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Kristin Kay
Kristin Kay

The Symbolism Of The Biblical World: Ancient Ne... ((EXCLUSIVE))

This event may appear to be a random act for those unfamiliar with Egyptian archaeology; however, the idea of a serpent staff was common throughout Egypt. Ancient Egyptian artwork contains presentations of serpent staffs, including the gods Thoth, Nehy, and Heka holding them. Snakes and other animals such as crocodiles and scorpions were used in ancient Egypt to protect against venomous animals. Serpent symbolism in ancient Egypt is very diverse and is also associated with the gods Apophis, Hathor, Isis, Mehen, Meretseger, Nehebkeu, Nephthys, Renenutet, Shay, Wadjet, Wenut, and Werethekau.

The Symbolism of the Biblical World: Ancient Ne...

Naming practices in the biblical and ancient Near Eastern cultures differed significantly from those of medieval Jews in Fatimid Egypt (7th-12th cent. CE) as evidenced by the genizah findings. Examining these names presents us with important historical and anthropological data.

In a biblical passage, Moses called on one group of Israelite tribes to proclaim curses from Mount Ebal, while another group of ancient Israelite tribes proclaimed blessings from nearby Mount Gerizim.

Ömür Harmancarah's study examines how the rhetorical and material culture shapes the memories of ancient near eastern cities. "Building projects," he writes, "are sites of material elaboration, where the intensive productive undertaking fosters an unusual spatial context for the exchange of ideas, craft-knowledge, and technical innovation." He goes on to say that "monuments are commemorative in many layers by way of their material qualities," and that technology is more understood "as a means of 'creating and maintaining a symbolically meaningful environment' through practices of material production." 12 Harmancarah's emphasis on the rhetorical-material is to be expected, inscriptions and recovered architectural remains are the stuff of archaeology and, as such, illuminating for the depictions of such cities in biblical texts.

Michael O'Connor argues that biblical studies of the city start with flawed definitions of the Hebrew noun עיר: "the English word 'city' does not describe a biblical category; it is rather a historically conditioned category of ours that needs to be unpacked before it is used in historical or philological study of the ancient world."13 He offers a crucial distinction between the literary-theological and archaeological modes of studying ancient cities. The literary-theological,

Liverani's and Harmancarah's studies illustrate the necessarily incomplete character of the archaeological approach.14 O'Connor's literary-theological category argues for taking seriously the city building phenomenon of the ancient world as viewed by an Israelite narrator within the framework of the narrative's completeness. Recovery of other ancient texts describing this phenomenon may aid the reader's understanding of the biblical accounts-to that end O'Connor describes a useful taxonomy of ancient cities-but only within the horizons of the textual representation of the biblical account of city building,15 whose completeness is found in the canonical form. This essay remains within the bounds of Genesis' literary-theological accounts of the cities in the pre-patriarchal narratives, and mutatis mutandis, accounts of altar building, in their ancient contexts, within the limitations of scholarly offered reconstructions of the biblical account. O'Connor's taxonomy is helpful in this regard.

If so, Genesis views and evaluates negatively31 the ancient pre-patriarchal city as humanity's autonomous32 attempt to seek the divine. In contrast to the divine appearance at Babel, the theophanies in the patriarchal narratives will occasion a positive results and demonstrate a crucial difference: "In Babylon, one ascends to the divine; in Israel, God descends from his abode to meet the humans where they are (see Gen 11:5, 7)."33 The biblical world depicts heaven's descent in Babel's counter-narrative (Gen 28:10-22), which includes the transformation of a Canaanite city, Luz, into Bethel,34 including a "first brick" (בן , Gen 28:11, 18, 22; cf. 11:3)35 that functions like but is not described as an altar, until Jacob builds one in fulfilment of the vow he made at Luz/Bethel (35:7).

The historian David Rohl has claimed parallels between Enmerkar, builder of Uruk, and Nimrod, ruler of biblical Erech (Uruk), who, according to some extra-biblical legends, was supposedly the architect of the Tower of Babel. Perhaps that ancient king Enmerkar/Nimrod of ancient Babylon is the namesake of America, ie, United States of Enmerkar as it is becoming increasingly clear that this latter-day land is Babylon the Great referred to in the Holy Bible, replete with its ancient Masonic symbolism found through and through. No other nation on Earth comes close to the description given Babylon the Great save the USA. America the great is simply Enmerkar. As in the days of Noah so shall it be at the end of the age.

Because of intricate and unusual symbolic language, the Book of Revelation is hard for modern people to read. They are not used to this kind of literature. Not so for people in the ancient world who would have been more accustomed to the complex nature of apocalyptic literature. The very fact that an apocalypse was a common type of literature meant that if followed certain conventions of style, and people knew more what to expect from it. Because there were many other examples of apocalyptic writing, these conventions would have seemed less strange and cryptic. Also, apocalyptic literature was almost always a kind of literature for "insiders," that is to say, it was written for people who already knew something of the situation and of the symbols that were used to portray it. So, for the original audience of the Revelation of John, all these strange scenes would have been immediately intelligible. What the modern reader or biblical scholar has to do is to try to read the text with "ancient eyes," by being informed about the way the literature worked and the situation out of which it came. 041b061a72


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