief enforcers could take on any awe-inspiring mighty beast form like dragons or serpents, or hating the inconvenience, just do away with the physical transformation but retain the wings for swift mobility and maneuverability.

The Sumerians loved their priestly inventions, as did their succeeding Near East spiritual inheritors the Akkadians, Babylonians, the Amorites, the Syrians, Persians, the Egyptians, the Canaanites, to Greece, and still much later Rome.

When the supreme gods are not dispatching their chief military enforcers with marching orders in the battlefield, they have them as personal attendants and bodyguards, watching over their most treasured territories and holiest of possessions. An had Ningishzida/Gishzida and Tammuz/Dumuzi serving him personally, and another personally chosen warrior to guard over his favored cedar trees in the Cedar Mountain. Ezekiel of course had a field day with these concepts, as did the other Genesis authors.

Ningishzida and Dumuzi were the ones who personally ushered in Adapa to the abode of An in that bread and water of life episode which should have given the man immortality, and the two again escorted Adapa out of An’s holy garden of Eden, ensuring that he does not return or any one else does not enter the forbidden holy place.

Ningishzida and Dumuzi would prove to be untouchable in their guardianship duties, but the other mighty warrior guarding Enlil’s Cedar Mountain would not be as fortunate, having to come under a losing battle of wits with the mighty Gilgamesh and his comrade-at-arms Enkidu later on upon the instigation of Enki/Ea.

The mighty Enlil of course did not take kindly to the death of his Cedar Mountain warrior guard, and he bore down on Enkidu who was the culprit. Sentenced to death, Enkidu undergoes a moment of epiphany.

He recalls how he was shagged out of the wilderness in companionship with the wild beasts by the woman temptress Shamhat. Thereupon the two stumbled upon a shepherd’s camp in eden and they were offered bread and alcoholic drink as a courtesy. Enkidu balks at consuming these items, having known only grass and water with the gazelles. Whereupon Shamhat steps in and tells Enkidu he must eat the bread and drink the alcolohic beverage set before him because it is the "custom of the land" and to refuse this act of hospitality on the shepherd's part would be a grave insult to the hosts. Once Enkidu acquiesces to Shamshat wishes, he thereby formally broke the bonds with the wilderness and his companion beasts. The Sumerians portrayed the event as that of Enkidu when he finally "becomes human" and a beast no longer, and he is given a choice of garments more befitting a man his new status and formal entry to the enclave of humanity where he truly belongs. And just like the Adapa episode, Enkidu’s initial refusal to eat the food and drink the water offered him mirrors Adam’s initial refusal to eat Eve’s offering to eat the fruit.

Now face to face with death, Enkidu starts to rue about the “loss of his innocence” and his “impending death” after killing Enlil’s guardian of the cedar trees. In a moment of madness he asks the sun god Shamash his patron-god to carry out a curse on Shamhat, seeking her "subordination to men" who will abuse her in her role as a harlot.

However, he is duly rebuked by his god, being told the harlot has done him "only good" clothing his nakedness with a fine robe, giving him food and drink fit for a god, and introduced him to Gilgamesh his companion-in-arms!

Thereupon a chastened Enkidu withdraws his curse and bestows a blessing on the harlot!

Failing with Shamshat, Enkidu tries another, cursing the hunter who brought the harlot to eden's watering hole to entrap him with sex and separate him from his animal companions the gazelles. He asks the sun-god to diminish the profits of the hunter in all that he sets his hand to. Mixing it all up in Genesis, Yahweh diminishes the yield of the earth for Adam, setting forth brambles and thorns as reward for his toil.



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Re: Living Sumer: The Historical Evolution of Yahweh


Eve of the Rib

Four to six thousand years removed from our technological vantage point, one could imagine how men and women passed their free times, if such leisure were available. Evidently the ladies and the men passed around some brews, the ladies over the latest gossip and latest hunk warrior, while the men talked about their latest agricultural hybrid. As for the males gods, they were probably working out among themselves the next armageddon and which god is with the new bravest leader. But the lady gods had their plants to mind and cultivate.

In the garden of eden at Dilmum (blessed land in Sumerian), Enki/Ea/Ay-ya lives with wife Ninhursag. The wife plants some plants and cultivates them and while away, husband Enki spies the plants and gets curious; perhaps the plants are meant to be eaten and are delicious, he reasons, and proceeds to have a go at them. He manages as far as the eighth before wife apprehends and catches him in the act. Now the lovers’ quarrel, and Ninhursag is soon seething enough from anger to unleash a mindless curse on her beloved and condemns him “to die.” Enki succumbs to the deadly sentence and soon finds himself bedridden and sickly pale approaching death. But as lovers are also wont to do, Ninhursag recovers her wits just in time and sees the severity of her death sentence on her beloved. She hastens to the soon-to-be deathbed and consults with the sickened god.

What ails him? The rib. What to do?

Summoning the power of Logos, Ninhursag creates another goddess, Nin-ti (Nin=Lady, ti=rib), the “Lady of the Rib” to the future generations, who was gifted with the power of healing and proceeds to heal the dying god. Soon enough all is well with the lovers and they even have a new addition to the family, the “Lady of the Rib” Nin-ti, gaining another epithet, “The lady who makes [one] live,” she who, in a sense, springs from the rib of her god. And Enki/Ea/Ay-ya? He goes on to add another title: En-Ti, “Lord of the Rib.”

Covenanting with the Gods: Personal Gods and Job Motif
The Sumerians, according to their own records, cherished goodness and truth, law and order, justice and freedom, righteousness and straightforwardness, mercy and compassion, and naturally abhorred their opposites—evil and falsehood, lawlessness and disorder, injustice and oppression, sinfulness and perversity, cruelty and pitilessness. Kings and rulers, in particular, boast constantly of the fact that they have established law and order in the land, protected the weak from the strong and the poor from the rich, and wiped out evil and violence. Urukagina, for example, proudly records that he restored justice and freedom to the long-suffering citizens of Lagash, did away with ubiquitous and oppressive officials, put a stop to injustice and exploitation, and protected the widow and the orphan.

Less than four centuries later, UrNammu, the founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur, promulgated his law code, which lists in its prologue some of his ethical achievements: he did away with a number of prevalent bureaucratic abuses, regulated weights and measures to ensure honesty in the marketplace, and saw to it that the widow, the orphan, and the poor were protected from ill treatment and abuse. Some two centuries later Lipit-Ishtar of Isin promulgated a new law code in which he boasts that he was especially selected by the great gods An and Enlil for “the princeship of the Land” in order to establish justice in the Land, to banish complaints, to turn back enmity and rebellion by force of arms, and to bring wellbeing to the the Sumerians and Akkadians. The hymns of quite a number of Sumerian rulers abound in similar claims of high ethical and moral conduct.

The gods, of course, also preferred the ethical and moral to the unethical and immoral, according to the Sumerian sages, and practically all the major deities of the Sumerian pantheon are extolled in their hymns as lovers of the good and the just, of truth and righteousness. Indeed, there were several deities who had the supervision of the moral order as their main function: for example, the sun-god Utu. Another deity, the Lagashite goddess named Nanshe, also played a significant role in the sphere of man's ethical and moral conduct. She is described in one of her hymns as the goddess

Who knows the orphan, who knows the widow,
Knows the oppression of man over man, is the orphan's
Nanshe, who cares for the widow,
Who seeks out (?) justice (?) for the poorest (?).
The queen brings the refugee to her lap,
Finds shelter for the weak

Note: question mark (?) denotes undecipherable cuneiform tablet character/s

Unfortunately, although the leading deities were assumed to be ethical and moral in their conduct, the fact remained that, in accordance with the world view of the Sumerians, they were also the ones who in the process of establishing civilization had planned evil and falsehood, violence and oppression—in short, all the immoral and unethical modes of human conduct. Thus, for example, among the list of me’s —the rules and regulations devised by the gods to make the cosmos run smoothly and effectively—there are not only those which regulate “truth,” “peace,” “goodness” and “justice,” but also those which govern “falsehood,” “strife” “lamentation” and “fear.” Why, then, one might ask, did the gods find it necessary to plan and create sin and evil, suffering and misfortune, which were so pervasive that one Sumerian pessimist could say, “Never has a sinless child been born to his mother”? To judge from our available material, the Sumerian sages, if they asked the question at all, were prepared to admit their ignorance in this respect; the will of the gods and their motives were at times inscrutable—or as we put it today, “God works in his mysterious ways.” The proper course for a Sumerian Job to pursue was not to argue and complain in face of seemingly unjustifiable misfortune, but to plead and wail, lament and confess his inevitable sins and failings.

But will the gods give heed to him, a lone and not very effective mortal, even if he prostrates and humbles himself in heartfelt prayer?

Probably not, the Sumerian teachers would have answered. As they saw it, gods were like mortal rulers and no doubt had more important things to attend to; and so, as in the case of kings, man must have an intermediary to intercede in his behalf, one whom the gods would be willing to hear and favor.

As a result, the Sumerian thinkers contrived and evolved the notion of a personal god, a kind of good angel to each particular individual and family head, his divine father who had begot him, as it were. It was to him, to his personal deity, that the individual sufferer bared his heart in prayer and supplication, and it was through him that he found his salvation. The personal god became a family god then town god, city god, and national god.

If it all sound familiar, it is because it is. The Greeks called them city-state patron gods. The Catholics patron saints. Nation states call them their national gods. And gods and men and nations and their gods embark on a dual oath, a covenant, a testament to maintain the worship of the god and the keeping of the faith in his or her temples, while the gods promise to protect his chosen people and keep them safe for his glory. When the apostle Paul talks about war of the powers of heaven and earth, he was talking of these gods at their state of war and in the course of launching another of their armageddon battles. So choose your loyalties.

We learn all this from a recently pieced-together poetic essay dealing with suffering and submission, a theme made famous in world literature and religious thought by the Biblical Book of Job. Its major significance lies in the fact that it represents man's first recorded attempt to deal with the age-old and yet very modern problem of human suffering—more than a thousand years before the composition of the Book of Job.

The main thesis of our poet is that in cases of suffering and adversity, no matter how seemingly unjustified, the victim has but one valid and effective recourse, which is to continually glorify his god and keep wailing and lamenting before him until he turns a favorable ear to his prayers. The god concerned is the sufferer’s “personal” god, that is, the deity who, in accordance with the accepted Sumerian credo, acts as the man's representative and intercessor in the assembly of the gods.

To prove his point, our author does not resort to philosophical speculation but to a practical application; he cites a case: Here is a man, unnamed to be sure, who had been wealthy, wise, and righteous, or at least seemingly so, and blest with both friends and kin. One day sickness and suffering overwhelmed him. Did he defy the divine order and blaspheme? Not at all. He came humbly before his god with tears and lamentation and poured out his heart in prayer and supplication. As a result, his god was highly pleased and moved to compassion; he gave heed to his prayer, delivered him from his misfortune, and turned his suffering to joy. (For anyone who does not feel light-headed already about this and wants to check out the whole material, please see: Samuel Kramer. The Sumerians, pp. 145–166)

One can almost imagine how the first archaeologists who first deciphered these Sumerian cuneiform tablets must have felt at how they struck such familiar chord with existing faiths and the sentiments spread throughout their faithful.

Sacred Marriage: Jesus and Church Theme “Be fruitful and multiply”

Why is the New Testament church always portrayed as a woman to be married off to Jesus? Where did the lines “Be fruitful and multiply” come from? The Sumerians provide the key. In this case, the covenant god, the protector of Uruk and his wife, and their protected covenant people are involved.

Scholars have unearthed what once existed in Sumer of a holy ritual celebrating Inanna's marriage to Dumuzi who was a king of Uruk. This marriage was “acted out” before the people by Uruk's king assuming the role of Dumuzi and one of Inanna's harlot-priestesses (Shamhat) assuming the role of Inanna. They were “married” and a bed was prepared for the two actors to have sex upon in Inanna's temple. This “act of sex” assured Inanna's blessings upon her people. She would bless them with abundant harvests, numerous healthy children, and protection from their national enemies. Again keep in mind Inanna, in addition to being the goddess of war, is also the goddess of procreation.

So, Inanna's harlot-priestesses at times did assume the role of their goddess in the sacred marriage ceremony; that is to say the harlot-priestess became Inanna (Akkadian: Ishtar). Here, we have the explanation for how motifs originally associated with Inanna/Ishtar—(1) her Sumerian epithet nin eden (“Lady of Eden”), (2) her eating of a tree in the eden to acquire knowledge, (3) her husband (Dumuzi) living in the eden being slain because she chooses him to be her surrogate in the underworld, handing him over the demons—came to be transferred to her harlot-priestesses who assumed her role in the Sacred Marriage (which some scholars render into Greek as the Hieros Gamos). So motifs associated with Shamhat: (1) her nakedness in eden at the watering hole, (2) her bringing about “the fall” of a naked man (Enkidu) in eden via sex and persuasion, (3) her leaving eden with him, both being clothed, were merged with Inanna's motifs to be eventually recast as Eve eating forbidden fruit from a tree in eden and bringing about a naked Adam's “Fall” via her powers of persuasion. That is to say, the Bible's notion that Adam and Eve are a “husband and wife” in eden is recalling Dumuzi and Inanna as “husband and wife” in the eden near Uruk. They have sex, and this act of sex assures “abundant fruitfullness” for Uruk's crops and people, whence the biblical statement: “Be fruitful and multiply.” So Shamhat became Inanna/Ishtar when she played the role of Dumuzi's wife at Uruk, assimilating in that role all of the Sumerian and Akkadian motifs associated with the Queen of Heaven who was called at Nippur nin eden “the lady of eden,” who ate of a tree growing on the earth to acquire knowledge. Of interest here, is that the Queen of Heaven Cult and its bridegroom of eden Dumuzi, rendered in the Bible as Tammuz was observed by Israel and Judah at the Temple of Solomon right up and into the Babylonian Exile of 587 B.C. (cf. Jeremiah 44:15-26; Ezekiel 8:14).

The kings at Ur also participated in the sacred Hieros Gamos. None of these would have been lost, of course, to Abraham who dwelt at Ur before taking up residence later at Haran. The wealth of materials were in abundance and repurposing them is but a few strokes of hours’ work away. And much further on, the thought of a god marrying a church is but an echo of this ancient holy ritual, albeit a well-sanitized one according to the moral precepts of the day.



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Re: OLD TESTAMENT ARCHEOLOGY: Shocking Truths That Never Shook the World

so the Bible is lying??
Re: OLD TESTAMENT ARCHEOLOGY: Shocking Truths That Never Shook the World

no.. its a myth :)

I just wanted to know what is your beliefs? (, scientist will keep bragging that the Bible is not true nor just made by Mankind. Everything was not written in the bible, why? If you were to read a 1000 books with full of information but someone give you the summary of those 1000 books. 99% you will not read the 1000 books. Just the same as the Bible only important part was written in it. do you know that 1 day for God's Time is equivalent to 1000 years in earth. The creation of earth took 6000 years and that's the reason why there are Big Bang Theories etc and there is a high possibility that it was that processed hence by the Word of God.

I will not force you to change your religion or belief but dont base your thought in just mere research because that is only human a mere person. And a person will keep on doing mistake over and over again but only God and Jesus Christ did not..;):)
Re: OLD TESTAMENT ARCHEOLOGY: Shocking Truths That Never Shook the World

i dont have any belief :)
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