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Old 08-14-2016, 11:39 PM
 
Location: New York City
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in actual "bible study."

Of course, for those in the know, there has been much discussion on the internet about who borrowed from who when it comes to the creation myth of the Babylonians and the creation myth of the Israelites/Jews. Oddly enough, I am not sure many Jews will argue that their ancient creation myth came from older sources like the Babylonians or Sumerians. Rather, it is often Christians and Christians sites often making the argument that the Babylonians borrowed AND corrupted the creation story of the Jews by turning what is SEEMINGLY a monotheistic story into a polytheistic mess, dare I say, because of Satan as the fundamentalist ones would say.

While that argument might rage, the actual main point of the Enuma Elish is to show the Babylonian god, Marduk's, rise to prominence over the other gods. As we know, in the ancient world, INCLUDING among the Israelites, the belief was that various gods ruled over the separate nations. This, as we have learned around here was a foregone conclusion. Some Israelites simply believed THEIR god was possessive and requires strict allegiance and prohibited them from worshiping other gods from the other nations whom they believed existed in their own right. In addition, these ancient peoples also believed THEIR respective gods set their boundaries, but as war was a common theme of that world, it also became necessary to show that the gods also stood as the ultimate commander in chief of the armies over the nation they ruled over, hence the frequent reference to YWH (the LORD or Israel's god) featured as a god or battle and war, complete with concepts of sword and bow in hand.

In my estimation, it appears that as theology evolved in the ancient world along with war games, people believed their gods went out to war with other gods which played out on earth as earthly armies going out to fight other armies of other peoples and if one people defeated another, then it stood to reason that the victorious army also had the victorious god which often played out in the victors smashing the images of the defeated people's gods.

So, it is also my belief that this is what happened, in part, to the Jews when the Babylonians exiled them. As it stood, at face value, the Babylonians thrashed them and thus, as the contemporary theology went, Babylon's god(s) were stronger than Israel's god - Yahweh. But, the Jews devised a clever bit of theological maneuvering by claiming that THEIR god actually orchestrated the whole exile to teach the Jews a lesson and in doing so, he was actually greater than Babylon(s) gods because he ALONE was in charge of the entire saga. In other words, their exile was NOT through the doing of a superior deity worshiped by the Babylonians, rather, it was because Yahweh PERMITTED it. You can now see how monotheism came to be among the Jews.

Now, there are some (I am one of them) who believe that along with this, the Jews also, in defiance to the Babylonians, used theology to match wits and even outsmart the Babylonians at THAT level. They appeared to INVERT the Babylonians' older myths by flipping the stories around. One part of the Enuma Elish speaks fondly of the serpent as a friend of mankind by leading him on a quest for immortality. The Jews spun the story in the opposite direction painting the serpent as an enemy. Some go as far as saying that another example would be that the Jews propped up their god or even BORROWED Marduk's story and tailored it to be their own which, to me, shed some light on that mysterious passage in Psalm 82 where we are told that Israel's god rises up in the divine council of the gods and basically takes over and exerts his dominance over the assembly as well as the other gods. In fact, he denounces them and strips them of their divinity, apparently, leaving him as sole master. This seems to fly smack in the face of Babylon's idea that Marduk was the head honcho in the council of the gods and yet another example of a Jewish sabotage and subsequent inversion.

Thoughts?
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Old 08-15-2016, 04:00 AM
 
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It's interesting to speculate about the mental processes behind how and why the Hebrews used the Creation epic to construct their creation and formation stories. What is more important is to show that they did.

On sheer evidence that the Creation epic was around since 1800 BC, that makes the Bible story a newcomer. The earliest they have is the 600 BC silver scroll, and that is the books of Law (1). I propose (or agree) that it was during the exile that the Jews (since Israel had vanished, thanks to the Assyrians) decided to write their origins, starting with the creation of the world (by their - rather monolithic - god, of course). There was a flood vaguely along the lines of the Babylonian epic and an exodus out of Egypt, which does (on evidence) seem to borrow from the life of Sargon of Akkad - which predates the 1st Babylonian Empire - and I rather suspect uses a historical memory of the expulsion of the Canaanite (Hyksos) dynasties from Egypt by Ahmose, rather than being led out by Moses. But that's just a supposition.

What is not is that there are at least two Babylonian Flood stories, which because it is written in the Official language of diplomacy of the time - even in Egypt: Sumerian -was a Sumerian story, even if you couldn't see that from the names of cities and kings. That puts the Sumerian epic back to the mid 3rd millennium in Mesopotamia.

Was it a question of borrowing the tales of a land where they had settled, even if they never forgot Israel? Or was it 'My god beats your God!"? In fact the Creation and Flood story was re -used by many of the northern nations and they simply popped their own god in there.

I was watching a video talk by a young Richard Carrier as I recall, and he seemed to get the Persians a bit wrong. He argued that the Jews adopted Satan and heaven and hell and Last days of fire and a remade world from the Persian religion out of resentment for their conquerors. I agree the borrowing, and to me the snake of Eden is not Satan who hadn't been invented at the time it was written, but simply a talking snake (with legs apparently) who is a malicious beast and gets punished for misleading the pair by having to go legless ever after.

But Carrier confused the Babylonians who enslaved (virtually) the Jews with the Persians who freed them. He thought the Jews used Zoroastrianism to 'Beat' the Persians polemically, but the Jews honoured the Persians, who had freed them and let them and their religion alone. I reckon they simply saw the polemic power of the two adversaries and the hellthreat and Final days promise, which showed up in later polemics like Daniel what I call the 'aramaic' (Persian language) scripture.

(1) the present hypothesis is that in around the 10th c BC the Law was given first to ensure that the Hebrews would remain distinct from the foreign tribes and not be absorbed. They would worship their Tribal god and no other. This has been very successful.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 08-15-2016 at 04:23 AM..
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Old 08-15-2016, 11:14 AM
 
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Very interesting stuff - right up my alley. I don't have much time right now, but a few brief remarks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneInDaMembrane View Post
One part of the Enuma Elish speaks fondly of the serpent as a friend of mankind by leading him on a quest for immortality.
Not to be a negative nelly, but the story which has a "serpent god" is Adapa (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adapa). The Sumerian god is Nigišzida (Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses - Ningišzida (god) and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ningishzida), though he appears in Adapa as Gišzida, along with Dumuzi as the two gods Adapa is seeking and eventually finds as Anu's guards. It is at Anu's heavenly abode that he takes Ea's tricksy advice and loses the chance of immortality.

What is interesting is that the god is translated as "the god of the good tree" by Thorkild Jacobsen in various works. Worship of this positively viewed god resulted in the familiar image of entwined serpents around a tree.

Libation vase of Gudea (see Wikipedia for the reference above and more details):


Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneInDaMembrane View Post
The Jews spun the story in the opposite direction painting the serpent as an enemy.
I would tend to disagree that the serpent was painted as an "enemy" by the Yahwist. I think later Judaism did so, and Christianity for sure - but maybe not the Yahwist. Of course, de Moor and Korpel have recently written on a possible precursor to the Edenic myth in which the serpent is based on an Ugaritic ritual text (possibly mythic) in which there is a malevolent snake/god that bites the first "human". But it's extremely speculative! Another day perhaps!
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Old 08-15-2016, 12:00 PM
 
Location: New York City
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Originally Posted by whoppers View Post
Very interesting stuff - right up my alley. I don't have much time right now, but a few brief remarks.



Not to be a negative nelly, but the story which has a "serpent god" is Adapa (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adapa). The Sumerian god is Nigišzida (Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses - Ningišzida (god) and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ningishzida), though he appears in Adapa as Gišzida, along with Dumuzi as the two gods Adapa is seeking and eventually finds as Anu's guards. It is at Anu's heavenly abode that he takes Ea's tricksy advice and loses the chance of immortality.

What is interesting is that the god is translated as "the god of the good tree" by Thorkild Jacobsen in various works. Worship of this positively viewed god resulted in the familiar image of entwined serpents around a tree.

Libation vase of Gudea (see Wikipedia for the reference above and more details):




I would tend to disagree that the serpent was painted as an "enemy" by the Yahwist. I think later Judaism did so, and Christianity for sure - but maybe not the Yahwist. Of course, de Moor and Korpel have recently written on a possible precursor to the Edenic myth in which the serpent is based on an Ugaritic ritual text (possibly mythic) in which there is a malevolent snake/god that bites the first "human". But it's extremely speculative! Another day perhaps!
I stand corrected on this note and I did think about it BEFORE I wrote it. You are certainly right about Christianity's version of the myth. What the Jews seemed to have done is retell the myth as seeking that temptation to be like the divine as blasphemous. Appears that they considered the attempt as audacious.
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Old 08-17-2016, 06:05 AM
 
Location: US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRANSPONDER View Post
It's interesting to speculate about the mental processes behind how and why the Hebrews used the Creation epic to construct their creation and formation stories. What is more important is to show that they did.

On sheer evidence that the Creation epic was around since 1800 BC, that makes the Bible story a newcomer. The earliest they have is the 600 BC silver scroll, and that is the books of Law (1). I propose (or agree) that it was during the exile that the Jews (since Israel had vanished, thanks to the Assyrians) decided to write their origins, starting with the creation of the world (by their - rather monolithic - god, of course). There was a flood vaguely along the lines of the Babylonian epic and an exodus out of Egypt, which does (on evidence) seem to borrow from the life of Sargon of Akkad - which predates the 1st Babylonian Empire - and I rather suspect uses a historical memory of the expulsion of the Canaanite (Hyksos) dynasties from Egypt by Ahmose, rather than being led out by Moses. But that's just a supposition.

What is not is that there are at least two Babylonian Flood stories, which because it is written in the Official language of diplomacy of the time - even in Egypt: Sumerian -was a Sumerian story, even if you couldn't see that from the names of cities and kings. That puts the Sumerian epic back to the mid 3rd millennium in Mesopotamia.

Was it a question of borrowing the tales of a land where they had settled, even if they never forgot Israel? Or was it 'My god beats your God!"? In fact the Creation and Flood story was re -used by many of the northern nations and they simply popped their own god in there.

I was watching a video talk by a young Richard Carrier as I recall, and he seemed to get the Persians a bit wrong. He argued that the Jews adopted Satan and heaven and hell and Last days of fire and a remade world from the Persian religion out of resentment for their conquerors. I agree the borrowing, and to me the snake of Eden is not Satan who hadn't been invented at the time it was written, but simply a talking snake (with legs apparently) who is a malicious beast and gets punished for misleading the pair by having to go legless ever after.

But Carrier confused the Babylonians who enslaved (virtually) the Jews with the Persians who freed them. He thought the Jews used Zoroastrianism to 'Beat' the Persians polemically, but the Jews honoured the Persians, who had freed them and let them and their religion alone. I reckon they simply saw the polemic power of the two adversaries and the hellthreat and Final days promise, which showed up in later polemics like Daniel what I call the 'aramaic' (Persian language) scripture.

(1) the present hypothesis is that in around the 10th c BC the Law was given first to ensure that the Hebrews would remain distinct from the foreign tribes and not be absorbed. They would worship their Tribal god and no other. This has been very successful.
Aramaic is the ancient language of the Semitic family group, which includes the Assyrians, Babylonians, Chaldeans, Arameans, Hebrews, and Arabs. In fact, a large part of the Hebrew and Arabic languages is borrowed from Aramaic, including the Alphabet. The modern Hebrew (square) script is called "Ashuri", "Ashuri" is the Hebrew name for Assyrian, the name being used to signify the ancestor of the Assyrians, Ashur the son of Shem, the son of Noah (Genesis 10:22). Aramaic is quoted in the very first book of the Bible, Berisheth (Genesis) in Chapter 31:47. In fact, many portions of the Old Testament are penned originally in Aramaic, including Daniel chapter 2:4 thru chapter 7. - http://www.pe****ta.org/initial/aramaic.html


Parsi or Persian was the language of the Parsa people who ruled Iran between 550 - 330 BCE. It belongs to what scholars call the Indo-Iranian group of languages. It became the language of the Persian Empire and was widely spoken in the ancient days ranging from the borders of India in the east, Russian in the north, the southern shores of the Persian Gulf to Egypt and the Mediterranean in the west. - History of Persian or Parsi Language
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Old 08-17-2016, 06:38 AM
 
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Ah. Thanks. I have long had the idea that Aramaic was a language the hebrews picked up from the Persians and Hebrew became a Ritual language until it became the national tongue of the State if Israel. I'd always thought that the Babylonians, Assyrrians, Hurrians etc had their own languages and used Sumerian cuneiform to write it (Sumerican became the language of diplomatic correspondence) and the Hebrews used the Canaanite script (as the Phoenecians did) to write first Hebrew and the Aramaic. It seems that I had it wrong.

P.s , Aramaic spread around the 9th c BC. but the Babylonians and Assyrians did not originally speak it.

By about 2000 Akkadian had supplanted Sumerian as the spoken language of southern Mesopotamia, although Sumerian remained in use as the written language of sacred literature. At about the same time, the Akkadian language divided into the Assyrian dialect, spoken in northern Mesopotamia, and the Babylonian dialect, spoken in southern Mesopotamia. At first the Assyrian dialect was used more extensively, but Babylonian largely supplanted it and became the lingua franca of the Middle East by the 9th century bce. During the 7th and 6th centuries bce, Aramaic gradually began to replace Babylonian as the spoken and written language; after that Babylonian was still used for writings on mathematics, astronomy, and other learned subjects, but by the 1st century ce it had completely died out. Scholars deciphered the Akkadian language in the 19th century.
(Enc. Brritannica)

I may be suffering a lapse of memory in saying that Sumerian was the language of diplomacy. It was rather Akkaddian. Aramaic replaced other languages in the 6th c and became the normal language of the Jews a least after the exile, Hebrew being the language of scripture. Persian as you say is a different language altogether (Related to the Indo -European and Turkic languages...as is Canaanite and Phoenecian and...pretty much all of them as far as India).

The replacement of Hebrew as the usual language of the Jews with Aramaic was an error of false correlation in my mind. I'm glad to read some confirmation that Daniel was written in Aramaic.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 08-17-2016 at 06:53 AM..
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Old 08-17-2016, 07:59 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRANSPONDER View Post
Ah. Thanks. I have long had the idea that Aramaic was a language the hebrews picked up from the Persians and Hebrew became a Ritual language until it became the national tongue of the State if Israel. I'd always thought that the Babylonians, Assyrrians, Hurrians etc had their own languages and used Sumerian cuneiform to write it (Sumerican became the language of diplomatic correspondence) and the Hebrews used the Canaanite script (as the Phoenecians did) to write first Hebrew and the Aramaic. It seems that I had it wrong.

P.s , Aramaic spread around the 9th c BC. but the Babylonians and Assyrians did not originally speak it.
The Aramaic language is one of the major branches of Northwest Semitic - the other being Canaanite, the latter being what Biblical Hebrew belongs to. Contrary to Richard's source, a large part of the Hebrew language did NOT come from Aramaic (nor did Arabic, for that matter).

The language comes from the Arameans, mentioned as far back as the 11th century BCE in Syria (according to an Assyrian military campagin), who established several territories there.

You are correct that it was not the original tongue of the Babylonians or Assyrians. They spoke Akkadian, which belongs to the family of East Semitic languages. The following chart sums the relationships up nicely:




Quote:
Originally Posted by TRANSPONDER View Post
By about 2000 Akkadian had supplanted Sumerian as the spoken language of southern Mesopotamia, although Sumerian remained in use as the written language of sacred literature. At about the same time, the Akkadian language divided into the Assyrian dialect, spoken in northern Mesopotamia, and the Babylonian dialect, spoken in southern Mesopotamia. At first the Assyrian dialect was used more extensively, but Babylonian largely supplanted it and became the lingua franca of the Middle East by the 9th century bce. During the 7th and 6th centuries bce, Aramaic gradually began to replace Babylonian as the spoken and written language; after that Babylonian was still used for writings on mathematics, astronomy, and other learned subjects, but by the 1st century ce it had completely died out. Scholars deciphered the Akkadian language in the 19th century.
(Enc. Brritannica)

I may be suffering a lapse of memory in saying that Sumerian was the language of diplomacy. It was rather Akkaddian.
That is right.

A good way to look at Sumerian is to see it as a language of scholarship, much like Latin became for the West. Sumerian was eventually replaced by Akkadian in this regard.

Aramaic definitely became the lingua franca of the ancient Near East by the time of the Judeans' Exile in Babylon around 586 BCE, which is exactly where they picked up the usage of Aramaic as a spoken language.

They did adopt the so-called "square script" (or "Square Aramaic") of written Aramaic for use in written Hebrew - previously they had used the Paleo-Hebrew script. What is interesting is that some Dead Sea Scrolls manuscripts retained the written form of YHWH in Paleo-Hebrew, while the rest of the text was in Aramaic:

You can see the written script evolve, from the bottom up here:



It is after this time (the Exile and the adoption of Aramaic as a working language) that you find books such as Daniel written in Aramaic.



Quote:
Originally Posted by TRANSPONDER View Post
Aramaic replaced other languages in the 6th c and became the normal language of the Jews a least after the exile, Hebrew being the language of scripture.
That is correct.



Quote:
Originally Posted by TRANSPONDER View Post
Persian as you say is a different language altogether (Related to the Indo -European and Turkic languages...as is Canaanite and Phoenecian and...pretty much all of them as far as India).

The replacement of Hebrew as the usual language of the Jews with Aramaic was an error of false correlation in my mind. I'm glad to read some confirmation that Daniel was written in Aramaic.
Yes indeed. Due to the spreading popularity and utility of Aramaic, the Persian Empire used it for administrative purposes and it is here that Aramaic underwent a standardization. It is given various terms, such as "Official/Imperial/Standard Aramaic", to differentiate it from other stages of the language. The portions of the Bible which contain Aramaic are from this stage (though there are a few oddities in the Aramaic used in Daniel which hint at a later stage of the language).



Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard1965 View Post
Aramaic is the ancient language of the Semitic family group, which includes the Assyrians, Babylonians, Chaldeans, Arameans, Hebrews, and Arabs. In fact, a large part of the Hebrew and Arabic languages is borrowed from Aramaic, including the Alphabet. The modern Hebrew (square) script is called "Ashuri", "Ashuri" is the Hebrew name for Assyrian, the name being used to signify the ancestor of the Assyrians, Ashur the son of Shem, the son of Noah (Genesis 10:22). Aramaic is quoted in the very first book of the Bible, Berisheth (Genesis) in Chapter 31:47. In fact, many portions of the Old Testament are penned originally in Aramaic, including Daniel chapter 2:4 thru chapter 7. - http://www.pe****ta.org/initial/aramaic.html
I'm not sure where this source is getting it's information. Perhaps it's confusing Modern Hebrew with Biblical Hebrew? If you look above, it's clear that Hebrew and Arabic did not stem from Aramaic. Neither were "many portions of the Old Testament .... penned originally in Aramaic". The author of the link (if you want to follow it, you have to insert "sh it" where it's censored heh heh) is Paul Younan - he is not exactly the most reliable source on the history of Aramaic, as he's very biased in its favor and promulgation.
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Old 08-17-2016, 08:54 AM
 
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Thank you. So the Jews did likely pick up Aramaic - if not during exile, as part of the Persian empire -and from what I read they thought highly of the Persians (v.s Susa gate) as their liberators who left them and their religion alone. It is interesting that Daniel's Aramaic hints at a later date. How about the year before the Maccacean revolt?

Since it is looking very much like the Hebrews were originally hill - dwellers and goat herders (it explains a few puzzling OT passages I came across saying that herding was the right way to live and farming was somehow not) who came down after the post 1200 BC Collapse to occupy a land from which all the old Canaanite city states had vanished, that their language is related to Aramean rather than any of the other languages may be significant.

I may take a particular interest in those gents.
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Old 08-17-2016, 09:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by InsaneInDaMembrane View Post
in actual "bible study."

Of course, for those in the know, there has been much discussion on the internet about who borrowed from who when it comes to the creation myth of the Babylonians and the creation myth of the Israelites/Jews. Oddly enough, I am not sure many Jews will argue that their ancient creation myth came from older sources like the Babylonians or Sumerians. Rather, it is often Christians and Christians sites often making the argument that the Babylonians borrowed AND corrupted the creation story of the Jews by turning what is SEEMINGLY a monotheistic story into a polytheistic mess, dare I say, because of Satan as the fundamentalist ones would say.

While that argument might rage, the actual main point of the Enuma Elish is to show the Babylonian god, Marduk's, rise to prominence over the other gods. As we know, in the ancient world, INCLUDING among the Israelites, the belief was that various gods ruled over the separate nations. This, as we have learned around here was a foregone conclusion. Some Israelites simply believed THEIR god was possessive and requires strict allegiance and prohibited them from worshiping other gods from the other nations whom they believed existed in their own right. In addition, these ancient peoples also believed THEIR respective gods set their boundaries, but as war was a common theme of that world, it also became necessary to show that the gods also stood as the ultimate commander in chief of the armies over the nation they ruled over, hence the frequent reference to YWH (the LORD or Israel's god) featured as a god or battle and war, complete with concepts of sword and bow in hand.

In my estimation, it appears that as theology evolved in the ancient world along with war games, people believed their gods went out to war with other gods which played out on earth as earthly armies going out to fight other armies of other peoples and if one people defeated another, then it stood to reason that the victorious army also had the victorious god which often played out in the victors smashing the images of the defeated people's gods.

So, it is also my belief that this is what happened, in part, to the Jews when the Babylonians exiled them. As it stood, at face value, the Babylonians thrashed them and thus, as the contemporary theology went, Babylon's god(s) were stronger than Israel's god - Yahweh. But, the Jews devised a clever bit of theological maneuvering by claiming that THEIR god actually orchestrated the whole exile to teach the Jews a lesson and in doing so, he was actually greater than Babylon(s) gods because he ALONE was in charge of the entire saga. In other words, their exile was NOT through the doing of a superior deity worshiped by the Babylonians, rather, it was because Yahweh PERMITTED it. You can now see how monotheism came to be among the Jews.

Now, there are some (I am one of them) who believe that along with this, the Jews also, in defiance to the Babylonians, used theology to match wits and even outsmart the Babylonians at THAT level. They appeared to INVERT the Babylonians' older myths by flipping the stories around. One part of the Enuma Elish speaks fondly of the serpent as a friend of mankind by leading him on a quest for immortality. The Jews spun the story in the opposite direction painting the serpent as an enemy. Some go as far as saying that another example would be that the Jews propped up their god or even BORROWED Marduk's story and tailored it to be their own which, to me, shed some light on that mysterious passage in Psalm 82 where we are told that Israel's god rises up in the divine council of the gods and basically takes over and exerts his dominance over the assembly as well as the other gods. In fact, he denounces them and strips them of their divinity, apparently, leaving him as sole master. This seems to fly smack in the face of Babylon's idea that Marduk was the head honcho in the council of the gods and yet another example of a Jewish sabotage and subsequent inversion.

Thoughts?
So, in short, you believe that Jews realized that their God didn't rescue them from the opposing nations? So they adopted those gods?

Yeah...that's kind of what 1 and 2 Chronicles says. The writer looks back on the exile, and they realize that God judged them by letting them go into captivity. They realized their God LET them get punished.

I would disagree with you, though, in that they also realized that they were to blame for it and that if they had not abandoned their God, they would not have had to be punished. I am more on the side of Babylon adopting their myths from the Jewish Creation stories.
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Old 08-17-2016, 09:16 AM
 
Location: New York City
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This is so interesting.
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