Scholarly Online Bibliographies for the Study of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia

One word for this site: wow.

The above link leads to a gateway site for online bibliographies related to the study of the ancient Near East. It’s an amazing resource.

You’re welcome!

Review of Ancient Aliens’ Craptastic Anunnaki Episode

Jason Colavito has courageously reviewed the latest ode to asininity from the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens series. I strongly encourage readers to check it out. It’s an informative and fun read. It’s a cornucopia of  My favorite portion:

William Henry, who believes telephone booths are secret symbols for trans-dimensional portals, lies about Sumerian texts regarding the Anunnaki, claiming without evidence that they were described as humanoids who could “phase in” to human form, which cannot be found in any ancient text.

It’s really hard to beat William Henry for incoherence. When all others simply ignore data – like the fact that none of this Anunnaki alien nonsense can be found in the cuneiform texts – Henry is bound to take it to the next level: that of utter absurdity.1

  1. William Henry brings back some good memories. Way back in 2001 after my first appearance on Coast to Coast AM, Henry was the guy who accused me of making money off Zecharia Sitchin’s work. I responded by posting my tax returns on the internet, asking William – and Mr. Sitchin – to do the same. I did that for three years in a row – just looked on my computer – I still have the web page. I was a struggling graduate student. I’m guessing they were doing better duping the masses. Anyway, neither of them took the challenge.

Sweet Assyriology Resources Online

The Ancient World Online (AWOL) blog recently posted about updates made to the CDLI (Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative) wiki site, now hosted at the University of Oxford.

The CDLI wiki is a terrific website for Assyriology. By way of examples, you can find helpful content and reference material links, such as “Recent Publications in Assyriology“; “Bibliography of Sumerian Literature“; and “writing systems.” Check it out — it’s better than reading Sitchin!

Addendum to the Anunnaki Search on my Sitchin Is Wrong Website

I just wanted to give readers a heads-up on this. Some readers of my Zecharia Sitchin website have been unable to re-create the search for all occurrences of the Anunnaki in Sumerian texts via the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature. (For those to whom that website is unknown, I have a video showing people how to run that search and see the results). Today I added a work-around for anyone who has trouble to the page that contains that video (with screen shots).

I invite all ancient astronaut enthusiasts and Sitchin worshippers to run that search. Find out for yourself why Sitchin is wrong (don’t take my word for it). If you lack the courage to do that, you should stop talking about how open-minded you are.

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.

Ancient Aliens Debunked: The Official Trailer

I’m guessing all PaleoBabble readers know about the Ancient Aliens series put out by the Fantasy Channel (still though of by many as the History Channel). I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be interviewed later this summer for the documentary film response, Ancient Aliens Debunked. If you visit the link you can sign up for email notification when the documentary is released. It will be FREE and viewable online. The trailer is below. The film is being produced by Chris White. Since the documentary will be free, all of the expense incurred by Chris is his own. This has been true of his online and YouTube ministry since its inception. Please visit his site to donate and help support this project!

Mike on Coast to Coast AM Thursday Night

Many readers are familiar with Coast to Coast AM, the most-listened to late night talk show in the world. I’ll be on the evening of Feb 2. I’ve been on Coast over twenty times, and it’s always fun and unpredictable. The topics tend to be fairly wide-ranging when I’m on, but no doubt things like ancient astronauts and other PaleoBabble fodder will come up for discussion. One new item I am offering listeners is English translations to the only three scholarly articles on the Anunnaki that I know of. They are all in German, and over the past two years I have had them translated into English. Hopefully Coast listeners will want to actually engage the original sources in regard to the Anunnaki, which are a favorite candidate for ancient astronaut mythology.

Cuneiform Astronomy: The Planets in Mesopotamian Cuneiform Sources

I get asked all the time, “How do you know Sitchin is wrong about aliens in Sumerian tablets?” Short answer: Because I get my information from the actual ancient scribes. Here’s one example among many that could be offered.  It’ s a free PDF paper (28 pp) on the planets in Mesopotamian sources (i.e., the actual cuneiform astronomical texts — also known as the stuff Zecharia Sitchin hides from his readers).  I thought those of you interested in divine into the actual source material for this sort of thing might like it. If you are committed to the ancient Anunnaki astronaut nonsense already, you might want to avoid that link. Actual sources have a way of demolishing this belief system.

A few things to notice as you read:

1. Take this information back to Zecharia Sitchin’s works and check and see if the way he explains the gods and astronomical bodies align with the source texts (Hint: it doesn’t — but don’t rely on my word).  Then ask yourself why Sitchin didn’t get this right. I’ll leave it to you to speculate on why.

2. Look at page 9 – the list of planets and their deity names. Notice anything? Count them. According to Sumerian sources, the Sumerians did *not* know twelve planets, contra Sitchin. And the chart shows no knowledge of a planet beyond Saturn (they are all visible to the trained naked eye). This is devastating proof that from their own tablets that the Sumerians had no advanced astronomical knowledge from aliens.

The Pan-Babylonian Approach to the Hebrew Bible by Ancient Astronaut Theorists: Still Dead After All These Years

I’ve blogged before about “Pan-Babylonianism” — the idea that the content of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is basically plagiarized from Babylonian (more widely, Sumero-Mesopotamian) material. No serious biblical studies scholar or Assyriologist believes this today, but this approach became a majority paradigm in the late 1800s and early 1900s in the wake of two events: (1) the decipherment of cuneiform and (2) Friedrich Delitzsch’s “Babel und Bible” lectures delivered in 1902 to the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft attended by Kaisar Wilhelm II and his staff. In other words, anyone (like Zecharia Sitchin) who supposed or still supposes this approach is novel or cutting edge or “research the mainstream cannot cope with” is behind the curve by 100 years.

The death pf Pan-Babylonianism actually came shortly after it’s rise to prominence due to the famous German scholar Hermann Gunkel’s classic rebuttal-essay, Babylonien und Israel (1903). Gunkel was *not* an evangelical or fundamentalist. He is well know to many people in that crowd as a “liberal” scholar. Regardless of labels, his famous work initiated the lethal injection to Pan-Babylonianism.

Gunkel’s important work is now available in a new English translation. Readers can read a review here, as well as get information for ordering this new work. Bear in mind this is a scholarly work; it is not light reading.The review alludes to an earlier translations of Gunkel’s work by published in 1904 by John Joseph McVey. That earlier translation is available online for free here.