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Old 10-14-2011, 08:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LookinForMayberry View Post
From what I've read of the Crusades, it was the Muhammadans that acted with honor and tolerance, but then they'd been living among resident Christians and Jews for centuries before the Pope decided to send the second sons south to burn off energy and seek their fortunes (while serving his own agenda).
Yes - it was a true cultural flourshing at that time, with a great exchange of ideas going on.
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:07 PM
 
Location: New York City
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Originally Posted by whoppers View Post
It makes it very difficult to discourse with them, because they automatically ignore the Religion of the Ancient Israelites and use the religion of later Judaism or Christianity to interpret it - imagining that all of history has been charted out on a holy course, all future doctrines can be found 'hidden' in the OT, God penned the Bible at one sitting and slowly released it in installments to people, etc.. Ugh.

The greatest crime that has been done to the Bible is to change it from the great anthology that it is, and transform it into something it was never meant to be. Many writers lost their individual voices in the process, and active inner-biblical dialogue on topics lost their flavor: how could inspired writ argue against itself? some would say.
Good points. It was Bart Ehrman who drew my attention to an interesting position I never considered. He pointed out that Christians tend to read the bible horizontally and that is expected as that is how we read our books. As a result, Christians believe the bible is a story that started in Genesis and ends at Revelation and that it has a designed theme from cover to cover. Mr. Ehrman argues instead that the bible should be read more like a vertical chart, understanding that what you find are different writers, each with their own agendas (that may or may not mesh with another writer's), trying to convince their audience to their views. When read this way, one has to read each book on its own merit without trying to weave in some [often] unrelated, obscure, vague passage from another book to come up with some wild, off the wall conclusion. This is one reason why there have been arguments over the centuries over doctrine because there are biblical passages where one writer clearly contradicts another writer elsewhere. Are they true contradictions or just opposing views?

Last edited by InsaneInDaMembrane; 10-14-2011 at 10:12 PM..
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Old 10-15-2011, 02:06 AM
 
Location: 30-40°N 90-100°W
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When I looked this up on my own I think I've only read of one inscription that says "Yw son of El." I admit any such thing disturbed me a bit, but even the scholars I read say they were uncertain what this meant. From a secular perspective it could mean what's implied by many/most atheists here, Yahweh is just an Ugaritic God the Jews elevated, but I don't know that it definitely means that. (Youtube evangelistic videos, for atheism or anything, are not what I'd deem an inarguable source though I'll try it out. Note below) "Yw" could have been "Yaw" a variant on "Yam" the sea god. Granted you could say this just means Yahweh is the sea-god, but I've rarely even seen that suggested. As described Yahweh has certain features unlike a sea-god.

"El" could simply be the same as "Tian" or "Shangdi", a term for a high-god. Any high-god. Some Chinese Christians to this day refer to God as "Shangdi."

Still the whole El/Ugarit thing is one of the most challenging things, as a Christian, I'd ever heard here.

Note: The first part of the video sounds dry, academic, and authoritative. It's apparently based in the work of Karen Armstrong. I don't think she's meaning her work as an argument for atheism as such, but she trends toward a kind of universalized mystical agnosticism or deism or something. Anyway she's an ex-nun and philosopher with interesting ideas, but his claims to authority in what she's saying are overblown. So it would likely be better to say this is a defensible view, but for activists atheists claiming "a defensible view worthy of equal respect" would be deemed a major disappointment. So it kind of places it as a stark "this is the way it is, like it or lump it" attitude. Then around the fifth minute it kind of falls apart by critiquing images from movies rather than the Bible and clearly getting more into the guy's subjective emotional opinions.

Last edited by Thomas R.; 10-15-2011 at 02:29 AM..
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Old 10-15-2011, 07:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post
When I looked this up on my own I think I've only read of one inscription that says "Yw son of El." I admit any such thing disturbed me a bit, but even the scholars I read say they were uncertain what this meant. From a secular perspective it could mean what's implied by many/most atheists here, Yahweh is just an Ugaritic God the Jews elevated, but I don't know that it definitely means that. (Youtube evangelistic videos, for atheism or anything, are not what I'd deem an inarguable source though I'll try it out. Note below) "Yw" could have been "Yaw" a variant on "Yam" the sea god. Granted you could say this just means Yahweh is the sea-god, but I've rarely even seen that suggested. As described Yahweh has certain features unlike a sea-god.

"El" could simply be the same as "Tian" or "Shangdi", a term for a high-god. Any high-god. Some Chinese Christians to this day refer to God as "Shangdi."

Still the whole El/Ugarit thing is one of the most challenging things, as a Christian, I'd ever heard here.

Note: The first part of the video sounds dry, academic, and authoritative. It's apparently based in the work of Karen Armstrong. I don't think she's meaning her work as an argument for atheism as such, but she trends toward a kind of universalized mystical agnosticism or deism or something. Anyway she's an ex-nun and philosopher with interesting ideas, but his claims to authority in what she's saying are overblown. So it would likely be better to say this is a defensible view, but for activists atheists claiming "a defensible view worthy of equal respect" would be deemed a major disappointment. So it kind of places it as a stark "this is the way it is, like it or lump it" attitude. Then around the fifth minute it kind of falls apart by critiquing images from movies rather than the Bible and clearly getting more into the guy's subjective emotional opinions.
Karen Armstrong - sad to say, because I enjoy her writing style - is not always the most scholarly source for information.


The words for "god": 'ilum, 'il, 'el
The name 'el has a long history, at least among semitic languages. You find it in our oldest attested semitic language: Akkadian. There it is ilum, and in later dialects that dropped the mimation ilu. Now, this beginning of the word is probably a contraction, so it was probably 'ilum, then 'ilu.
Akkadian (and Ugaritic) had case endings, which were put on the end of words to reveal gender, number, and case. "It is convenient to consider the noun as consisting of a base, which conveys the meaning, plus an ending or endings, which signify gender, number, and case" from Huehnergard's Grammar of Akkadian. So the Akkadian word for a 'god' would have the base 'il (conracted into il), and a case ending (-um, -im, -am as a few examples): 'ilum, or ilum = god.
Here is one of the cuneiform examples of how ilum was written in clay:


So, if you wanted to say something like "Thomas R is a god" you would normalize the Akkadian as Thomas ilum. The symbol above has changed throughout the various versions of Akkadian, and become simpler - but you can see it's resemlance to a star. The same logogram also stood for 'sky' and 'Anum' (a god). It was also used before names, to denote that the person being named was a god. It gets confusing, and I'm starting to digress.
The important thing is that you see the 'el relationship to 'il (um).

Time moved on, and the flourishing country of Ugarit rose on the northern coast of Syria. The language was another semitic language, close to Akkadian, but a younger brother. It would fall under the Canaanite language family, but several scholars have argued against that assignation because of the "canaanite shift". It is here where the interesting part begins again. The Ugaritians dropped the final m from their case endings, but retained the vowel. Unlike Akkadian, but much like Hebrew after it, Ugaritic did not use vowels when they wrote their language. They DID use some aleph-type-vowels, but I don't even want to get into explaining those heh heh!
So the word for god, ilum or ilu, is taken by Ugaritic and the aleph is reattached and we get 'il, vocalized in many instances as 'ilu. This becomes the basis for the Ugaritic pantheon's head god: 'El, from 'il. In other words: god becomes God, with a capital G. Usually pronounced like the alchoholic beverage "ale". 'El is top God, and below him is Ba'al - the weather-god so hated by the prophets of the Hebrew Bible.
Ugaritic is important for Biblical studies because it helps elucidate many words that have become obscure, it gives context to the Ancient Near East, gives us mythological background that the Israelites either borrowed or reacted against, and is an important historical witness to the evolution of languages. Ugarit was also a scribal training center, with the following languages being found there: Ugaritic, Hurrian, Hittite, Akkadian, Sumerian, Egyptian, Cypro-Minoan. Thankfully, Ugaritic cuneiform was alphabetic, and not syllabic - making it easier to learn.

Flash forward to Hebrew - which is more closely related to Ugaritic than Akkadian, and is nondisputedly a Canaanite language. Hebrew eventually drops it's case endings, so it's word for a god is simply 'el. It would be pronounced as "ale", since it uses a long e vowel. The language uses 'el as 'El in the Bible, but not as often as 'elohim is used, which is technically the plural form of 'el but somehow is used (in most, but not all, examples) as a singular noun.
Now - this makes research into the various "gods of the fathers" a little more exciting, and stimulating- not to mention how we understand the Bible and some of it's otherwise-obscure references.

Yahweh and Yam
That is an interesting theory, but I would argue against it simply because in languages names tend to become less complex, rather than start out simple and become complex. Yahweh seems to share characteristics with Ba'al at one moment, and then with 'El at the next. Perhaps at some point I will show the Biblical references to Yahweh's fight with Yam - the sea monster!
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Kenmore, WA
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Thank you, whopper, for your continued participation. I am amazed how my question regarding the god of the father has resulted in such a fascinating conversation. It seems as though God is as well traveled as the Virgin Mary!

And thank you for the image. I have taken a copy. May I know, please, who is to be credited?
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Ohio
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Originally Posted by LookinForMayberry View Post
Can any one tell me who the gods would be that are referred to in the Bible as "other gods"?
That would be the Nefilim, specifically Terah was "chief priest" for Nin.ur.ta (Ninurta). His administrative center was Nippur (where Abrahm was born). A new administrative center was built in Ur, and Terah moved his family there. That's archaeologically documented. There was an administrative center in Nippur and a new one (a ziggurat -- what christians mistakenly refer to as "temples") was built circa 2100 BCE.

If you understand that then you can understand Genesis 14:13.

The origin of the word “Hebrew” stems from two possibilities.

The first is based on Genesis 11:14-16 in which Abrahm is an ancestor of Eber. It is claimed that Eber evolved into Hebrew. I dismiss that as reactive.

The second is based on Genesis 14:13, and is more likely and makes much more sense.

The Hebrew is rendered as Abrahm ibri.

That is Hebracized Canaanite. In many languages, a consonantal prefix is added or dropped to foreign words. For example, the Latin River Ister, the region of Istria and the IstrianPeninsula are prefixed with the letter “H” in French to become the River Hister, region of Histria and HistrianPeninsula in French.

Yeah, that’s right, Nostradamus did NOT misspell the name of Hitler, rather he was referring to the River Hister (the Dunerea, Donau, Don or whatever I can never remember the stupid English name -- Danube maybe).

The Canaanite version would have been written “nbr” as in “nibri” but the Hebrews dropped the “N” because they didn't have "ni" as a consonantal combination. As a Canaanite word, “nbr” or “nibri” would refer to the city incorrectly transliterated in English as Nippur, which just happens to be Abrahm’s birthplace. So Abrahm nibiri would be translated as Abrahm the Nippurian. Thus, the verse should be correctly translated as “[The fugitive came and told] Abrahm the Nippurian,” and not Abrahm the Hebrew. “Ibri” then would be the source of “Hebrew.”

That would also indicate that passage was borrowed from the written texts of another culture and not written by the Hebrews.

Americans don't refer to Obama as "Obama the American President" or to James LeBron as James the American Basketball player, or Peyton Manning as Peyton the American Football player, because that would be stupid since Americans know they are American.

So whoever wrote that story was telling the people of his culture that this Abrahm character was not part of their culture, rather he was a foreigner from Nippur (Nibri). The Hebrews borrowed the story and incorporated it in their texts. I seriously doubt the story appears in the original J Texts or E Texts. Most likely it is in the original P Texts. The story was probably ripped from Erra and the Howling Wind or from Ninurta and the 7 Awesome Weapons of Destruction.
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LookinForMayberry View Post
Thank you, whopper, for your continued participation. I am amazed how my question regarding the god of the father has resulted in such a fascinating conversation. It seems as though God is as well traveled as the Virgin Mary!

And thank you for the image. I have taken a copy. May I know, please, who is to be credited?
You're welcome!

AS for the image - I'm sorry, I don't remember where I grabbed it from. It might be from a publicly usable font used in Akkadian and cuneiform studies - I know there are several available for use on the computer. Perhaps I can figure out where the image is from - if I do so, I'll give you a link.

There's another aspect to this conversation that hasn't been touched on very much, and that's the aspect of taking the term "worshipped other gods" and applying it idiomatically, and not so literally.

First things first, in case they are not clear:
1. The religion of Israel is not the same thing as the religion of the Bible, or of later Judaism, or later Christianity:
"...biblical religion is not, strictly speaking, "biblical" because, unlike Judaism and Christianity, it is not a religion based on the Bible - i.e., the canonized record of past divine revelation - but on that revelation itself. Also, it is not a "religion", in the sense of the beliefs and practices of an actual community. Rather, biblical religion was a minority, dissident phenomenon, always at odds, as the Bible itself states, with the actual religions of the small kingdoms of Israel and Judah....
....Moreover, biblical religion is not a unity but rather a congeries of differing and often competing opinions and traditions." (The Jewish Study Bible, The Religion of the Bible, Stephen A. Geller, p. 2021)

It might be appropriate to term the actual religion as the Religion of Ancient Israel (as I usually prefer to do), or Israelite-Judean Religion (as many scholars prefer). The next important point is:
2. The Religion of Ancient Israel was not a strict monotheism, as should probably be clear by now from this thread, but could be labelled as monolatrism. Monotheism is essentially the belief in one god, and only one god - the rest are delusions. This is what Israel adopted during the Exile. A monolatrism is slightly different, but there's a very important difference:
"There is no question that the national deity of both Israel and Judah was YHWH (LORD in NJPS [and most translations]), but the relationship to this deity might be better called monolatrous, the worship of one god without denying the existence of others, rather than strictly monotheistic. YHWH is the name regularly, but not exclusively, appearing as the theophoric or divine element in Israelite-Judean names." (ibid)

So, a typical Israelite would have understood the existence of other gods, and this is reflected in the Bible - at least up until the point where the prophets began the change from monolatry to monotheism (see Isaiah). In the older monolatrous stage, it was typical of the Ancient Near East to see gods as being national or local. I mentioned this with my post on the Patriarchs, local numena and the Gods of the Fathers - they were tied to specific places or sites. Constantly we find pillars being set up for the worship of a particular god by a Patriarch, and many of these later became important cultic centers or high places later. These cultic centers and high places suffered greatly once it was established that the worship of Yahweh was to take place in only one official place: the Temple. This created enormous problems for the Northern Kingdom during the Divided Monarchy - were they really expected to migrate South to make sacrifices? All the way to Jerusalem? To establish an easier place of worship for his people, Jeroboam created the Golden Bulls (calves is a bit innacurate, and meant as a slur) - which some of the prophets vocally opposed. It's been theorized that the entire "Golden Calf" episode at the foot of Mount Sinai was written (or at least altered to include Golden Bulls) as a polemic against the Northern worship centers Jeroboam established. An interesting theory!

Richard Elliott Friedman puts it well, in Who Wrote The Bible:
"The story is all questions.
Why did the person who wrote his story depict his people as rebellious at the very time of their liberation and their receiving the covenant?
Why did he picture Aaron as leader of the heresy?
Why does Aaron not suffer any punishment for it in the end?
Why did the author picture a golden calf?
Why do the people say "These are your gods, Israel...," when there is only one calf there?
And why do they say"...that brought you up from the land of Egypt" when the calf was obviously not made until after they were out of Egypt?
Why does Aaron say "A holiday to Yahweh tomorrow" when he is presenting the calf as a rival to Yahweh?
Why is the calf treated as a god in this story, when the calf was not a god in the Ancient Near East?
Why did the writer picture Moses as smashing the tablets of the Ten Commandments?
Why picture the Levites as acting in bloody zeal?
Why include Joshua in the story?
Why depict Joshua as dissociated from the golden calf event?" (p. 71)
He suggests that the person who wrote E (the Elohist source containing this story) was "a Levitical priest, probably from Shiloh, and therefore possibly descended from Moses....the priests of Shiloh suffered the loss of their place in the priestly hierarchy under King Solomon...The Shiloh priests' hopes for the new kingdom [Israel in the North after the Division], however, were frustrated when Jeroboam established the golden calf religious centers at Dan and Beth-EL, and he did not appoint them as priests there...The symbol of their exclusion in Israel was the golden calves. The symbol of their exclusion in Judah was Aaron." (ibid, p.72)
Essentially, the story was a polemic against the Aaronite priesthood, and the Northern worship centers established by Jeroboam. But I digress!

3. Monolatrous events in the Bible.
One of the most interesting stories pertinent to our subject, and one that shows the efficacy of sacrifice, is the story in 2nd Kings 3 when King Mesha of Moab decides that his people has had enough of servitude to the Israelites, and he leads a rebellion. This occures during the Divided Monarchy and perfectly illustrates how the power of a god was limited to that god's locality, usually:

Now King Mesha of Moab was a sheep breeder; and he used to pay as tribute to the King of Israel a hundred thousand lambs and the wool of a hundred thousand rams. But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.... (2 Kings 3:4-5, NJPS)
Eventually, the king of Judah and the king of Edom join him - (finally, Esau's clan gets to join in on the fun!) The prophet Elisha is consulted and after the three kings have the temerity to suggest that "Yahweh has brought these three kings together only to deliver them into the hands of Moab" angrily gives them a prophecy to the contrary:
"Thus said [Yahweh]:....He will also deliver Moab into your hands. You shall conquer every fortified town and every splendid city...." (2 Kings 3:16, 18-19)
But first - he needs a little music to get him in the prophesying mood:
"As [Yahweh] of Hosts lives, whom I serve," Elisha answered, "were it not that I respect King Jehoshaphat of Judah, I wouldnt look at you or notice you. Now then, get me a musician."
As the musicians played, the hand of [Yahweh] came upon him,... (2 Kings 3:14-16)

Things go fairly well for the trio until:
Seeing that the battle was going against him, the king of Moab led an attempt of seven hundred swordsman to break a way through to the king of Edom; but they failed.
So he took his first-born son, who was to suceed him as king, and offered him up on the wall as a burnt offering [to the Moabite god Chemosh]. A great wrath came upon Israel, so they withdrew from him and went back to [their own] land." (2 Kings 3:26-27)

In this instance, a perfect example of monolatry and a god's local power, we see that the biblical authors support the above statements that the Ancient Israelites recognized other gods beside their own Yahweh and their power occasionally. They also had the worse time of it fighting in another god's "territory", if you will. In the Exodus account, the Pharoah does not question why the Israelite slaves feel the need to go out into the desert to worship their god - he realizes they cannot do so in the land of Egypt. But what does this have to do with "Terah or Abram serving other gods"?

4. Serving other gods.
After David has annoyed Saul with his various exploits and shenanigans, he must flee from Saul's wrath. After one of the accounts involving a cave, bodily functions, cut-off-pieces of clothing, and Saul's life spared (there are two accounts - doublets of the same story, no doubt) - David speaks his mind and wants to know why Saul keeps pursuing him:

"If [Yahweh] has incited you against me, let Him be appeased by an offering;
but if it is men, may they be accursed of [Yahweh]!
For they have driven me out today, so that I cannot have a share in [Yahweh's] possession, but am told 'Go and worship other gods'.
Oh, let my blood not fall to the ground, away from the presence of [Yahweh!]" (1 Samuel 26:19-20)

A few notes:
1- Yahweh's possession means "the Land of Israel".
2- Expulsion from Israel means expulsion from the worship of Yahweh - the God of Israel. Even though David will end up a mere 20 or so miles away among the Phillistines - he is essentially prevented from worshipping Yahweh. In this context, then, "serving other gods" may simply involve the subject of the clause being in a foreign land, or originating from a foreign land.

So - it's possible that the reference to Terah or Abram as "serving other gods" is merely an indication that they came from a land in which Yahweh was not worshipped. From the Bible, we receive indications that Yahweh was a desert god, and then eventually a god situated in Israel - from a pastoral god of familial nomads, to a sedantary god of a people's country.
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mircea View Post
That would be the Nefilim, specifically Terah was "chief priest" for Nin.ur.ta (Ninurta). His administrative center was Nippur (where Abrahm was born). A new administrative center was built in Ur, and Terah moved his family there. That's archaeologically documented. There was an administrative center in Nippur and a new one (a ziggurat -- what christians mistakenly refer to as "temples") was built circa 2100 BCE.

If you understand that then you can understand Genesis 14:13.

The origin of the word “Hebrew” stems from two possibilities.

The first is based on Genesis 11:14-16 in which Abrahm is an ancestor of Eber. It is claimed that Eber evolved into Hebrew. I dismiss that as reactive.

The second is based on Genesis 14:13, and is more likely and makes much more sense.

The Hebrew is rendered as Abrahm ibri.

That is Hebracized Canaanite. In many languages, a consonantal prefix is added or dropped to foreign words. For example, the Latin River Ister, the region of Istria and the IstrianPeninsula are prefixed with the letter “H” in French to become the River Hister, region of Histria and HistrianPeninsula in French.

Yeah, that’s right, Nostradamus did NOT misspell the name of Hitler, rather he was referring to the River Hister (the Dunerea, Donau, Don or whatever I can never remember the stupid English name -- Danube maybe).

The Canaanite version would have been written “nbr” as in “nibri” but the Hebrews dropped the “N” because they didn't have "ni" as a consonantal combination. As a Canaanite word, “nbr” or “nibri” would refer to the city incorrectly transliterated in English as Nippur, which just happens to be Abrahm’s birthplace. So Abrahm nibiri would be translated as Abrahm the Nippurian. Thus, the verse should be correctly translated as “[The fugitive came and told] Abrahm the Nippurian,” and not Abrahm the Hebrew. “Ibri” then would be the source of “Hebrew.”

That would also indicate that passage was borrowed from the written texts of another culture and not written by the Hebrews.

Americans don't refer to Obama as "Obama the American President" or to James LeBron as James the American Basketball player, or Peyton Manning as Peyton the American Football player, because that would be stupid since Americans know they are American.

So whoever wrote that story was telling the people of his culture that this Abrahm character was not part of their culture, rather he was a foreigner from Nippur (Nibri). The Hebrews borrowed the story and incorporated it in their texts. I seriously doubt the story appears in the original J Texts or E Texts. Most likely it is in the original P Texts. The story was probably ripped from Erra and the Howling Wind or from Ninurta and the 7 Awesome Weapons of Destruction.

Your post scares me..... on so many levels.
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:37 PM
 
Location: Ohio
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Originally Posted by whoppers View Post
Perhaps I'll devote another post to the question of 'el shadday: he's worthy of his own thread!
El Shaddai is most likely the Sumerian Ningishiddza.

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Originally Posted by Clark Park View Post
I understand that El Shaddai (erroneously translated as "god almighty") is but an ancient god of the mountains or protector of entranceways and hearths?
That was Jerome. He was not of aware of the existence of Sumer or Akkad, or for that matter the Amorite Kingdom (Babylonians) or Assyrians, and was only vaguely familiar with the Chaldeans (Neo-Babylonians).

Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneInDaMembrane View Post
It sure is and long before the Dead Sea Scrolls or the those found at Nag Hammadi, we have those found at Ugarit which contain a passage that implies that ywh (Yahweh) was indeed a son of god (El).
It either parallels the Mesopotamian pantheon, in which case El would be Enlil, or it parallels the clan of Enki, in which case El would be Enki.

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Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
I don't know about the ramifications, if any. *Everybody* is aware that the region was polytheistic during that time. The OT says as much the Jews went into Egypt monotheistic (worshiping God) and came out (Exodus) still monotheistic.
There were never monotheistic, and to this day are still not monotheistic.

The Hebrews were Henotheists, exclusively worshiping one of many gods.

Later they were monaltrists, worshiping one god to the exclusion of other gods.

To my knowledge, with the possible exception of Islam, there are no monotheistic religions.
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LookinForMayberry View Post
Thank you, whopper, for your continued participation. I am amazed how my question regarding the god of the father has resulted in such a fascinating conversation. It seems as though God is as well traveled as the Virgin Mary!

And thank you for the image. I have taken a copy. May I know, please, who is to be credited?

This appears to be the source: Anu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I hope that's legal to use - it's wikipedia. If you need another source of cuneiform signs, or even a list - let me know. The evolution of the signs are pretty fascinating, in my opinion.

The actual page for DINGIR (the Sumerian name for the symbol) on Wikipedia is interesting as well: Dingir - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Logograms and All Caps
The reason dingir is in All Caps is because Assyriologists (thus called before the language was known to be Akkadian and not just limited to Assyria - thought many scholars still prefer the term Assyriologist) have chosen that method of transliterating Sumerian loanwords used as logograms in Akkadian. Transliteration is the act of taking a writing system from another language and rendering it into another writing system, or script - such as our Latin Alphabet, or Roman Alphabet alternatively named. There are some subvarients to this, but the basic idea is what is important at this moment. This act of transliteration is to make it easier to work with languages and their multitude of different writing systems, and also to better compare cognate languages such as Hebrew, Ugaritic, Arabic and Akkadian: it's much easier to compare certain words and the consonantal roots that make up those words, when they are all represented in the same script.

Here is an example of the letters of the various alphabets, and how they are represented in our Latin Script (though it does not show the original language's scripts), courtesy of Cyrus Gordon's Ugaritic Text Book, image from http://tmcdaniel.palmerseminary.edu/...rces%20toc.htm - and it's section entitled
RESOURCES FOR PHILOLOGICAL AND
TEXTUAL STUDIES OF THE HEBREW BIBLE





Logograms
A logogram, as used in Sumerian, is a grapheme or symbol that represents a word or idea. Similar to a hierolyphic system of writing, if that helps. Every word in a spoken language would have been represented by a separate, individual logogram. Just imagine how unwieldy this soon became! Thousands upon thousands of symbols would have been needed for a complex language.

Here's a rundown on how the logograms / pictograms evolved, from Huehnergard's Grammar of Akkadian:



<embed src="http://www.box.net/embed/jc4gvlbve40hszj.swf" width="466" height="400" wmode="opaque" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowFullScreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always">

I don't know why I can't learn how to embed: here's a link, if it works : KA.jpg - File Shared from Box.net - Free Online File Storage . Please check it out

The same type of evolution happened with 'ilum from DINGIR.

Determinatives
Determinatives were logograms added before a word, which helped identify the following word, or categorize it. For instance, if you wanted to write out a god's name you would first put the determinative DINGIR in front of the following symbols in Akkadian. An example, notice the logogram DINGIR before each god's name in the picture - it lets the reader know that the following word is actually a god's name:




In transliteration, DINGIR or ��,will be represented as a D in small letters slightly up and in the front of the deity's name: for d UTU Utu.

Anyways, the symbol had other functions, but I won't go into them here. I hope that helps a little more with whatever it is you're doing with DINGIR and it's evolution into 'El. The Wikipedia page on DINGIR is helpful, as are either Richard Caplice's or John Huehnergard's grammars on Akkadian.

Last edited by whoppers; 10-15-2011 at 10:15 PM..
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