Monday, May 20, 2019

Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in the Bible

Alice C. Linsley

The discipline of Biblical Anthropology can be daunting. It involves gathering data about many biblical populations. Yes, there are many more populations than the Hebrews, the Israelites, and the Jews. Even these populations are not the same.

Understanding the Bible requires more than an understanding of biblical theology. It also requires understanding the cultural contexts of these biblical populations:

Black and red Nubians
Edomites (Idumeans)

The list is long, but not comprehensive. There are some populations about which we find so little data in the Bible that they will probably remain obscure. Among them are the Kassites, Gerasenes, Gittites, Gizonites, Shunammites, Tizites, and Zuzim.

The Bible also speaks of general classifications, that is, populations that live in the same region, or share a common ancestry and culture. This is the case with the Canaanites. Among them the Bible lists Arkites, Arvadites, Girgashites, Hivites, Jebusites, Kenizzites, and Zemites. The terms "Kushite" and "Greek" refer to many ethnic groups, as does the term "Barbarian."

Some populations are known by different names at different periods of history. The Edomites are also called Seirites, and later called Idumeans. The Madai are also called Medes. The same is true for the Hebrew who are sometimes designated "Horites" (Gen. 36) and are called "Abru" in ancient Akkadian texts.

To further complicate the picture we have sects within these groups. The writer of Acts identifies a group among the Greek speakers as "Hellenists" (Acts 6, 8, and 9). Among the Jews we find Essenes, Herodians, Karaites, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Zealots.

The complexity of ethnic and cultural identity is evident in the way the Turkish-born Apostle Paul describes himself: "Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee..." (Philippians 3:5-6), and he was a Roman citizen.

Some group names do not refer to an ethnicity, but rather to a social status. That is true for the term "Nephilim" which refers to archaic rulers, or the "mighty men of old" (Gen. 10). Unfortunately, many Bibles render nephilim as “giants” when it should read “great ones.” Nephilim comes from the same root as the Aramaic npyl (nephil) which means great in rank or stature. This is equivalent to the Arabic nfy, meaning hunter. It is said concerning Nimrod that he was a “mighty hunter” or a “mighty man” before the Lord. Genesis 6 describes the Nephilim as gibboriym, meaning “powerful ones.”

Other names refer to clans. The Anakim are a people descended from Anak. The Anakim were organized into a three-clan confederation. The three clans were named for the highest ranked sons of Anak - Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai (Josh.15:14). Anak and his Anakim people dwelt in the region of Hebron. Anak's father was Arba. Hebron was called Kiriath-Arba. The Anakim are associated with the Nephilim (Num. 13:33), with the Raphaim (Deut. 2:10), and with the clan of Caleb (Josh.15:13). Therefore, Caleb’s offensive against the Anakim was a war against some of his kinsmen.

The "people of Israel" are comprised of multiple clans descended from Jacob. Like the descendants of Anak, the descendants of Jacob fought among themselves. The clan of Benjamin was nearly wiped out by its fellow Israelites.

We note a familial relationship between clans that share certain radicals. Note the “le” prefix in these clan names: Le’hab, Le’sha, Le’tushim and Le’ummim (Gen. 25:3). The Semitic languages typically have particles that begin with L (le, lu or la). Le is a Hebrew prefix, but it appears in older languages such as Akkadian. "La’baru" pertains to granting long life and is related to the Akkadian word la’biru, meaning old. There is also linguistic evidence of three-clan confederations, such as Jubal, Jabal and Tubal; Uz, Huz and Buz, and Og, Gog and Magog.

Some clan names indicate a caste. The Tahash clan were related to Abraham the Hebrew. One of Abraham's nephews was Tahash (Gen. 22:24). Tahash refers to a tanner of animal skins. Exodus 25:5 links "five ram skins dyed red" with "tahash skins." The Tahash caste of Hebrew ritually prepared the skins of sacrificed animals for use in solemn oaths, such as the passing of leather sandals (Ruth 4:7).

Another caste were the Horite Hebrew. These were priests who served the High God and his son. The Horite Hebrew priests were unique among the priest castes of the ancient world and greatly respected for their purity and sobriety. Some prominent members of this caste include Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and David.

The complexity and diversity of biblical populations is the focus of Biblical Anthropology. This is why Biblical Anthropology is a great aid in understanding the Bible on a deeper level.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Horite High Places

Alice C. Linsley

The mysterious 'Apiru were also known as the Hapiru or Habiru. Habiru is rendered "Hebrew" in English Bibles. The term piru refers to a house of temple. A temple was the mansion (hâît) or the house (pirû) of the god. The ancient Dravidians referred to their East-oriented temples as Opiru, meaning "Sun House."

In the Pyramid Texts, the deceased king is urged to rise to life and to visit the Horite "great houses" or temples. (Utterance 665)

In the ancient Egyptian language nibit piru means "lady of the house" or the lady of the temple. This would refer to the mistress of a royal household and to the royal daughter who was in charge of a temple. During his reign (c. 2334–2284 BC) Sargon appointed his daughter Heduanna as the En of the temple at Ur. The Akkadian term En means lord, master, royal official, priest or priestess. En-Heduanna served the High God Anu and his son En-Ki (Lord of the Earth) at the House (pr) of Anu.

In Akkadian the word for priest was abru, and the priesthood or a caste of priests was called abrutu. In the ancient world, there were many castes of priests. They were identified by the deity they served, and it was believed that deity appointed the ruler in whose realm the priests served. The religion of the territory was the religion of the ruler and the priest caste that served the ruler.

The Horite Hebrew priests were unique among the priest castes of the ancient world and greatly respected for their purity and sobriety. Plutarch wrote that the “priests of the Sun at Heliopolis never carry wine into their temples, for they regard it as indecent for those who are devoted to the service of any god to indulge in the drinking of wine whilst they are under the immediate inspection of their Lord and King. The priests of the other deities are not so scrupulous in this respect, for they use it, though sparingly.” Due to their prestige, the Horite Hebrew were sought as servants of the high kings who constructed palaces and royal temple complexes at the "high places." Their association with elevated sites may be why the Horite Hebrew are sometimes described as cave dwellers.

Heliopolis (Sun City) was known by the natives as Iunu, meaning place of pillars. (Likewise, the royal complex of Dendera was known as Iunet. The I represents a pillar.) Iunu was one of the most prestigious Horite high places. The Harris papyrus speaks of the 'Apriu of Ra at Heliopolis (biblical On), as do the Coffin Texts and the Pyramid Texts. Joseph married Asenath, the daughter of the priest of On. Other ancient texts that speak of Horite high places (mounds) include Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform tablets and the Amarna Letters, a collection of 14th century B.C. letters.

The Horite Hebrew served kings throughout the ancient world. Among the Nilotes, they served Re, which simply means "father of..." in ancient Egyptian. Re is the father of Horus whose mother Hathor conceived him by divine overshadowing (cf. Luke 1). The name Horus is derived from the root HR, which means the "One on high." Related Egyptian words include her, meaning over or above; horiwo - head, and hir - praise. Horus and Hathor are often shown on ancient Egyptian monuments as the father and mother of the dead kings, but whom the deceased hope to rise from the grave.

Among the Mesopotamians, the Horite Hebrew served Anu, the father of Enki. Wherever the Horite Hebrew became established there was a belief that the High God has a son. This is a central belief of the Messianic Faith called "Christianity."

Evidence of the Horite Hebrew can be found at many of the oldest high-elevation temples. This green malachite stone, a gift from the Egyptian king with whom the Hittites signed a treaty in BC 1258, was at the center of a Horite shrine in the Hittite capital of Hattusa (in Çorum Province in Turkey). Among the ancient Nilotes green malachite represented new life and the hope of resurrection. The land of the blessed dead was described as the "field of malachite."

Green stones were associated with Horus, whose animal totem was the falcon. The Book of the Dead speaks of how the deceased will become a falcon "whose wings are of green stone" (chapter 77). The protective Eye of Horus amulet was made of green stone. The Ancient Pyramid Texts speak of Horus as the "Lord of the green stone" (Utterance 301).

Horite Pillars, Pyramids, and Mounds

For the Horites the mound or high place represented the primeval creation. The first land to rise from the primordial flood was called TaTJaNuN by the ancient Egyptians. In the Ugaritic creation story the two mounds are likewise indicated by the sign T. The mounds Trgzz and Trmg emerged from a universal ocean and held up the firmament. They also marked the entrance to the Netherworld, so the phrase pillars refer to the Creator's work whereby the heavens and the earth are connected.

The Pyramid Texts [hereafter PT] describe the four cardinal points as "four pillars" (Utterance 217). The pillars connect heaven and earth, as Dr. Zahi Hawass notes:
"The true pyramid, while retaining its meaning as primeval mound and stairway to the stars, also represents the rays of the sun as they stream down to earth. It echoes the benben, a pointed stone that was the solar symbol par excellence." (Hawass, Mountains of the Pharaohs, p. 34)

The first mound of God is found in the mythology of the Horite settlements at On and Memphis. Their mounds, pyramids, and sacred stone pillars called benben represent the first land that rose from the chaotic waters. In the On myth, Atum-Re arose from the primeval mound and created the first two humans as deities. In the Memphis narrative, Ptah rose from the primeval mound and gave order to the world through his word/speech. The ancient Egyptians called the sacred mound mer, which is also the Egyptian word for love.

The idea of the earth resting on pillars is found in I Samuel 2:8 - "For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s and he had set the world upon them." This idea is also found in Psalm 75:3: "It is I who have firmly set its pillars." These are the pillars described in Job 9:6 - "Who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble."

Nubian captives

The Horite Mounds and the Sethite Mounds

It appears from the Pyramid Texts that the Horites and the Sethites maintained separate settlements. Utterance 308 addresses them as separate entities: "Hail to you, Horus in the Horite Mounds! Hail to you, Horus in the Sethite Mounds!"

PT Utterance 470 contrasts the Horite mounds with the mounds of Seth, designating the Horite Mounds "the High Mounds."

The two groups appear to be separate yet related, suggesting a moiety, such as that of the Red and Black Nubians. The term moiety refers to two social or ritual groups into which a people is divided. The distinction between the two groups is evident in PT Utterance 424: "O King, a boon which the King grants, that you occupy the Mounds of Horus, that you travel about the Mounds of Seth..." Here we find a suggestion that the Horites indeed take their name from their devotion to Horus.

PT Utterance 424 continues, "that you [King] sit on your iron throne and judge their affairs at the head of the Great Ennead which is in On." Though separate, the Horites and the Sethites are judged by a common king.

That both groups serve the same king is evident from PT Utterance 213: "O King, you have not departed dead, you have departed alive...The Mounds of Horus serve you, the Mounds of Seth serve you."

The extent of the King's reign is considerable. In his resurrection body he is to "traverse the Mound of Horus of the Southerners" and "traverse the Mound of Horus of the Northerners." (PT Utterances 536 and 553) The risen king restores his settlements and cities, and opens doors to the Westerners, Easterners, Northerners and Southerners (Pt Utterance 587). He is to "betake himself to the Mansion of Horus which is in the firmament" (PT Utterance 539).

The risen king unites the peoples, restores the former state of blessedness, and unites heaven and earth. When seen from this perspective, the Horite religion appears to be the foundation of the Messianic hope that is fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.

Related reading: Horite Temples; The Pillars of the Earth; The High Places: The Symbolism of the Eye of Horus in the Pyramid Texts; Righteous Rulers and the Resurrection; Horus of the Two Crowns; The Ra-Horus-Hathor Narrative; Blood and the Impulse to Immortality

Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Scapegoat

Alice C. Linsley

Leviticus 16:11-16 contains instructions for Aaron's first entrance into the Tent of Meeting and the veiled Shrine of the High God YHWH. Aaron is to prepare by washing himself and vesting in the garments of the high priest. He is to offer a bull to make expiation for himself and for his household. He is to slaughter the bull and with his finger he is to sprinkle some of the bull's blood over the "cover" on the east side and in front of the cover he is to sprinkle the blood seven times with his finger. By this means Aaron is to "purge" the Shrine of the uncleanness and transgression of the Israelites.

After he has made expiation for himself and his household, Aaron is to purge the altar that is before the LORD. He is to take some of the blood of the bull and the he-goat and apply it to the horns of the altar and the rest of the blood is to be sprinkled on the altar seven times with his finger. (Lev. 16:17-19. All references used in this post follow the verse numbers of the Hebrew Bible.)

Leviticus 16 also speaks of another goat. This is the goat that is to be sent away and it is usually referred to as the "scapegoat." However, the goat is designated "Azaz-el" which means the "strong one of God." This goat is led by a ruler of the people, designated itti, to the wilderness where it is released. This goat also makes expiation (verse 10). The ruler who sets the Azaz-el free in the wilderness is to wash his clothes and bathe his body before he re-enters the camp (verse 26).

It is interesting that the remains of the sacrificed bull and goat are also to be taken outside the camp where they are to be consumed in fire (holocaust). He who burns them is to wash his clothes and bathe himself before he may re-enter the camp (verse 28).

Christians have noted parallels to the Gospel narratives about Jesus Messiah. He was driven into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit where he contended with temptations.

Jesus is a "sent-away" son. In the Bible the sent-away sons are the heroes and it is to them that God delivers a kingdom.

His death was on a hill "outside the camp" of Jerusalem.

He was crucified by the Romans, but he was led to them by the High Priest, a ruler of the people.

His blood is regarded as the final and sufficient covering for the sins of the world.

Christians believe Jesus to be the "strong man" and this sheds a different light on the parable of the strong man in Mark 3.

A shaved priest (korah) sacrificing a ram

What happened to the ram?

Leviticus 16:5 mentions a ram that is to be offered also, but the ram is not mentioned again in the entire chapter. This is curious because the ram was a sacred offering among the Horite Hebrew, Aaron's ruler-priest caste. The "binding of Isaac" (Akadeh) in Genesis 22 ends with Isaac's life being spared through divine intervention and the substitution of a ram.

For Abraham the Horite Hebrew, the lamb was associated with the east and the rising of the sun. The ram was associated with the west, the setting sun, and the future. This belief emerged from the solar imagery of the Proto-Gospel. Horus, the son of Ra was depicted as being one with the Father. He rode with the Father on the solar boat. The boat of the morning hours was called Mandjet and the boat of the evening hours was called Mesektet. While Horus was on Mandjet he was in the form of a lamb. While in the Mesektet, he was in his ram-headed form.

It was the custom of the Hebrews in Egypt to observe certain festivals. One was the festival of the death and resurrection of Horus who was called "son" of God. This lasted five days and involved sowing wheat seed in the fields. Perhaps this is why Jesus spoke of his impending death using the image of a seed being sown in the ground in order to give life (John 12:24).

Another festival involved a three-day journey into the wilderness. This likely involved sacrifice of a ram, an animal that was sacred to the Egyptians. (See Exodus 3:18; 5:3, and 8:26-28.) This is why Moses said to Pharaoh that the Hebrew clans had to make a three-day journey into the wilderness. "...for the sacrifices that we offer to the LORD our God are an abomination to the Egyptians. If we offer in the sight of the Egyptians sacrifices that are an abomination to them, will they not stone us?”

There is an interesting linguistic connection between the ram and the soul in ancient Egyptian thought. Both are the same word - ba. No wonder the Egyptians did not kill rams!

Related reading: Rabbinic Take on the Word Azazel; What Abraham Discovered on Mount Moriah; The Ra-Horus-Hathor Narrative; Sent-Away Sons

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The ACNA and the Priesthood of the Church

Women "bishops" of the Episcopal Church

Alice C. Linsley

This has been a difficult article to write due to the strength of my conviction that women’s ordination to the sacred order of priests is a dangerous innovation that will continue to cause division in the Anglican Church in North America. It is unfortunate that this practice carried over from the Episcopal Church.

I have been speaking and writing on this subject for over 15 years, mainly from the perspective of Biblical Anthropology, but also from personal experience as a former priest in the Episcopal Church. I have no illusion that what I say will change the minds of those who hold their positions with equally firm conviction.

The ACNA College of Bishops recently heard from three women on the subject of women in ministry. Two of the women are ordained and one is a lay person. If the bishops are earnestly interested in listening to all views, what I offer here may be helpful. I speak as a woman in lay ministry.

I am not hopeful that a catholic resolution on the question of women priests can be achieved in the ACNA. Anglicans appears to relish theological ambiguity and our bishops do not insist on uniformity of doctrine and practice when it comes to nonessentials. That the all-male priesthood touches the heart of the Messianic Faith that we call “Christianity” does not sway the supporters of women’s ordination. Nor do they appear to be disturbed by the tension this innovation creates in ecumenical relations with bodies that uphold catholic orders.

Anglicans claim Scripture as our central authority, yet supporters of women’s ordination obfuscate the fact that not a single woman priest is found in the Bible. Many are proud of the “reformed” nature of the Anglican Way, yet they are unwilling to reform to the received Tradition of the all-male priesthood. They do not recognize the truth of Father Louis Tarsitano’s words: “The priesthood of Christ, and that representative priesthood rooted in Christ's priesthood is changeless. To change it is to change the New Testament itself.”

On the question of women priests, Archbishop Edmund Akanya of the Anglican Church of Nigeria has stated: “Our position as a church is that it runs counter to scripture and more so our culture. Even the women themselves are seriously opposed to women’s ordination. This position has been held before I became a bishop. In fact, it is looked at as something that led to the issue of human sexuality today.”

Archbishop Akanya is justified in this view since the first woman ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church (following the decision of General Convention) was Ellen Marie Barrett, a lesbian who served with gay activist Louie Crew as co-president of Integrity. She was ordained in 1977 by the social activist Bishop Paul Moore of New York.

The critical moment for affirmation of the catholic position on the priesthood has long passed. At the inception of the Anglican Church in North America, the lead Bishops unanimously agreed to work together for the good of the Kingdom. As part of this effort, different positions on the ordination of women would be acceptable in a spirit of mutual love and respect, and a desire to move forward for the good of the ACNA. This commitment was embedded in the Constitution and Canons overwhelmingly adopted by the Inaugural Assembly in 2009.

It is unfair, therefore, to accuse the Bishops of "kicking the can down the road" on women’s ordination. They are doing exactly what they agreed to do. As Bishop Jim Hobby said in response to questions about the three women’s presentations to the House, “From my limited experience and perspective, I see bishops engaging in respectful conversation about theological differences while working together to strengthen the Church and to reach the world with the Gospel.”

In the Victoria Statement, the ACNA bishops expressed regret that they had not been more supportive of women in ministry. The Bishops met in Victoria, Canada in September 2017 to discuss holy orders and the role of women. At that meeting they said, “We have not effectively discipled and equipped all Christians, male and especially female, lay and ordained, to fulfill their callings and ministries in the work of God’s kingdom. We repent of this and commit to work earnestly toward a far greater release of the whole Church to her God-given mission.”

As part of that commitment, a Bishops’ Working Group on Holy Orders was formed. This group is co-chaired by Bishop Clark Lowenfield and Bishop Jim Hobby. (Bishop Hobby’s wife, Shari, is an ACNA priest.)

The bishops should not be overly hard on themselves. They inherited this conflicted condition and they are saddled with it. Though most ACNA bishops do not favor women’s ordination, female priests is now the cultural norm in the ACNA. Given what I have learned from anthropology about cultural change, I doubt the ACNA can reform to the biblical norm.

The preservation of a fragile ACNA coalition is more important than the boundary stones set up by our holy ancestors (Proverbs 22:28). Those markers enable us to discern and avoid errant paths.

The Anglican Church in North America has been permanently corrupted by the adoption of a practice from TEC. The polity of the ACNA is such that no leader has the authority to correct this. In effect, the ACNA has a crisis of authority.

As an anthropologist, I've studied how outside innovations can gradually and completely change the social fabric of a community if they are adopted. Rarely does the community return to the original pattern. If there is a return to the community's native pattern, it is because a very strong leader makes that happen. A biblical example is King Josiah who removed the celestial horses from the temple entrance probably because these had come to symbolize shamanist practices such as bestiality in a royal fertility ritual, and human and horse sacrifice among some populations.

The Church is a conserving entity by which God preserves right belief and right actions in the service of humanity. Unfortunately, the conservation of wildlife and the environment have become higher priorities than the conservation of Scripture and Tradition. Social justice ranks above preserving the Gospel ministry of the all-male priesthood. Feminism, and its underlying Marxist worldview, dictates our thinking about the roles of men and women in the Church.

In his treatise “Priestesses in the Church,” C. S. Lewis observed, “The innovators are really implying that sex is something superficial, irrelevant to the spiritual life. To say that men and women are equally eligible for a certain profession is to say that for the purposes of that profession their sex is irrelevant. We are, within that context, treating both as neuters. As the State grows more like a hive or an ant-hill it needs an increasing number of workers who can be treated as neuters. This may be inevitable for our secular life. But in our Christian life we must return to reality.”

Related reading: Anglicans Divided; Why Women Were Never Priests; Men at Altar, Women at Empty Tomb

Friday, April 19, 2019

Mongolian Lexicon

Alice C. Linsley

This short list of Mongolian words will be helpful to Biblical Anthropologists seeking linguistic connections between the Central Asian populations and biblical populations. It is best used alongside the Hungarian Lexicon, the Ancient Egyptian Lexicon, and the Akkadian Lexicon.

achor - towel
ado - horse herd
aduu - horse
agui - cave
airag - mare's milk
alchaã - shelter, hut, booth
altan - golden
amche - physician
anda - blood brother ritual
arag - wine

baatar - hero
barimal - statue made by hand
bö - shaman
boroo - rain
buqa - stud bull

chono - wolf
chuluun - stone

dörbeljin üsüg - Mongolian square or quadratic script

gal - fire
gerel - light
ger - home, tent (ghar - home in Urdu/Hindi)
gobi - desert
gol - river
golomt - hearth

halkhazug - gown
Hor - the Tibetan word for the Mongols
hün - adult male, man
hünij - human being

ild - Mongolian scimitar, sabre
ikh - great

khöndii - valley, large gorge
khoomii - diphonic throat song in which the singer produces 2 separate lines simultaneously
kurultai - a political or military council (khur - to assemble, to discuss)

magtaal - ode
mergen - wise
mogoi - snake
mod - tree
möngön - silver
mori - horse
mörön - large river

naranu gerel - sunlight
nar/naran - the Sun
nokhoi - dog
nökhör - comrade at arms

obok - clan (cf. the Japanese word oba, for clan chief. The first ruler of Petra was called Obodas.)
od - star
ödör - day
ols - rope
ordo - the central tent of a leader, a seat of honor
ovoo - sacred stone heap (Variants: oboo and obo)

qačar - cheek
quduã - water well
qut - divine power, power from on high, given to a ruler or a shaman

salhi - wind
sar - the Moon
shuvuu - bird
sogchas - Mongolian dress
sogjil - ear ring
sog-zha - Mongolian hat
šönö - night

takhilch - preserver of Tradition, caretaker
temegen - camel
temur - iron
terigün - head
tenger - sky
Tengri - High God (Tien or Tian in Chinese.)
tsas - snow
tsus - blood
tuãul - calf

üker - cattle, cow, bull, ox,
umusu - socks
ünijen - milk cow
us/usny - water
uul - mountain

yajar - place
yer - Earth

Monday, April 8, 2019

Biblical Populations and Akkadian

How spoken Akkadian may have sounded.

Alice C. Linsley

The Indian scholar, Malati J. Shendge, has concluded that the language of the Harappans of the Indus Valley was Akkadian. Shendge believes that the language of the Harappan civilization is reflected in the Asuras. She says, "The earlier works and other details mentioned in the context of the Asuras prove that the Harappan language was related to their Iraqi counterparts." (From here.)

Among the cognates in Sanskrit and Akkadian are the names of gods and priests; words for parts of the body, the horse, and household and temple furnishings.

Ajay Pratap Singh has written, "Comparisons of Akkadian and Sanskrit words yielded at least 400 words in both languages with comparable phonetic and semantic similarities. Thus Sanskrit has, in fact, descended from Akkadian."

Support for this view comes from Harappan artifacts that are similar to those of the ancient Nile. A connection between the two riverine civilizations is made in Genesis 10 where we are told that Nimrod, a Kushite kingdom builder, ruled where Akkadian was the language of the empire.

The Bible scholar, E.A. Speiser, found that names taken to be Indo-European were often labeled "Hurrian" and were later identified as Akkadian.

Hurrian or Horite names in ancient documents does not mean that there was a Hurrian or Horite language. The Horites were widely dispersed and spoke the languages of the people among whom they lived. Today scholars use terms like Ugaritic-Hurrian, Hurro-Urartian and Hurro-Akkadian, or Canaano-Akkadian.

Ugaritic-Hurrian shares many letters with Hebrew and is also read from left to right. This Ugarit alphabet chart shows the Ugarit letters in order. There are eight additional letters in the Ugarit alphabet that are not in the Hebrew alphabet, two of which are vowels. The tablet is missing the 13th, 14th, and 25th letters, which appear to have been broken off the right end of the tablet.

According to this study, "Ugaritic-Hurrian matches the initial stage of intermingling, Hurro-Akkadian reflects gradually more intense blending, and Canaano-Akkadian corresponds to the phase of a profound fusion of the two source codes."

This view of the emergence sequence aligns with the view of Sholmo Izre'el (Tel Aviv University) He writes, "To my mind, the best term used so far for indicating the nature of Canaano-Akkadian is mixed language. While not attempting a definition of the term, Bakker and Mous do see similarities between the languages described in their collection Mixed Languages (1994). They do, however, propose the term language intertwining ‘for the process forming mixed language showing a combination of the grammatical system (phonology, morphology, syntax) of one language with the lexicon of another language’ (Bakker and Mous 1994: 4-5).”

Hurro-Urartian developed in the Taurus Mountains and is similar to old Armenian.

The map shows where the Hurro-Urartian dialects were spoken.

Arabic speakers note a similarity between some words in modern Assyrian and ancient Akkadian. A list is provided here.

Related reading: Akkadian Lexicon

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Were the Tarim Mummies Afro-Eurasians?

Alice C. Linsley

The mummies of the Tarim Basin in Western China have been the topic of much speculation. It is believed that they moved into the Tarim region from Europe, but it is also possible that their ancestors moved out of the Nile Valley. The Tarim mummies are likely related to the peoples of the Afro-European Haplogroup R1.

The first mummies were unearthed at Qizilchoqa, or Red Hillock. Some were found at Urumchi (Urumqi) in the Tian Shan Mountains (Mountains of the High God) near the border with Kazakhstan. Another mummy found near Subashi, 310 miles west of Qizilchoqa, was that of a man who had undergone a surgical operation on his neck. The incision was closed with horsehair sutures.

At Subashi, a woman's body was found wearing a two-foot black felt peaked hat with a flat brim like that worn by the Saka. In 1970, just over China's western border in Kazakhstan, the grave of a man from the same period yielded a two-foot conical hat studded with gold-leaf decorations.

Saka with peaked hat

The hat on the statute above resembles the peaked cap on this 1.5-inch-high, 15th-century B.C. gold pendant found at Hattusa in Turkey. Hattusa was a Hittite shrine city. The Hittites of Mamre recognized Abraham as a kinsman, calling him "a great prince among us." (Genesis 23)

The dating of the Tarim mummies ranges from c.2000 BC to c.500 BC. The Tarim Basin was once dotted with lakes and rivers, but the water has largely disappeared. Today the Taklimakan region is a wind swept desert with the Tian Shan range to the north, the Kunlun mountains to the south, and the Qilian mountains to the east.

Before the arrival of the Han Chinese, Western China was occupied by people with features that included round eyes, light brown hair, blonde hair, red beards, and blue eyes. Their features are like those of mummies found at Nekhen on the Nile.

In one burial site archaeologists found a wood model of a mummy in a carved boat. This may be similar to the solar barque of the ancient Nilotes that was believed to carry the dead to immortality. Tarim temples were decorated with solar images consistent with the solar symbolism of the R1b Nilotes for whom the Sun was the emblem of the Creator.

Early expeditions to the Tarim Basin led to the discovery of texts written in seventeen different languages. Linguists believe that languages of the Tarim mummies were Khotanese Saka and Tocharian A and B. János Harmatta pointed out that the Khotanese Saka language is very similar to the Bactrian language as outlined in his analysis of the Dasht-e-Nawur inscriptions.

This chart compares Saka and Tocharian B with Latin and English. All these languages derive from a common Proto-Indo-European (PIE) source.

Linguists note that Tocharian has more in common with the western Indo-European languages than with the eastern Indo-European languages.

The Kushan Yuezhi, also called Saka, called themselves Visha or the Vijaya. This is sometimes rendered as "traders" or "tribes" though the word refers to their two ruling royal houses, as in vijana, the splitting of wisdom. The honorific title "Pharaoh" originates in the term pr-aa, which means "great house." In Vedic tradition, pra-jna means "wisdom of the great house." The words have multiple related meanings (polysemic). In Vedic tradition the a-laya-vijña-na is the seed of the receptacle-world, but literally it means the receptacle of the seed, as in vagina, symbolized originally by the pictograph V.

The Kushan high king called himself "son of heaven" or the “son" of God (Tian), as did the rulers of the Nile.

The Yuezhi Kushan spoke Tocharian and are sometimes referred to as Tochara. They were organized into five clans and the clan chiefs were called Yabgu. Note the initial solar cradle Y. It designates a divinely appointed ruler (deified "son" of God), which is why it appears in the Hebrew names of many biblical rulers: Yaqtan (Joktan); Yishmael (Ishmael); Yishbak; Yitzak (Isaac); Yacob (Jacob); Yosef (Joseph); Yetro (Jethro); Yeshai (Jesse), Yonah (Jonah), and Yeshua (Joshua/Jesus).

Saka Yuezhi warrior

Among the Nilotes the solar orb rested in the horns of bulls. Among the Saka the solar orb often rested in the antlers of deer. This is bronze standard, with it solar imagery, has a stag and two bulls. It was found at Alaca Höyük and dates to about 1900 BC.

The territory of the Yuezhi Kushan was about two thousand miles north of India. The land is at a high altitude with a dry climate, though it was once wet. The people were known for their skill at archery and horsemanship. Here is an image of one of the Tarim Mummies (1000 BC). Note the solar horse in his cheek.

The skin tone of the Kushan was reddish like that of the rulers of Nekhen on the Nile, the oldest know site of Horite Hebrew worship.

 The relationship of the Kushan and the Nilotic Kushites has been explored here.