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Thread: Assyrian Monotheism3545 days old

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    Default Assyrian Monotheism

    Given many exclusive Judaic claims to monotheism, I found this abstract interesting:
    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=15019582
    I don't have access to the journal to pull the article (help?).

    There are these theories of primitive monotheism among Assyrians, but does anyone know anything more about this?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urmonotheismus

    It would explain in part, as indicated by the abstract, corresponding mishna that would at least seem to suggest something of the sort given Jonah call to the people of Nineveh.

    Sargon II made Nineveh his capital, if I recall, and was the one responsible for conquering Israel (N Kingdom). I've seen a few unverified sources suggesting that he was also an adherent to monotheism, but can anyone shed any light on this further?

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    Finnish Assyriologist Simo Parpola has touched upon the concept of monotheism being of Assyrian origin, in his "Mesopotamian Soul of Western Culture", see thread here:

    Mesopotamian Soul of Western Culture

    This might be of interest:


    Unlike his Western soul study, this article touches more on the religious aspects.
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    That graphic is remarkably similar to one used in Kabbalah.
    This is from Sefer Yetzirah:




    This could explain some of the origins of Jewish mysticism, to be sure.

    Still nothing definitive about the type of monotheism we ascribe to Judaism.

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    Entitling Assyrian period as monotheistic might be assertive but we may define it as henotheisthic in some ways,a transition to monotheism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Narmer View Post
    That graphic is remarkably similar to one used in Kabbalah.
    This is from Sefer Yetzirah:


    http://www.exsoul.com/images/kabbalah-tree-of-life.gif

    This could explain some of the origins of Jewish mysticism, to be sure.

    Still nothing definitive about the type of monotheism we ascribe to Judaism.
    From the Jewish Encyclopedia:
    The official and to some extent the popular religion of Judah was greatly affected by Assyrian influence, especially under Ahaz and Manasseh.

    ...

    Assyria occupies a prominent place both in the historical and in the prophetical literature of the Old Testament. The narrators were well informed as to the Assyrian events to which they refer; and are most discerning and explicit in regard to occasions on which the religion of Israel was influenced by Assyria, as in the innovations introduced by Ahaz and Manasseh (II Kings xvi. 18; xxiii. 11, 12), or when a great deliverance was wrought, as under Hezekiah (II Kings xviii., xix.), or when Israel's independence or actual existence was imperiled (II Kings xv. 29, xvii.). Since the historians wrote under the influence of the view of Hebrew history taken by the Prophets, Assyria is regarded by them from the prophetic point of view. But the Hebrew narrative is usually so objective that any higher purpose involved in the part played by the Assyrians is not specially indicated, except in the general statement with regard to the guilt of Samaria (II Kings xvii. 7 et seq.).
    http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=2046&letter=A
    Quote Originally Posted by umit View Post
    Entitling Assyrian period as monotheistic might be assertive but we may define it as henotheisthic in some ways,a transition to monotheism.
    Babylonian religion was basically the polytheistic religion the Akkadians inherited from the Sumerians, and the Assyrian religion was basically a proto-monotheistic version of the Babylonian religion, with the state ideology of Ashur as the imperial and all powerful god. It can be argued it was henotheism but considering that Judaism was strongly influenced by the Assyrian religion, and Judaism is very much ultra-monotheism, I would say the Assyrian religion was proto-monotheism of some sort, perhaps the first of its kind.

    It's also questionable how much the Assyrian religion actually influenced Zoroastrianism.

    By the way, I know Fred Aprim has written some on how the Assyrians converted to Christianity because Christianity had a lot of theology in common with the ancient Assyrian religion. I'll try to find that article soon.
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    Quoted for truth:
    Quote Originally Posted by Alaron View Post
    Anatolian Urhemait supporters are mostly butthurt Meds.
    For the lulz:
    Quote Originally Posted by drgs View Post
    Poland is a misunderstanding. It is a country which lies on the frontier between western and slavic world, and which combines elements of both.
    In fact, they are not even the Europeans in strict sense, meaning European as in bearing the responsibility and understanding of European interests. Poland has always been an subordinate country, on one side sucking German dick, on the other side -- Russian one, some kind of "novice" europeans, who are full of inferiority complexes, hysteria and obsessity neuroses. This is also true for all Baltic countries

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    The religion of ancient Assyria, is generally regarded as a classic example of a polytheistic religion with a pantheon, mythology and worship different gods packed .. Instead, I'll make an effort to show it's a mistake to treat religion Assyrian solely or even primarily, concerned polytheistic.I orchestrated against the colonial project in East Africa that involves the projection of false identity to both the Arabic speaking people of central Sudan, and the Semitic Amhara and Tigray Abyssinians.

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    In my opinion, there is a tendency to claim that Christianity is heavily influenced by the Assyrian or Babylonian cultures of Mesopotamia. However all that is evident is that there is a great similarity between the two.

    Having said that, Judaism' stories of the great flood, adam and eve, Abraham etc clearly show an attempt to extract the philosophy and teachings of Mesopotamia - that pertaining to life and being realistic and using them to teach the morals of God.

    So instead of the great flood being about the gods destroying men for being noisy and a man escaping it by cunning, we have God showing his desire for morals; destruction of the wicked and preservation of the good.

    As for Monotheism; there is a tendency in all religions to emphasize a oneness of the divinity as an empire becomes more powerful. After all, what is the most powerful God out there other than the one who can take on everything all by himself?

    As a Catholic Christian, these theories do not destroy my faith one iota; on the contrary, they show that human nature is inclined to the statements of Christianity, which I accept as truths.

    The fact that our ancestors were able to establish some religion that contained some very distant ideas of a single but possibly trinity God should not in any way refute Christianity, but instead show that humanity is inclined to it, and so is the intuition of humanity.

    Christianity naturally appealed to the life loving people of Mesopotamia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Assurbanipal View Post
    In my opinion, there is a tendency to claim that Christianity is heavily influenced by the Assyrian or Babylonian cultures of Mesopotamia. However all that is evident is that there is a great similarity between the two.

    Having said that, Judaism' stories of the great flood, adam and eve, Abraham etc clearly show an attempt to extract the philosophy and teachings of Mesopotamia - that pertaining to life and being realistic and using them to teach the morals of God.

    So instead of the great flood being about the gods destroying men for being noisy and a man escaping it by cunning, we have God showing his desire for morals; destruction of the wicked and preservation of the good.

    As for Monotheism; there is a tendency in all religions to emphasize a oneness of the divinity as an empire becomes more powerful. After all, what is the most powerful God out there other than the one who can take on everything all by himself?

    As a Catholic Christian, these theories do not destroy my faith one iota; on the contrary, they show that human nature is inclined to the statements of Christianity, which I accept as truths.

    The fact that our ancestors were able to establish some religion that contained some very distant ideas of a single but possibly trinity God should not in any way refute Christianity, but instead show that humanity is inclined to it, and so is the intuition of humanity.

    Christianity naturally appealed to the life loving people of Mesopotamia.
    That's a good observation. The divine order mirrors the political order. I've also noticed that during an earlier phase of state development when the sovereign is a figurehead or has to share power with others a pantheon of gods is the norm. When a state becomes more powerful/centralized and the sovereign the sole ruler, there is a gradual change in the state religion away from polytheism towards a more monotheistic conception of divinity. A deity that had previously been one of many takes center stage. The state theology also emphasizes the connection between the sovereign and this paramount deity.

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    I read somewhere, recently, about a possible connection between the traditional kusita (clerical head covering) worn by our bishops and patriarch, and the "triadic configurations of nodes, volutes, and circles" on the Assyrian Tree of Life, and other pieces from antiquity, such as the Lamassu. This may seem ridiculous, but, as Simo Parpola noted in his piece on Assyrian identity, the Assyrian religion of old "persisted alongside Christianity in all its major cities until late Antiquity." See this post, for some Assyrian theophoric personal names from Hatra, Tur-Abdin, and Assur, from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd centuries AD.

    And, of course, there is the possible connection to the Mandaeans. Regarding the Mandaeans, it has been written:

    [Lady E.S.] Drower judged it impossible to doubt that the Mandaeans were “an aboriginal cult” of Assyria and Babylon, “maintaining a continuous and unbroken ritual tradition” going back to the worship of Šameš, Ea, and Marduk with ritual ablutions on the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates.137 Building on Drower’s work, a scholar of Semitic languages in 1910 traced Mandaean light-god Mana Rabba to the Assyro-Babylonian Ea, his emanation Manda de hayye and his son Hibil Ziwa with Ea’s son Marduk, stating: “Ea, the god of profound knowledge, father of the mediator Marduk, enthroned in the world-sea, whose holy element is water, is the Ea of the brilliant ocean of heaven, as comes out in the Ayar-yora and the heavenly Jordan of the Mandaeans.”138

    The Assyriologist and Aramaist Jonas Greenfield wrote in a 1963 review of one of Drower’s works that there are “Assyro-Babylonian elements that can be found in both [the] vocabulary and ritual usage” of the Mandaeans, indicating a survival of Assyro-Babylonian “beliefs.”144 Tamara Green of City University of New York confirmed in 1992 that the Assyro-Babylonian deity Nabu was “considered as the Lord of wisdom and knowledge” among the Mandaeans.145 A German scholar traced the Mandaeans to a mixture of Babylonian astrology and magic, influences from the period of Persian rule, and Judeo-Christian beliefs and symbols perhaps derived from the Syrian (or Assyrian) Christians.146 Similarly, an Italian scholar who translated several Mandaean texts into English found that “some Mandaean texts ... take a positive view of the planets and ... the everyday life of the Mandaeans involves (or involved) them in constantly consulting the stars,” although other texts suggest that “the ancient gods, astral and planetary, worshipped in the entire Mesopotamian area [became] demons.”147 New scholarship on Mandaean magic reveals invocations of Assyrian deities, demons, and curses.148
    Anyway, not sure if there is anything to it, but, thought it was interesting enough to post.













    The standard number of nodes is three per trunk. They are usually depicted as three superimposed horizontal bands holding together the three columned trunk (see n. 17 above); they could be reduced to mere lines, and, in some variants, the entire trunk could consist of three superimposed nodes only. In trees with an elaborate crown and base the top and bottom nodes could be omitted as superfluous, while the middle node was more consistently retained. For the four-noded trunk occurring as a variant of the standard three-noded trunk in the reliefs of Ashurnasirpal II, see n. 52 and pp. 188-89 below; note that trees flanked by the king never have four nodes and that the extra node may lack the customary volutes (see, for example, Paley, King of the World, p. 96, fig. 12b, second node from top).

    This strongly suggests that the triadic arrangements of circles, volutes, and nodes on the trunk (see n. 23 above) also stand for trinities of gods.
    Simo Parpola

    Perhaps, the three rings represent the Trinity? But, then there is this possible complication:

    Nestorianism is basically the doctrine that Jesus existed as two persons, the man Jesus and the divine Son of God, rather than as a unified person. This doctrine is identified with Nestorius (c.386–451), Patriarch of Constantinople, although he himself denied holding this belief. This view of Christ was condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431, and the conflict over this view led to the Nestorian schism, separating the Assyrian Church of the East from the Byzantine Church.

    The motivation for this view was an aversion to the idea that “God” suffered and died on the cross, be it the divinity itself, the Trinity, or one of the persons of the Trinity. Thus, they would say, Jesus the perfect man suffered and died, not the divine second person of the Trinity, for such is an impossible thought — hence the inference that two “persons” essentially inhabited the one body of Jesus. Nestorius himself argued against calling Mary the “Mother of God” (Theotokos) as the church was beginning to do. He held that Mary was the mother of Christ only in respect to His humanity. The council at Ephesus (431) accused Nestorius of the heresy of teaching “two persons” in Christ and insisted that Theotokos was an appropriate title for Mary.

    The problem with Nestorianism is that it threatens the atonement. If Jesus is two persons, then which one died on the cross? If it was the “human person” then the atonement is not of divine quality and thereby insufficient to cleanse us of our sins.
    I think I should ask my cousin, the next time I speak with him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Humanist View Post
    I read somewhere, recently, about a possible connection between the traditional kusita (clerical head covering) worn by our bishops and patriarch, and the "triadic configurations of nodes, volutes, and circles" on the Assyrian Tree of Life, and other pieces from antiquity, such as the Lamassu. This may seem ridiculous, but, as Simo Parpola noted in his piece on Assyrian identity, the Assyrian religion of old "persisted alongside Christianity in all its major cities until late Antiquity." See this post, for some Assyrian theophoric personal names from Hatra, Tur-Abdin, and Assur, from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd centuries AD.

    And, of course, there is the possible connection to the Mandaeans. Regarding the Mandaeans, it has been written:



    Anyway, not sure if there is anything to it, but, thought it was interesting enough to post.
















    Perhaps, the three rings represent the Trinity? But, then there is this possible complication:



    I think I should ask my cousin, the next time I speak with him.

    Reminds me of these head coverings.
    http://www.fotocommunity.com/pc/pc/display/23059091
    http://ancientneareast.tripod.com/IMAGES/sumer.jpg

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