Early Sumerian version of the caduceus.
LEARNING IS TO THE MIND
WHAT LIGHT IS TO THE EYE
Latin CUNEUS means WEDGE and FORMA means SHAPE
The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era; developed to write the Sumerian language of southern Mesopotamia. Cuneiform is the earliest known writing system and was adapted to write a number of languages in addition to Sumerian. Akkadian texts are attested from the 24th century BCE onward and make up the bulk of the cuneiform record.
TO SUMER THE WORLD OWES ALL ITS BASIC ARTS
OF LITERATE CIVILIZED LIFESTYLES
“SUMER--A STORE OF KNOWLEDGE”
A religion cannot become a global faith without BOOKS TO TEACH
THE BOOK OF GENESIS
The doctrine of the creative power of the divine word:
Let there BE light (electricity/fusion energy)
AN ANIMAL WHO SEES
“THE EYES OF THE LORD”
Genesis 2:8—NOW . . . the Lord God had planted a garden [cultivated parcel] in the East [sunrise], in EDEN—and there he put the man he had formed [Sumerian creation story: November 2022].
Genesis 2:15—the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of EDEN to WORK it and take care of it [Sumerian].
Genesis 2:9—In the middle of the garden were the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Genesis 2:16—And the Lord God commanded the man: YOU are free to eat from any tree in the garden BUT . . . you must not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. For when YOU eat of it you will surely die.
Genesis 3—Ancient symbol of immortality—renewal of life because it sheds its skin, the Serpent said to the woman: DID GOD REALLY SAY that you must not eat from any tree in the garden? The woman said: We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden. But . . . God did say . . . you must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden and you must not touch it, or you will die. The Serpent said: You will not die. Your EYES will be opened and you will be like God KNOWING good and evil.
[--Learning is to the MIND what Light is to the EYE--]
SO . . . the woman ate the fruit [no mention of apple]—so pleasant to the eye and for gaining wisdom. She also gave the man some and he ate it. Then THEIR EYES were opened: they were naked. [Gen. 9:20Noah planted a vineyard; when he drank some of the wine he became DRUNK and lay UNCOVERED in his tent]. Upset, the Lord God appeared (wearing a garment of skin -Gen. 3:23) and said to the man: Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? The man pointed his finger at the woman and said: She gave me some. The woman said, pointing at the serpent, He deceived me and I ate.
Genesis 3:19—Pointing at the man, the Lord God pronounced: By the sweat of your brow you will EAT YOUR FOOD until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for DUST you are and to DUST you will return [Sumerian]. And turning to the woman who had enticed the man to eat the fruit—to punish her—he said: Your desire will be for your husband and . . . . . . he will rule over you.
THE LAMENTATION OVER
THE DESTRUCTION OF SUMER AND UR
The deity of the city-state UR was the moon-god Nanna/SIN;
He was symbolized by the crescent moon and star.
IT WAS THE BRONZE AGE:
Ur-Nammu was the first ruler of the Third Dynasty of Ur. The fall of the city happened during the reign of King Ibbi-Sin and occurred circa 2200 BCE. The baton went to Akkad
The Chaldean Aramaeans of Ur—[according to “UR OF THE CHALDEES” by Leonard Woolley]—are not to be found in Southern Mesopotamia [SUMER] before the beginning of the first millennium but from the 10th to the 6th centuries BCE. The Chaldeans were well-known astrologers, famous for predicting the future [MAGI from the east followed a STAR to Jerusalem [Matthew 2] to worship the new-born king of the Jews] and of course magic tricks! That’s why the Chaldean branch of Aramaeans [Hebrews/Jews] put “their history” in the book of Genesis. Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar [reigned 605-562 BCE] was the second Chaldean king.
THE BOOK OF GENESIS
is the PRELUDE
to the book of EXODUS and the religion of the Israelites
IT IS THE STORY OF—
THE FAMILY TREE
[Sumerian creation story: November 2022]
I spin like a spider myriad reflections
and embroider with strands of vivid observations.
I paint fantasies with frivolous perceptions
and build in the air with luminous illusions
brilliant tapestries and scintillating castles.
[copyright Olga Pitcairn]
Starting at Genesis 11:31
The biography— adventures—of Abram/Abraham
Our future “patriarch” has two brothers: Nahor who has two daughters and Haran, deceased, who has a son called LOT. The three brothers live with their father Terah in UR of the Chaldeans. Father Terah decides to immigrate to Canaan. Nahor decides to stay.
So . . . Terah leaves with son Abram and his wife Sarai and grandson Lot—taking along their wealth: livestock. They finally arrive in HARAN, a city to the north of Canaan. Terah is tired of “wandering” and they settle down there. He dies at age 205. Abram buries his father. Nephew Lot wants to know if they continue living at Haran or return to UR of the Chaldeans, his birthplace. Abram goes to a huge rock plateau. He sits on a boulder and contemplates the vast plain ahead that leads toward Canaan. With a sigh he recalls his father saying it was the land of milk and honey. As he nods, he folds his hands. Suddenly, out of the blue, a breeze tickles his right ear and someone whispers: ‘Abram, why not leave this place and settle in the land of your father’s golden dream?’ Eyes wide open, startled, Abram turns his head. Lo-and-behold, God is smiling at him. ‘Abram’, he says, ‘I promise—I predict—that you’ll be prosperous and multiply. I’ll make sure that you’ll become a great nation. I promise that you will be a blessing to all peoples on earth’.
So . . . in a nutshell: At age 75, Abram packs up and travels with childless Sarai, his nephew Lot, his entire household and livestock to CANAAN—where he pitches his tents near the great tree of Moreh at SHECHEM. Abram is contemplating his next move when out of the blue, God again appears to him. ‘Abraham,’ he whispers, ‘how about . . . if I‘ll give this land to your offspring?’ Face aglow, eyes shining, Abram whispers, ‘Lord, so that we can communicate, what you want me to do?’ The Lord puts his lips at Abram’s ear. ‘Build me an altar, Abram. Offer me a sacrifice; that will be the sign for calling on me.’ Encouraged by the thought that the Lord had offered the land to his future children, Abram builds an altar to the Lord. Looking from the hills at Shechem down to the fertile valley, he nods, murmuring to himself that his kids will need this land as well. Determined, he moves on, and pitches his tents between BETHEL and AI. He builds one more altar . . . in case; one never knows, better be prepared than sorry. He offers a sacrifice; and calls on the Lord who tells him to go on. Abram, eager to expand his territory, strolls on and enters the NEGEV. After a while he has a hard time grazing his flocks: having to compete with other herdsmen for water. To top it all, a famine in Canaan forces him to keep moving. Abram decides, with a nod from Lot, to travel with his household to bountiful, grain-rich EGYPT.
So . . . Abram enters his wife Sarai’s tent and sits down for a serious chat. She offers him a cup of goat milk and a piece of bread and then sits facing him. ‘Sweet honey,’ Abram says, ‘I can’t let my household starve.’ He takes a bite of bread and chews. Then he says, ‘This is our staff of life. So Lot and I decided to go to Egypt, our nearest breadbasket.’ He sips milk. “Sweet honey,’ he continues, ‘you are a beautiful woman.’ He nods at her. ‘When the Egyptians see you, they will say that you are my wife, and they will kill me but you will live.’ Sarai gets up and sits next to her husband. ‘Yes, Abram?’ she whispers. ‘What you want me to do?’ Abram takes Sarai’s hand. ‘How about . . .’ and he squeezes her hand. ‘I’m your sister?’ Sarai says with a slight nod of her head. All smiles, Abram says, ‘Thank you, sweet honey. You’ll spare my life and I’ll be treated well.’ He puts his arm around her and whispers in her ear, ‘Sister Sarai, we’ll see each other often, don’t you worry.’ Sarai fondles his earlobe and says, ‘I can’t show up in these rags, dear Abram. I need new garments.’ Abram nods and says, ‘Of course, sweet honey. Get your seamstress busy, and . . .’ he chuckles, ‘I’ll get you pretty purple sandals. That will be my gift.’ They embrace. To Be Continued
The geographical PICTURE --from this Genesis story—is that of IRON AGE PALESTINE—[1100-500 BCE] as only during that period all the cities/settlements in “the narrative” are known AND occupied.
When the Most High [ELYON] allotted peoples for inheritance,
When He divided up humanity,
He fixed the boundaries for peoples,
According to the number of the divine sons:
For Yahweh’s portion is his people,
Jacob His own inheritance.
The Origins of Biblical Monotheism
TO BE CONTINUED
MESOPOTAMIA AND THE BIBLE
Land was the property of the gods
Continuation from January
So . . . Abram and his family enter fertile EGYPT. As predicted, Pharaoh takes a liking to beautiful Sarai and Abram tells him that she is his sister. Sarai stays at the palace. Abram is welcomed with open arms by the Egyptians. His herdsmen are respected and are allowed to graze Abram’s flocks without hinder. Abram acquires more livestock and more servants; he is doing very well for himself. But then . . . a whistleblower, one of Lot’s servants, informs Pharaoh that, to tell the truth, Sarai is Abram’s wife. Needless to say Pharaoh is upset? He summons Abram to the palace and the two have an amicable chat. With his blessings, Pharaoh sends the couple with their considerable gains out of Egypt. Abram, Lot and Sarai discuss where to go.
So . . . in a nutshell: The family returns to the NEGEV and on to BETHEL where finally they pitch their tents. Abram says to Lot that he will ask God what to do. He goes to the altar he had built years before to call on God. Abram puts his sacrifice, a choice lamb, on the altar and kindles the fire. The aroma of burning flesh is enticing. Abram holds his hands high up and shouts, ‘Here I am Lord God. What you want me to do?’ There is silence. He repeats, ‘Here I am Lord God. What you want me to do?’ Silence. Mystified Abram returns to his tent wondering if God is angry. Then, in a flash, he remembers that, while they were at Shechem, God had promised the land of milk and honey to his offspring. So, Abram says to Lot, ’Let’s walk up the hill. You are aware that our herdsmen are quarrelling?’ Lot nods and sighs. ‘Let’s part,’ Abram suggests as they reach the top. ‘If you go to the left then I’ll go’—he points to Jordan—‘to the right. It’s your choice.’ Lot points to the right: the whole plain of Jordan.
So . . . Abram returns to his altar and waits for God to tell him what to do. From the altar a voice says, ‘Remember that I offered this land, Canaan, to your offspring?’ Abram folds his hands and bows his head as he says, ‘I do remember your offer, oh Lord.’ The flames on the altar crackle and the voice says, ‘You, Abram, stay in this land. Lift up your eyes and look north and south, east and west—all the land that you SEE I will give to you and your offspring FOREVER. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth. Go, walk the length and breadth of the land of milk and honey—for I am giving it to you.’ [so far, the couple has no offspring]
So . . . in a nutshell: Abram and Sarai pack up their large household and with their animals leave direction for the great trees of Mamre at HEBRON where they pitch their tents. Abram builds an altar to the Lord. When Abram hears that Lot, living near Sodom, has been taken captive by some kings, he marches with armed servants to his rescue. He brings Lot back with his possessions, women, and other folk. In Salem [Jerusalem] King Melchizedek, priest of God Most High [Elyon], celebrates Abram’s victory by offering bread and wine as he blesses him. Abram gives Melchizedek one tenth of the booty he acquired from the defeated kings.
UR OF THE CHALDEES
Back in HEBRON: One balmy evening Abram sits beneath a tree sipping fermented date juice. As he contemplates about what God had promised him, the Lord appears to him in a vision. Right away . . . Abram begins to lament that he has no children and that a servant, Elizier of Damascus, his right hand herdsman, will be his heir. God smiles at him and promises that he will have a son of his own flesh and blood. Above his head the leaves move softly. ‘Abram,’ a voice says, ‘look up at the heavens and count the stars. So shall your offspring be. I am the Lord who brought you out of UR OF THE CHALDEANS to give you this land to take possession of. Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years. In the fourth generation your descendants will return. This is my COVENANT with you: to your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.’ Elated, Abram rushes to tell Sarai about this covenant God made with him. Sarai nods and reminds him that they have, as yet, no children, and suggests that he sleeps with her Egyptian maidservant Hagar. [according to custom that child will be hers] A year later, son ISHMAEL is born. Abram is 86 years old. There is a huge celebration welcoming Abram’s first-born offspring. Everyone is content except for barren Sarai who will never have a son from her own bloodline.
So . . . in a nutshell: God Almighty [Elyon] appears out of the blue to 99-year old Abram, who is taking a walk, and says, ‘Abram, I want to confirm my covenant.’ Terrified, Abram falls, face down, on his stomach. The voice continues: ‘I will greatly increase your numbers. You will be the father of many nations—from now on your name will be ABRAHAM, kings will come from you. The whole land of Canaan—the land of milk and honey—where you are now an alien I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you—and I WILL BE THEIR GOD. The covenant you are to keep is this: Every male among you shall be circumcised—this will be THE SIGN OF THE COVENANT between me and you. And, Abraham, Sarai is from now on to be known as SARAH. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her. MY COVENANT—I will ESTABLISH with ISAAC whom Sarah will bear to you—by this time next year.’
It is a very hot day—Abraham is sitting at the entrance to his tent when God, disguised as a man, appears with two males. He gets up to say welcome and invites them to a meal. They accept. Abraham tells Sarah to bake bread, and then rushes to his flock and orders that a calf be roasted. When the meal is ready the three eat at the entrance of the tent. Standing under a tree, Abraham watches them. They inquire after Sarah. He replies that she is inside the tent. Then God says, ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah, your wife, will have a son.’ Inside the tent Sarah laughs—she can’t believe it; her womb is barren. God repeats his prediction. When the three men leave—Abraham joins them. As they walk direction Sodom, God says that they came to investigate about the wickedness of the people of Sodom. If it’s true, he will destroy the city. Abraham pleads for his nephew Lot and his family to be saved.
So . . . in a nutshell: Abraham packs up and moves to the NEGEV and settles in Gerar. The king, Abimelech, takes Sarah for his wife because Abraham tells him that she is his sister. God pays the king a visit in a dream and informs him that he is as good as dead because Sarah is a married woman. God orders the king to return Sarah to Abraham—a prophet who will pray for him to live. Out of curiosity, the king wants to know why Abraham said that Sarah is his sister. Abraham explains that Sarah is the daughter of his father Terah’s other wife; that’s how she became his wife. And, so as to show him her love, Sarah always says: ‘He’s my brother.’ Satisfied with the clarification, the king happily gives Abraham sheep, cattle, slaves and Sarah—telling her that he’ll give her brother Abraham one thousand shekels in silver as repentance. To Abraham King Abimelech says, ‘My land is before you; live wherever you like.’ Abraham prays to God. And God heals the king, his family, and household so they can have children again. He had closed every womb so that Abraham’s wife Sarah could not conceive and have a child with the king!
So . . . Abraham accepts King Abimelech’s offer and settles in his land. Sarah becomes pregnant, just as God predicted. Abraham is 100-year old when ISAAC is born. The infant is eight days old when Abraham circumcises him, as God had commanded. A feast is given once Isaac has been weaned: a toddler standing on his own two feet. Ishmael makes a face, commenting that he is the first born. Sarah, furious, says to Abraham, ‘Get rid of Ishmael and Hagar, his slave mother. He will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.’ Abraham is greatly distressed because he dearly loves his son Ishmael. [by now a lean teenager] But God tells him that he’ll make Ishmael also into a nation. [a long story] Abraham should do what Sarah tells him because Isaac’s descendants will be the rightful heirs to the “Promised Land”: from the great river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates. [the pecking order: to be considered a Jew, mother must be a Hebrew]
So . . . Abraham has dug a well without King Abimelech’s permission and the king’s servants seize the well. The two men come to an agreement that in return for sheep and cattle Abraham has the right to stay in the land. They swear an oath. Abraham gives the king seven ewe lambs as a witness that he had dug the well and now owns it. He plants a tamarisk tree [today a flagpole] at this well. The place is BEERSHEBA. He calls upon the name of the Eternal God [Elyon]. Abraham stays in the land of the Philistines for a very long time.
In the late Stone Age, people in distress—petitioning the gods for life-saving rain—would offer as sacrifice their most precious first-born son. This practice fell into disuse and was replaced by a choice animal for sacrifice.
This is the story of how God challenged/tested Abraham—telling him to sacrifice his only son Isaac on his altar. In a nutshell: Father and son [age unknown] travel to Moriah where, on a mountain designated by God, the sacrifice will take place. They arrive, Isaac carrying the wood to kindle the fire. Abraham builds the altar and then adds the wood. The boy asks about the animal to be sacrificed. All choked up, Abraham is mute. He binds his son; then puts him on the wood pile, ready to sacrifice him. Isaac, petrified, stares at his father. But, lo and behold, the angel of the Lord calls out to stop the performance. A ram bleats in a bush. Abraham catches the animal. He unbinds his son and puts the ram on the wood and quickly lights the pile. The angel of the Lord shouts: ‘Because you have not withheld your only son, I will bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed because you have obeyed me!’ Isaac embraces his father, Abraham. They return to Beersheba.
So . . . Sarah dies in HEBRON, Canaan, when she is 127 years old. Abraham grieves. He buys from Ephron the Hittite the cave and fields of Machpelah near Mamre for 400 silver shekels, and buries his wife Sarah in this cave. His thoughts turn to getting Isaac a wife.
This is the story in a nutshell [Genesis 24]
Abraham receives news that his brother Nahor left UR of the Chaldeans and had settled in PADDAM ARAM. He recalls that nephew Lot has two sisters: Milcah and Iscah, and that Milcah is married to Nahor, her uncle. [an Aramaean]
So . . . Abraham asks his chief servant, Eliezer of Damascus, who manages his household, to get Isaac a wife from the “old country” where he has relatives. In case he dies, the manager should not get Isaac a Canaanite wife and orders him to swear; Eliezer puts his hand under his thigh. Abraham tells him that an angel of his Lord God will guide him on this trip. Eliezer wants to know what to do if the girl refuses. Abraham replies that he is then released from his oath. Satisfied knowing his marching orders, the manager takes 10 camels along with their caretakers, loads them with “goodie bags”, and departs. Finally, he arrives at PADDAM ARAM: it is evening. A long story: of meeting Rebekah at the well outside the city. It turns out she is the daughter of Bethuel—son of Nahor and Milcah. Eliezer asks for their hospitality and gives her a gold nose ring and two gold bracelets. The girl runs home and tells her mother and brother Laban of meeting this rich man who wants to board with them. Laban rushes to the well and invites Eliezer and his camels to stay with his mother. When Eliezer sits down for dinner with the family, he says: ‘I will not eat until I have told you what I have to say.’ Laban says: ‘Then tell us.’ Eliezer reveals that he’s Abraham’s servant. He explains at great length that he came to look for a wife for son Isaac. And with the help of Abraham’s God he arrived safely at this house. He gives Rebekah gold and silver jewelry and precious garments; also gifts for mother Milcah and brother Laban. When, together with her nurse, Rebekah leaves her home, the family wave farewell, and saying: ‘Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands: may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies.’
Upon arrival at Kadesh in the NEGEV Eliezer introduces Rebekah to Isaac; who takes her into the tent of his mother Sarah. [buried in Hebron!] And Rebekah becomes Isaac’s wife. [they are cousins]
So . . . Abraham takes a new wife (concubine) named Keturah. They have 6 sons. When Abraham approaches the age of 175 he instructs that his estate, everything he owns, belongs to son Isaac. The 6 sons by Keturah receive gifts and Abraham sends them across the Jordan into the Arabian Peninsula. Sons Ishmael and Isaac bury Abraham next to Sarah in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre: in HEBRON.
According to the science of Archaeology:
THE IRON AGE of the LEVANT
starts circa 1150 BCE
According to Judaism, MOSES wrote five books known as The Pentateuch:
It seems that Moses lived in the Late Bronze Age: Exodus (27)—altar with bronze overlay; (30)—a bronze basin. And, also, the Early Iron Age: Deuteronomy (3:11)—bed made of iron (4:20)—iron-smelting furnace; (8:9)—the rocks are iron; (27:5)—any iron tool.
GOD’S COVENANT WITH ABRAM:
Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated FOUR HUNDRED YEARS.
Jacob, grandson of Abraham, [buried in Hebron] and his descendants number 70 when THEY ENTER EGYPT. Joseph, son of Jacob, is already in Egypt, having been sold by his brothers (Genesis 37:12) to Potiphar, an official of Pharaoh. So when Jacob enters Egypt, he is accompanied by eleven sons and their families: Reuben—Simeon—Levi—Judah—Issachar—Zebulun—Benjamin—Dan—Naphtali—Gad—Asher.
THE ISRAELITES ARE FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLY
THE BOOK OF EXODUS
A new Pharaoh—unacquainted with the past history of the Israelites—says to his own people that they must deal with the Israelites because if they must fight a war these outsiders will join the enemy.
The story begins with the slaughter of baby boys. Pharaoh issues an edict that the two available Hebrew midwives must kill their baby boys but to have mercy on girls. The midwives fear God’s wrath and ignore the instruction. Pharaoh is angry. The midwives’ excuse is that Hebrew women give birth before they arrive on the scene. Then the fearful order comes that every baby boy born to a Hebrew woman must be thrown into the Nile.
It so happens that a Levite woman, married to a Levite man, gives birth to a baby boy. When the infant is three months old she makes a papyrus basket, coats it with tar and pitch, puts her baby boy in it and—her daughter watching—pushes the basket to a spot among the reeds along the banks of the Nile where Pharaoh’s daughter likes to bathe. When Pharaoh’s daughter arrives to take her bath she spots the basket. Curious, she opens it. The baby cries. Pharaoh’s daughter shrieks that it must be a Hebrew boy! The baby’s sister approaches and offers to fetch a wet nurse—and, voila!—the Levite woman shows up. Pharaoh’s daughter tells her to look after the boy. To top it all . . . the woman gets paid for this job!
The baby thrives and grows up into a handsome boy. The story line has it that the Levite woman decides to take the child to the palace and introduce him to Pharaoh’s daughter. Enchanted by his good looks, she adopts him, and gives her son the name MOSES—Egyptian for ‘I drew him out of the water.’
One day . . . now an adult, Moses decides to look up “his own people, the Israelites”. He witnesses an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. Flying into a rage, Moses kills the Egyptian, and then buries him in the sand. The next day, Moses watches two Hebrews fighting. Fuming, he steps up to interfere. In the blink of an eye, God recalls his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Hebrew men are ungrateful; there’s always a whistleblower. That’s how Pharaoh hears of Moses having killed and buried an Egyptian. Fearing for his life, sure-footed Moses flees to Midian.
The Story Continues
IMAGINATION IS THE BEGINNING OF
ALL MAGICAL OPERATIONS