FRDB Archives

Freethought & Rationalism Archive

The archives are read only.


Go Back   FRDB Archives > Archives > Biblical Criticism - 2001
Welcome, Peter Kirby.
You last visited: Today at 05:55 AM

Notices

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 10-11-2001, 05:05 AM   #1
Bob K
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: New Durham, NH USA
Posts: 5,933
Post Interpretation of a Translation of the Bel Myth Tablet

Paraphrases and Comments on a Translation of the Bel Myth Tablet
Copyright 2001
Robert Howard Kroepel
20 South Shore Road
New Durham New Hampshire, USA 03855

From: Christopher B. F. Walker, Keeper
Department of Ancient Near East
The British Museum
London, England

The Babylonian Epic of Creation: Restored from the recently recovered Tablets of Assur

Translation and Commentary by S. Langdon, M.A.

Clarendon Press, Oxford, England, 1923.

The tablet containing references to the Bel myth is in the possession of The British Museum; C. Walker states that it was created circa 700 B.C.E. and was discovered in Nineveh, Assyria.

The following are my notes and paraphrases of Langdon’s text with direct references by means of page numbers to Langdon’s text of comments and information and with direct references by means of Line numbers to Langdon’s translation.

p. 32. The tablet, recovered by Germans from excavations in Assyria, refer to a New Year’s festival celebration performed in Assyria which was very similar to a New Year’s festival celebration performed in Babylon. The Babylonian poem, The Epic of Creation, celebrated the Babylonian god, Marduk, and the Babylonian New Year’s festival celebration therefore celebrated also Marduk; but Assyrians substituted their deity, Assur, in place of Marduk.

In Babylon, Marduk was a solar god who died, descended into the earth, or a lower world, and was resurrected, or returned to the upper world, each year at the spring equinox, when the sun/day/light gained more time and therefore victory over night/darkness.

Marduk is also called Bel (Babylonian) or Baal (Jewish). The Marduk/Bel myth is therefore called the Bel-Marduk or Marduk-Bel myth.

pp. 32-33. Langdon speculates that the Bel-Marduk text and mythology was based upon an older mythology of Tammuz, a god who died yearly, descended into a lower world, and resurrected/returned to the upper world.

p. 33. The tablet discovered in Assyria is the only source for the death and resurrection of Bel-Marduk. Professor H. Zimmern wrote the first interpretation and a list of the parallels to the Jesus myth including an arrest, trial, scourging, crucifixion, and resurrection.

What do I read in Langdon’s translation that supports Zimmern’s contentions?

The translation is not in clear, straightforward english. The grammar is disjointed. There is no linear timeline, and people, things and events are presented and discussed out of their chronological order. There are gaps among the words which disturb the sense of the words, and I assume those gaps are disfigurations of the original tablet wherein the words do not exist or otherwise are not readily translatable.

The translation is presented via Lines of text.

I present therefore my personal paraphrases of the highlights of Langdon’s Lines of translation.

Line 1. Bel is confined in a mountain.
Line 3. Someone unnamed brings Bel from the mountain.
Line 11. A female goes to seek Bel at his grave.
Line 12. Twins are appointed to guard Bel at the Gate of Esagila.
Line 13. Bel was bound by the gods and caused to perish.
Line 14. The gods caused Bel to descend from the sun and light.
Line 15. Bel is/was wounded.
Line 16. A goddess descends into the mountain for the welfare of Bel.
Line 18. Bel was judged.
Lines 20 and 21. A malefactor (criminal) was slain with Bel.
Line 23. After Bel went to the mountain/lower world, the inhabitants of the city where Bel was slain rioted because of Bel’s death.
Line 29. A female (goddess?), Beltis, of Babylon, looks for Bel, weeps for Bel, says, “O my brother! O my brother!”
Line 30. Bel’s garments were taken from him.
Line 31. Bel’s silver, gold, and jewels were taken from him.
Line 32. There was a garment put upon Bel when he was put into his coffin.
Line 33. Bel was nursed and reared by Ishtar of Nineveh.
Line 34. The hymn, “When On High,” was recited and sung by Bel’s followers during the month of Nisan, when he was bound/slain.
Line 36. The high priest says “These benefactions for Asur (Bel/Marduk) I do” and asks, “What is his sin?”
Line 38. [H]e (Bel) comes from within the mountain. (Bel is to be resurrected.)
Line 51. Bel was seized in the Month of Nisan.
Line 52. After Bel was taken away (from from the building in which he was tried and judged), water for handwashing was brought to the building.
Line 67. A goddess wails and a woman weeps (for Bel?).

Once again, my paraphrases of Langdon’s text.

p. 50. The Assyrian tablet is a commentary on the ritual which was the festival celebration of the death and resurrection of Bel. The ritual itself was never discovered. From the tablet it is not possible to determine if or not the death and resurrection of Bel was an annual event, but since there is the conjecture/speculation/opinion that the Bel-Marduk myth is based upon the myth of the annual death and resurrection of Tammuz there is reason to believe that the Bel-Marduk death and resurrection was an annual event.

p. 51. Additional Assyrian tablets were discovered which suggest that the Bel-Marduk mystic ritual was widely practiced, that the Bel-Marduk cult was widely known, and therefore would have been easily and readily known in Syria and Judea.

My personal interpretations:

From Line 51 we can read that Bel was seized (arrested).

From Line 18 we can read that Bel was judged, and if he was judged then we can assume that he was tried.

From Line 15 we can see that Bel was wounded, therefore scourged.

From Lines 1, 13 and 14 we can see that Bel was bounded/caused to perish by the gods.

From Lines 20 and 21 we can read that a malefactor (criminal) was slain alongside/at the same time as Bel.

From Lines 30 and 31 we can see that Bel’s garments and silver and gold and jewels were taken from him (from his body?).

From Line 23 we can read that because of Bel’s death the people of the city in which he was slain rioted.

From Line 32 we can read that there was a garment put upon Bel’s body and the body was put into a coffin.

From Line 14 we can read that Bel was forced to descend into a lower world.

From Line 11 we can read that Bel was buried in a grave and that a female went to his grave to seek him.

From Lines 3 and 38 we can read that Bel is (to be) resurrected.

From all this we can create a reasonable script that suggests that Bel was arrested, tried, judged, scourged, slain, a criminal (malefactor) was slain alongside him, the people in a nearby city rioted because of his death, his garments/etc. were taken from him, his body wrapped in a garment and put into a coffin which was put into a grave which was guarded by two men (twins), a woman (female, goddess) sought him at his grave, he was descended into the lower world, and he was resurrected.

From what is common knowledge of the Jesus myth of Christianity, we can make a reasonable judgment that there are enough parallels of the JC myth with the Bel myth that we can judge Christianity to be at least in part based upon the Bel myth.

Judging that the JC myth is based, in part, upon the Bel myth, we can reasonably judge that the parts of the JC myth based upon the Bel myth are not original and that, therefore, those parts of the JC myth are not true.

When a newer myth contains much of an older myth and we find no physical evidence which can serve as conclusive proof of the truth of the older myth, then we have good reason to judge that both myths are equally likely to be false.

My grateful thanks to C. Walker of The British Museum for providing a photocopy of the text and translation from Langdon’s book.
Bob K is offline  
Old 10-11-2001, 10:05 PM   #2
Nomad
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
Posts: 410
Thumbs down

As this exact same post is already on this thread, and I have no interest in discussing everything twice, is it possible that this thread could be closed?

I will post my response from that thread here, but think it best that we confine ourselves to a single thread.

Thank you.

Quote:
Originally posted by Bob K:
Paraphrases and Comments on a Translation of the Bel Myth Tablet
Copyright © 2001
Robert Howard Kroepel
20 South Shore Road
New Durham New Hampshire, USA 03855

From: Christopher B. F. Walker, Keeper
Department of Ancient Near East
The British Museum
London, England
Okay, BEFORE we get started, and go too far with this, a quick point of clarification.

"Bel" is not a name of a god. It is a title, like "Lord", and was applied to chief gods like Marduk (in Babylon/Assyria) and Baal (in Canaan). As this thread is titled the Bel (Baal) Myth, we would assume that we are going to talk about the Canaanite legends. But since the translation is actually about the Babylonian myth, we must be talking about the Marduk legends.

I hope that is not overly confusing, but given that the entire remainder of the post involves a Bablylonian "Bel", I thought it important to explain why, from this point forward, I will be referring to the god by his actual name, Marduk. Fortunately, I notice the change has also been made in your notes below, so we can dispense with the idea that we are talking about Baal, a very different god from Marduk.

Quote:
The Babylonian Epic of Creation: Restored from the recently recovered Tablets of Assur

Translation and Commentary by S. Langdon, M.A.

Clarendon Press, Oxford, England, 1923.
And here I wish to pause again, as the information is clearly very old (1923), so my own arguments will be made quoting scholars that have viewed this evidence as well.

Quote:
The tablet containing references to the Bel myth is in the possession of The British Museum; C. Walker states that it was created circa 700 B.C.E. and was discovered in Nineveh, Assyria.
Last point before we get started, but I see the dating has been moved from 2000BC to 700BC, a much more realistic dating.

Quote:
p. 32. ...

In Babylon, Marduk was a solar god who died, descended into the earth, or a lower world, and was resurrected, or returned to the upper world, each year at the spring equinox, when the sun/day/light gained more time and therefore victory over night/darkness.
Okay, this is where things start to go wrong. I will be relying, in large part, upon the article was Jesus Christ just a CopyCat Savior Myth?, with special focus on what Miller has to say about Marduk.

First, did Marduk die and rise again in the Creation story according to the Bablyonians?

"There is no hint of Marduk's death in the triumphant account of his cosmic kingship in Enuma elish......The so-called Death and Resurrection of Bel-Marduk is most likely an Assyrian political parody of some now unrecoverable Babylonian ritual...it is doubtful that Marduk was understood as a dying and rising deity...There is no evidence that the Babylonian Marduk was ever understood to be a dying and rising deity..."
(The Encyclopedia of Religion: "Rising and Dying Gods, by J. Smith, [Macmillan Press, 1987], pg. 523).


Quote:
Marduk is also called Bel (Babylonian) or Baal (Jewish).
This is also false. Baal and Marduk are very different gods. Both are cheif gods of their respective religions, but they are no more the same than Ra and Zeus are the same gods. The legends around Baal are about a dying and rising god of a type (connected with his role as god of agriculture and the land). No such tradition or legend is connected to Marduk however. (More on this below).

Quote:
pp. 32-33. Langdon speculates that the Bel-Marduk text and mythology was based upon an older mythology of Tammuz, a god who died yearly, descended into a lower world, and resurrected/returned to the upper world.
This has already been debunked long ago.

"There is no hint of Marduk's death in the triumphant account of his cosmic kingship in Enuma elish......The so-called Death and Resurrection of Bel-Marduk is most likely an Assyrian political parody of some now unrecoverable Babylonian ritual...it is doubtful that Marduk was understood as a dying and rising deity...There is no evidence that the Babylonian Marduk was ever understood to be a dying and rising deity..."
(Ibid. pg. 524)

This interpretation of the so-called enthronement Psalms unfortunately has continued for quite some time, notwithstanding the fact that Assyriologists doubt whether the resurrection of Marduk was in fact part of the cult. It has been shown by W. von Soden (130-66) and P. Welten (297-310) that texts KAR 143 and 219 could not be understood as part of the main festival, and therefore could not be held as proof of the glorious reappearance of Marduk."
("New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, William A. VanGemeren (gen.ed.). Zondervan:1997, s.v. Melek; note: the Enuma Elish certainly does not describe a death for victorious Marduk, but some have argued that the New Year's festival of apiku did relate some such story. This is what the KAR 143/210 documents are referring to.]]


So what about the New Year's festival then? Even if the creation story (Enuma Elish) does not have Marduk dying and rising again, does such a story exist relating to Marduk before (or after) this event?

"According to an earlier hypothesis(Zimmern 1918: 2–20; Pallis 1926: 221–43), the New Year festival's cultic drama included another episode, in which Marduk, prior to his battle with Tiamat, was put to death, taken down to the netherworld, and resurrected, in imitation of the cult of the dying god Dumuzi—Tammuz. However, the NA cultic commentary, on which this hypothesis is based, turned out to be nothing but an anti-Babylonian or pro-Babylonian propaganda. The purpose of this text was either to justify Sennacherib's destruction of Babylon and capture of Marduk's statue, in terms of a divine trial (von Soden 1955:51: 130–166), or to explain Marduk's exile and his return to his city, in terms of death, descent to the netherworld, and resurrection (Frymer-Kensky 1983: 131–44). In any case, this
vestigial and late addition to the New Year's Day ritual has nothing to do with the motif of the dying fertility god."

[Anchor Bible Dictionary, David Noel Freedman (main ed.), DoubleDay:1992, "akitu"]


Obviously Marduk did not die and rise again here either. Scholars have ruled the evidence to be Assyrian propaganda, intended to justify Assyria's capture of Marduk, and the destruction of his city, Babylon.

Quote:
p. 33. The tablet discovered in Assyria is the only source for the death and resurrection of Bel-Marduk.
Yes, and as we have seen, it is a piece of ancient anti-Babylonian propaganda used by the Assyrians after their defeat of Babylon.

Quote:
The translation is not in clear, straightforward english. The grammar is disjointed. There is no linear timeline, and people, things and events are presented and discussed out of their chronological order. There are gaps among the words which disturb the sense of the words, and I assume those gaps are disfigurations of the original tablet wherein the words do not exist or otherwise are not readily translatable.
All of this is also true, and should raise a very big red flag when attempting to put any kind of faith in the translation being offered.

"The category of dying and rising gods, once a major topic of scholarly investigation, must now be understood to have been largely a misnomer based on imaginative reconstructions and exceedingly late or highly ambiguous texts."
(The Encyclopedia of Religion, "Dying and Rising Gods", by J. Smith)


Indeed. This is exactly what appears to be happening here.

Quote:
{Snip faulty translation}
As this story is WAY too long to reproduce here, even in summary, I will link to it, and invite the members to read it for themselves.

Please see:

<A HREF="http://www.ai.univie.ac.at/archives/Psycoloquy/1999.V10/0076.html" TARGET=_blank>MAPS OF MEANING: THE ARCHITECTURE OF BELIEF
Precis of Peterson on Meaning-Belief
(Routledge, 1999, 544 pp. ISBN 0415922224) by Jordan B. Peterson</A>
Department of Psychology
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario,
Canada M5S 3G3
peterson@psych.utoronto.ca http://psych.utoronto.ca/~peterson/mom.htm

The myth itself is given in great detail starting at point #23 and continues through #35. In it you will see that Marduk does not die (let alone rise again), nor is the legend linked to that of the Canaanite god, Baal.

The paper itself is extraordinary, and is actually a psychological study into beliefs, theology and mythology. It is a long read, but well worth it. To be honest, I do not know if the author is a theist, but my guess is that he is not.

Quote:
p. 51. Additional Assyrian tablets were discovered which suggest that the Bel-Marduk mystic ritual was widely practiced, that the Bel-Marduk cult was widely known, and therefore would have been easily and readily known in Syria and Judea.
This is absolutely true, but given that Marduk does not die or rise again from the dead, it has no bearing on the theme of dying and rising gods.

This is a very old saw really, and one advanced at least as far back as the 19th Century. As we can see, it has been thoroughly debunked.

It is my hope that no one will be taken in by it again.

Nomad

[ October 11, 2001: Message edited by: Nomad ]
Nomad is offline  
Old 10-18-2001, 10:18 PM   #3
Bob K
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: New Durham, NH USA
Posts: 5,933
Post

Nomad:

Concerning the Assyrian Bel Myth Tablet circa 700 BC found in Nineveh now in the British Museum, what we have is a tablet upon which are ancient writings and a translation of the ancient writings which suggest that there was a god or godman who was arrested, tried, judged (water was brought for the judges to use to “wash their hands of the judgment), scourged, slain (along with a criminal), buried, resurrected, etc.

These, and others, are the mythical elements which could have been grafted onto the JC myth regardless of any problems regarding Bel not being the correct name, Bel not being Marduk, etc., etc., etc.

In short, the mythical elements are present. And 700 years before JC.

It is these elements which Xns could have borrowed for the JC myth.

You had better understand that what we have here is writings literally written/chiseled in stone, an ancient stone, so there is no question as to the existence of the writings.

What is clear is that we have a dying and rising god/godman 700 BC.

The similarity of the Bel myth elements to the JC myth elements strongly suggest that the JC myth-builders could have borrowed mythical elements from the Bel myth as presented in the referenced tablet.

The presence of mythical elements found in newer but found also in older myths suggests that the newer myths were borrowed from the older myths and therefore are not original myths, and that conclusion suggests strongly that the new myths are not true myths.

Your best bet is to try to prove (A) that the tablet is a phony or (B) that Langdon’s translation is faulty. In particular, if you can prove that the mystical elements are not present, then you will have made your point.

Until you do, then denying/evading/obfuscating/attacking will not prove your point, and Langdon’s translation stands, and my interpretation of his translation stands.

By the way, just because Langdon’s is a 1923 translation does not automatically prove it is false, otherwise the age of the Bible would prove the Bible is false.

Whether or not Marduk is a dying/rising god/godman in Enuma Elish is beside the point. In the Bel Myth Tablet what we have is an ancient writing that refers to Bel as if he is a dying/rising god/godman, and it is this writing that I am addressing.

Whether or not the Bel Myth Tablet is a political satire or commentary or propaganda is beside the point that within its writings are the mythical elements present in the JC myth.

Langdon’s comments clearly indicate that he realized that at the time of his writing that the Bel Myth Tablet is the only source of a description of Bel/Marduk/Assur as a dying/rising god/godman. This point is made in spite of any other information gleenable from The Epic of Creation.

Here are Langdon’s own words:
Quote:
The German excavations at the old capital of Assyria not only provide the oldest texts of the Epic of Creation, but they also prove the existence of a New Year’s festival there, very similar to the celebration at Babylon. The information concerning the celebration at Babylon was intimately connected with the myths of the Epic of Creation which glorified Marduk. This Epic profoundly influenced the religion of Assyria, more so in fact than any other Babylonian poem. At Assur, the priests substituted their national deity Assur for Marduk, and a temple for the sacrifices of the New Year’s festival akitu was discovered outside the city wall of Assur. A fragment of the hymn sung to Marduk on the eleventh day of Nisan was recovered at Assur. ...

The ritual of the New Year at Babylon placed another aspect of Marduk in clear light. He, like Ninurta, upon whose cult the new Babylonian worship was based, figured as a solar god, and the chief significance of the Epic [of Creation/Enuma Elish] and the ritual of the spring equinox consisted in the return of the sun from the regions of winter darkness, the victory of light over the dragon of storm and night. It was, therefore, natural that a myth concerning Marduk’s descent into the lower world and his resurrection should have arisen at Babylon. This myth, and the ritual to which it gave form, was probably inspired more or less by the ancient cult of Tammuz, the young god of vegetation, who died yearly, sojourned in the lower world, and returned to the upper world. [Langdon described the cult of Tammuz in his book, Tammuz and Ishtar.] This parallel cult of Marduk as a solar deity has no direct bearing upon the Epic of Creation, but its details are so important that it cannot be omitted here. The only source at present available for this mystic ceremony of the death and resurrection of Bel was not recovered in Babylonia but at Assur. The text has a colophon, but it makes no mention of an original at Babylon. It may be presumed, then, that this mysterious rite was also practised in Assyria. The test has attracted wide attention in theological circles, more especially for its apparent relation to the death and resurrection of the founder of Christianity. Zimmern, the first interpreter, made much of this point and drew up a parallel table of the leading features of the ritual and the arrest, trial, scourging, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. The text will undoubtedly become the subject of much theological discussion, and an authentic English version should not be omitted here. I give both transcription and translation.” [Langdon, cited, pp. 32-33.]

This Assur tablet is only a commentary on the ritual in which the death and resurrection of Bel was commemorated. The ritual itself has not been recovered. It is not clear that the ceremony, which obviously accompanied the New Year’s festival of Nisan, supposes the annual death and resurrection of Bel; the Tammuz ceremonies were based upon the annual descent of Tammuz into the lower world, and his annual resurrection with the spring vegetation. The text leaves us to conjecture upon this point, but the Bel myth is obviously borrowed from the older and more widely practised cult of Tammuz, and it is extremely probable that this mystic ritual of Bel is only a local transformation of the Tammuz cult. Not satisfied with making their city-god Marduk the hero of the Epic of Creation instead of the older Sumerian Ninurta, the priests of Babylon, envious of the most powerful and attractive cult of Sumerian and Accadian religion, transformed Tammuz into Marduk. The result is that the ritual of death and resurrection is brought into intimate relation with the New Year’s festival at Babylon, the myth of Bel’s tomb at Babylon and the numerous references to Beltis of Babylon in the ritual admit no doubt. The extraordinary grammatical comments upon the name of Esabad, [the] temple of the mother-goddess Gula, in Babylon, in which the myth of Bel’s tomb is introduced, adds substantial evidence.

The religious ceremonies which arose of of the new cult of Marduk-Bel were not recognized in the older cities of Babylon, but they obtained wide acceptance in Assyria. The small fragments Rm. 275 and K. 9138 from Nineveh prove that the mystic ritual of Bel was also practised there.

Like the Assur tablet, they are written in the colloquial dialect of Assyria, best known from the large collections of the period in the seventh and sixth centuries excavated at Nineveh. The cult must have been practised from a much earlier period, for the Assur tablets must be dated before the tenth century. Both are fragments of a very large tablet, at least 10 or 11 inches wide. They are also commentaries upon the ritual as practised at Nineveh, and appear to have contained more details and explanations of the mysteries; the order of events is also slightly different. They preserve few lines, and the new information is slight; nevertheless they afford evidence of the great influence of the cult in Assyria, a point of special importance for its transmission to Syria and Judea. ... [Langdon, cited, pp. 50-51]
Notice that Langdon refers to Bel as if the name means the name of a deity, not as a title.

This contradicts your claim:
Quote:
"Bel" is not a name of a god. It is a title, like "Lord", and was applied to chief gods like Marduk (in Babylon/Assyria) and Baal (in Canaan).
Another of your claims, that Marduk was not a rising/dying god, is refuted by the writings of the Assur/Bel Myth Tablets themselves, as Langdon so noted in the above quotes.

Regardless of whether or not Marduk was slain and resurrected in the Epic of Creation, he was slain and resurrected in the Assur tablets.

Here are your words:
Quote:
First, did Marduk die and rise again in the Creation story according to the Babylonians?

"There is no hint of Marduk's death in the triumphant account of his cosmic kingship in Enuma elish......The so-called Death and Resurrection of Bel-Marduk is most likely an Assyrian political parody of some now unrecoverable Babylonian ritual...it is doubtful that Marduk was understood as a dying and rising deity...There is no evidence that the Babylonian Marduk was ever understood to be a dying and rising deity..."
(The Encyclopedia of Religion: "Rising and Dying Gods, by J. Smith, [Macmillan Press, 1987], pg. 523).
Once again, for emphasis, from the Assur Bel Myth tablets, we have evidence that there was a Bel-Marduk dying/rising god myth cult which proves that your claims otherwise are false.

And one of your cites references the death/resurrection of Marduk in the Assur tablets and thus clearly indicates that the death/resurrection of Bel/Marduk appeared in the Assur tablets, as Langdon so stated, and thus cannot be dismissed arbitrarily.
Quote:
("New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, William A. VanGemeren (gen.ed.). Zondervan:1997, s.v. Melek; note: the Enuma Elish certainly does not describe a death for victorious Marduk, but some have argued that the New Year's festival of apiku did relate some such story. This is what the KAR 143/210 documents are referring to.
In regards to the Tammuz myth and the likelihood that the Bel/Marduk myth was based upon the Tammuz myth, you wrote:
Quote:
This has already been debunked long ago.
Who debunked it? What are his credentials? What is his reasoning? What is his proof?

Your contention that the Assur Bel-Marduk tablet was merely Assyrian propaganda does not impress me as being the reason for the writings upon the tablet.
Quote:
So what about the New Year's festival then? Even if the creation story (Enuma Elish) does not have Marduk dying and rising again, does such a story exist relating to Marduk before (or after) this event?

"According to an earlier hypothesis(Zimmern 1918: 2–20; Pallis 1926: 221–43), the New Year festival's cultic drama included another episode, in which Marduk, prior to his battle with Tiamat, was put to death, taken down to the netherworld, and resurrected, in imitation of the cult of the dying god Dumuzi—Tammuz. However, the NA cultic commentary, on which this hypothesis is based, turned out to be nothing but an anti-Babylonian or pro-Babylonian propaganda. The purpose of this text was either to justify Sennacherib's destruction of Babylon and capture of Marduk's statue, in terms of a divine trial (von Soden 1955:51: 130–166), or to explain Marduk's exile and his return to his city, in terms of death, descent to the netherworld, and resurrection (Frymer-Kensky 1983: 131–44). In any case, this vestigial and late addition to the New Year's Day ritual has nothing to do with the motif of the dying fertility god."
(Anchor Bible Dictionary, David Noel Freedman [main ed.], DoubleDay:1992, "akitu")

Obviously Marduk did not die and rise again here either. Scholars have ruled the evidence to be Assyrian propaganda, intended to justify Assyria's capture of Marduk, and the destruction of his city, Babylon.

[I]t is a piece of ancient anti-Babylonian propaganda used by the Assyrians after their defeat of Babylon.
The Assur Bel-Marduk tablet writings as Langdon translated them show the death and resurrection of Bel/Marduk, regardless, as Langdon stated, of the writings about Marduk in the Epic of Creation. This is proof of the Bel/Marduk death/resurrection as being a part of the New Year’s festival celebration and cannot be disregarded for convenience.

The following quote is clearly refuted by the writings upon the Assur Bel Myth tablet:
Quote:
"The category of dying and rising gods, once a major topic of scholarly investigation, must now be understood to have been largely a misnomer based on imaginative reconstructions and exceedingly late or highly ambiguous texts."
(The Encyclopedia of Religion "Dying and Rising Gods", by J. Smith)
There can be no doubt that there was a reference to a dying/rising god in the Assur Bel myth tablets.

Anyone who claims otherwise has to prove that Langdon’s translation is totally fabricated. I am not aware that anyone has satisfactorily proved that Langdon’s translation is a fabrication.

Moreover, there is the initial transcription/translation by H. Zimmern, one of the discoverers of the tablet, in German, in which the mythical elements were described.

At this point, the death/resurrection of Bel-Marduk stands as proven by the Assur Bel myth tablets. It is at least one example of the existence of dying/rising god mythology prior to the JC myth.

Where Langdon stated that additional Assyrian tablets indicated that the dying/rising cult of Bel-Marduk was widely known and practiced you have in effect claimed that Langdon is wrong and that nowhere do we find evidence of a cult in which Bel/Marduk was a dying/rising god.

I quote Langdon once more for emphasis:
Quote:
The German excavations at the old capital of Assyria not only provide the oldest texts of the Epic of Creation, but they also prove the existence of a New Year’s festival there, very similar to the celebration at Babylon. ...

The ritual of the New Year at Babylon placed another aspect of Marduk in clear light. He ... figured as a solar god, and the chief significance of ... the ritual of the spring equinox consisted in the return of the sun from the regions of winter darkness, the victory of light over the dragon of storm and night. ... This parallel cult of Marduk as a solar deity has no direct bearing upon the Epic of Creation, but its details are so important that it cannot be omitted here. The only source at present available for this mystic ceremony of the death and resurrection of Bel was not recovered in Babylonia but at Assur. ..,

This Assur tablet is only a commentary on the ritual in which the death and resurrection of Bel was commemorated. The ritual itself has not been recovered. ...

The religious ceremonies which arose of of the new cult of Marduk-Bel were not recognized in the older cities of Babylon, but they obtained wide acceptance in Assyria. The small fragments Rm. 275 and K. 9138 from Nineveh prove that the mystic ritual of Bel was also practised there. ...
Your words:
Quote:
[G]iven that Marduk does not die or rise again from the dead, it has no bearing on the theme of dying and rising gods.

This is a very old saw really, and one advanced at least as far back as the 19th Century. As we can see, it has been thoroughly debunked.
You are obviously trying to link the myths of Marduk found in the Epic of Creation/Enuma Elish to the Assur Bel myth tablets by claiming that where there is no death/resurrection of Marduk in the Epic there is no death/resurrection in the Assur tablets despite the fact that Langdon is showing that regardless of the Epic the Assur tablets clearly show a death/resurrection cult of Bel-Marduk which was not accepted in the old cities of Babylon but were accepted in Assyria (and, perhaps we can assume, in the new/young cities of Babylon) and therefore perhaps also known in Syria and Judea and therefore available for Jesus myth-builders to plagiarize.

Once again, the Assur tablets are showing us a different view of Marduk/Bel.

The writings upon the Assur tablets speak for themselves in Langdon’s translations.

Your words:
Quote:
"Bel" is not a name of a god. It is a title, like "Lord", and was applied to chief gods like Marduk (in Babylon/Assyria) and Baal (in Canaan). As this thread is titled the Bel (Baal) Myth, we would assume that we are going to talk about the Canaanite legends. But since the translation is actually about the Babylonian myth, we must be talking about the Marduk legends.

I hope that is not overly confusing, but given that the entire remainder of the post involves a Babylonian "Bel", I thought it important to explain why, from this point forward, I will be referring to the god by his actual name, Marduk. Fortunately, I notice the change has also been made in your notes below, so we can dispense with the idea that we are talking about Baal, a very different god from Marduk.
Where I wrote ...
Quote:
Marduk is also called Bel (Babylonian) or Baal (Jewish).
... you wrote ...
Quote:
This is also false. Baal and Marduk are very different gods. Both are chief gods of their respective religions, but they are no more the same than Ra and Zeus are the same gods. The legends around Baal are about a dying and rising god of a type (connected with his role as god of agriculture and the land). No such tradition or legend is connected to Marduk however.
Bel is Bel/Baal.
http://www.ldolphin.org/Nimrod.html

NOTE: ldolphin = Lambert Dolphin

From: NIMROD, MARS AND THE MARDUK CONNECTION, by Bryce Self

Bryce Self makes the point that the name Bel or Baal was used in place of Marduk:
Quote:
BEL/BAAL This was the primary name by which other nations (including Israel) were introduced to the worship of Marduk. Baal means "lord" or "master". ...
Thus, B. Self states that the people of Israel would have recognized the name Baal to be Bel/Marduk, and not necessarily some other, “very different” god.

You quoted and wrote:
Quote:
So what about the New Year's festival then? Even if the creation story (Enuma Elish) does not have Marduk dying and rising again, does such a story exist relating to Marduk before (or after) this event?

"According to an earlier hypothesis(Zimmern 1918: 2–20; Pallis 1926: 221–43), the New Year festival's cultic drama included another episode, in which Marduk, prior to his battle with Tiamat, was put to death, taken down to the netherworld, and resurrected, in imitation of the cult of the dying god Dumuzi—Tammuz. However, the NA cultic commentary, on which this hypothesis is based, turned out to be nothing but an anti-Babylonian or pro-Babylonian propaganda. The purpose of this text was either to justify Sennacherib's destruction of Babylon and capture of Marduk's statue, in terms of a divine trial (von Soden 1955:51: 130–166), or to explain Marduk's exile and his return to his city, in terms of death, descent to the netherworld, and resurrection (Frymer-Kensky 1983: 131–44). In any case, this vestigial and late addition to the New Year's Day ritual has nothing to do with the motif of the dying fertility god."
(Anchor Bible Dictionary, David Noel Freedman [main ed.], DoubleDay:1992, "akitu")

Obviously Marduk did not die and rise again here either. Scholars have ruled the evidence to be Assyrian propaganda, intended to justify Assyria's capture of Marduk, and the destruction of his city, Babylon.
Unfortunately for you, regardless of what the Bel myth tablet writings are--propaganda, commentary, etc., the fact is that, chiseled in stone, are references to Bel’s death and resurrection, and 700 BC, meaning enough time for JC myth-builders to have known about the Bel myth and its mythical elements, of which many are similar to the JC myth.

You suggested that the following would debunk the dying/rising Bel-Marduk myth.

MAPS OF MEANING: THE ARCHITECTURE OF BELIEF
Precis of Peterson on Meaning-Belief
(Routledge, 1999, 544 pp. ISBN 0415922224) by Jordan B. Peterson
Department of Psychology
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario,
Canada M5S 3G3
peterson@psych.utoronto.ca http://psych.utoronto.ca/~peterson/mom.htm

You wrote:
Quote:
The myth itself is given in great detail starting at point #23 and continues through #35. In it you will see that Marduk does not die (let alone rise again), nor is the legend linked to that of the Canaanite god, Baal.

The paper itself is extraordinary, and is actually a psychological study into beliefs, theology and mythology. It is a long read, but well worth it. To be honest, I do not know if the author is a theist, but my guess is that he is not.
You focus on what the article says about Marduk as not being a dying/rising god and avoid focusing upon what the Assyrian Bel Myth tablets are actually saying about a dying/rising Bel-Marduk. The story of the dying/rising Bel-Marduk is actually in the Assyrian Bel Myth tablet writings. So, regardless of what was or was not in the Epic of Creation, there was dying/rising Bel-Marduk myth in Assyria/Babylonia which contains many mythical elements found in the JC myth, which suggests that the JC myth copied/copycatted the Bel myth elements.

I quote from the Abstract:
Quote:
It is not clear that either the categories "given" to us by our senses, or those abstracted for us by the processes of scientific investigation, constitute the most "real" or even the most "useful" modes of apprehending the fundamental nature of being or experience. The categories offered by traditional myths and religious systems might play that role. Such systems of apprehension present the world as a place of constant moral striving, conducted against a background of interplay between the "divine forces" of order and chaos. "Order" is the natural category of all those phenomena whose manifestations and transformations are currently predictable. "Chaos" is the natural category of "potential" - the potential that emerges whenever an error in prediction occurs. The capacity for creative exploration - embodied in mythology in the form of the "ever-resurrecting hero" - serves as the mediator between these fundamental constituent elements of experience. Voluntary failure to engage in such exploration - that is, forfeit f identification with "the world-redeeming savior" - produces a chain of causally interrelated events whose inevitable endpoint is adoption of a rigid, ideology-predicated, totalitarian identity, and violent suppression of the eternally threatening other.
I happen to have a background in psychology, the above quote is psychobabble.

One of the requirements of the Code of Science is the use of operational definitions. This means all terms/phrases to be used must be defined by means of operational definitions, definitions of terms/phrases by means of descriptions of the observations/measurements of real-world people/things/events. i.e., when you define a term operationally, you define the term/phrase by telling us what people/things/events you saw-heard-touched-smelled-tasted/we could see-hear-touch-smell-taste. By operational definitions abstract terms/phrases can be made concrete, and confusions of definitions are avoided.

See ...
http://www.bobkwebsite.com/thecodeofscience.html [The Code of Science] http://www.bobkwebsite.com/opdefs.html [Operational Definitions]

The failure to provide operational definitions of terms/phrases is usually a sign of sloppy science and philosophy.

In trying to make sense of Peterson’s nonsense, I offer the following paraphrase with my comments and notes in brackets.

What are the most real/useful modes [methods/means] of apprehending the fundamental nature of being or experience? [The terms nature, being, and experience are not defined, hence the entire article suffers from vagueness--no one knows what Peterson is talking about, and most likely Peterson does not know what he is talking about.] Our perceptions [subjectivity/subjective experience]? Or the abstractions [objectivity/objective experience] of scientific investigation? Or are there modes [methods/means] offered by religion and myths more real/useful for apprehending the fundamental nature of being or experience? The focus of religion/myth is striving for morality [morality is not defined]. There are two “divine forces” [“divine” is not defined, but, perhaps, is assumed to mean “supernatural”]; order [predictable stuff] and chaos [nonpredictable stuff producing a need for creative exploration--another term/phrase not operationally defined and therefore vague--but perhaps defined in another sentence as “identification with ‘the world-redeeming saviour’ ” ]--supposedly for the purpose of finding predictable stuff and therefore order]. The “capacity for creative exploration” [identifying with the world-redeeming savior] mediates between “these fundamental constituent elements of experience” and in mythology/religion the “capacity for creative exploration” is “embodied ... in the form of the ever-resurrecting hero.” [Theoretically, Peterson will tell us how.] “Voluntary failure to engage in exploration” [identification with the world-redeeming savior] ... “produces a chain of causally interrelated events whose inevitable endpoint is adoption of a rigid, ideology-predicated, totalitarian identity, and violent suppression of the eternally threatening other” [the phrase “eternally threatening other” is not operationally defined].”

In short, people develop “a rigid, ideology-predicated, totalitarian identity, and violent suppression of the eternally threatening other” because of a “voluntary failure” to identify with or “forfeit of identification” with “the world-redeeming savior.”

In short, believe in a world-redeeming savior or you will develop rigid ideas.

Psychologists do not, as a group, attempt to help people with mental problems by insisting that they identify with world-redeeming savior gods. One psychotherapist, Dr. Albert Ellis, Ph.D., takes a strong stand against bringing religion into psychotherapeutics for the purpose of avoiding the irrationality which constitutes religious ideas.

In general, people develop mental problems because they want more than they can have and they choose ineffective ways of dealing with the fact that they cannot have what they want.

I developed Operational Psychology to deal with pure mental problems, problems not caused by physiological problems.

See ...
http://www.bobkwebsite.com/oppsych1.html

and
http://www.bobkwebsite.com/oppsych2.html

... for expositions of Operational Psychology.

Peterson’s theory is nonsense. When people have mental problems, psychologists do not tell them to go to church and believe in world-redeeming savior gods; instead, they deal with the individual’s thought processes which are the excessive desires/irrational beliefs/maladaptive thoughts which cause negative emotions and continue the cycle of mental problems. Mental health is achieved by desiring what one can have and developing positive emotions as a result.

Buddhism, one of the great world religions, when stripped of its mysticism, ...

A. Samsara: The Wheel of Birth and Rebirth, typically translated by Westerners as reincarnation.
B. Karma: The works done in a previous life have influence on one's station in a reincarnation.
C. Nirvana: Release from Samsara.

... is pure cognitive psychology:

The essence of Buddhism: The Four Noble Truths
1. Dukkha: Man suffers.
2. Tanha: Man suffers because of greed, defined as excessive desire.
3. Nirvana: Man’s suffering can be alleviated.
4. Marga: Man’s suffering can be alleviated by means of The Eightfold Path.
1. Right View or Knowledge.
2. Right Thought.
3. Right Speech.
4. Right Conduct.
5. Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort.
7. Right Mind Control.
8. Right Meditation.

Pure Buddhism does not require people to believe in world-redeeming savior gods. It deals with the excessive desires people have that cause them trouble--the essence of cognitive psychology. Thus, even a religion--pure Buddhism, does not require people who need help to believe in world-redeeming savior gods.

Again, Peterson’s theory is nonsense.

By the way, Peterson refers to the Egyptian myth of the death and resurrection of Osiris in paragraphs 39-43. which gives us another dying/rising god story from which Xnity may have “borrowed” myths.

You want us to look at ...
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/copycatwho1.html

... for an article on Copycat Christs, the gist of which is that there are no other dead/resurrected gods other than JC, and that, therefore, JC is not a copycat christ, but, instead, is the one-and-only Real Thing.

Upon glancing through this article it became clear that many of your cites have been directly from this article, but, unfortunately, you focus on whether or not Bel-Marduk was a dying/rising savior god instead of focusing upon what the Assyrian Bel Myth Tablet actually says. As Langdon points out, the Bel Myth tablet gives a dying/rising story for Bel-Marduk in contrast to other stories in the Epic of Creation.

I am aware that I am repeating myself. It is time for a summary.

We have evidence in Langdon’s translations of the Assur Bel myth tablets of a dying-rising/death-resurrection god myth prior to the JC myth.

If you continue to deny that there were dying/rising god cults prior to the JC myth in spite of the evidence shown in Langdon’s translations of the Assur tablets, then we arrive at a point at which I have good reason to prefer to part company.

In summary, we have an ancient tablet upon which are writings which reveal mythical elements which could have been plagiarized by JC myth-builders and which reveal a dying-rising/death-resurrection god myth prior to the JC myth. And all this at least 700 years prior to the JC myth.
Bob K is offline  
Old 10-20-2001, 09:54 PM   #4
Nomad
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
Posts: 410
Post

Preliminary comments to Bob before I get to the main body of your post:

On your personal website you have yet to edit or remove your errors, and I was curious as to when you would do this?

Further, there is some serious confusion, in your post as compared with your web page. Why is that?

I will go through the problems, starting with your web page:

1) Bel and Jesus are arrested.
No biggie here.

2) Bell is tried in a great hall, Jesus is tried in the "Hall of Justice".
Where did you get this bit? The phrase "Hall of Justice" is never used in the Gospels. Did you assume it? And if so, why? The Synoptics simply have Jesus appear before Pilate, never saying where this happens, and John has it at Pilate's palace. It would be better to nix this one as inconclusive at best.

3) Bel is hit, Jesus is scourged
No problem.

4) Bel is led away to the Mount (a sacred grove on a hilltop). Jesus is led to Golgotha, the "Place of Sculls"
As Bel dies in a sacred grove, and Jesus dies on a hill made specifically for executions, this is hardly a parallel. This too should be nixed.

5) With Bel are taken to (sic) malefactors, one of whom is released. Jesus is executed with two criminals, and another, named Barabas is released.
The numbers of men killed with Bel and Jesus do not line up. No problem on the one being released, though I do suspect the translation here. How certain is Langdon on this one?

6) After Bel has gone to the Mount and is executed, the city breaks into tumult. After Jesus is executed, there is an earthquake, the veil of the Temple is rent, the dead rise from their graves and walk among the living.
This is an especially bad one Bob. You are mixing up your accounts of Jesus' death here. The earthquake and people rising from the grave is only in Matthew, not in Mark (the first account of Jesus' death), Luke, or John. Are you suggesting that Matthew was influenced by the Bel tablet? If so, what is your evidence? In any event, the other three Gospels do not contain this bit at all. John does not even have the tearing of the Temple curtain, and neither Luke nor John has the earthquake. Further, the Bel account appears to be one of rebellion or disorder by people, while the Gospels talk about only natural phenomenon. This too should definitely be nixed.

7) Bel and Jesus both have their clothes carried away.
No problem, although here I think we should be looking to the OT for the reason this is mentioned by the Gospel writers. Whether it happened or not, the evangelists clearly wanted to link the event to Hebrew Scripture in Psalm 22:18 (They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.), not some obscure Assyrian tablet they may or may not have known about.

8) Bel goes down into the Mount and disappears from life. Jesus is buried in a tomb.
This is another especially bad one, as your translation in this thread does not present this timeline. Lines 1 and 3 have Bel already in a mountain at the start of the story. Line 38 has him emerging from this mountain, but this happened previously in line 3, so perhaps Langdon was confused. In any event, Jesus was not buried in a mountain, but, rather, a tomb. No one I am aware of suggests that it was any kind of "Mount". The most detail we have is that it was in a garden, and then, this detail is found only in John. This one should be nixed as well.

9) Weeping women seek Bel at the Tomb. Weeping women seek Jesus at the Tomb.
Yet another very bad one Bob. First, the Gospels do not have the women weeping at the tomb. John has Mary Magdeline weeping after she and the others find the tomb empty . Is this what you are talking about? Mark only has them bewildered and frightened (16:8). Matthew has them going to see the tomb (28:1), then leaving in joy (28:8). Luke has the women taking spices (no comment on their emotional state in 24:1-10), and the men thinking that they were talking nonsense. So that leaves John with one woman weeping after she finds an empty tomb (20:11-16). She was not weeping when she went to the tomb (20:1).

In your translation from Langdon, the woman goes to Bel's grave(???) in line 11, before Bel is killed, but while he is still confined within the mountain. Line 67 has a goddess and woman crying, but it does not say why or for whom exactly (hence the "for Bel? contained in parethesis).

10) Bel is brought back to life. Jesus is resurrected.
No problem.

As we can see from the above analysis, it certainly helps to look at the actual stories before presenting supposed parallels. Clearly the ones ascribed to the Gospels are either generic, or non-existent. Numbers 1, 3, 5b (release of the prisoner), and 10 are alright. Numbers 2, 4, 5a (one person killed with Bel, two with Jesus), 6, 7, 8 and 9 should be axed.

I did not find this lack of real (as opposed to presupposed) parallels to be much of a surprise, given that Bob's source was Christianity Before Christ by John G. Jackson, American Atheist Press. Given such a biased and agenda driven source, we should be cautious, and check the story out for ourselves. What we find is that the one story (Bel's) is taken from a bad translation that is, at best, garbled and disjointed as well, while the Gospel account is actually a compilation, and then poorly cited. Closer examination shows that what Jackson claims are in the Gospels are not.

Two final points if I may: you claim that the tablet dates to 2000BC, when you have since noted that it is not Babylonian, but Assyrian, and it dates to 700BC. Please correct this. Also, you continue to link Baal and Marduk. They are not the same god, and the Assyrians that produced the tablet did not worship Marduk.

I noticed that you have removed the reference to Baal being crucified. Thank you for that much. I am curious, does Jackson actually have them in his book/article? If so, doesn't this raise a huge of red flag for you? In any event, will you please make the additional corrections listed above?

Thank you.

Nomad

P.S. I will get to the rest of your post when I have time.

[ October 20, 2001: Message edited by: Nomad ]
Nomad is offline  
Old 10-20-2001, 11:15 PM   #5
Nomad
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
Posts: 410
Post

Quote:
Originally posted by Bob K:

What is clear is that we have a dying and rising god/godman 700 BC.
Yes, and given that we do have lots of dying and rising gods in the ancient myths, this is not big news. The question is how closely do the stories line up, and as we see from my last post, they don't really line up much at all.

Quote:
Your best bet is to try to prove (A) that the tablet is a phony or (B) that Langdon’s translation is faulty. In particular, if you can prove that the mystical elements are not present, then you will have made your point.
I'm sorry Bob, but as you are the ones making the claims, and basing them on Langdon's translation, you have an obligation to show that other scholars think that Langdon's translation has merit. Thus far I have not seen anyone that believes he is right, and from my own post you can see that most think he got it completely wrong. Do you know of anyone since 1923 (besides John G. Jackson of the American Atheist Press) that puts much stock in this translation? I have yet to find any.

Quote:
By the way, just because Langdon’s is a 1923 translation does not automatically prove it is false, otherwise the age of the Bible would prove the Bible is false.
Umm... excuse me? Where do you come up with your false analogies?

I am not criticizing the age of the translation so much as I am saying that no scholar since 1923 up to the present day thinks that Langdon got it right. This bit of nonsense was dispensed with in the 1930's and 40's, and your dredging it up again does not give it new credence.

Quote:
Whether or not Marduk is a dying/rising god/godman in Enuma Elish is beside the point.
No, this WAS your point originally. You have now retracted it, and for that I am grateful. What we need now is to see if modern scholars think that this tablet has any historical worth beyond showing that the ancients knew how to use propaganda.

Quote:
In the Bel Myth Tablet what we have is an ancient writing that refers to Bel as if he is a dying/rising god/godman,
Will you please stop with this nonsense? Bel is a god, not a god/godman. I understand that you are trying to make this tablet look as close to the gospels as is humanly possible, but reaching like this to show non-existent parallels greatly weakens your case.

Quote:
Whether or not the Bel Myth Tablet is a political satire or commentary or propaganda is beside the point that within its writings are the mythical elements present in the JC myth.
Perhaps, but I wouldn't mind seeing some evidence that the Gospel writers would have even known about this tablet when they wrote their stories. After all, there is only one, it was over 700 years old even when Jesus was alive, and it was written in a long dead country (Assyria) that was hated by the Jews. Just curious, but did you read Miller's article?

Quote:
Langdon’s comments clearly indicate that he realized that at the time of his writing that the Bel Myth Tablet is the only source of a description of Bel/Marduk/Assur as a dying/rising god/godman. This point is made in spite of any other information gleenable from The Epic of Creation.
And this is yet another problem in trying to link the tablet to the Gospels. We need actual evidence of a link. The non-existent parallels found in a bad and confused translation do not make for much of a case.

Quote:
Here are Langdon’s own words:

{SNIP massive quote}
Want to know one of the problems with Langdon's quote here? He refers to the month of Nisan as the time of Bel's death. The month of Nisan is not in the Assyrian calendar, it is in the Hebrew calender. The fact that he did not know this should cast grave suspicion on his ability to translate accurately. Perhaps this is one of the reasons scholars now reject it.

As for trying to connect it to the Assyrian New Years festival, I already dealt with this in my last post. I will refer you back to my quotes from the New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis which tells us:

This interpretation of the so-called enthronement Psalms unfortunately has continued for quite some time, notwithstanding the fact that Assyriologists doubt whether the resurrection of Marduk was in fact part of the cult. It has been shown by W. von Soden (130-66) and P. Welten (297-310) that texts KAR 143 and 219 could not be understood as part of the main festival, and therefore could not be held as proof of the glorious reappearance of Marduk."

The idea that Marduk died as a part of the New Year festival was discarded by scholars decades ago. Please do not ignore my replies again.

Quote:
Notice that Langdon refers to Bel as if the name means the name of a deity, not as a title.
Yes, and as I showed, this is yet another error on his part.

Quote:
(Re: debunking of the dying rising Bel myth)

Bob: Who debunked it? What are his credentials? What is his reasoning? What is his proof?
I gave you the sources Bob. You even included them in your quotes from me.

The Encyclopedia of Religion: "Rising and Dying Gods, by J. Smith, [Macmillan Press, 1987]

New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, William A. VanGemeren (gen.ed.). Zondervan:1997

Anchor Bible Dictionary, David Noel Freedman [main ed.], DoubleDay:1992


I cannot help you if you wish to believe a scholar from 1923 when the scholars that have written since then give it no credence. As you can see from my posts, Langdon himself is merely restating the theories put forward by Zimmern in 1918, and later by Pallis in 1926. But since the 1930's it has been debunked.

I will offer one other source for my argument:

In Understanding the Old Testament, [Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1998] by Bernhard Anderson and Katheryn Pfisterer Darr they discuss Marduk at great length (pgs. 40, 420, 425, 432-5, 504), and never once mention the idea that he may have been a dying/rising god. Baal (discussed on pages 98, 167-75, 180, 259-60), on the other hand, is noted as being a dying rising god based on his role as god of agriculture. That said, Marduk and Baal are never connected. Quite simply, a dying/rising Marduk does not even come up in scholarly works any longer. It appears to be confined to the internet on personal web sites like your own, and in atheist magazines.

Dr. Smith is Professor of Theology at the University of Chicago and general editor of the HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion. Dr. Anderson is Professor of Old Testament Theology Emeritus of Princeton Theological Seminary and editor of New Oxford Annotated Bible . Dr. Barr is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible, Boston University School of Theology.

Now, do you have any scholars that take Langdon seriously or not?

Quote:
Anyone who claims otherwise has to prove that Langdon’s translation is totally fabricated. I am not aware that anyone has satisfactorily proved that Langdon’s translation is a fabrication.
I will give it again (with emphasis this time):

"The category of dying and rising gods, once a major topic of scholarly investigation, must now be understood to have been largely a misnomer based on imaginative reconstructions and exceedingly late or highly ambiguous texts."
(The Encyclopedia of Religion, "Dying and Rising Gods", by J. Smith)


Quote:
Bryce Self makes the point that the name Bel or Baal was used in place of Marduk:

BEL/BAAL This was the primary name by which other nations (including Israel) were introduced to the worship of Marduk. Baal means "lord" or "master". ...

Thus, B. Self states that the people of Israel would have recognized the name Baal to be Bel/Marduk, and not necessarily some other, “very different” god.
Goy. It is Bel-Marduk, since he is "Lord" Marduk, so yes, the Israelites would have known him by this TITLE. Sheesh.

As for who the Canaanite/Israelite Baal was:

The title Baal (meaning "lord" or "owner") in Canaanite religion designated a male deity who owned the land and controlled its fertility. His female counterpart was Baalath ("lady")- also refered to by the personal name, Ashtart...
The myths and rituals of the Canaanite Baal religion existed in varying forms throughout the Fertile Crescent. In Babylonia for example, the Tammuz cult dramatized the relasions of the god Tammuz and the goddess Ishtar (the equivalent of the Canaanite goddess Ashtar).
(B. Anderson and K.P. Barr, Understanding the Old Testament, [Prentice-Hall Inc., Upper Saddle Valley, NJ, 1998], pg. 167-8)


As you can see, Baal, the dying/rising agricultural god, was connected to Tammuz, NOT Marduk.

Now, ALL of that said, I have already shown in my previous post that EVEN if we accept your summation of Langdon's translation IN TOTO, it still does not really connect to what the Gospels report about the death and resurrection of Jesus. There are a couple generic parallels, but this is hardly big news. Break ANY story down to its simplest components and we can make it link or parallel just about anything else. The fact that you and your sources were willing to go well beyond the evidence and to make claims that simply do not hold up under examination does not reflect well upon your ideas.

My suggestion is that you examine your evidence with more objectivity. This will lead you to be far more cautious in your beliefs, and to not go beyond the evidence.

Nomad

[ October 21, 2001: Message edited by: Nomad ]
Nomad is offline  
Old 10-22-2001, 04:08 PM   #6
Marduk
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: the 10th planet
Posts: 5,065
Cool

Hey! stop talking about me behind my back!
my uncle Shamash was the Sun God, and it was Dummuzi & Inanna that took turns in and out of the underworld. I was made chief of all the Babylonian Gods! even Anu!

See "The Descent of Innanna into the Underworld"
Marduck
Marduk is offline  
Old 10-22-2001, 07:52 PM   #7
Echo
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Winter Park, Fl USA
Posts: 411
Post

Regardless of whether Jesus was a mimic of this or other dying/rising gods, why don't theists consider these ancient writings to be "historical evidence" for the truth of the stories, or evidence for the existence of Ba'al and other gods contained in the writings?
Echo is offline  
Old 10-31-2001, 11:00 AM   #8
Bob K
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: New Durham, NH USA
Posts: 5,933
Post

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
On your personal website you have yet to edit or remove your errors, and I was curious as to when you would do this?
I will edit/remove errors when I determine that they are errors and when I have time.

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
Further, there is some serious confusion, in your post as compared with your web page. Why is that?
I have made my intentions clear.

In this post is my interpretation of the translation by Langdon of the inscriptions on the Assyrian Bel myth tablet.

On the webpage I have reported what was presented by John G. Jackson who cited Arthur Findlay and George Goodman. This functions as a book report, and was referred to as such.

Post vs. Webpage.

That same webpage has now been revised to clarify the citation of Jackson, et al, and now includes my report on the interpretation of Langdon’s translation plus additional information presenting the Egyptian mythical elements of the annunciation, immaculate conception, birth, and adoration of the god Horus as found in the engravings on the inner walls of the Temple of Luxor, inscribed by King Amenhotep III, circa 1500 B.C., now extant, and described by Gerald Massey and cited in Jackson. A new table shows the Bel myth parallels to the Jesus myth (14 in all), another table shows the Egyptian Horus myth parallels to the Jesus myth (4 in all), and yet another table shows the combined Egyptian Horus myth/Assyrian-Babylonian Bel myth parallels to the Jesus myth (18 in all).

See ...
http://www.infidels.org/electronic/f...c&f=6&t=000879

... for the latest Reply.

See ...
http://www.bobkwebsite.com/belmythvjesusmyth.html

... for a revision of The Bel Myth on my website.

See ...
http://www.bobkwebsite.com/egyptianmythvjesusmyth.html

... for a new addition to the website showing parallels of the Egyptian Horus myth with the Jesus myth.

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
I will go through the problems, starting with your web page:

1) Bel and Jesus are arrested.
No biggie here.

2) Bell is tried in a great hall, Jesus is tried in the "Hall of Justice".
Where did you get this bit? The phrase "Hall of Justice" is never used in the Gospels. Did you assume it? And if so, why? The Synoptics simply have Jesus appear before Pilate, never saying where this happens, and John has it at Pilate's palace. It would be better to nix this one as inconclusive at best.
St. John 18:28: Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment ... 29: Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? ... 31: Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, ...

Apparently the phrase ‘Hall of Justice’ is used by Findlay/Zimmern to refer to the judgment hall referenced in St. John.

Hall of Justice = Judgment Hall: Reasonable claim herein for a parallel.

#2 stands.

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
3) Bel is hit, Jesus is scourged
No problem.

4) Bel is led away to the Mount (a sacred grove on a hilltop). Jesus is led to Golgotha, the "Place of Sculls"
As Bel dies in a sacred grove, and Jesus dies on a hill made specifically for executions, this is hardly a parallel. This too should be nixed.
This can be nixed without destroying the remaining parallels.

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
5) With Bel are taken to (sic) malefactors, one of whom is released. Jesus is executed with two criminals, and another, named Barabas is released.
The numbers of men killed with Bel and Jesus do not line up. No problem on the one being released, though I do suspect the translation here. How certain is Langdon on this one?
Langdon appears certain.

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
6) After Bel has gone to the Mount and is executed, the city breaks into tumult. After Jesus is executed, there is an earthquake, the veil of the Temple is rent, the dead rise from their graves and walk among the living.
This is an especially bad one Bob. You are mixing up your accounts of Jesus' death here. The earthquake and people rising from the grave is only in Matthew, not in Mark (the first account of Jesus' death), Luke, or John. Are you suggesting that Matthew was influenced by the Bel tablet? If so, what is your evidence? In any event, the other three Gospels do not contain this bit at all. John does not even have the tearing of the Temple curtain, and neither Luke nor John has the earthquake. Further, the Bel account appears to be one of rebellion or disorder by people, while the Gospels talk about only natural phenomenon. This too should definitely be nixed.
Your complaint actually supports my contention that the earthquake in Matthew contradicts the lack of an earthquake in Mark/Luke/John. Herein is a classic case of contradiction by exclusion in Mark/Luke/John and inclusion only in Matthew.

You have complained that exclusions and inclusions are not contradictions, but they are contradictions nevertheless because the stories with exclusions do not match the stories with the inclusions.

Moreover, the story of an earthquake and risings of the dead, and their interactions with the living, surely has to be regarded as an awesome event, an event so awesome that no one who witnessed it could ever forget it or otherwise fail to mention it. Think about what I just wrote: If you attended a public event during which you experienced a clear and obvious earthquake and your mother/father/aunt/uncle/grandmother/grandfather/child/best friend/John Wayne/George Washington/any person who appeared to have been dead rising from his/her grave and walking with you and talking with you, what is the possibility that you never forget this event, would tell everyone about it/would not hush it up, would write about it in letters, would call and talk about it on talk shows, would buy any videotapes of it, etc., and what is the possibility that anyone who witnessed the same event would likewise publicize it? I have to believe that this kind of event would not be ignored and that, therefore, we should find references to it in letters and fables and any other transmissions of legends and facts. What could happen today I suspect could have happened in earlier times, and the fact that only in St. Matthew do we have an account of it suggests that the earthquake and dead risings was not an historical fact, and, if so, is a clear example of a contradiction in the Xn Bible.

The fact that the earthquake and the risings of the dead are present in one and not the others, when they are so striking and therefore significant, suggests strongly that the Bible is truly fiction and therefore should be regarded to be the Babel.

If Matthew is the only Gospel writer who mentions the earthquake, then I would agree that it is reasonable to say that Matthew was influenced by the Assyrian version of the Bel myth.

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
7) Bel and Jesus both have their clothes carried away.
No problem, although here I think we should be looking to the OT for the reason this is mentioned by the Gospel writers. Whether it happened or not, the evangelists clearly wanted to link the event to Hebrew Scripture in Psalm 22:18 (They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.), not some obscure Assyrian tablet they may or may not have known about.
We do not have to look at the OT for any reason for the inclusion of this by Xn mythwriters than their need to keep up with the neighbors and to make sure their god was as at least as good if not better than anybody else’s god(s), hence their need for a similar story in which Jesus’ clothes are carried away.

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
8) Bel goes down into the Mount and disappears from life. Jesus is buried in a tomb.
This is another especially bad one, as your translation in this thread does not present this timeline. Lines 1 and 3 have Bel already in a mountain at the start of the story. Line 38 has him emerging from this mountain, but this happened previously in line 3, so perhaps Langdon was confused. In any event, Jesus was not buried in a mountain, but, rather, a tomb. No one I am aware of suggests that it was any kind of "Mount". The most detail we have is that it was in a garden, and then, this detail is found only in John. This one should be nixed as well.
As I mentioned, the translation of the transcription is jerky, chronologically erratic, and definitely difficult to read, which is why I had to re-read it several times before the mythical elements began to stand out.

There is no question that in Langdon’s translation Bel dies, is buried in a grave/tomb, and is resurrected.

This parallel stands.

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
9) Weeping women seek Bel at the Tomb. Weeping women seek Jesus at the Tomb.
Yet another very bad one Bob. First, the Gospels do not have the women weeping at the tomb. John has Mary Magdeline weeping after she and the others find the tomb empty . Is this what you are talking about? Mark only has them bewildered and frightened (16:8). Matthew has them going to see the tomb (28:1), then leaving in joy (28:8). Luke has the women taking spices (no comment on their emotional state in 24:1-10), and the men thinking that they were talking nonsense. So that leaves John with one woman weeping after she finds an empty tomb (20:11-16). She was not weeping when she went to the tomb (20:1).
If we leave weeping women out of the Jesus myth, we still have women going to the tomb, so the parallel stands.

But, as you have mentioned, if John has Mary Magdalene, a woman, weeping after she and others find the tomb empty, then we still have a weeping woman at the tomb, and this parallel stands.

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
In your translation from Langdon, the woman goes to Bel's grave(???) in line 11, before Bel is killed, but while he is still confined within the mountain. Line 67 has a goddess and woman crying, but it does not say why or for whom exactly (hence the "for Bel? contained in parethesis).
Again, I refer to the sequence of text as not being consistent with a time sequence and the necessity to read the text carefully many times to see clearly the people/things/events described and to put them into their chronological sequence and thus construct a timeline.

In this parallel we have females, e.g., women/goddesses, at the tomb/grave, and a weeping goddess with Bel in the underworld/in the mountain/where dead people/gods go, so the parallel stands.

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
10) Bel is brought back to life. Jesus is resurrected.
No problem.
If we agree to nix #4, out of 10, we still have 9 parallels.

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
As we can see from the above analysis, it certainly helps to look at the actual stories before presenting supposed parallels. Clearly the ones ascribed to the Gospels are either generic, or non-existent. Numbers 1, 3, 5b (release of the prisoner), and 10 are alright. Numbers 2, 4, 5a (one person killed with Bel, two with Jesus), 6, 7, 8 and 9 should be axed./
Unfortunately for you, when we actually look at the actual stories we find in the Babel references to judgment halls, women at tombs, etc., that support the translation of the Bel myth tablet.

Moreover, there are additional details that I have added which further support my contention that the Jesus myth is a rip-off of the Bel myth.

In the Bel myth a priest/judge asks “What is his sin?”

In the Jesus myth, Pilate asks a similar question.

You could argue that such questions were common to the area and the times and that, therefore, the questions are not parallels; but I could argue that since they WERE mentioned they ARE significant and therefore parallels.

In the Bel myth, water for handwashing is brought to the building where Bel was judged.

In the Jesus myth, Pilate washes his hands after the trial of Jesus.

You could argue that the handwashing by judges after a trial was a ritual common to the area and to the times and therefore not true parallels; but I could argue that since they WERE mentioned they ARE significant and therefore parallels.

In the Bel myth, a garment was placed upon the body of Bel (as contrasted with placing nothing).

In the Jesus myth, a garment is used to wrap the body of Jesus (as contrasted with not wrapping the body).

You could argue that the wrapping of dead bodies in garments was common to the area and to the times; but I could argue that since they WERE mentioned they ARE significant and therefore parallels.

The presence of mythical elements in both the Bel and the Jesus myths is significant and supports the contention that the Jesus myth is a rip-off of the Bel myth in at least some of its mythology.

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
I did not find this lack of real (as opposed to presupposed) parallels to be much of a surprise, given that Bob's source was Christianity Before Christ by John G. Jackson, American Atheist Press. Given such a biased and agenda driven source, we should be cautious, and check the story out for ourselves. What we find is that the one story (Bel's) is taken from a bad translation that is, at best, garbled and disjointed as well, while the Gospel account is actually a compilation, and then poorly cited. Closer examination shows that what Jackson claims are in the Gospels are not.
Again, you are reviewing the original book report on Jackson’s book and its contents.

The parallels reported therein are for the most part supported by similar parallels reported in Langdon’s translation as I showed in my interpretation.

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
Two final points if I may: you claim that the tablet dates to 2000BC, when you have since noted that it is not Babylonian, but Assyrian, and it dates to 700BC. Please correct this. Also, you continue to link Baal and Marduk. They are not the same god, and the Assyrians that produced the tablet did not worship Marduk.
I have left the date 2000 B.C. in the webpage for the purpose of showing what was found in Jackson’s book, but I have made corrections or notations of flaws in Jackson’s book in an additional section showing my interpretation of Langdon’s translation.

Bel/Baal and Marduk ARE related, as I have shown you in other posts/replies and in a long quote from Langdon shows that he is aware of the Bel vs. Marduk controversy but shows that Bel is another name for Marduk.

I have copied my remarks and cites from a previous Reply:

Bel is Bel/Baal.

See the following: http://www.ldolphin.org/Nimrod.html

NOTE: ldolphin = Lambert Dolphin

From: NIMROD, MARS AND THE MARDUK CONNECTION, by Bryce Self

Bryce Self makes the point that the name Bel or Baal was used in place of Marduk:
Quote:
BEL/BAAL This was the primary name by which other nations (including Israel) were introduced to the worship of Marduk. Baal means "lord" or "master". ...
Thus, B. Self states that the people of Israel would have recognized the name Baal to be Bel/Marduk, and not necessarily some other, “very different” god.

[End of copy]

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
I noticed that you have removed the reference to Baal being crucified. Thank you for that much. I am curious, does Jackson actually have them in his book/article? If so, doesn't this raise a huge of red flag for you? In any event, will you please make the additional corrections listed above?
Jackson does not reference Bel as being crucified, but he does reference Zimmern/Goodman as showing that Bel “disappears from life”; Langdon, however, clearly shows Bel is executed/slain/disappears from life.

I will not be making corrections with which I disagree.

I want to emphasize one more time that what we have in the Assyrian Bel myth tablet are words literally chiseled in stone that present the mythical elements of arrest, trial, judgment, scourging, execution, and resurrection (and others) which are similar to if not identical to parallel mythical elements of the Jesus myth.

No matter what is the intent of the writer/author of the Bel myth tablet, the Bel myth tablet contains mythical elements which parallel similar mythical elements in the Jesus myth.

The presence of these mythical elements means that no matter what the intent of the writer/author of the Bel myth tablet the mythical elements were in existence prior to the construction of the Jesus myth (700 B.C.) and could have appropriated/used/copied by the Jesus mythwriters for the Jesus myth.

In all of this we have in the background the total lack of contemporary objective contact with gods—no appearance of gods in forms humans can see/hear/touch/etc. and thereby understand, no performance of actions/causation of events which clearly show superior knowledge and capabilities to the individual or collective knowledge and/or capabilities of mankind, such as the generation of missing limbs, the resurrection of people known to be dead/have been dead for 1/5/10/15/20/take your pick years, etc.; emotional claims of contact with gods abound, as in so-called religious experiences which turn out to be delusions/hallucinations when those who claim them claim that they take place only within themselves and cannot be objectively reproduced for anyone else or experienced by anyone else, to which objective observers have to judge those religious experiences to be delusions/hallucinations because of their lack of replicability and therefore in the same class as Bigfoot/Yeti/Nessie/etc. sightings, alien abductions, and fisherman tales of near-catches of record fishes or mermaids, etc. Without objective contact with gods we are not obligated to believe they exist or that they care about us. And without any other kind of objective proof, likewise, we are not obligated to believe gods exist, or, objectively, that they do not exist.

Without credible contemporary contact with gods, we can easily conclude that we are dealing with myths.

Whether or not this would commit a logical fallacy is debatable.

But one conclusion is clear: Without proof of the existence of gods, we should not include them in our considerations for public policies, for any decisions based upon belief/opinion not supported by proof are likely to be bad decisions.

[ October 31, 2001: Message edited by: Bob K ]
Bob K is offline  
Old 10-31-2001, 12:34 PM   #9
Kosh
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Orions Belt
Posts: 3,911
Post

Quote:
Originally posted by Bob K:
<STRONG>
NOMAD:
4) Bel is led away to the Mount (a sacred grove on a hilltop). Jesus is led to
Golgotha, the "Place of Sculls"
As Bel dies in a sacred grove, and Jesus dies on a hill made specifically for
executions, this is hardly a parallel. This too should be nixed.

BOB:
This can be nixed without destroying the remaining parallels.</STRONG>
Bob,

I don't think any concession here is necessary. That the intended or current
funtion of the locations is not identical
is not signficant. The point is (as admitted
by Nomad), they both had a HILL for the KILL.

My count still stands at 14.
Kosh is offline  
Old 10-31-2001, 01:31 PM   #10
Nomad
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
Posts: 410
Post

Bob, although your stubborn tenacity should probably be commended in some fashion, your unwillingness to see or understand my points is becoming quite disheartening. I see you have made some minor changes to your web sites, but not all of them have been included. Further, you fail to understand the difference between a composite, and a specific, and finally, you have yet to establish any kinds of links beyond the barest of generalities. Let’s take a look at what you have offered:

Quote:
Nomad: 2) Bell is tried in a great hall, Jesus is tried in the "Hall of Justice".
Where did you get this bit? The phrase "Hall of Justice" is never used in the Gospels. Did you assume it? And if so, why? The Synoptics simply have Jesus appear before Pilate, never saying where this happens, and John has it at Pilate's palace. It would be better to nix this one as inconclusive at best.

Bob: St. John 18:28: Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment ... 29: Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? ... 31: Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, ...

Apparently the phrase ‘Hall of Justice’ is used by Findlay/Zimmern to refer to the judgment hall referenced in St. John.
Hall of Justice = Judgment Hall: Reasonable claim herein for a parallel.
Look, the “Hall of Justice” is a proper name. A judgement hall is not. This is simply an example of desperate reaching on the part of your translators, and should be dropped. We have no idea, from the text (and then only in John) as to what is the nature of this hall, let alone if it is “great” or not.

Here you would have to establish that John is aware of the tablet, yet many of the other parallels you list are not found in John, but in another Gospel. If you wish to argue that John selectively used the tablet, then you have to show how you can know this.

What evidence do you have that John knew of, and could read, this tablet?

Again, you are trying to make a link based on a composite of the Gospel account of the passion of Christ, rather than a specific case based on one of those Gospel accounts. This is poor argumentation.

Quote:
Langdon appears certain. (Re: his translation of point 5)
How do you know this? Other scholars that have studied his works appear unconvinced. This is why I told you his theories are not even topic of discussion for scholars any longer.

Quote:
Your complaint actually supports my contention that the earthquake in Matthew contradicts the lack of an earthquake in Mark/Luke/John. Herein is a classic case of contradiction by exclusion in Mark/Luke/John and inclusion only in Matthew.
Here is a classic example of the kind of confusion I have been talking about. We are not talking about contradictions in this thread, we are talking about whether or not the Gospel writers used the Bel Myth Tablet in constructing their stories. As only Matthew can be even a potential user of this particular parallel, you need to explain why you think that he got it from the tablet, and not some other source? Your reasoning is simply the worst kind of special pleading Bob, and it is my hope that you will come to realize this. Since Mark, Luke and John have nothing like what you mentioned here, they obviously did not use the parallel at all. Since Matthew did use this story, even if he was making it up out of whole cloth, you need to show why it is probable that he did so based on a 700 year old stone tablet, the existence of which he may very well not even known.

What evidence do you have that Matthew knew of, and could read, this tablet?

Quote:
The fact that the earthquake and the risings of the dead are present in one and not the others, when they are so striking and therefore significant, suggests strongly that the Bible is truly fiction and therefore should be regarded to be the Babel.
If Matthew is the only Gospel writer who mentions the earthquake, then I would agree that it is reasonable to say that Matthew was influenced by the Assyrian version of the Bel myth.
I must say, your reasoning is truly astonishing here. The first sentence makes no sense at all. The second is a leap in logic that is quite dizzying. Why do you think that this is the only logical possibility?

Quote:
We do not have to look at the OT for any reason for the inclusion of this by Xn mythwriters than their need to keep up with the neighbors and to make sure their god was as at least as good if not better than anybody else’s god(s), hence their need for a similar story in which Jesus’ clothes are carried away.
Here you just missed the point completely. Anyone that reads the Gospels knows that the authors used the Old Testament frequently. When we find a reference that clearly can be found in that Old Testament, it is logical to say that they got it from that passage. The reference to soldiers taking Jesus’ clothes is found in Psalm 22, therefore the most reasonable assumption is that the evangelists used it as their reference point, or parallel if you will. How you can still claim that it is more probable that they got it from an ancient Assyrian tablet which may or may not have been known to them is beyond me.

Quote:
As I mentioned, the translation of the transcription is jerky, chronologically erratic, and definitely difficult to read, which is why I had to re-read it several times before the mythical elements began to stand out.
There is no question that in Langdon’s translation Bel dies, is buried in a grave/tomb, and is resurrected.
No, you have him buried in a mountain. You also have the women at that mountain BEFORE he is buried in it, and you have some women crying for someone who may or may not be Bel AFTER he is buried. It is confused and disjointed, and any attempt to draw a parallel here is quite pathetic. Jesus is not buried in a mountain, he is buried in a tomb. Since this is pretty common (after all, burial in a tomb is hardly exceptional), your desire to pull this detail from a jerky and confused translation of an ancient tablet is curious to say the least.

Quote:
If we leave weeping women out of the Jesus myth, we still have women going to the tomb, so the parallel stands.
But, as you have mentioned, if John has Mary Magdalene, a woman, weeping after she and others find the tomb empty, then we still have a weeping woman at the tomb, and this parallel stands.
You strike me as a very serious fellow Bob, but here you have got to be kidding. Even in the Bel translation you are not certain that the women are crying for Bel at the tomb. Further, the ONLY Gospel that has a crying woman at all is John, and then only AFTER she finds the tomb empty. In any event, women are the ones who prepare bodies for burial, so it is expected that women would be at the tomb in the Gospel accounts, so there is no reason to go hunting for an obscure source for this account.

Quote:
Again, I refer to the sequence of text as not being consistent with a time sequence and the necessity to read the text carefully many times to see clearly the people/things/events described and to put them into their chronological sequence and thus construct a timeline.
You honestly do not see why scholars have rejected this translation? Worse yet, you do not see why confusions in this translation makes its use specious? Please try to be more discriminating, and less credulous Bob.

Quote:
In the Bel myth a priest/judge asks “What is his sin?”
In the Jesus myth, Pilate asks a similar question.
You could argue that such questions were common to the area and the times and that, therefore, the questions are not parallels; but I could argue that since they WERE mentioned they ARE significant and therefore parallels.
Now you are compounding your error by trying to throw in additional specious arguments. At a trial, a judge would be expected to ask what the crime/charges against the accused happen to be. Again I am going to ask you to use at least some critical judgements here.

Quote:
You could argue that the wrapping of dead bodies in garments was common to the area and to the times; but I could argue that since they WERE mentioned they ARE significant and therefore parallels.
The wrapping of the body is required for Jews. This simply shows that Jesus’ burial was done properly, and in accordance with Jewish laws and practices. When we look for sources, we try and use the most probable Bob, and here it is not a stretch to say that the evangelists wanted to show that Jesus was properly buried. They certainly don’t have to go to an Assyrian tablet to find their reason for mentioning this detail.

The existence of a tablet, or even a legend or myth does not automatically mean that it was known to those who later created their own stories. I recently watched a movie called “Iron Monkey”, a Chinese legend about a man who stole from the rich, and gave to the poor. The parallels with Robin Hood are obvious, yet establishing that either was derived from the other requires more than the demonstration of a few general parallels. One must show evidence of actual copying. Here, you do not even come close, as you must appeal to a composite of the Gospel accounts (as opposed to a specific Gospel) for some of the parallels, and other parallels have more obvious sources (like common practices, or the Old Testament).

Your fallacy appears to be that you think a vague similarity is clear evidence of copying. Unless you can do better, and offer some kind of evidence in support of your views, only the already convinced (or extremely gullible) are going to find your arguments compelling.

Now, where did you get the idea that Bel was crucified, if Jackson did not have it, nor did the tablet? Further, why do you consider Jackson to be a reliable source? Finally, I have specifically asked you if you know of any scholars since the 1930’s have thought that Zimmerman’s and Langdon’s translations have any value, and you have failed to reply. Your argument is out dated, and rejected with good reason. Your desire to cling to it, and even try to expand on it speaks of a person more willing to cling to his faith than to examine the evidence with any kind of objectivity.

Please try to do better. More importantly, I think it would be in your interest to simply admit that the evidence is insufficient, and the arguments too weak to draw any kind of conclusions based on Langdon’s work.

Quote:
But one conclusion is clear: Without proof of the existence of gods, we should not include them in our considerations for public policies, for any decisions based upon belief/opinion not supported by proof are likely to be bad decisions.
Your conclusions may or may not be valid, but have nothing whatsoever to do with this specific argument. You wish to demonstrate that the Gospels used the Bel Myth Tablet as a source. You have yet to establish the links, nor accounted for other evidence and arguments. You have admitted the translation is disjointed and confused, yet you place faith in it. You have not shown that any scholar treats it seriously since the 1930’s, demonstrating that the ideas are seriously out dated, and were rightly rejected long ago. Quite frankly, this discussion has been very nearly surreal in my opinion, taking on the characteristics of someone that wants to defend Creationism as a science, with fallacious reasoning, appeals to authority, and special pleading. Your addition of the Horus legends only compounds the error further, but as you have not tried to defend it here, I think it is best left alone.

In the meantime, I will refer you again to a site that discusses the issue of parallels between Jesus and other religions/gods in considerable depth. I would recommend that you read it in detail before spreading more of this tripe.

Nomad

Jesus: Copycat Savior? Part A
Jesus: Copycat Savior? Part B

P.S. To Kosh... Bob recognized the fact that Golgotha is where Romans executed criminals. This is the logical place for the event to take place, so postulating that the idea came to the evangelists from an Assyrian tablet is nonsensical. That is why he agreed to drop it.

[ October 31, 2001: Message edited by: Nomad ]
Nomad is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:27 PM.

Top

This custom BB emulates vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.