Was it actually a Hyena in this early Sumerian Proverb?

JimDuyer

The Force is Strong With This One
I did this work this morning, partly out of a request in the new kids forum for me to be active in the Linguistics arena, and partly out of a question in that same forum about how translations are decided upon. So I hope this helps in both cases. I'm actually somewhat better with the earliest pictographic version of Sumerian, from 4500-5500 BC, because that is the field with the very least number of scholars, and I find it challenging. But I often do these Classic period translations as well.

Quite often I find that professional scholars fail to translate Sumerian writings in a way that I believe they could have, and perhaps even should have.

Often it seems to resemble a lack of empathy as far as I can tell, because they seem to have a habit of generally disdaining the accomplishments of these great early people.

Perhaps not intentionally, but certainly modern cultural opinions do seem to influence their work. And of course their huge work load doesn't afford them adequate time, in many instances.

The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL) publishes translations of Sumerian tablets and produces a great many translations of the Sumerian epics.

The ETCSL project is part of the Faculty of Oriental Studies, at the University of Oxford, and the project was founded by Dr. Jeremy Black, a famous British Assyriologist and Sumerologist.

Here's an example of what I am speaking of, from their translation of one of the lines in "a Proverb from Urim".

Urim is referred to most frequently by American scholars as "Ur", and it is famous as the home of Abraham, born in Ur (of the Chaldees, modern-day Iraq).

"Let the snake find its deep hole, the scorpion its crevice, and the hyena its exit."
Proverbs: from Urim (c.6.2.3), line c623.118.1

When I read their translation alarm bells began ringing. (Actually I believe it was my well-developed crap-detector that was going off).

A snake might find its deep hole, and scorpions do like the crevices in rock formations, but since when would a hyena seek its exit? Hyenas are scavengers, and not much
attention is normally paid to their lifestyle other than noting those attributes.

Why would the Sumerians care enough to mention the exit of a Hyena in a Proverb? Could it be that unless given an exit, a Hyena would be more vicious? No. They are what they are;
cowards that normally hunt in packs. So exits are the routes that they choose when they are done scavenging their meal or stealing it from other animals.

Here are the transliterated Sumerian words from that line of the Proverb:

1. /muš\-e ki-ur3-bi /giri2\ ki-in-dar-bi
2. /kir4?\-e ki-e3-bi /?e2\-ni-in-kig2-kig2-e

Let's translate each word in turn, and see what we have.

muš = serpent, snake
ki = earth, land, dirt
and ur3 = roof , so earthen roof, or a hole in the ground is the most likely meaning.
bi - verbal joiner
giri2 = razor; sword, dagger, but we see also the idea of a scorpion, with its dagger-tail
ki = earth, land, dirt
in = demarcated zone or sector (area)
dar = to break up, to split, to cut open, to crush, crack off (a crevice)

So we have : Serpent - its earthen roof, Scorpion - its crevice sector in the earth.

Not too far off from the final translation that ETCSL came up with. But let's look at the next line:

Here they begin by assigning a meaning for the symbol kir4 of "Hyena". It has been assumed to have that meaning, but the only way in which it will fit in with the rest of the text is by assigning the other seven symbols to form just one meaning - that of "exit."

But is that what we have here? Here is their hyena, and the next seven words defined.

kir4 = hyena ?
ki = land, ground, earth, country
e3 = to leave, to go out; to remove, take away; to bring out;
e2 = house; temple; household; room; house-lot; estate
ni = to pass, to flow
in = sector, demarcated zone
kig2 = to work, to love, beloved
kig2 = to work, to love, beloved (I've found that when it is repeated, we usually are to
use the repeated portion to amplify or enhance the meanings).
e = to raise, rear (a child);

So with their translation and the inclusion of the seven meanings that they felt it was appropriate to ignore, we have something like "The Hyena to leave the country, to pass to his home sector, to love and be beloved, to raise children."

Well, it sounds like a more complete explanation than simply "to exit" but are these really the activities of a Hyena?

How about if I told you that the word kir4 has also been used to mean "charioteer"?

The Charioteer leaves the field (of battle), to return to his home location; and there to love and be loved, and to raise a family.

The Sumerians were very proud of their chariots, and loved their horses. In fact they very probably learned this from visiting Hurrians, who were moving into that area and had originated in the Caucasus mountains, where they very early raised horses.

My research tells me that Abraham himself was a Hurrian, and his ancestors were from Harran, near the border of Syria and Turkey. A translated tablet that I have reviewed tells us that he worked as a scribe in Ur while his father sold idols and probably worked in the local temple as well.

We can see that this meaning of Charioteer fits the theme much better, in that a snake an a scorpion are both predators, fierce warriors in their own domains, and quick to strike. The Charioteers of the Sumerians were the first in battle - they led the rest of the army, and were known for their quick strikes into enemy territory.

So here we have the Sumerians expressing pride in their Charioteers, and even comparing them to the fast-striking, fierce, and deadly snakes and scorpions common to their desert domain.

So let's republish this saying from the Proverbs of Ur:

The Serpent has its earthen roof, while the Scorpion finds cracks in the Earth.
Our Charioteers leave the field, and return to their own homes; there to love and be loved, and to raise their families.

By the way, just as a sort of confirmation that we are correct with our new translation, I found the phrase "kir3-dab5-me" in another text, and it has been translated as:
kir4 = chariot, charioteer, Chariot drivers
dab5 = to seize, to bind, to overwhelm, to envelop
me = battle, combat.

Which gives us : Charioteers; to envelop and overwhelm in battle. Almost like the idea of our own Marines, who were the first to fight and considered deadly by the enemy.

And to offer even further confirmation, the word kir4-dab5 was later the Akkadian loan word "kartappu", which they defined as "animal driver" and "driver".

My intention here is not to belittle the hard work and excellent results produced by our own Sumerian translators. Certainly with all of the hundreds of thousands of tablets that are awaiting translation they have their work cut out for them. And they do an excellent job. Except that, perhaps due to their back-load of work and the handful of qualified translators, they sometimes go for the simplest result and perhaps not the most culturally accurate one.
 

Michael B-C

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Very interesting, thank you JimDuyer. I can't make any helpful comment on the veracity of your hypothesis (having none of the linguistic skills you do) but I wonder have you thought about the possibility that this proverb relates to astronomical/astrological matters rather than being literal?

Reason I ask is that all three could be constellations that were still in existence in later derived Babylonian star lore:

muš = serpent, snake = Mul Dinger Muš = THE SERPENT (Greek - Hydra)
giri2 = a scorpion, with its dagger-tail = Mul Giri2 Tab = THE SCORPION (Greek - Scorpius) - which was often seen as having several constituent parts - e.g. Breast; Claws; Stinger
kir4 = chariot, charioteer, Chariot drivers = Mul Giš Gigir or Mul Lu2 Giš Gigir = THE CHARIOT/CHARIOTEER = (Greek - Auriga)

The only one that is suspect is your 'Hyena/Charioteer' but I think there's still a possible logic to the above especially considering how all 3 of these were primary constellations:

"Let the snake find its deep hole, the scorpion its crevice, and the hyena its exit."
Proverbs: from Urim (c.6.2.3), line c623.118.1
I know you are questioning this but the actions suggested for all 3 are highly suggestive of the concept of gates/entrances/exits that ancient constellations also denoted, with perhaps reference to the comings and goings of certain related god-like cosmic 'intruders'/'weather'.

Just a thought in passing...
 

JimDuyer

The Force is Strong With This One
Very interesting, thank you JimDuyer. I can't make any helpful comment on the veracity of your hypothesis (having none of the linguistic skills you do) but I wonder have you thought about the possibility that this proverb relates to astronomical/astrological matters rather than being literal?

Reason I ask is that all three could be constellations that were still in existence in later derived Babylonian star lore:

muš = serpent, snake = Mul Dinger Muš = THE SERPENT (Greek - Hydra)
giri2 = a scorpion, with its dagger-tail = Mul Giri2 Tab = THE SCORPION (Greek - Scorpius) - which was often seen as having several constituent parts - e.g. Breast; Claws; Stinger
kir4 = chariot, charioteer, Chariot drivers = Mul Giš Gigir or Mul Lu2 Giš Gigir = THE CHARIOT/CHARIOTEER = (Greek - Auriga)

The only one that is suspect is your 'Hyena/Charioteer' but I think there's still a possible logic to the above especially considering how all 3 of these were primary constellations:


I know you are questioning this but the actions suggested for all 3 are highly suggestive of the concept of gates/entrances/exits that ancient constellations also denoted, with perhaps reference to the comings and goings of certain related god-like cosmic 'intruders'/'weather'.

Just a thought in passing...
Well, the Sumerians were indeed very famous for double or triple meaning in everything they wrote. Why not both? In your example above you agree with the Charioteer, which was my main point in the exercise, and I think that if we can put the serpent in a nearby "hole" and the scorpion in some "crack" or "crevice" arrangement of stars, then perhaps you are absolutely correct.
I have always regretted the fact that I did not take the time to study Astronomy.
Perhaps one of the other Cassiopaean members here can suggest the answer, based on your idea of astronomical placement. I think that it is an excellent, out of the box suggestion, and
I thank you.
 

Laura

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JimDuyer wrote:

My research tells me that Abraham himself was a Hurrian, and his ancestors were from Harran, near the border of Syria and Turkey. A translated tablet that I have reviewed tells us that he worked as a scribe in Ur while his father sold idols and probably worked in the local temple as well.

Can you expand on this. My research suggests to me that Abraham of the Bible was a semi-mythical construct - a literary character. See: Philippe Wajdenbaum's "Argonauts of the Desert".

 

JimDuyer

The Force is Strong With This One
JimDuyer wrote:



Can you expand on this. My research suggests to me that Abraham of the Bible was a semi-mythical construct - a literary character. See: Philippe Wajdenbaum's "Argonauts of the Desert".

First I would like to say that we have a few things in common. I'm from Clearwater. And I was born a month after you. And I absolutely respect your high intelligence and excellent writing skills, which I envy. OK, blushing admiration put away, I would be happy to.

I have a translation of a Sumerian tablet that references the scholar Ab-ba-ra-ham. It's from the Univ. of Penn collection, and I re-translated the work to be sure, and I am in agreement with all but a few adjectives. In the majority it is what was proposed - a mention of a scribe by that name in the period just prior to the Amorite invasion of Sumeria (1950 BC).

Since his father Terah was supposedly a priest in the temple (probably the Moon God's temple) it would fit in with a son who became a scribe. And the time period is just right.

We know from the Hebrew texts that the Hebrews were said to be part Amorite and part Hittite. The Hittite part is not only wrong, but it absolutely does not fit into the timeline of the move from Ur to the Canaan arena. Later we see that the names of some of the supposedly "Hittite" people are without question Hurrian names, and not only that but popularly used and in a period beginning well before Abraham (about 3000 BC).

I also re-translated, or in some cases did the first translations on some of the tablets from their homelands in northern Syria near the Turkish border - very near Haran (Harran). Some of these are in pictographs, or proto-Sumerian in form. Very difficult to translate. But when I did so, the story they provide does not in any way match what our "scholars" have been telling us.

The Amorites conquered the Assyrians, at a time when Assyria was powerful. They overran and took Sumeria, they beat up the Akkadians from time to time. They were a mean, fierce and nearly barbaric people. They had little or no written language. So obviously it was not the Amorite part of the tribe that wrote anything. Although there were two places that worshiped a Moon God, one of which was Haran and the other UR, and both are connected to Terah and Abraham.

The Hurrians, on the other hand, were highly intelligent, and wrote in Sumerian Cuneiform from a time less than 100 years after the Sumerians themselves did. They were present in Ur III Sumeria, from the Kings names we know that, and they are supposed to have been part of the scribal cadre.

Our scholars play it cagey when it comes to the Hurrians. They don't like to admit that they know their origins. Following the obvious signs of their cities and established towns, it is fairly easy to determine that they originated in the Caucusus mountain area. Home of red-haired, white, blue-eyed examples. So there is your answer for the "white, shining" Noah and the red hair of Edom. And perhaps a few other connections as well. Such as the first place known to produce wine, as in the tale of drunken Noah after the flood.

BTW there was a flood, and it did cover the known world, But the known world in those days stretched from Iran to England, and the flood happened about 7500 BC. The British remember the land before then as "Doggerland". I also found a Sumerian map of Edin, that I can scientifically date to 6500-8000 BC. Never published, but I am working on getting it out in a book that has a working title of "Biblical Science: No, Really."

Please understand that I am not a supporter of the Hebrew bible stories as history. There are some mentions that are historical in nature; not the history of the Hebrews per se, but rather that of people they met or traveled among.

I could tell you something at this point that would change the way we look at the Old Testament, forever. And I will, since it's nearly your birthday.

Look at www.qbible.com for the Hebrew text of the OT. Start with the beginning, Genesis 1:1
Look to the left, since King James leaves the word out completely.
There is a word in the original Hebrew, which I often translate, and it is found twice
in that verse. The word is "et", which later translators changed to "eth". Obviously since
there were no vowels it was actually ['t].
To the Hebrews it meant "mark, stick, furrow". To the Canaanites it meant "writing", and this found agreement with most of the early Syrian tribes as well as the Aramaic.

But what it really indicates is "to write with a stick, to create furrows in clay while writing". Which indicates Cuneiform. And the Hebrews did not use Cuneiform. Ever.

So what the verse is telling us is:
In the Beginning, as it was written in Cuneiform, God created the Heavens and the Earth, as it was written in Cuneiform. I'm sure you recognize that they were using this mention to confirm importance, which is a common scholarly tactic, even at that early date.

Was this Cuneiform work the product of their relatives the Hurrians or of Sumerian origin?
Where are those books that they speak of, or tablets? Are they the buried ones we hear about?
Where is the rest of the story?
Are any parts left out, or some good bits still floating around in Syria or Southern Turkey somewhere?

It's not only in Genesis; you will find that it is used hundreds of times. So how do our biblical scholars handle this term? They leave it out. Ignore it. Claim it is not really understood what it may mean, but it is probably some type of joiner term or adjective or other. They get vague. They clam up. Not important, nothing to see here. They change the subject very quickly and move on.
I've seen it before, on many occasions.

But in truth it simply would not work with the rest of the text as it is presented. Too many unanswered questions.

So, nice to chat with you, and thanks for asking. I will look for the published and peer-reviewed item that mentions Abraham and post it. I have it somewhere, so just perhaps a day to find it.
 

JimDuyer

The Force is Strong With This One
I looked at your book suggestion. Well, they say everyone has an opinion. I can provide evidence that the Greeks are the authors of philosophy and classic literature, but little or nothing else. Every single mathematical, calculus, geographic, astronomic or other invention, they stole from Babylonia. Period. And the evidence for that is very clear and strong. So, yes, the Greeks probably got their own ideas from the texts floating around that eventually became a Bible of sorts. And the Bible itself came from much, much earlier reports from Anatolia through Sumeria and on to Iran and the Elamites. That's not only my less than humble opinion; the textual evidence, created a thousand or more years before the Greeks were able to assemble the tribes into a civilization of sorts existed., proves it. How about if I show you that a section of the Bible actually provides the circumference of the moon, accurate to 98%, and gives the true measure of the cubit, which has eluded the Rabbin for centuries? It's in Biblical Science, which I will get out after "Our Government talks to the Extraterrestrials".
 

JimDuyer

The Force is Strong With This One
Very interesting, thank you JimDuyer. I can't make any helpful comment on the veracity of your hypothesis (having none of the linguistic skills you do) but I wonder have you thought about the possibility that this proverb relates to astronomical/astrological matters rather than being literal?

Reason I ask is that all three could be constellations that were still in existence in later derived Babylonian star lore:

muš = serpent, snake = Mul Dinger Muš = THE SERPENT (Greek - Hydra)
giri2 = a scorpion, with its dagger-tail = Mul Giri2 Tab = THE SCORPION (Greek - Scorpius) - which was often seen as having several constituent parts - e.g. Breast; Claws; Stinger
kir4 = chariot, charioteer, Chariot drivers = Mul Giš Gigir or Mul Lu2 Giš Gigir = THE CHARIOT/CHARIOTEER = (Greek - Auriga)

The only one that is suspect is your 'Hyena/Charioteer' but I think there's still a possible logic to the above especially considering how all 3 of these were primary constellations:


I know you are questioning this but the actions suggested for all 3 are highly suggestive of the concept of gates/entrances/exits that ancient constellations also denoted, with perhaps reference to the comings and goings of certain related god-like cosmic 'intruders'/'weather'.

Just a thought in passing...
Well, well. We have the shape of the Charioteer pointing where? To his home - in the celestial north pole. So yes, you are correct in all three examples. Thank you. Should we publish?
 

Laura

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I looked at your book suggestion. Well, they say everyone has an opinion. I can provide evidence that the Greeks are the authors of philosophy and classic literature, but little or nothing else. Every single mathematical, calculus, geographic, astronomic or other invention, they stole from Babylonia. Period. And the evidence for that is very clear and strong. So, yes, the Greeks probably got their own ideas from the texts floating around that eventually became a Bible of sorts. And the Bible itself came from much, much earlier reports from Anatolia through Sumeria and on to Iran and the Elamites. That's not only my less than humble opinion; the textual evidence, created a thousand or more years before the Greeks were able to assemble the tribes into a civilization of sorts existed., proves it. How about if I show you that a section of the Bible actually provides the circumference of the moon, accurate to 98%, and gives the true measure of the cubit, which has eluded the Rabbin for centuries? It's in Biblical Science, which I will get out after "Our Government talks to the Extraterrestrials".

You appear to be mistaking the Bible for the works of the Babylonians. One should try to understand that there are literary influences on the Bible from many directions. And yes, certainly, there are literary influences on the Greeks from the Babylonians. The way they mix and intermingle and cross and recross is fascinating.

I would strongly suggest that you check out the book book recommended above as well as:


and



I wrote a review of the Berossus and Manetho book as follows.

Old Testament, is probably the most successful literary creation of all time; and yet, we do not know its author. This was, it seems, by design, and as a result, for about two millennia, people have claimed that it was "written by God" and every word in it is truth, or Truth.

But in recent years, there has been a growing body of research that demonstrates that this is not exactly the case: that the OT is based on the other literature that was available at the time it was written.

Years ago while researching the Hittites and their possible relationship to the patriarch, Abraham, I was reading Trevor Bryce's book "Daily Life of the Hittites" and was slightly electrified with his short discussion about the possible/probable relationship between the Epic of Gilgamesh and Homer's Odyssey. That’s a can of worms since some of the correspondences are apparently very close to word-for-word. Who influenced who and when and where?

Time went by and I went through all the works of John Van Seters in his search for the History of Israel and Abraham. In his book, "In Search of History", he discussed the relationship of the Israelite history to the historical texts of the ancient Near East and Greece, noting that, while we have many texts from the Near East with historical content, only the Greek histories parallel the biblical histories in their distance from the past that is being described. He noted at the time that there were numerous agreements between the substance and style of some of the OT books and works of Greek historians, particularly Herodotus. However, he didn't go into this in detail and I recall reading it and nodding vigorously because I had noticed the same things.

In 2002, Jan-Wim Wesselius wrote "The Origin of the History of Israel" wherein he argues convincingly that the structure of the OT from Genesis to 2 Kings is modeled on the Histories of Herodotus. He points out the striking parallels between the key figure of Joseph - who is the one who got the Israelites into Egypt in the first place - and King Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire. Some of these parallels are so precise that there is no wiggle room for evading the obvious borrowing. Further, there is amazing duplication of the genealogy of the patriarchs and the Persian-Median royal house, the most striking of which exist between the figures of Moses and King Xerxes. The main subjects of the stories about the two of them are that a leader is summoned by the divinity to bring an enormous army into another continent across a body of water as if on dry land in order to conquer somebody else's land. In both cases, the conquest ends badly, with a horrific siege, though in the case of Xerxes, it was within his lifetime, and in the case of the Israelites, it was when the Babylonians came much, much later.

Following Wesselius, in 2006, along came Russell Gmirkin's "Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus", the book I’m reviewing here at long last.

Gmirkin argues the theory that the Hebrew Pentateuch was composed in its entirety about 273-272 BCE by Jewish scholars at Alexandria that later traditions credited with the Septuagint translation of the Pentateuch into Greek. The primary evidence is the obvious literary dependence of Gen. 1-11 on Berossus' Babyloniaca (278 BCE) and the dependence of the Exodus story on Manetho's Aegyptiaca (c. 285-280 BCE), and the geo-political data contained in the Table of Nations. These three pieces of evidence are almost slam-dunk evidence of dependence.

Gmirkin theorizes that a number of indications within the text pointed to a provenance of Alexandria, Egypt for at least some parts of the Pentateuch. He points out that the many texts that would have to have been consulted to produce such a history probably were available only there. I don't see Wesselius in Gmirkin's bibliography and that is a bit surprising because it seems to me that their ideas dovetail nicely except that Wesselius proposes an earlier date for the composition. I think that with the evidence presented by Gmirkin, that date is going to have to be revised, but I don’t think Wesselius will mind!

What is clear is that the OT author not only used Herodotus for his structure, he was in dialogue with Berossus and Manetho, ESPECIALLY Manetho and his derogatory ethnography of the Jews. Obviously it was seen that a compelling, apologetic history needed to be written that out-did every other apologetic history that was being produced during those times and that is probably what inspired the author to use the techniques he did: borrowing from the many texts available in Alexandria at the time.

That the Pentateuch was composed at almost the same date as the alleged Septuagint translation, provides compelling evidence for some level of communication and collaboration between the authors of the Pentateuch and the Septuagint scholars at Alexandria. The late date of the Pentateuch, as demonstrated by literary dependence on Berossus and Manetho, has two important consequences: the definitive overthrow of the chronological framework of the Documentary Hypothesis, and a late, 3rd century BCE date for major portions of the Hebrew Bible which show literary dependence on the Pentateuch.

My own thoughts about this startling (and compelling) argument are that much of the OT was composed in Greek and only later translated into Hebrew and the Hebrew texts were corrected and fiddled with a bit which is why they no longer exactly match up with the LXX, NOT the other way around. It seems to me that the origins of the Masoretic text lie in a re-writing and Semiticizing of the “translated” Septuagint.”

Since Gmirkin wrote this book, more and more evidence has been adduced that supports and augments his original work. In 2011 there was Bruce Louden’s "Homer's Odyssey and the Near East" where he shows that Genesis is in dialogue with the Odyssey. Genesis features the same three types of myth that comprise the majority of the Odyssey: theoxeny, romance (Joseph in Egypt), and Argonautic myth (Jacob winning Rachel from Laban). The Odyssey also offers intriguing parallels to the Book of Jonah, and Odysseus' treatment by the suitors offers close parallels to the Gospels' depiction of Christ in Jerusalem. (It turns out that the works of Homer are well-employed in the composition of the Gospels, too, as explicated by Dennis R. MacDonald, but that's off-topic here.)

Further support for Gmirkin’s seminal work comes from Philippe Wadjenbaum whose book “Argonauts of the Desert” claims to be a "revolutionary new commentary on the Bible and its origins, arguing that most biblical stories and laws were inspired by Greek literature." Well, as I have demonstrated in the brief review of the main books on the topic that I have read above, it's not so revolutionary, but it's the logical follow-up. Gmirkin wrote a lot of stuff that hasn’t been refuted effectively as far as I can see, and he did it at a time when very few had the courage to say these things out loud – heck, even the great Van Seters only suggested it sideways!

Obviously, the bottom line of all this research and these unsettling conclusions is that the Hebrew Bible is certainly not a history of Israel and, as the archaeological record reveals, there probably was no early kingdom of Israel as described in the Bible yet it has been believed in for millennia as fervently as people believe that the sun will rise. The reactions to the above types of analyses are usually outright rejection even in the face of accumulating mountains of evidence that is considered conclusive in any field of endeavor OTHER than Biblical Criticism. It is asked: if all this is true, how could generation after generation of scholars not have seen it?

Most Biblical Criticism today is still conducted by "true believers" in the sanctity and primacy of the text and it is in the form of the perpetuation of this dogma rather than true study and research. The Bart Ehrman "Search for the Historical Jesus of Nazareth" debacle of recent times is a case in point. He falls back on his title that gives him (and only others like him) the legitimacy to speak authoritatively about the Bible. Real scientific critics are not allowed to enter the biblical field. If they do, they are shouted down or ignored away by the Churches that grant the authority.

Gmirkin really let the Genie out of the bottle with this one and there’s no putting it back. Whether the true believers like it or not, biblical studies are moving into a new era.
 

JimDuyer

The Force is Strong With This One
You appear to be mistaking the Bible for the works of the Babylonians. One should try to understand that there are literary influences on the Bible from many directions. And yes, certainly, there are literary influences on the Greeks from the Babylonians. The way they mix and intermingle and cross and recross is fascinating.

I would strongly suggest that you check out the book book recommended above as well as:


and



I wrote a review of the Berossus and Manetho book as follows.
I will.
Here's the mention of Abraham.

CYGNUS_016.pngPh.D's from Yale found a mention of Abraham in the Sumerian texts from Larsa, but for some reason they have never thought to mention this to the Christians in the crowd. It makes one wonder.

The evidence is in their own peer-reviewed article, and a complete PDF file is available free from here: https://babylonian-collection.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/yos2.pdf

It was Authored by:
Henry Frederick Lutz, Ph.D. from Yale University, part of the
YALE ORIENTAL SERIES, BABYLONIAN TEXTS Vol. II.
Yale University Press, published August 1917

His section is titled "Early Babylonian Letters from Larsa".

I've included an image that presents that page in question. You will note that on line
13 we see: A-ba-ra-ha-am, which he translates as Aba-raham, but obviously
that is not correct because each of those syllables has an adequate translation
of its own, and taken together they tell us about the man, the person referred to.

I find his statement to be somewhat disingenuous (not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth) in that he, as a Sumerian scholar, is aware of the fact that "raham" by itself is not a word in the Sumerian language. However by using the syllables in the form that it was originally written in the Sumerian language, we can uncover the meaning behind his name, which is as follows:

a = "father" but also "a text, the scribal exercise". So we have father+scribe.
ba = "to deduct, remove; to diminish, reduce; to withdraw, receive (as an allotment)"
Recall when Yahweh received the Hebrews as "his allotment"?
ra "to beat, kill; to break, crush; to flood;
ha - same symbol used for pes = "grandson; descendant; to give birth (to); to gather"
am = "wild bull"

I would suggest something like: "A Father and scribe, who took out his gathered descendants, to crush and kill like wild bulls." And if you ask the people of Canaan, and especially those in Jerico, this describes the tribes of Abraham, the father of his people.
 

JimDuyer

The Force is Strong With This One
You appear to be mistaking the Bible for the works of the Babylonians. One should try to understand that there are literary influences on the Bible from many directions. And yes, certainly, there are literary influences on the Greeks from the Babylonians. The way they mix and intermingle and cross and recross is fascinating.

I would strongly suggest that you check out the book book recommended above as well as:


and



I wrote a review of the Berossus and Manetho book as follows.
It's really a matter of timelines. As I showed above, Abraham was known in Larsa in the Amorite period of 1900 BC. The Greeks began writing about 900 BC, some thousand years later, and this is proven by their own alphabet, which is from the Phoenician, as the ancient Hebrew is. So it seems hard to claim that the Greeks did not obtain much from Old Babylon, as the Hebrews did.

But it is equally difficult, in my opinion, to have the OT arise from Greek scholars, due to the equal period of time between the first stories in the Bible and the first alphabet the Greeks and they had, from the Phoenicians, and the clear references to Sumerian culture found in the Bible text. Greek was the lingua used when they lived in Alexandria, for sure. And perhaps a bit earlier. And of course later.

The seventy or seventy-two Rabbin who were gathered at the request of the Pharaoh, a Macedonian Greek, gathered texts and oral histories from much earlier periods. And unfortunately, their creation stories and flood stories match much more closely to the Sumerians than the Greeks.

Actually the first time we see a Greek flood story is in the writings of Ovid, who lived
43 BC – 17/18 AD. If there had indeed been early oral histories of creation and a flood that matched the Sumerian tale and the Bible text, then why did Homer and others not write of it much earlier? But even Homer is too late to have been the original influence for the oral histories that were assembled into the Bible, since he lived c. 800–c. 701 BC, if he was an actual person. Plato does not mention it either, although he tells us of Atlantis. And supposedly received wisdom in Egypt.

And, if the Biblical text itself claims that it was based on "writings in Cuneiform", how does that relate to the Greeks? So, I will have to respectfully disagree or agree to disagree. But thanks for the ideas.
 

Laura

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It's really a matter of timelines. As I showed above, Abraham was known in Larsa in the Amorite period of 1900 BC.

What you showed is that the NAME "Abraham", or a variation thereof, was known at that time, probably belonging to quite a few people.

The Greeks began writing about 900 BC, some thousand years later, and this is proven by their own alphabet, which is from the Phoenician, as the ancient Hebrew is. So it seems hard to claim that the Greeks did not obtain much from Old Babylon, as the Hebrews did.

That's irrelevant. The Hebrew Bible was composed of many elements including the use of the name "Abraham" for a particular character. They lay out the evidence in detail.


But it is equally difficult, in my opinion, to have the OT arise from Greek scholars, due to the equal period of time between the first stories in the Bible and the first alphabet the Greeks and they had, from the Phoenicians, and the clear references to Sumerian culture found in the Bible text. Greek was the lingua used when they lived in Alexandria, for sure. And perhaps a bit earlier. And of course later.

No one said that the OT arose from "Greek scholars". I think you had better read the recommended books.
 

JimDuyer

The Force is Strong With This One
What you showed is that the NAME "Abraham", or a variation thereof, was known at that time, probably belonging to quite a few people.



That's irrelevant. The Hebrew Bible was composed of many elements including the use of the name "Abraham" for a particular character. They lay out the evidence in detail.




No one said that the OT arose from "Greek scholars". I think you had better read the recommended books.
Granted, it only shows that the name was in use, in the city of Ur, in the correct timeline, connected to a scribe which would have been part of the temple where Terah worked, and one that was a stranger to Sumeria, and took his people out or left with his tribes. With the deterioration of time I can not get any closer to him than that.

And he still could be only a mythical person, a sort of composite of the first father, I grant that also. Just as Moses and most of the others may have been later constricts based on historical memories. And just as we attribute to Davy Crockett and George Washington some amazing feats that may or may not have happened exactly as we remember them.

We tend to remember the positive, when possible, and forget the negative. For example, most people do not know or are not taught that Thomas Jefferson had the smallpox vaccine ready for Lewis and Clark to take with them, with the strict instructions that if the Mandan people did not turn out to be Welsh in origin, as many thought, to withhold it. And thus the apocalypse of that great Native American Nation. This is from his own diaries, which I have studied.

And yes, there was an interesting mix of all of the people extant in Egypt and the Levant in that time period. That's why its history is so interesting.
 

JimDuyer

The Force is Strong With This One
Well, I had a chance to look them over. Gmirkin is basically saying that the Bible was not actually assembled and written until the scholars (the 70 or 72) gathered in Alexandria in the 3rd century BC.
I won't attempt to dispute that specific claim, although there are certainly proto-Hebrew manuscripts extant that were written in the 900s BC, so they did have some parts of it at that time.

The Hebrews were basically disgusted with their Bible, their religion and their God. They still smarted from the two periods of captivity, and although they kept up the religion, they were not as enthused in that time period as in the later "revival" times just before and after Christ.
In fact, they did not become interested in their own religion again, on a wide basis, until people from foreign countries began to pay attention to it - and thus in the 900-1000 AD period they revisited it and put vowels in, here and there, and pronunciation marks. All of which was highly subjective, to say the least.

So no, they would not have had all of the Bible together in the 900s BC since some of the verses were still being written (in Aramaic, such as Job) during the 500s.

If he claims that portions of it were written then, and most were assembled then, it would be hard to argue. If he claims all of it was, he is in error, and this can very easily be proven, since the Hebrews copied the Ugaritic scribes and had proto-Hebrew rewrites of the various stories well in the 1050-900 BC period. So at least some of it was old, and not written in the 283 BC period.

What I believe he was trying to prove is that it took the Greeks of Pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphus to realize that the Hebrew writings, which at that time were written in one long string, with no punctuation, no periods or commas, and in one snaking line with no vowels, we so impossible to understand that they could make no sense of it. Which is exactly what the Rabbis wanted.

You had to go to them (for a fee) to make sense of it - and of course this allowed them to interpret it to say anything they wished, since the consonants could be combined into so many groups that only by remembering the verbal stops that were included when they "sang" the verses, could one get some meaning from it. Like the Indian Vedas, ten people could read it and come up with thirty different meanings, and none of it could be safely dated.

There was no way in way anyone other than the Rabbin could figure it out, and the Hebrews that lived in Alexandria, with Greek encouragement, finally put it into a civilized form that could be understood by the Greeks, and thus by others around the world.

So in that sense I agree with some of what he proposes.
 
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