Four part series, recently updated.
The Bible Versus Babylon
By Raymond Towers
The Fish God And The Pope
The Genesis Myth
The Garden Of Eden
The Flood And The Tower
Odds And Ends
(This series of articles is based upon my reading of the book The Chaldean Account Of Genesis. This book was written by George Smith, from the British Museum’s Department of Oriental Antiquities, and first published by Chiswick Press in 1876.)
Why can’t these findings be refuted? To begin with, this is because the author, George Smith, was out there digging through the rubble in the site of ancient Nineveh in the late 1800s, and trying to piece things together from thousands upon thousands of ancient fragments. Like other civilizations in the ancient Middle East, the Assyrians wrote on soft clay, and by later heating this clay over fire, they created hardened tablets that they placed into their libraries and used to preserve their records and mythology.
The majority of the tablets discovered in Nineveh, including all copies of the Biblical legends of Genesis, belong to the age of the Assyrian King Assurbanipal, who reigned in BCE 670. The Assyrians themselves attest that their tablets are copies, made from earlier works that originated in Babylon. (This was due to a sort of cultural renaissance during the reign of King Assurbanipal, who made it a mission to collect ancient mythologies and preserve them.) Unfortunately, precise Babylonian chronology cannot be determined.
Here are the generally accepted dates:
1550 BCE: In this year, King Hammurabi may have conquered Babylon. This year is important because there is no evidence that the Babylonian Genesis legends were written AFTER Hammurabi.
1550 to 1300 BCE: A foreign race rules over Babylon. (Historian Berosus calls this race ‘arabs,’ but nothing is really known about them.)
1300 BCE: King Tugultininip of Assyria conquers Babylon.
Here is a rough timeline as proposed by George Smith, but the actual years are conservatively estimated and may be much earlier:
Before BCE 2000: Independent kingdoms are present in Babylonia. One of the bigger city-states is Akkad, which lies along the Euphrates between the latitudes of 32 and 33 degrees. (I have to mention that Akkad was one of the civilizations that remembered a time before Luna was in the sky. See my series Before The Moon Existed.)
BCE 2000: This is the era of Urukh, king of Ur. It coincides with the rise of Sumir in the southern part of the country.
BCE 1850: This is the era of Ismi-dagan, king of Karrak.
BCE 1700: This marks the rise of the city-state of Larsa.
BCE 1600: This is the era of Sargon, king of Akkad.
BCE 1550: This is the era of Hammurabi, king of Babylon.
The reason Smith can make these assertions is because the Assyrian tablets were meticulously copied from earlier sources. The ancients did not use numbered years and calendars to keep track of time, like we do. Instead, they went by events such as natural disasters, wars or the length of a monarch’s reign to gauge how far in the past something happened. Smith might have found something like, ‘the war that happened in the fifth year of the reign of Sargon,’ or ‘Urukh was in power for X amount of years before’ something else took place, like a flood or a volcano erupting. The Assyrians copied this information from whatever Babylonian sources they used, and this is how Smith was able to come up with a rough timeline of events.
The Chaldean Tables of Astrology and The Exploits of Lubara appear to be older than 2000 BCE, but they cannot be dated with certainty. The Astrology and Lubara tablets mention several, certain kingdoms. This is one reason why their contents are believed to be older. The legends of a Great Flood, and of a possible connection between the Babylonian Izdubar and the Biblical Nimrod, and the story of the Creation and Fall of Man date at least to 2000 BCE, if not earlier. It is implied that these stories were oral traditions long before they were committed to writing. This is similar to how ancient Bible stories were passed down from one generation to the next.
The Babylonian version of Creation, of the Great Flood, Tower of Babel, and other stories were collected and further developed between 2000 and 1850 BCE. 2000 to 1550 BCE coincides with the accepted Biblical chronology from Abraham to Moses.
Among the items found in the ancient Assyrian ruins, which are attributed to even more ancient Babylon, are:
- Lists of the names of the gods, their manifestations and their titles.
- Grammatical works, lists of words, and explanations.
- Mathematical works, calculations, tables, cubes, square roots and measures.
- Astronomy, astrology and omens.
- Legends and historical inscriptions.
- Historical cylinders, such as the earliest known cylinder of Kudur-mabuk, dating from 1600 BCE.
- Geographical tablets, lists of towns and countries.
- Laws and law cases, sales and barter, wills and loans.
As you will see in further posts, the Biblical versions of these stories are much more vague and leave out a lot of information, in comparison with the Babylonian versions. This tells me that it is quite probable that the Biblical versions are watered down substitutes and were originally derived from the Babylonian stories. The only way a Bible apologist can refute this is by finding tablets or other verifiable records that date earlier than 2000 BCE, because just claiming that the Bible is older than Babylon isn’t going to cut it.
The Bible was invented in 369 CE, as the direct result of Emperor Constantine trying to unify the Roman Empire. It was formed from a mixture of ancient sources. These include Canaanite, Egyptian, Indian, Mesopotamian, and in later times, Grecian. This was the foundation of the Universal Church Of Rome. You did know that the word Catholic translates from Greek as universal, right?
The word catholic (with lowercase c; derived via Late Latin catholicus, from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), meaning “universal”) comes from the Greek phrase καθόλου (katholou), meaning “on the whole”, “according to the whole” or “in general”, and is a combination of the Greek words κατά meaning “about” and ὅλος meaning “whole”. The word in English can mean either “including a wide variety of things; all-embracing” or “of the Roman Catholic faith” as “relating to the historic doctrine and practice of the Western Church.” (Wiki page on origin of the term “Catholic”)
The Fish God And The Pope
First off, let’s establish the identity of Chaldean historian Berosus
Berosus was a Chaldean priest of Bel at Babylon who was acquainted with both astronomy and the history of the ancient world. He left Babylon when it was conquered by Alexander the Great and established himself in Asia Minor, on the island of Cos near Rhodes, where he set up an observatory and a school of astronomy. He also spent some time in Athens where he was held in such high esteem that they erected a copper statue in his honor.
He wrote his three books, about 290 BCE, and although they are largely lost, their contents are known from authentic fragments, as follows: Book 1: The description of Babylonia, the story of creation and the appearance of a “fish-man” called Oannes, who taught arts and sciences. Books 2 and 3: The ten kings before the flood, the story of the flood itself, the list of Chaldean and Arabian kings, and finally the later history of Assyria, Babylon and the Persians.
Note that Berosus was a priest of Bel, or Marduk, in Babylon. The name Bel is given as having originated in India, by the way. Bel means ‘sacred grove of apple trees.’ What’s interesting is that a name of Hindu origin was given to a god from Babylon, or modern day Iraq, which is about 2,000 miles away. Also, Bel means lord, or owner, or husband, in the same way that the Canaanite Baal and the Biblical El do. Notice how all three names sound the same: Bel, Baal and El. A closer study of these three deities reveals that they all have different attributes and characters. However, the original root word of all three names may have had a common origin in India. In modern times, we still say ‘Lord’ to designate god, as a title and not a proper name.
It may also be that the Bel worshipers called their deity Lord, but that the authors of the final version of our Bible (who lived in Babel and competed with the Bel cult), transliterated this name deliberately into בל (Bel), so that it strongly resembled the adverb בל (bal), which is a particle of negation meaning “not.” It comes from the root בלה (bala), meaning to be old or worn out… (This excerpt from Abarim Publication’s article Bel – The Amazing Name would explain why in the Bible, names associated with Bel or Baal mean old, worn out, worthless, or worthy of being destroyed. Anyway, back to Berosus…)
Berosus describes the location of Babylonia as being between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The region was bountiful, but the people of Chaldea were of various nations and lived in a lawless manner like beasts of the field. One day, an animal appeared who was endowed with reason. He / Its name was Oannes, and his body was that of a fish. Under this fish’s head was a second, human head. His feet were similar to those of a man, subjoined to the fish’s tail. Oannes had a human and articulate voice.
He gave the Chaldeans insight into letters and sciences. He taught them to construct cities, to found temples and to compile laws. He explained the principles of geometry. He showed them how to distinguish the seeds of the earth and how to collect fruits. From that day on, NOTHING MORE COULD BE ADDED TO IMPROVE MAN’S KNOWLEDGE. (This is extremely important! This correlates with the esoteric concept that everything that was ever created by Man first began as thought, that all knowledge can be tapped into mentally or spiritually, and that all knowledge is waiting to be rediscovered if humans just set their minds to it.)
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. – Ecclesiastes 1:9, NIV version of the Bible.
Oannes then returned to the sea, but other creatures like him appeared. Berosus gives an account of them later in the history of the kings.
“A man, or rather a monster, Half man and half fish, coming from the sea, appeared near Babylon; he had two heads; one, which was the highest, resembled that of man, the other that of a fish. He had the feet of a man, and the tail of a fish; and his speech and voice resembled that of a man: a representation of him is still preserved. This monster dwelt by day with men, but took no food; he gave them knowledge of letters, arts, and sciences; he taught them to build towers and temples; and to establish laws; he instructed them in the principles of geometry; taught them to sow, and to gather the fruits of the earth; in short, whatever could contribute to polish and civilize their manners. At sun set he retired to the sea, in which he passed the night. There appeared likewise others of the same species.” – Berosus, from ancient fragments (as translated by Isaac P. Cory)
Now, I’ve read where the church has adopted the rituals and ceremonies of the Roman Cult of Mithras, including the Christian fish symbol, but I haven’t gotten around to analyzing this yet. Still, I think that it’s too much of a coincidence that Dagon was a god of grain that came from the sea, compared with Jesus’ miracle of the fish (sea) and bread (grain).