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Old 10-31-2001, 03:56 PM   #11
Marduk
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Nomad said:
"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."

This doesn't sound that far fetched to me, these stories, like the flood myths of Gilgamesh, most likely made the rounds of the middle east for ages. Telling stories was one of the few forms of entertainment going in those days.
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Old 11-02-2001, 10:45 AM   #12
Bob K
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Nomad:

Bob K Quote:
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What is clear is that we have a dying and rising god/godman 700 BC.
Nomad Quote:
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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.
In fact, as I have shown in my previous and immediately above Reply, the Bel myth mythical element parallels are extremely similar to the Jesus myth mythical elements.

Your refutations fall apart under scrutiny.

I note that you have admitted that “we do have lots of dying and rising gods in the ancient myths.”

The mere idea of a dying/rising god/godman is a mythical element which parallels the same mythical element in the Jesus myth and suggests that the Jesus myth is no more than an attempt to keep up with the neighbors to make sure their god/Jesus is no less than the neighbors’ gods/godmen.

The point is that if there are many dying/rising gods/godmen, then the common mythical element of death/resurrection clearly serves as proof that the Jesus myth is certainly not an original dying/rising god/godman myth and, being younger than the other myths, is most likely a copycat dying/rising god/godman myth.

And therefore I have to make a stand: The presence of dying/rising god/godmen myths is clear evidence that the Jesus dying/rising god/godman myth is no more credible than any other dying/rising god/godman myth.

Bob K Quote:
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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.
Nomad Quote:
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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.
The fact is that John G. Jackson in Christianity Before Christ, published in 1985, cited George Goodman who drew a table of the Bel--Jesus parallels for an article entitled “Easter” which was published in [/i]The Freethinker[/i], May 14, 1965.

Goodman stands as an “anyone since 1923” who puts stock in the Zimmern translation which is similar to the Langdon translation.

Where Jackson has made mistakes, I have so noted.

If you want to claim that Langdon’s translation is faulty, then you must provide the references.

You presented what you claim is evidence that scholars do not think Langdon’s translation is correct, but in fact, as we will see below, in the quote you provided there is no claim that Langdon’s translation is totally wrong.
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)
I am not interested in opinions condemning any of the Zimmern/Langdon/Pallis translations of the Bel myth tablet text.

Instead, I want specifics by means of replications of the translation being condemned and retranslations which should show how the Assyrian Bel myth tablet text should be translated in addition to what it really means/what is its true context.

Bob K Quote:
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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.
Nomad Quote:
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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.
You are herein asserting that since 1923 no scholar thinks Langdon’s translation is correct.

You have not provided precise quotations or paraphrases of the references/citations stating that beyond a doubt Langdon mistranslated the Assyrian Bel myth tablet. This you must do.

The scholars you cite must give specific reasons why the Langdon translation is incorrect—they may not merely assert that it is—and they must also give their rendition of an “accurate” translation.

If you want to cite references/sources I must request that you provide quotations or paraphrases since between thee and me I have already done considerable work in presenting Langdon’s side of the issue, and I have already gone on wild goosechases following up the references/websites you have suggested without finding them credible as refutations of Langdon’s translation.

Bob K Quote:
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Whether or not Marduk is a dying/rising god/godman in Enuma Elish is beside the point.
Nomad Quote:
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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.
I am not aware that whether or not Marduk is a rising/dying god/godman in Enuma Elish was my point precisely/originally.

Kindly enlighten. With webpage/website references.

Bob K Quote: [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 ... [quote]

Nomad Quote:
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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.
Is not Jesus a god/godman in Xn mythology?

Since this is in fact the case, the Bel parallels can be of a god and apply to both gods and godmen.

Bob K Quote:
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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.
Nomad Quote:
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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?
Are you waiting for someone to dig up ancient writings in which Jesus mythwriters confessed to knowing about the Assyrian Bel myth tablet before they wrote the Jesus myth?

Are you waiting for someone to dig up ancient writings in which Jesus mythwriters confessed to stealing mythical elements from the Bel myth as written (in stone, no less) upon the Assyrian Bel myth tablet and using those mythical elements for the Jesus myth?

The parallels themselves condemn the Jesus myth to be a plagiarization and therefore a copycat Christ myth.

Bob K Quote
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.
Nomad Quote:
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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.
You indeed must be waiting for someone to dig up ancient writings in which Jesus mythwriters confessed to stealing mythical elements from the Bel myth as written (in stone, no less) upon the Assyrian Bel myth tablet and using those mythical elements for the Jesus myth.

Bob K Quote:
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Here are Langdon’s own words:

{SNIP massive quote}
Nomad Quote:
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As for trying to connect [the Bel myth in the Assyrian Bel myth tablet] 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.
Unfortunately for you, Langdon’s translation of the Assyrian Bel myth tablet stands as its own proof that there was a second Bel myth, chiseled in stone, in which Bel-Marduk was executed and resurrected.

I have done a lot of work to get Langdon’s translation of the Assyrian Bel myth tablet and to quote it and to interpret it and to provide Langdon’s own comments to help you understand what Langdon said and why he said it.

I think it reasonable for me to ask you to provide some precise references and quotes from other translators in which they offer proof that Langdon/Zimmern/Pallis, et al, completely or otherwise misinterpreted writings on the Assyrian Bel myth tablet.

Bob K Quote:
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Notice that Langdon refers to Bel as if the name means the name of a deity, not as a title.
Nomad Quote:
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Yes, and as I showed, this is yet another error on his part.
Unfortunately for you, I have shown that other writers refute your claims.

I copy and repeat:

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]

Christopher Siren refers to the use of the name Bel to refer to Marduk at the following website:
http://pubpages.unh.edu/~cbsiren/assyrbabyl-faq.html

Quote:
Bel is likely to be another name for Marduk.
... and ...

Quote:
Bel (Canaanite Baal)

Cleverest of the clever and sage of the gods, he is the child of Ea and Dumkina. This name (meaning 'lord') is most likely referring to Marduk.
Bob K Quote:
Quote:
[RE: Debunking the Assyrian Bel myth written on the Assyrian Bel myth Tablet] Who debunked it? What are his credentials? What is his reasoning? What is his proof?
Nomad Quote:
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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
Since I did considerable work to present to you Langdon’s own words, why do you not do the work to provide the words/paraphrases of these other authors that clearly refer to the Assyrian Bel myth tablet which is the focus of this discussion and Langdon’s translation (and Zimmern’s/Pallis’ translations) and prove beyond a doubt that Langdon/Zimmern/Pallis translations are completely false and that, therefore, absolutely no parallels to the Jesus myth are to be found in the Assyrian Bel myth as written on the Assyrian Bel myth tablet?

A few quotes/paraphrases here and there would definitely help.

Otherwise, I will have to order these books (at an expense, or from the Interlibrary Loan program, which takes time and is unreliable, so I have found) and read them and report back, which I will do over time if you do not provide quotes/paraphrases.

Nomad Quote:
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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.
Langdon is not merely paraphrasing Zimmern but, instead, offering his own translation, and with comments on the Zimmern translation, particularly on the differences he has with Zimmern, which are few, i.e., Langdon basically supports Zimmern.

Again, I am requesting specific quotes/paraphrases of the debunks plus “accurate” translations of the Assyrian Bel myth tablet.

Nomad Quote:
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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.
The rising/dying Bel/Marduk god myth DOES come up as I will show below towards the end of this Reply.

The fact that these authors do not refer to the Assyrian Bel myth written on the Assyrian Bel myth tablet indicates an oversight on their part, not a refutation of the Langdon/Zimmern/Pallis translations.

You should be able to see this clearly.

If a work on the Bel-Marduk myth is to be credible, then it ought to include a reference to the actual Assyrian Bel myth tablet which actually exists in The British Museum and actually has words chiseled in stone which according to the Langdon/Zimmern/Pallis translations refer to the god Bel and which offer the mythical elements of arrest, trial, judgment, scourging, execution, resurrection, etc.

And then, having mentioned the existence of the Assyrian Bel myth tablet, and the Langdon/Zimmern/Pallis translations, the authors ought to have refuted the translations point by point, or cited other authors who did in fact refute the translations point by point, so, at some ‘point’ or other in all this, we should be able to get a point-by-point refutation of the translations AND a corrected translation so we could all understand, once and for all, what the writings actually say.

At this point in our exchanges, you have not proven beyond a doubt that the translations are faulty/totally wrong, therefore they stand as accurate.

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
Dr. Smith is Professor of Theology at the University of Chicago and general editor of the Harper Collins 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.
If these authors can be reached via emails, then I will make an effort to contact them re: their lack of mention of the Assyrian Bel myth tablet and their opinions of the Langdon/Zimmern/Pallis translations.

If you have any contact information which might help, please so provide.

Otherwise, I predict that what I will find is (A) that these authors/scholars are heavy-duty religionists whose credibility is instantly suspect and (B) that none of them offer precise point-by-point refutations of the Langdon/Zimmern/Pallis translations and commonly-agreed-upon alternative translations.

I previously chased suggested references that supposedly refuted the Assyrian Bel myth and found utter nonsense in the Peterson reference and inconclusive nonsense in the copycat Christ reference.

Out of respect for the wild goosechase you asked me to endure, I think it reasonable that you give quotes/paraphrases from your references with page numbers that refute the Langdon/Zimmern/Pallis translations.

Again, you must respect the fact that Langdon has stated that he is aware that as of 1923 the dying/rising Bel myth shows up only in the Assyrian Bel myth tablet.

This means that no matter what is else is said to be the Bel/Marduk myth in other works that this work definitely refers to Bel as a dying/rising god.

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
Now, do you have any scholars that take Langdon seriously or not?
At this point I have John G. Jackson and George Goodman (cited in Jackson) as individual authors who support Langdon/Zummern/Pallis with point-by-point comments and translations. Jackson has served as a college professor and thereby may qualify as a scholar; I do not know what are Goodman’s credentials.

Bob K Quote:
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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.
Nomad Quote:
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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)
All you are presenting is (A) an unsupported summary which is Smith’s opinion and (B) no conclusive proof which refutes the translations point-by-point and offers a commonly-agreed-upon alternative translation.

Bob K Quote:
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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.
Nomad Quote:
Quote:
Goy. It is Bel-Marduk, since he is "Lord" Marduk, so yes, the Israelites would have known him by this TITLE. Sheesh.
When are you going to face the reality that the word ‘Bel’ is used as a name and not merely as a title?

Christopher Siren refers to the use of the name Bel to refer to Marduk at the following website:
http://pubpages.unh.edu/~cbsiren/assyrbabyl-faq.html

Quote:
Bel is likely to be another name for Marduk.
... and ...

Quote:
Bel (Canaanite Baal)

Cleverest of the clever and sage of the gods, he is the child of Ea and Dumkina. This name (meaning 'lord') is most likely referring to Marduk.
Nomad Quote:
Quote:
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.
To repeat: [quote]Christopher Siren refers to the use of the name Bel to refer to Marduk at the following website:
http://pubpages.unh.edu/~cbsiren/assyrbabyl-faq.html

There is herein and thus a refutation of your attempts to completely separate Bel/Marduk from Baal.

Nomad Quote:
Quote:
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.
I get the impression that you are waiting for someone to discover ancient writings in which Xn mythwriters confess that they stole mythical elements from other myths and wrote them into the Jesus myth, and that such confessions would be the only proof that the Jesus myth was fabricated from previous myths.

You appear to require what may be impossible to find: proof of a connection between the Jesus myth and other, older myths other than the parallels themselves.

It is not enough for you that the parallel of a dying/rising god/godman found in older myths and in the Jesus myth is in itself proof (A) that the Jesus myth is not original and (B) that the Jesus myth, being fabricated, is not true.

It is not enough for you that the parallels listed in the Assyrian Bel myth tablet are similar to the mythical elements of the Jesus myth and prove that the Jesus myth is not original, and, not being original, has to be a fabrication.

Instead, everyone who claims the Jesus myth is a copycat christ myth has to prove that the Xn mythwriters copied mythical elements/parallels from older myths.

Get this straight: The Xn mythwriters are all dead. We cannot capture one and torture it until it confesses that it helped to fabricate the Jesus myth.

And to date we have no confessions of Xn mythwriters in ancient writings that I am aware of.

I am aware, unfortunately for you, of the opinions of writers that Xns were excessive in their mythologizing. According to Acharya S, [ http://www.truthbeknown.com/origins.htm , but also Joseph Wheless as cited in Gordon Stein, A Second Anthology of Atheism and Rationalism, p. 69.], Bishop Eusibius was known to be a liar and plagiarizer. No mention by church fathers or other Xn writers or historians that the texts of the Jewish Historian, Josephus Flavius, contained any references to Jesus (Jesus as the Christ of Xnity) until cited by Eusibius circa 324 suggests strongly that Eusibius himself may have fabricated the Josephus interpolation. [Joseph Wheless in Stein, p. 69.] St. Augustine wrote complaints about the mythologizing and fabrication of the Xn mythwriters in two books, De Mendacio in 395 A.D., and Contra Mendacium in 420 A.D. [Stein, p. 65.] Are we to deny that St. Augustine wrote such? Let us therefore agree that at least some early Xns were liars. Are we to then let their writings cruise through history without wondering if or not they plagiarized earlier myths?

Concerning modern references to the Babylonian New Year’s Festival and the entombment of Bel/Marduk/Ashur (Assyrian Marduk) in a mountain and his liberation/resurrection, regardless of your current opinion, I have found two websites which directly refer to the tradition of Bel/Marduk’s dying/rising:

1. http://www.gatewaystobabylon.com/religion/akitu.htm

THE BABYLONIAN NEW YEAR´S FESTIVAL
By Lishtar

NOTE: This quote is only of the sections that refer to Marduk/Bel/Ashur.]

Quote:
The commentary says that "Marduk was confined in the mountain", and it is a Mesopotamian formula for the death of a god, characterizing the point from which the festival took its start. Death here means the suffering of the god, and here we have a clear allusion to the Descents of Inanna/Ishtar, who descended, were wounded, died and were reborn. Similarly, it is said of Marduk at the New Year´s festival that "Into the house of bondage, from the sun and light, they caused him to descend".

And more: "people hasten in the streets, they seek Marduk saying, ' Where is he held captive?'" We assume then that much of the commotion centered around the temple tower, the ziggurat, the man-made mountain that links the Underworld to the Realms Above.

Now, thanks to the Dumuzi/Tammuz hymns, we recognize the goddess who in her sorrow seeks the god and, when she has found him, stays at his side. Her acts clearly represent, on the mythological level, the acts and feelings of the people! Indeed, there is a line in a commentary that says "the dazed goddess who from the city goes, wailing"...

Finally, community participation may also have involved the representation of fights, because commentaries state that "after Marduk went into the mountain, the city fell into a tumult because of him, and they made fighting within it". We do not know whether the fights took place in the night of the fifth of Nissan or whether they accompanied Nabu´s triumphal entry into Babylon and his battle with the enemies of Marduk on the sixth or
seventh days. The preparatory rites were completed; the scene was set for the arrival of the avenging son, Nabu, who would defeat the powers of death.

The commentary is quite explicit:"That is he who comes to seek after the welfare of this father who is held captive".

Nabu, assisted by other gods, liberates Marduk by force from the mountain of the Netherworld;

We do not have accounts of the actual Marduk´s liberation from captivity by Nabu. We do know however that Nabu led the army of visiting gods to accomplish this task. The commentary that refers to events is the following: "The door with aperture as they call it, that means that the gods confined him; he entered into the house and before him one locked the door. They bore holes into the door and there they waged battle".

Iconography shows that on cylinder seals of the middle and third millennium the liberation of the god is from a mountain. The liberator god is Ninurta [another name for Nabu], a god with a bow, and a goddess is his attendance.

REFERENCES:

This article is heavily based on the classic on Kingship and Religion in the Near East, and the full reference is:

Frankfort, Henri (1978) Kingship and the Gods: a study of Ancient Near Eastern Religion as the Integration of Society and Nature (with a preface by Samuel Noah Kramer). The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, London.

Wolkstein, Diane and Kramer, Samuel Noah (1983) Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: her stories and hymns from Sumer. Harper & Row, New York
You should note the similarity of phraseology in which Bel/Marduk is held captive in a mountain. which means to those not in the mountain that the god is dead, there is rioting in the city, and the god/Bel/Marduk is liberated/resurrected, all which are presented in the Langdon translations, which brings up the question of why Langdon’s translation is faulty when in fact elements of its content are found in the Akitu, or Babylonian New Year’s Festival.

This set of citations confirms the myth of Bel/Marduk to be a dying/rising god as described by the Langdon/Zimmern/Pallis translations of the Assyrian Bel myth tablet.

2. http://www.aina.org/aol/Nissan.html

KHA B'NISSAN (APRIL 1ST): ASSYRIAN NEW YEAR
Emanuel Y. Kamber, Ph.D.

NOTE: Ashur = Assyrian name for Marduk.

NOTE: This quote is only of the sections that refer to Marduk/Bel/Ashur.]

Quote:
The god had disappeared, the power of death held him captive in the mountain, nature was lifeless hung in suspense, chaos might be about to return. The crowds began to work themselves up, they ran hither and thither, wailing and lamenting; the people's eyes were turned toward the ziggurat - there was Ashur's "tomb", there he was imprisoned in the dusty dark of the Netherworld and needed the help of their mourning.

... Nabu [Marduk’s son] led the gods against his father's foes and Marduk was set free from the mountain.

References:

1. Canoon, Y.N., KHA B'NISSAN ASSYRIAN NEW YEAR, Mordinna Atouraya Magazine,

Volume 3, No. 12, July 1977, Page 8.

2. Contenau, G., EVERYDAY LIFE IN BABYLON AND ASSYRIA.

3. Pritchard, J.B., ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN TEXTS, 3rd expanded edition, Princeton, 1969.

4. Pallis, S.A., THE BABYLONIAN AKITU FESTIVAL, Copenhagen, 1926.

5. Deimel, A., ENUMA ELIS, 2nd edition, 1936.

6. Smith, G., THE CHALDEAN ACCOUNT OF GENESIS, 1876.

7. Kings, L.W., THE SEVEN TABLETS OF CREATION, 2 Vols., 1902.
NOTE: Power of death hold Marduk in the mountain/tomb = Marduk is dead.
Nabu sets Marduk free = Marduk is resurrected/made undead.

Note also the reference to rioting in the city upon the news of Bel/Marduk’s death/confinement in the mountain.

Note also the citation of the Book by S. A. Pallis, The Babylonian Akitu Festival. I do not know if or not a translation of the Assyrian Bel myth tablet is presented in Pallis’ book. But since there is no direct commentary or negation of Pallis’ information or commentary, I assume that Kamber holds a favorable regard for Pallis and his work and commentary.

If you choose to deny the accuracy of the Langdon/Zimmern/Pallis translations of the Bel myth on the Assyrian Bel myth tablet, then I will require that you produce works in which the translations are refuted word by word and line by line and thousands of objective (nonXn) scholars agree with the refutations plus an “accurate” translation approved/agreed to by thousands of objective scholars.

I will require sentences structures similar to these:

Langdon translates these words : __________________ ...

... thus: __________________

Langdon is wrong because these words: _________________ ...

... translate thus: ___________________

By these sentences the critics shall (A) identify which words/sentences/lines/etc. they are criticizing and (B) their translations thereof.

I am not interested in unsupported blanket opinions such the following:
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)
Instead, I want specifics by means of replications of the translation being condemned and retranslations which should show how the Assyrian Bel myth tablet text should be translated in addition to what it really means/what is its true context.

Until someone offers or otherwise I find direct refutations of the Zimmern/Langdon/Pallis translations and commonly-agreed-upon ‘accurate’ translations, then the Langdon translation of the Assyrian Bel myth tablet stands as accurate.

[ November 02, 2001: Message edited by: Bob K ]
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Old 11-02-2001, 11:29 AM   #13
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Thumbs down

Time to wrap up, as this conversation has deteriorated into the surreal.

Let me focus on a couple of points.

Quote:
Nomad (citing my sources)
Dr. Smith is Professor of Theology at the University of Chicago and general editor of the Harper Collins 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. (note, if you want to contact them, write to their universities, I want to focus on what you said ABOUT these authors, none of whom you obviously know anything about).

Bob: Otherwise, I predict that what I will find is (A) that these authors/scholars are heavy-duty religionists whose credibility is instantly suspect and (B) that none of them offer precise point-by-point refutations of the Langdon/Zimmern/Pallis translations and commonly-agreed-upon alternative translations.
Religionists? Umm... what do you mean by this Bob? Surely you are not trying to poison the well here.

If you think that a Professor Emeritus of Princton does not stack up to Jackson, Goodman and Acharya S
(BTW, do you know who she is?) there is little more to be said here. Jackson is a writer for an atheist propaganda sheet. What are his qualifications please? Who is Goodman again? I have not seen you list his credentials. Langdon offered a translation in 1923 that even you have admitted is confused and disjointed, yet you continue to have faith in it. Let me make this easy for you: Acharya S is not a scholar (and if you want me to prove this accusation, just say so, then I will expect both a retraction, and an apology from you for using her after I am finished). She is, in fact, a kook of the weirdest kind. That you would even quote her as a source betrays your willingness to believe anything, so long as it is anti-Christian. Josh McDowell, Earl Doherty and Barbara Theiring look like towers of intellectual might by comparison. You have, however, demonstrated the kinds of sources that you accept uncritically. I am more than content to let my citations stand as is, and allow readers here to judge for themselves who is more credible.

In order to establish links between two documents, you must first demonstrate that it is probable:

a) that the authors of the later works would have known about the earlier story
b) the earlier source would be a desirable source to use by the later author
c) the parallels are specific enough to suspect links. Generic ones are not credible, as any two stories can be made to look alike if they are broken down to their most basic elements. See my example of Robin Hood and Iron Monkey above.
d) Other, more plausible and probable sources do not exist (in this case, the Hebrew Bible and Jewish customs provide far and away the most reasonable and probable sources for the evangelists. They wanted to convert their fellow Jews, they WERE Jews themselves, and Judaism was a widely respected and even protected religion within the Roman Empire. Assyrian propaganda, coming from a long dead empire poking fun at the god of another long dead empire (Babylon) is a very unlikely source, and even less likely to be attractive to the evangelists.

Further, you betray your willingness to buy the absolute worst anti-Christian tripe and propaganda when you shamelessly quote Wheless and Archana S’ lie that “Bishop Eusibius was known to be a liar and plagiarizer.” Offer actual evidence to support your slanders Bob. Your credibility is already shot here, and your credulity is showing very badly.

One final point to demonstrate that you still do not understand my arguments:

Quote:
If you choose to deny the accuracy of the Langdon/Zimmern/Pallis translations of the Bel myth on the Assyrian Bel myth tablet, then I will require that you produce works in which the translations are refuted word by word and line by line and thousands of objective (nonXn) scholars agree with the refutations plus an “accurate” translation approved/agreed to by thousands of objective scholars.
I have already demonstrated that even if we accepted Langdon’s translation in full, it still does not serve as parallels for the Gospel accounts. The rioting accompanying Bel’s death is not found in the Gospels (I suspected that rioting was what the tablet said, and that you were covering this fact up). The Gospels have no rioting, and only Matthew has an earthquake and people rising from the dead. Bel is confined to a mountain BEFORE he is executed. Jesus is buried in a tomb, not a mountain. Bel is executed in a sacred grove (and NOT by crucifixion). Jesus is crucified exactly where every other crucified criminal in Jerusalem was killed, Golgotha. There are no weeping women going to the tomb in the Gospels. There is no "Hall of Justice", on a judgement hall, and then only in the Gospel of John. Other parallels are found better in Hebrew Scripture and Jewish custom, yet you prefer to think that these are less likely sources than an obscure Assyrian tablet! You cannot even establish that the evangelists knew the tablet existed at all, let alone that they used it. Finally, in one case where I did show you how Langdon’s translation was faulty, you did not even address this point. He thinks that the Assyrians used the month of Nisan in their calendars, but it is the Jews that did this.

Your arguments are pathetic. Your faith in sources like Jackson and Acharya S is even worse (though in the latter case, it does help to explain your prior crack pot belief that Bel was an example of a crucified god). Your willingness to quote propaganda uncritically is sad. Your presumption that a scholar that disagrees with your sources is likely to be a “hard core religionist” demonstrates the worst kind of thinking (especially as it betrays the fact that you do not even know who these scholars happen to be). You are a committed fundamentalist on this point Bob. I do not debate with such people. Believe what you will, but until you come up with something far more substantial, we are done here Bob.

Good bye.

Nomad

P.S. I knew you would not read Miller’s pages. That is unfortunate. My hope is that others will, and in so doing, at least receive some balance to the lies and bald assertions you prefer to offer here.

Jesus Christ just a CopyCat Savior Myth? Part A
Part B

[ November 02, 2001: Message edited by: Nomad ]
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Old 11-02-2001, 01:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bob K:
<STRONG>What is clear is that we have a dying and rising god/godman 700 BC.</STRONG>
Game, Set, and Match: Bob K.

Good job, Bob. Thanks for doing all the
research, and presenting a convincing
argument despite efforts to confuse the
issue with obfuscation.
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Old 11-03-2001, 08:05 AM   #15
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Nomad said:
". They wanted to convert their fellow Jews, they WERE Jews themselves, and Judaism was a widely respected and even protected religion within the Roman Empire. Assyrian propaganda, coming from a long dead empire poking fun at the god of another long dead empire (Babylon) is a very unlikely source, and even less likely to be attractive to the evangelists."

We've been through this before, much of Jewish OT Scripture borrows heavily from common Middle Eastern Mythos, the Jews lived quite some time in both Egypt and Babylon; circumscisson, annoiting kings with oil, the flood, tower of babel, baby in a basket, baby killing king, trinity, strongman, all common elements of Egypto AssyroBabylonian and Sumerian myth & custom.
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Old 11-03-2001, 09:19 AM   #16
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Marduck, you left out one of the most important rituals, and I'm surprised that BobK seems to have known nothing about it either: the sin-bearer ritual. This is from Gerald Larue's Freethought Across the Centuries, Humanist Press, 1996, pp. 71-72. Sorry for the lengthiness of the passage, but anyone who has made it this far is used to long-winded posts.
Quote:
Ritual purification ceremonies cleansed Marduk's temple. To symbolize the death of the year, the king temporarily abdicated the throne and was humiliated before the statue of the god. Following a royal confession of faith and a profession of innocent behavior, the king was again recognized as monarch and took "the right hand" of the god (Marduk's statue). Each facet of the ritual symbolized the death and rebirth of the nation, the supremacy of the god and the king's role as a servant of the god. There is some argument among scholars concerning the possible death and resurrection of Marduk, who may have descended briefly into the underworld of death before returning to the world of the living. Such mythic notions would further underscore the emphasis on death and rebirth.

One purification ritual is worthy of mention. To rid the city of accumulated sin, a sin-bearer was chosen--perhaps a felon or deformed person. As this man was forced to walk through the city, he symbolically drew to himself the sins of the city. Then, sin laden, he was taken beyond the city walls, perhaps to die, perhaps to await the conclusion of ceremonies.

During the 6th century BCE, a Jewish prophet, who was among the Jews exiled in Babylon, witnessed this ceremony. He employed the imagery of the sin-bearer to give mythic significance to the role of the exiled Jews. According to his interpretation, just as the Babylonian sin bearer was the suffering servant of the god Marduk, so the exiled Jews were the suffering servant of the god, Yahweh. Their exile was tantamount to bearing the sins of others (Larue 1985). The prophet's words, preserved in Isaiah 52:13 and 53:12, portray the misery of the Babylonian sin-bearer as a despised, rejected and mocked individual in whom the writer saw a parallel to the position of the Jews in exile. Later, Christians applied the prophet's imagery to interpret the role of Jesus as sin-bearer.
Fascinating, isn't it? I have always found that part of the Jesus myth difficult to understand. Why would the death of Jesus somehow cleanse or purify the human race? Jesus was somehow viewed as a sacrificial sin-bearer. It makes a lot more sense in light of the ancient tradition of a sin-bearer ritual purification ceremony. And we now also know why Christ ended up sitting at the right hand of God.

[ November 03, 2001: Message edited by: copernicus ]
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Old 11-04-2001, 03:43 PM   #17
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The Jews as well had a sin bearer, I believe it was a goat or 'scapegoat'. I forget the details of the ritual, something is tied to the goat and it's lead into the woods, similar to the Babylonian story. (except with a goat)
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Old 11-14-2001, 08:42 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by marduck:

Nomad said:
". They wanted to convert their fellow Jews, they WERE Jews themselves, and Judaism was a widely respected and even protected religion within the Roman Empire. Assyrian propaganda, coming from a long dead empire poking fun at the god of another long dead empire (Babylon) is a very unlikely source, and even less likely to be attractive to the evangelists."

marduk: We've been through this before, much of Jewish OT Scripture borrows heavily from common Middle Eastern Mythos, the Jews lived quite some time in both Egypt and Babylon; circumscisson, annoiting kings with oil, the flood, tower of babel, baby in a basket, baby killing king, trinity, strongman, all common elements of Egypto AssyroBabylonian and Sumerian myth & custom.
Hmm... this is an interesting list marduk. I noticed you even included the Trinity, which is interesting. In any event, I am unsure of your point here. Are you saying that it is probable that the Gospel writers borrowed from an ancient Assyrian tablet rather than from their own Scriptures? If so, on what do you base this conclusion? And if not, I am curious to know your point here.

As for the reason for a scapegoat, this was simply one of the laws of Judaism practiced throughout the period of both the First and Second Temple. It was an annual ritual was established in the Torah:

Leviticus 16:20-22 "When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites--all their sins--and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert.

But from the Gospels and New Testament, Jesus is not portrayed as the scape (escape) goat, but rather, the Paschal Lamb that is sacrificed for the sins of the people (John 1:36, 1 Corinthians 5:7, 1 Peter 1:19, ect. See also the imagery of the Last Supper where Christ's body and blood are sacrificed for the sins of the world).

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Old 11-15-2001, 07:07 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nomad:
<STRONG>

Hmm... this is an interesting list marduk. I noticed you even included the Trinity, which is interesting. In any event, I am unsure of your point here. Are you saying that it is probable that the Gospel writers borrowed from an ancient Assyrian tablet rather than from their own Scriptures? If so, on what do you base this conclusion? And if not, I am curious to know your point here.

</STRONG>

I'm obviously not speaking for marduck, and I'm sure he'll offer his own opinion, but I think this is one of the sticking points in talking to apologists about influences of ancient stories on the Jesus story. I don't think that anyone here has said that the gospel writers deliberately sat down with some Assyrian, Egyption, etc. tablet and said, "Hey, this is a good story, lets copy it and change the names around a bit." The point is that these are stories and myths that were "in the air" so to speak. They are were the minds and traditions of people who lived in the Middle East and surrounding areas during ancient times. Just as stories involving "Guy meets girl, guy loses girl, guy gets girl back" are prevalent in many of our present day stories.
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Old 11-15-2001, 04:01 PM   #20
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MortalWombat said it just fine, I know most of the people in those days could not even read text in their own language let alone 2000 year old tablets written in Assyrobabylonian, I meant what MW said, story telling was a popular pastime and most stories were about God or 'the Gods'.
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