Archive for Abram/Abraham

Concealed Background of Scriptures

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, freethought, Hebrew scripture, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on February 1, 2011 by chouck017894

Long before the Hebrew scriptures were crafted in 7th century BCE Jerusalem, the nomadic Hebrew tribes were clearly influenced by older cultures they touched upon during their wanderings across the ancient Near East.  In their extended wanderings, often across barren regions, the creative powers that other cultures personified as gods were more easily comprehended by them as a singularly harsh deity that was grudgingly supportive.  Not surprisingly, tribal leaders found it politically convenient to insinuate that they embodied some supernatural connection to that power, and the concept of a priest-like go-between was the accepted custom. 

Centuries later when the nomadic Hebrew tribes had wandered with their herds into the more agricultural region of Canaan, the rank of priest was virtually one and the same as tribal leader.  Even in the more advanced cultures that the Hebrew tribes touched upon—cultures such as Egypt, Babylonia and Assyria—were commonly presided over by priest-kings.  The more prosperous Hebrew tribes that had settled in the northern regions developed into the kingdom of Israel as the southern secondary Hebrew tribes tended their flocks and herds in the more rugged hill country.  But the northern kingdom of Israel fell to Assyrian invasion, and the priests in the little 7th century BCE village of Jerusalem, fearing a similar fate, threw their lot in with the young tribal leader Josiah who dreamed of bringing the scattered tribes of the south into a cohesive society.  To aid and abet Josiah in this ambition, the priests of Yahweh embarked upon a propaganda program to not only inspire allegiance of the people but to intimidate any neighboring cultures that entertained any ideas of taking control of the territory of Judah.

In the process of composing a “history” for their tribal region and the cult of Yahweh, the priests drew upon two teaching devices that they had collected (but little understood) in their wanderings and which were regarded as ancient even then.  One was astronomy-inspired teachings of Sumerian origin that once used  groups of stars (constellations) to illustrate lessons of creation and cosmology.  These astronomy-based educational props were referred to as “logi.”  The second device drawn upon was a text known as Ha-Qabala —a set of guide lines better known today as the Cabala or Kabala.  This is commonly, but erroneously, said to be an occult mystical philosophy of rabbinical origin, which became widely transmitted in medieval Europe.  But the analytical eminence upon which the Ha-Qabala later became interpreted in that medieval timeframe pre-dated any esoteric rabbinical interpretation of the Hebrew scripture.

There is a claim among Cabalists, undoubtedly with much justification, that a kind of religious metaphysics  was taught by word of mouth among some of the Tannaim—i.e. the earliest theology-shapers of Judaism.  Certainly oral instruction preceded the invention of writing.  Not generally known among Bible scholars is that the opening book of the Bible, Genesis, was originally presented in cabalistic script.  The key to cabalistic script lies in understanding the code that was used, which involved the use of graphs derived from twenty-two proper names and which correspond to numbers, symbols and ideas.  The difficulty in translating from this original code was formidable, for the cabalistic presentation of twenty-two proper names did not simply designate identifiable things: the names were regarded as being the things themselves!  This is difficult for most of us to comprehend who are trained in the A-B-C approach to teaching.  We do not use words that have an ontological link with the essence of the object that the words specify.  That is to say, the words that we use do not emanate from the objects that are designated.  An example is the opening line of Genesis; in the schemata of the cabalistic Genesis the words are: Bereschyt Bara Elohim.  From this the Yahweh priests interpreted “In the beginning God…”

Ancient Cabalistic insight was not concerned with any specific persons, nor was it concerned about the history of any group of persons.  Neither did that insight embrace the notion of a humanlike discriminatory god.  The Cabalistic texts from which the priests worked was encoded with names such as Aleph, Bayt, Ghimel, etc., and these pertained to projections of biologically structured energies at various stages of manifestation.  In other words, the Creation process.  The ontological connection with names taken from the Ha-Qabala reveals a startlingly different understanding of Creation than the Yahweh priests interpreted it.  The subject is too vast to be adequately covered here, but consider these few names from the Ha-Qabala texts as examples of how priestly translations perverted the scientific significance of the complicated texts.

Moses:  The Cabalistic name from which the star of the Exodus tale was derived is traced to Mosheh, properly spelled Mem-Sheen-Hay. The Mem part of the name refers to water—the waters (energies) of Creation.  This was altered in priest translation to mo, the Egyptian word for water, which strengthened the association of the character to that earthly locale.  The kingdom of Egypt in the Exodus saga symbolizes the power and abundance that is the generative source of Creation.  The Sheen part of the name means “breath,” and  implies the stirrings of life which emanate from those primal energies.  The Hay part of the name referred to the activation of life.  The biblical character of Moses therefore personifies the Life Principle in its movement through the elemental energy dimensions to manifest as matter form.  The energy involvement as matter is thus presented as the destined “Promised Land.”

Abram/Abraham:  To understand the Cabalistic meaning with these two adjusted names, we have to first look at the ram part of the name.  The ram component carries the crucial meaning of “Cosmic Dwelling”—or what may be interpreted as the non-manifesting conditions out of which all diverse energy forms of matter are projected.  Thus Ab-ram (or Av-ram) indicated the stage of primal energy development out of ram, so Abram represents the Life Principle at the level of cosmic action.

For this reason the priests of Yahweh declared Ab-ram to be the seed bearer—the biological regeneration factor that is carried into manifestations of life.  These energies evolve and transform as matter forms of life, and this transformation was indicated in scripture with the character’s name being changed from Ab-ram to Abraham.  It is at this point that the four skins of matter are initiated (mental, astral, etheric and dense energies).  In the priest contrived “history,” Abraham is then characterized as a fervent, unquestioning believer in Yahweh.  The Ha-Qabala, however, stated only that the manifested life form recognized its energy alliance with the Life Principle.  This is what is declared by the priests of Yahweh to be God’s covenant with Abraham.  But to advance beyond the imperfect stage of dense matter development, the four energy dimensions from which a matter form is made manifest (the four skins of matter) must be transcended (cut around), and it is from this Cabalistic teaching that the practice of circumcision was instituted as a condition of Jewish faith.

Ararat:  The mountain upon which the scriptural character of Noah is alleged to have landed after the Deluge is given as Ararat, a name derived from a Cabalistic name that vibrates in meaning as “new cycle.”  Noah is depicted as riding upon the waters of Creation into a new cycle of energy involvement that is represented as having taken place over forty days.  This disguises the involvement with, and passage through the four elemental energy planes that manifest as matter—identical with the four energy planes mentioned with Abram-Abraham.  Thus in scriptural myth Noah’s ark was launched upon Creation’s waters to navigate out of timelessness to become grounded upon the peak of matter where a new energy cycle is begun.  The scriptural version then asserts that Noah planted a grape-vine, made wine (of life), and became drunk (intoxicated with life) all in the same day after he landed!

These few examples of the prehistory astronomy knowledge and the Cabalistic source material used to manufacture a “history” of ancestors of the Judaic faith system provide reason for Jews, Christians and Muslims to reevaluate their “holy words;” and maybe reconsider their contentious relationship to each other.

Priest-Style History

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, history, humanity, life, politics, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2010 by chouck017894

After the little kingdom of Israel fell to Assyria, c. 722 BCE, the more rugged central hill country of Judah south of Israel experienced an influx of refugees and the modest village of Jerusalem burst forth in sudden expansion c. 720-718 BCE.  Until this time Jerusalem had covered no more than ten-and-a-half acres, but it quickly expanded outward from its narrow ridge site to engulf the entire western hill and envelop one hundred and fifty acres with closely packed residences, workshops, businesses and public buildings.

In this timeframe Jerusalem was not yet regarded as a “holy city”—except, perhaps, by the priests of Yahweh who had long dreamed of making their temple in Jerusalem the center of political spirituality.  The common understanding has long been nourished that Jerusalem and the region around it was always devoted to belief in one god and one god only.  In truth there was a widespread diversity of worship practices throughout Judah, and there was a widespread mixing of other gods with that of Yahweh in the Jerusalem Temple.  Archaeology finds have shown conclusively that the claimed golden age of tribal and Davidic fidelity to Yahweh was not a historic reality.  Indeed, cults of various gods and goddesses were prevalent throughout Judah.  So diverse were the customs of the people that some of them regarded the Ugaritic mother-goddess Asherah as the consort of YHWH.  This, of course, was deemed blasphemous by the priests of Yahweh.

Scriptural accounts of coexisting kingdoms of Israel and Judah (as noted in the previous post Scriptures’ Contrived History, June 16) is priestly fabrication, for Judah developed extensively only after Israel’s fall to Assyria.  The priest account of defensive forts said to have been erected by Solomon’s son Rehoboam were actually erected 200 years later than the implied c. 931-914 BCE date as II Chronicles 11:5-12 would have us believe.  The same is true of the palaces and gates that Solomon is claimed to have commissioned.

The political minded priests in Jerusalem recognized that they had to blend the popular Creation myths known in Israel with their own myths if they were to lure the refugees into becoming part of the “chosen people” of Yahweh.  Thus chapters one and two of Genesis present noticeable differences in Creation sequences, as well as the different versions that Adam and Eve allegedly played in the Creator’s scheme of  things.  The two accounts are mismatched enough that Bible scholars refer to them as the “J” and “E” versions.  The “J” version was written by priests in Judah whose God was addressed as Yahweh: the version that was known in Israel is referred to as the “E” account because the authors of that tale referred to the Creator as Elohim.

It should be noted that the “J” version of Genesis does not exactly make it clear as to whether or not Yahweh was the sole creator of heaven and earth and Man.  In trying to bond the two accounts the authors of the revision suddenly have God muse aloud, “Let us create man in our image…” (Genesis 1:26).  But in the second chapter it says, “God (again singular) formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…” (Genesis 2:7).  The political reason for this description of man being fashioned from dust was to block any idea that man might share some divine attributes of the Creator as other cultures believed.  The “J” authors were determined to bind the act of Creation to ordinary time, which allowed themselves the liberty to compose a “history” in which those who believed in Yahweh could be presented with the status of having been “chosen.”  And with the characters of Moses and Abram/Abraham there was set in place the means by which they could claim the special destiny of owning the land of Canaan. 

For the fundamentalists who assert that every word in scriptures is to be taken as God-sent, it might be wise to note that the uncertainty that is revealed in the two patched together Creation myths is reason to pause for reassessment.  That the scriptures were written with political intent, not spiritual enlightenment, is only faintly disguised somewhat later (in II Kings) with the priestly assessment of Manasseh who came to the throne of Judah at age 12, c. 692 BCE, after his father, Hezekiah, revolted against Assyria and was defeated (even though priests assured him that God approved his policy of religious purification).  It was up the Manasseh to pick up the pieces and try to restore Judah to an operational kingdom.  His subjects were primarily country folks and few of them had ever embraced Yahweh as the one-and-only God that the priests demanded.  As a result, religious pluralism returned.  The priest authors in Jerusalem were a spiteful group, and in their writings expressed only denunciatory outrage at Manasseh for letting this happen.  True to the revisionist style of history making, we find Manasseh being presented by the priest authors as the most sinful monarch that the kingdom Judah ever had (II Kings 21: 1-18).

Archaeological evidence reveals that Manasseh was nothing of the sort.  Under Manasseh the kingdom of Judah was revived and prospered.  For the sake of the kingdom and the people Manasseh became a vassal of Assyria—and went on to reign for fifty-five years—the longest, most prosperous and most peaceful reign of any Israelite or Judean king.  The population grew and the nation flourished under his policies.  But the priests continued to fume with jealousy over the blessings enjoyed under his rule—all of which occurred without the benefit of priestly intercession with Yahweh. 

Fundamentalists, take note:  The settlements and cities that were established during Manasseh’s reign survived and thrived after his death.  Indeed, it was only after the priests had again finagled themselves into political influence that Judah fell c. 587 BCE.