The THEOI Project

This looks like a useful, growing, resource.

THEOI means “gods” in Greek. According to the site, it’s purpose is:

. . . exploring Greek mythology and the gods in classical literature and art. The aim of the project is to provide a comprehensive, free reference guide to the gods (theoi), spirits (daimones), fabulous creatures (theres) and heroes of ancient Greek mythology and religion.

Check it out!

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Recent Online Dissertation on the Sumerian Deity Enki

Today I came across this published (2010) doctoral dissertation on the god Enki by Peeter Espak. it is entitled, “The God Enki in Sumerian Royal Ideology and Mythology.” I decided to blog the link in the name of offering something useful to all those who want to read actual scholarship on Sumerian mythology and religion, as opposed to the ancient astronaut tripe. We try to be useful in multiple ways here.

Though a dissertation, the work is quite readable (don’t let the transliterated Sumerian and Akkadian distract you; just skip all that and read the prose). I ran a quick search on “Annuna” (the Anunnaki gods) and read through the 30 occurrences and relevant discussion. Some good material, as the Anunnaki are discussed in various scenes in relation to the larger subject matter. (The longer term “Anunnaki” also occurs once). Sorry, no spaceships, extraterrestrials, or fiery rocket journeys to or from Nibiru. (I’m still getting over the shock). The dissertation rebuts certain conclusions (some shared by Samuel Noah Kramer) about the frictional relationship between Ea and Enki (another blow to ancient astronaut theory’s “retelling” of the Sumerian epics).

At any rate, for those interested, enjoy this fine resource.

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Getting to Know Your 2012 Apocalyptic PaleoBabble

I came across this lengthy essay (from this past August) recently. It’s a good article that provides a number of links for understanding the history and past cultural applications of the 2012 Mayan “prophecy” nonsense. It’s a good starting point for research into the mythology. Very informative.

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Atlantis: The Myth That Keeps on Giving

Ever wondered how a few lines of Plato’s Timaeus that mention Atlantis somehow morphed into a myth so bloated that you can fill a library wing with tomes by “authorities” and “researchers” describing the science, technology, religion, and enlightened culture of a place that may well never have existed?  Yeah, me too. For the record, here’s what Plato actually said — the passing comments upon which a paper and ink mountain has been erected:

For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot. For the ocean there was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say, ‘the pillars of Heracles,’ there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together; and it was possible for the travelers of that time to cross from it to the other islands, and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses that veritable ocean. For all that we have here, lying within the mouth of which we speak, is evidently a haven having a narrow entrance; but that yonder is a real ocean, and the land surrounding it may most rightly be called, in the fullest and truest sense, a continent. Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power, which held sway over all the island, and over many other islands also and parts of the continent (Timaeus 24e–25a, R. G. Bury translation (Loeb Classical Library).

The good news is that we now have a true work of scholarship (don’t be misled by the book’s cover) that helps us understand how Plato’s trickle became the gusher of crapulence we now know as “the great Atlantean civilization.”  I speak of Jocelyn Godwin’s recent Atlantis and the Cycles of Time: Prophecies, Traditions, and Occult Revelations.

For those unfamiliar with Godwin, he is a legitimate scholar of esoteric thought. Don’t be misled by the book’s cover. Don’t be misled by the fact that it’s published by Inner Traditions. Anything by Godwin is worth reading. Be warned that this book won’t be light reading. I’ve read Godwin’s earlier work, Arktos: The Polar Myth in Science, Symbolism, and Nazi Survival. That book has perhaps the worst cover art in publishing history, but it’s a scholarly feast. I expect the same for this book as well.

You can read a review of Atlantis and the Cycles of time over on the Magonia site. I’ll be ordering my copy right away.

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Egypt in Ireland: The Scota Myth and King Tut’s DNA

Another interesting and relevant post from Kate Phizackerley over at the Valley of the Kings blog.

Kate added a follow-up comment about the video at the above link:

If you are finding the video hard, Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scota) is a bit dry but gives the bare bones. If you’d like to know more than that then the Kingdom of the Ark by Lorraine Evans is an accessible book. I don’t agree with all of her conclusions but she looks at things like the Ferriby Boats when discussing the feasibility of sea travel from Egypt to Ireland which is interesting reading of itself. I picked up my copy on Amazon for a penny plus P&P.

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Is the Book of Genesis Plagiarized from Sumerian and Akkadian (Mesopotamian) Sources?

This is a common claim by Zecharia Sitchin and those who adore him, like his webmaster Erik Parker, and Jason Martell. As I have blogged here before (here and here), this idea was common fare toward the end of the 19th century, due primarily to two historical forces: (1) the novelty of the decipherment of cuneiform material, certain items of which sounded like Genesis stories; and (2) anti-Semitism being rife within higher-critical biblical scholarship. Today, in the 21st century (and one could say since the mid 20th century), scholars of Akkadian and Sumerian do NOT hold this view.  They just know better since they have a much more accurate grasp of Akkadian and Sumerian, as well as Semitic linguistics.

This morning the University of Chicago graciously posted a new e-book on the ABZU website entitled, “From Babylon to Baghdad: Ancient Iraq and the Modern West.” It’s free, and so here’s a link to it. I recommend (unless you are a fundamentalist Sitchinite) reading the article “The Genesis of Genesis” by Victor Hurowitz.  I have inserted a hyperlink to the page in the Table of Contents. Hurowitz is a professor at Ben Gurion University in Israel (so he lacks that awful Christian bias). He is a recognized expert in the interface of the Hebrew Bible and Assyriology, and serves on the steering committee of the Melammu Project, which focuses on the study of the intellectual heritage of Assyria and Babylonia in the modern East and West.

Guess what? He doesn’t agree with Sitchin and his followers that Genesis came from Sumerian and Akkadian works. What a shock. I’ve highlighted a few choice phrases in the PDF at the link so you can’t miss them. What’s even better is that the article also includes quotations from Assyriologist Wilfred Lambert that say the same thing. Who is Lambert? He’s one of the scholars Sitchin likes to quote in his books to create the impression that he (Sitchin) is doing serious research when he isn’t.

But please read it for yourself. Yes, there is a relationship between works like Enuma Elish and the book of Genesis — because they both come from the ancient Near East, not because of literary dependence. As the article points out, the real parallels to Genesis from non-biblical material do not come from Mesopotamia; they come from Ugarit. This is something that anyone who has looked at my divine council site already knows, since I point it out all the time.

There’s no antidote against PaleoBabble like fact-based scholarship. But like any medicine, you have to take it before it can help you.

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The 2012 Phenomenon: New Age Appropriation of an Ancient Mayan Calendar

Such is the title of this sixteen page academic essay from Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions. It is very worthwhile reading. The author discusses, among others, John Major Jenkins’ ideas about 2012.  Here’s the abstract:

ABSTRACT: According to the ancient Mayan Long Count calendar, a cycle of more than 5,000 years will come to fruition on the winter solstice of 2012. While this date is largely unknown among contemporary Maya, some participants in the New Age movement believe it will mark an apocalyptic global transformation. Hundreds of books and Internet sites speculate wildly about the 2012 date, but little of this conjecture has a factual basis in Mayan culture. This paper provides an overview of the primary currents in the 2012 phenomenon, examines their sources, and speculates about developments as this highly anticipated date approaches.

Enjoy!

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