Saturday, September 11, 2010

African Context of Biblical Material

The Bible tells us that Kushites moved out of Africa into Mespotamia. One kingdom-building Kushite is specifically named: Nimrod. He established his kingdom "in the land of Shinar," which included the cities "Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh" (Genesis 10:10). Babylon and Erech have been identified with certainty, and consistent with the kingdom-building pattern of Abraham's ancestors these are on a north-south axis.  Nimrod is not the first African to build cities. Kain is said to have built a city in honor of his first-born son, who would rule after him.  This settlement was probably what has become the city of Kano in northern Nigeria (directly north of the prehistoric site of Nok/Enoch, where Kain's cousin-wife dwelt.)

Archaeologist Thomas Strasser (Providence College) and his team have found 130,000 year old stone hand axes on Crete that are identical to 800,000 year double-edged axe heads found in African, suggesting that humans left Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago and traveled on seagoing vessels to Europe and the Near East via larger islands in the Mediterranean.

In his 20 years of work on Crete, Strassser has discovered several hundred double-edged cutting implements at nine sites in southwestern Crete that date to 130,000 years ago and earlier. Strasser reported that hand axes he found on Crete were made from local quartz but are identical to those fashioned in Africa about 800,000 years ago. (Read more here and here.)

It is clear that peoples from Africa were migrating eastward to Pakistan, southern India, and Sri Lanka. The Sudra (Sudanese) who inhabited these areas were black. The Sudra Kingdom, mentioned in the epic of Mahabharata, was one of the ancient Saraswati Valley kingdoms. Herodotus referred to the Sudra/Dravidians as the “eastern Ethiopians” and described them thus: “The Eastern Ethiopians differed in nothing from the other Ethiopians, save in their language, and the character of their hair. For the Eastern Ethiopians have straight hair, while they of Libya are more woolly-haired…”

The Indus civilization had several large cities, including Mohenjo-daro and Harrapa. That civilization is known by the name “Harappa” and the people of this civilization were Dravidians. The Indian archaeologist, B. B. Lal, contends that the Dravidians came from southern Egypt and Sudan (Nubia). This would explain their dark complexion. Lal writes: "At Timos the Indian team dug up several megalithic sites of ancient Nubians which bear an uncanny resemblance to the cemeteries of early Dravidians which are found all over Western India from Kathiawar to Cape Comorin. The intriguing similarity extends from the subterranean structure found near them. Even the earthenware ring-stands used by the Dravidians and Nubians to hold pots were identical." The Nubian megaliths of which Lal speaks date from around 1000 B.C.

Evidence of much older connections between Africa and India comes from the Onge of the Andaman Islands at the eastern edge of the Bay of Bengal. They are believed to have migrated from Africa around 60,000 years ago. They resemble African pygmies. Analysis of the Y-chromosome of 46 Onge men revealed an ancient genetic trait of African races, especially the Pygmies. The initial research was done by Dr. Lalji Singh, Director of India's Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad and was annoucned in 2001. Dr. Singh's findings paralleled those of Dr. Erika Hagelberg, a Cambridge scientist, who analysed Andaman hair samples which had been stored in Cambridge since 1907. She found that clusters of DNA from the hair were most similar to those in southern African pygmies.
Onge woman and child
This corresponds to the evidence in linguistics which connects the languages of southern India with the languages of the Upper Nile Valley and the Lake Chad region. Consider these examples:
Chief is "neb" in Egyptian and "nab" in Dravidian. This may be the origin of the semitic nabi = prophet.
Father is "abba" in Hebrew, "baba" in Hausa/Hahm, "appa" in Dravidian, and "apu" in Mundari.
The Hebrew root "thr" = to be pure, corresponds to the Hausa/Hahm "toro" = clean, and to the Tamil "tiru" = holy. All are related to the proto-Dravidian "tor" = blood.

Small is "sr" in Egyptian and "siru" in Dravidian.
The prefix ke or ki denotes smallness: "ke" in Coptic, "kenna" in Dravidian and "kina" in Nubian.

Woman, daughter is "asa" in Dravidian and "as" in Cushitic/Nubian.
Day is "ulla" in Dravidian and "ul" in Nubian.
Stone or rock is "kal" in Dravidian and "kulu" in Nubian.
Mountain is "male" in Dravidian and "mule" in Nubian. (Read more examples here and here.)

As we explore the African context of Abraham's ancestors we uncover possible explanations for the names found in Genesis. Consider the name of Abraham's barren wife, Sara, who is said to have laughed when she received the news that she would bear a son in her old age. The association of laughter with the name Sara is suggested by several Afro-Asiatic languages. The verb to laugh in Hausa, a Chadic language, is dara. Dara and Sara may be regarded as cognates since the letters d and s are interchangeable in Dravidian and many African languages.

Sara might also be related to the Amharic sak', meaning to laugh, which is a cognate to the eastern Chadic Kambaata word osalut, meaning ‘laughter’.

It is interesting to note also that the largest population group in Chad is called the Sara. Sara society is organized by patrilineal descent from a common male ancestor. There is a 3-clan confederation such as characterizes Abraham's people. The qir ka are the eastern Sara, the qin ka are those living in central Chad, and the qel ka are the western groups. According to legend, there were giants among the Sara.

Closer examination of the African cultural context of Abraham's ancestors promises to bring greater understanding of the older layers of the biblical material. It is time for biblical scholars to turn their eyes to Africa.


  1. Great stuff!! 4 questions!

    1) Are Indians and Africans linked very closely genetically? I thought that Indians would be more closely related to Australiod Aborigines, who I've heard aren't very close to Africans, though they can appear very similar.

    2) Are people such as "Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia" (Jdgs. 3:8) a remnant of the Kushite rulers of mesopotomia?

    3) Does the name "Blackheads" for the Sumerians reflect their Kushite origins? Can it be a descriptor similar to "Aithiops"(burned face people)?

    4) I've read that the name Phineas, the grandson of Aaron the High Priest, means "the Nubian"
    (Pa Nehesyu) in Egyptian (I think I got that from a book by Edwin Yamauchi. Have you ever heard this? Also the priest Eli's two sons were names Hophni & Phineas. Hophni seems very similar...

    Eagerly awaiting your answers!!!

  2. Wonderful questions!

    Note that we are speaking about the ruling class and so we can't generalize these findings to the entire population. The rulers married the daughters of rulers and the marriages followed the pattern of their ancestors, which means marriage was based on kinship. This is evident when we look at the kinship pattern of Abraham's ancestors who come from the Upper Nile area and the region of Lake Chad. (See the post on the Bible and Anthropological Investigation.)

    Indians today are racially diverse. The upper castes are Aryan. The lower castes are Sudroid and Dravidian. The Sudroid are genetically related to the Sudanese/Upper Nile peoples.

    Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia was a descendant of the Kushite kingdom-builders, though I haven't traced his ancestral line. He appears to be a descendent of Nimrod, as was Terah, Abraham's father. It appears that the last of the Afro-Asiatic kingdom-builders was Genghis Khan and I've traced him back to the Upper Nile through his wife.

    The Sumerians are still a mystery to me. They were Afro-Asiatics, but I believe they were a mixed race people. The oldest images of the ruler-priests shows them with reddish skin. These are images from the Naqada culture (c. 6000-4000 BC) that included the sites of el Badari, Nekhen (Hierakonopolis), Qau, and Gerzeh, where Wainwright discovered meteoritic iron beads, the earliest known artifacts of iron. The ruler-priests carried shepherd crooks.

    Phineas and Hophni are names of Egyptian origin. The Horites were a caste of ruler-priests who were devotees of Horus who was called "son of God." They originate in Egypt and the Upper Nile. Abraham and his people were Horites. Moses has 2 brothers who were ruler-priests: Aaron and Korah. Moses continued the Horite marriage pattern when he maried 2 wives, both daughters of ruler-priests and both kin.

    There are many more Egyptian and Sudanese connections in the Bible than generally recognized. One example: the chaotic deep of Genesis 1 is called "te-hom" and is the binary opposite of the divine ordering of the creation called "te-hut" by the Egyptians. Bible scholars have missed this. The M in tehom represents the waters below. What do you think the T in tehut represents? Hint: It is related to the origin of the Tau.

  3. Thank you!!

    I've heard that "tehom" became personalized as the dragon Tiamat in mesopotamian lore. The T always represented "a great sign" in proto-Hebrew but if the M represents the waters below then the T must represent the waters above, i.e. heaven. I'm not sure though...please inform me!!

  4. The W represents the waters above and also is the Egyptian suffix indicating plural. The Tau originates as a sphere with an X inside. This represents the precession of the equinoxes. Every 25,000 to 28,000 years, the Earth's rotation completes its cycle. When that happens the polar axis and the equatorial meridian form a perfect upright cross. This means that Earth's Great Year begins and ends with an erect Cross: the Alpha and the Omega. The Cross marks the renewal of life. See illustrations of this here:

    We are reminded of what Jesus said: "And I, when I be lifted up, will draw all men to Myself."

  5. Alice,
    I have not seen the circle with the cross upright. I have only seen it as an "X".
    Susan B.

  6. In the original symbol the X represents the rising of the polar axis. For ancient peoples this symbolized movement toward God or divinity. Likewise, the season in which a person died was regarded as an indicator of whether they were moving toward God/deity. People wanted to die in the season in which the days began to lengthen, not shorten. This is when Jesus was crucified.

    Strangely, scholars don’t know when Buddha actually died, but his liberation from samsara is celebrated on February 15, the date when the sun leaves the constellation of Capricorn and enters the constellation of Aquarius.

  7. The circle with an X could be the Tyet ankh from Egypt and, ultimately, symbolize the same idea. The ancients understood the idea of the fixed Ecliptic and considered it the 'navel' of existence. The omphalos in Jerusalem has this symbol.
    Susan B.

  8. Yes. The symbolism would be equivalent. The navel is the sacred center, the place where Man meets the Maker.

    You'd find this interesting, Susan.

    It promotes Free Masonry, but it has good information.

  9. Sudra are also Gypsies? They have haplogroup M82 which is called sudra gene.

  10. Gypsies, Roma, "Tinkers" or "Travelers" historically were itinerant metal workers. They are traced to Africa, Canaan, Arabia and India. Many of the clans associated with the Horites were itinerant metal workers (such as Tamar's people in Timnah Valley) and these people kept their craft secret. Horus' virgin mother was Hathor, the patroness of metal workers and miners.


Your comments are welcome. Please stay on topic and provide examples to support your point.