#. From Adapa to Jesus (2019-02-07)
This post is not part of the main series but a standalone on but one detail, addressing one mythical trope and its apparent recycling and refashioning through changing circumstances and experiences: the myth of Adapa and the South Wind is discussed against the story of Jesus stilling the storm.
1. A Hero’s Flight to Heaven on the Back of a Bird — Understanding the Parallels (2019-06-06)
I was completely sold on Seth Sanders’ From Adapa to Enoch after reading William Brown’s review of it back in 2017. . . . As I pore through the chapters more slowly and methodically, following up footnotes and other references, I am finding a growing number of points I would like to address in some depth here on this blog. . . . One story begins with the eagle making a pact with a snake . . . .
2. Heavenly Journeys, from Babylon to Judea (2019-07-29)
I am looking forward to sharing some of the research of Seth L. Sanders published in From Adapa to Enoch: Scribal Culture and Religious Vision in Judea and Babylon (2017). I sought out the book in expectations that it would open to my understanding the ancient thought-world that lies behind our own religious heritage. Sometimes we will hear that a biblical person or trope has a parallel of sorts in ancient Mesopotamia yet give little thought to the fact that the time gap between the two can be half a millennium or more . . . .
The king will be replaced by a scribe and the secrets will be of a wisdom that is not directly related to the rituals of sovereignty.
3. Ascent of the Sage: “From Adapa to Enoch”, part 2 (2019-08-01)
Etana was the “first king”, but his central role as a ritually significant figure was relatively shortlived. Another figure, a wise and learned scribe, replaced him as the mythical power behind the king and the source and power of the scribal elites. . . .
So we come to the story of Adapa.
Sanders examines the nature of the cosmos among these ancient scribes and how they went about understanding, studying and acting on it.
In addition to the texts, there is the visual imagery of divine beings, divine sages or apkallu, to help us with our inquiry.
We have images of a patient (sick, hence possessed or inflicted by a demon) surrounded by superhuman fish-apkallu standing where exorcists would be positioned. . . . .
We have royal inscriptions of the enthroned king framed by bird-apkallu maintaining cosmic order from the seat of royal power. . . .
A post covering the “secret of the mask”, indivisibility of the natural and supernatural worlds with respect to exorcisms, to supernatural radiances, . . . .
6. How Science Began (2019-08-27)
The Book of Enoch is an apocalypse (the word means “a revelation”) which contains a section describing the hero being taken up into the heavens by an angel to be shown the secrets of the universe. Bizarre as it first sounds, it is arguable that here we have a fascinating development in the history of science. But before we explain, let’s address what we mean by science.
Seth Sanders identifies three core areas of exact description of the physical world documented by the Priestly scholars as the earliest form of Judean “scientific knowledge” known to us:
- Time and the Universe (Genesis 1:1 to 2:4a)
- The Temple (Exodus 25-31)
- The Human Body (Leviticus 12-15)
8. Who Influenced Biblical and Second Temple Jewish Literature? (2019-09-02)
I have been posting on points of interest in Seth Sanders’ From Adapa to Enoch: Scribal Culture and Religious Vision in Judea and Babylon and have reached a point where I cannot help but bring in certain contrary and additional perspectives from another work I posted on earlier, Russell Gmirkin’s Plato and the Creation of the Hebrew Bible.
We have two models for the origin of the biblical and its ancillary literature.
- According to Seth Sanders in From Adapa to Enoch we have a progression from the late Iron Age to the Seleucid era. . . .
- Russell Gmirkin’s view is that the above texts of Deuteronomy and Exodus are rather products of the Hellenistic era. . . .
10. Questions re the Mesopotamian Influence in the Hebrew Bible (2019-09-04)
This post considers the parallels between the Judean literature (canonical and pseudepigraphical) and that of Mesopotamia to see what might have been going between them. Tables set out clear comparisons between an Assyrian treaty and Deuteronomy 13 and 28; and a similar comparison between the Law Code of Hammurabi and Exodus 21.
11. Becoming Like God: A History (2019-09-07)
This post examines chapter 6 that begins: “Who is Like Me Among the Angels?”. Sanders challenges Western readers to reconsider and set aside their concept of (physical-spiritual) “dualism” and learn an earlier dualistic concept that is bound entirely within the earthly realm.
Along the way we trace a history of “divinization” from the myth of Baal, through Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Jesus, Paul ….
12. From Babylonia to Moses and Enoch to Paul: Questions (2019-09-12)
Concluding summary and some questions arising.