Judaism defined itself as not Egyptian?

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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ficino
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Judaism defined itself as not Egyptian?

Post by ficino »

An interesting thesis transmitted in Tim Whitmarsh's Beyond the Second Sophistic: Adventures in Greek Classicism. Discussing the Exagoge, a Hellenizing-Judaic work in Greek about the Exodus, written during the Ptolemaic period (some 269 iambic trimeter lines survive), Whitmarsh says this (p. 217): "As Jan Assmann in particular has argued, Judaism’s distinctive sense of identity rested on its status as a “counterreligion” defined in opposition to Egypt, which “came to represent the rejected, the religiously false, the ‘pagan.’”(n. 18) The representation of Pharaonic Egypt within Alexandrian Judaism was of course heavily filtered through this biblical tradition of antinomy but so too must have been the perception of the Ptolemaic present."

n. 18 gives citations from publications of Assmann and then adds that F.V. Greifenhagen (Egypt on the Pentateuch’s Ideological Map: Constructing Biblical Israel’s Identity. Sheffield, 2002) "argues that the Pentateuch displays a tension between the normative, overlain Mesopotamian ethnogenesis and an older tradition locating the origins of the Jewish people in Egypt."

I had not thought about this before. We are so used to growing up assuming that the Canaanites (itself an artifact of the biblical text?) constituted Judaism's principal "other" ...

Anyone have a reaction, or know the work of Assmann and/or Greifenhagen? Is all this stuff "white people's scholarship"?
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billd89
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Re: Question on Exagogue's Dating

Post by billd89 »

https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/201 ... fragments

Perhaps someone may clarify: how do we know Eusebius Praeparatio Evangelica 9.29 is quoting Alexander Polyhistor's version of rather than a copy of Ezekiel's Exodus directly?
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Re: Question on Exagogue's Dating

Post by Ben C. Smith »

billd89 wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 8:13 am https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/201 ... fragments

Perhaps someone may clarify: how do we know Eusebius Praeparatio Evangelica 9.29 is quoting Alexander Polyhistor's version of rather than a copy of Ezekiel's Exodus directly?
He starts quoting Polyhistor in chapter 23, interjecting his own summary comments from time to time. That he is still quoting from Polyhistor for his excerpts from Ezekiel is evident in comments such as, "To this, after some words that he has interposed, he adds the following, 'Now this is what Ezekiel says in The Exodus,'" and, "Again, after some other passages he further says, 'Ezekiel also, in the drama which is entitled The Exodus....'"
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billd89
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Re: Multiple Sources?

Post by billd89 »

I see there's Commentary by Polyhistor. So the assumption is that any reference to Ezekiel or Exagoge passages must be via Polyhistor, e.g. Eusebius could not have had more than one Ezekiel source (Polyhistor).

Eusebius is copying 'Polyhistor' (or a text purportedly by Polyhistor) who copied Ezekiel intact. Got it, thx!

Exagoge dated 100-75 BC seem right?
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Re: Multiple Sources?

Post by Ben C. Smith »

billd89 wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 9:03 am I see there's Commentary by Polyhistor. So the assumption is that any reference to Ezekiel or Exagoge passages must be via Polyhistor, e.g. Eusebius could not have had more than one Ezekiel source (Polyhistor).
Well, if the Polyhistor quotations just happened to contain a small extract here and there of Ezekiel, then things might be different; but when so many of the long quotations of Ezekiel are manifestly and expressly stated to come from Polyhistor, then one would have to have a good reason for supposing that Eusebius had any other source for the quotations not so clearly marked, I would think, since in this case Eusebius seems to be quoting Polyhistor at least as much for the extract as for his interpretation of them.
Exagoge dated 100-75 BC seem right?
Not sure. Any time after the translation of the Septuagint and before Alexander Polyhistor seems possible to me, at least right now.
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billd89
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Re: Melchizedek, again?

Post by billd89 »

Eusebius of Caesarea’s Praeparatio Evangelica, citing Polyhistor {c. 50 BC?} citing Ezekiel (c.75 BC?) Exagoge Lines 67–90:

Moses: I had a vision of a great throne on the top of Mount Sinai and it reached till the folds of heaven. A noble man was sitting on it, with a crown and a large scepter in his left hand. He beckoned to me with his right hand, so I approached and stood before the throne. He gave me the scepter and instructed me to sit on the great throne. Then he gave me a royal crown and got up from the throne. I beheld the whole earth all around and saw beneath the earth and above the heavens. A multitude of stars fell before my knees and I counted them all. They paraded past me like a battalion of men. Then I awoke from my sleep in fear.

Enoch or Melchizedek? I sense a trend. The Chaldaean Enochic Tradition is oldest (>300 BC?), then the Melchizedek Tradition substitutes an intermediary 'Samarian-Egyptian' variant (c.200 BC?) and lastly a Midian-Palestinian Moses (c.100 BC) replaces Ezekiel's noble man/unnamed king. This Melch/Enoch character more closely matches several descriptions of Melchizedek in period literature. It would appear Ezekiel preserves a socio-political transition (c.75 BC?) in myth: the anonymous M. surrenders his throne to Moses. Is Exagoge recording the sterilization of an older Egyptian cult by a younger competing Alexandrian sect? There is blending or syncretism going on here, I strongly suspect.

Two generations later, the elderly Therapeutae (c.15 AD) start their day with a dawn service to the 'face-of-god' (vestiges of the Egypto-Samarian Solar Melchizedek Cult) but end their celebratory night singing Mosaic songs (probably from their Palestinian grandparents' era, c.75-50 BC) to the Saviour. It's unclear whether Melchizedek-as-Logos/God merely survived in relic form, or Philo downplayed other trappings of the Melchizedek cult suggested by Epistle to the Hebrews c.55 AD.

See DVC 87:
after supper they hold the sacred vigil... form themselves into two choirs... so filled with ecstasy both men and women that forming a single choir they sang hymns of thanksgiving to God their savior, the men led by the prophet Moses and the women by the prophetess Miriam.”

Elsewhere, Philo (familiar w/ the Therapeutae; probably their student c.10 BC?) claims to have been 'initiated into a Mosaic mystery' (cult), De Cherubim 49:

I myself was initiated under Moses the God-beloved into his great mysteries, yet when I saw the prophet Jeremiah and knew him to be not only himself enlightened, but a worthy minister of the holy secrets, I was not slow to become his disciple.

Are there any papers of note, on this mysterious "noble man" in Ezekiel's Exagoge?
FollowerOfMessiah
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Re: Judaism defined itself as not Egyptian?

Post by FollowerOfMessiah »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZ1GmJ_8lro&t=1342s

Dr Brendon Benz makes a similar suggestion and says that the construction of Israelite identity in the Torah is as much a declaration of independence of Egypt as it is anti-Canaanite and it is actually a declaration of (cultural & political) independence from Egyptian colonization. Israelite religion paints itself as the Anti-Egypt, because of a past war with the Egyptians when they used to share very similar religions previously. This is similar to what the earlier poster pointed out with the Aryans in Persia and India turning into the Indo-Aryans and Iranians, viewing each other's gods as demons. The conclusion seems to be that an Israelite is a Canaanite who threw off the shackles of Egyptian vassalage and the hatred of Canaanite identity is something like a cultural pride in one's freedom, because otherwise Canaanites and Israelites were similar.

I also agree about Seth being an inversion of the Egyptian Set and taking the place of the Egyptian Horus. There seems to be a broad, what we may call, "anti imperialist", or nationalist message going across the book of Genesis, because the connection with Seth and the Sons of God (or Sons of Light) and Cain with the Sons of Men (as is made in many apocryphal works such as the Cave of Treasures) becomes a political motif when we realize that Cain comes from the root QYN meaning metal smith. In Sumeria there was an ancient city called Bad Tibira (The City of Metal Smiths) which was built after the kingship fell from Heaven, which is reminiscent of Cain building a city in the land of Nod, meaning Wandering. My interpretation of Nod here, in association with Wandering, is to do with the Exile which is when the Bible was compiled--thus it is to mean "After kingship descended from heaven, the metal smiths built a city in the land where we wandered" and it was cursed, according to Bible authors, because empire is cursed, as it leads to oppression and destruction (see: the Bronze Age Collapse). The flood came because the "Sons of God" (the divine priesthood of Seth) intermarried with the "daughters of Men" (the people of Babylon). Now who are the Sons of God or the Sethian Priesthood? These are probably the same priesthood to which Moses was introduced. (Seth was the god of the foreigners of Egypt.)

Israelite Bible editors have weaved an Egyptian anti-Mythology with an embrace of the dualism of the Sumerian King List (each of the first 7 kings had a "Prime Minister" who was one of the seven Annunaki or Divine Council that descended to earth; incidentally this is reminiscent of the Ismaili view of the Prophet-Imam cycles). The Sumerians (and Babylonians after them) viewed metalsmithing as something neutral, because it was what made their empire go round, and obviously liked the Annunaki, so we have two genetic lineages, a "Priestly" one and a "Royal" one, corresponding to the Sumerian King list having a list of "Kings" and "High Priests" or "Prime Ministers". Cain is identified with Horus, and hence Egypt, but also his name gives away his identification with the Sumerian-Babylonian Empire which oppressed the Israelites in the Exile. Seth is identified with the line of the Annunaki because he comes from the higher realm, rather than the worldly realm, and is indeed persecuted by the world. Hence the "Royal" line becomes corrupted and cursed, because it has to do the "dirty work" of building an army, oppression etc., whereas the Priestly line is saved (the line of Seth).
yakovzutolmai
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Re: Judaism defined itself as not Egyptian?

Post by yakovzutolmai »

FollowerOfMessiah wrote: Tue Aug 31, 2021 4:45 pm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZ1GmJ_8lro&t=1342s

Dr Brendon Benz makes a similar suggestion and says that the construction of Israelite identity in the Torah is as much a declaration of independence of Egypt as it is anti-Canaanite and it is actually a declaration of (cultural & political) independence from Egyptian colonization. Israelite religion paints itself as the Anti-Egypt, because of a past war with the Egyptians when they used to share very similar religions previously. This is similar to what the earlier poster pointed out with the Aryans in Persia and India turning into the Indo-Aryans and Iranians, viewing each other's gods as demons. The conclusion seems to be that an Israelite is a Canaanite who threw off the shackles of Egyptian vassalage and the hatred of Canaanite identity is something like a cultural pride in one's freedom, because otherwise Canaanites and Israelites were similar.

I also agree about Seth being an inversion of the Egyptian Set and taking the place of the Egyptian Horus.
The inversion seems to be applied to Isaac and Ishmael as well. I have wondered if this makes the Ishmaelites the people of Egypt, implying that the Arameans of Syria were excess Egyptian colonists.

Nevertheless, in the Baal Cycle, Baal Hadad offers Yam a meal in his palace (the obvious basis for the temple of Solomon). He offers Yam grain, which offends Yam who desires meat.

The story is similar to Hathor/Sekhmet being offered red beer, when she was thirsty for blood. Osiris/Cain-grain, Set/Abel-meat.

I also find it interesting how the Baal Cycle paints Yam as a visitor to Baal, and yet the story almost acts like Baal is making an offering to Yam in Solomon's temple, the grain offering offends Yam as it did Yahweh when Cain offered it.

My interpretation of this is that Yam/Set are actually the angry disembodied wraith of Osiris, which as an undead spirit hungers for flesh. The story is that the wraith must be placated or distracted until the goddess can reconstruct/rebirth Osiris's body - perhaps as Horus, with Osiris's Ba but lacking his divine Ka - so Horus must battle the wraith to reclaim the Ka and be born again as Osiris. Osiris of course hides in the underworld while Set prowls, during the time in which Isis reconstructs the body.

So, the schema of temple worship, in a speculative Solomon's temple at Baalbek, Lebanon is that the vengeful Sea and Storm wraith Yaw must be placated with offerings of flesh until, seasonally, Hadad/Shamash is reborn. I would assume, this season would coincide with offerings from a recent harvest of grain. Perhaps the imbibing of beers, which in Egypt become the revelry associated with placating the wraith, maybe due to a seasonal difference.

I must assume the ancients forgot this schema outside of poorly understood mystical traditions, and so the Jews invent themselves as worshippers of Yahweh, misunderstanding the seasonal cycle.
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billd89
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Re: Judaism defined as

Post by billd89 »

FollowerOfMessiah wrote: Tue Aug 31, 2021 4:45 pm


Dr Brendon Benz makes a similar suggestion and says that the construction of Israelite identity in the Torah is as much a declaration of independence of Egypt as it is anti-Canaanite and it is actually a declaration of (cultural & political) independence from Egyptian colonization. Israelite religion paints itself as the Anti-Egypt, because of a past war with the Egyptians when they used to share very similar religions previously. .... The conclusion seems to be that an Israelite is a Canaanite who threw off the shackles of Egyptian vassalage and the hatred of Canaanite identity is something like a cultural pride in one's freedom, because otherwise Canaanites and Israelites were similar.

I also agree about Seth being an inversion of the Egyptian Set and taking the place of the Egyptian Horus. There seems to be a broad, what we may call, "anti imperialist", or nationalist message going across the book of Genesis, because the connection with Seth and the Sons of God (or Sons of Light) and Cain with the Sons of Men (as is made in many apocryphal works such as the Cave of Treasures) becomes a political motif when we realize that Cain comes from the root QYN meaning metal smith. In Sumeria there was an ancient city called Bad Tibira (The City of Metal Smiths) which was built after the kingship fell from Heaven, which is reminiscent of Cain building a city in the land of Nod, meaning Wandering. My interpretation of Nod here, in association with Wandering, is to do with the Exile which is when the Bible was compiled--thus it is to mean "After kingship descended from heaven, the metal smiths built a city in the land where we wandered" and it was cursed, according to Bible authors, because empire is cursed, as it leads to oppression and destruction (see: the Bronze Age Collapse). The flood came because the "Sons of God" (the divine priesthood of Seth) intermarried with the "daughters of Men" (the people of Babylon). Now who are the Sons of God or the Sethian Priesthood? These are probably the same priesthood to which Moses was introduced. (Seth was the god of the foreigners of Egypt.)

... Cain is identified with Horus, and hence Egypt, but also his name gives away his identification with the Sumerian-Babylonian Empire which oppressed the Israelites in the Exile. Seth is identified with the line of the Annunaki because he comes from the higher realm, rather than the worldly realm, and is indeed persecuted by the world. Hence the "Royal" line becomes corrupted and cursed, because it has to do the "dirty work" of building an army, oppression etc., whereas the Priestly line is saved (the line of Seth).
There's much to digest here. Of course, I never learned any of this and I doubt any of my educated, religiously-informed Jewish friends know any of it either. It's a parallel universe in which we may find the truth, carefully sifting for the fragments.

The Judean Israelite identity (viz. the Torah) was largely composed by Jewish scribes under the Ptolemies (Greek Jews, I think) in the hope that Israel would be a bulwark against their enemies the Assyrians. For Exodus, the scribes lifted and rewrote Thoth (=Moses) material relevant to the Sinai and an important Semitic (Jewish) tribal network there.

I think this 'Mosaic' Jewish fraternity were the 'Sons of God': Philo Judaeus had some personal connection to them, and it seems likely his father and grandfather had been brethern. Philo's great wealth came from shipping: at least 4 generations of merchant marine business prior to AD 25, which takes us back to c.125 BC. Were the 'Sons of God' sea-faring Jews?

The metal-workers guild was exceedingly powerful, and they manufactured weapons (among other goods). Kenite metalsmiths do sound like the 'Sons of Man' (Cain), another Jewish fraternity. Then, the Judeo-Samaritan Canaanite Melchizedek cult was a third group; perhaps the oldest Judeo-Phoenician sect. Enochic Semities were Chaldeans, a fourth group. I'm inclined to see Sethian Jews as the oldest, most indigenous Semitic group in Egypt: a fifth group here, originating where? And how many others?

I dont think 'all Jews were the same'; recall Philo Judaeus' claim there were 1 million Jews then (c.25 AD) in Egypt. The diversity we cannot imagine...
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Re: Judaism defined as

Post by yakovzutolmai »

billd89 wrote: Fri Sep 17, 2021 4:26 am
FollowerOfMessiah wrote: Tue Aug 31, 2021 4:45 pm

... Cain is identified with Horus, and hence Egypt, but also his name gives away his identification with the Sumerian-Babylonian Empire which oppressed the Israelites in the Exile. Seth is identified with the line of the Annunaki because he comes from the higher realm, rather than the worldly realm, and is indeed persecuted by the world. Hence the "Royal" line becomes corrupted and cursed, because it has to do the "dirty work" of building an army, oppression etc., whereas the Priestly line is saved (the line of Seth).
The Kurdish Kaveh the Smith conflates Kothar-wa-Khasis with Hadad. That is, the smith sacrifices his son. Daedalus is certainly a version of Kothar, making Icarus certainly a Horus. I think this figure survives as al-Khidr. This must be Cain (who would also be Ptah).

From what I can tell from geographic context, Kaveh/Kothar is Noah. Noah is the "craftsman" and this is the origin of "tekton". There are connections to shamanism and animistic cults, which overlaps with all the springs and river nymphs that are syncretized as Adonis (and Tammuz was brought into Babylon by Amorite shepherds).

I could believe that there was an ancient deluge - in Mesopotamia - and civilization built back from the area of Lake Van into the fertile crescent. This is what we see as the builders of Gobekli Tepe and Jericho. Noah is their mythic god-king (Kaveh, Kothar), and he is syncretized with the shaman of various Adonis cults. Later we see Hadad in Solomon's role, and we get a version with Kothar/Hadad, Hiram/Solomon, Daedalus/Minos.

There's an interesting discussion of this here: http://www.bahaistudies.net/asma/khidr3.pdf

I've once thought that the Hyksos were Assyrian nobility, since those originated as nomads. There's an overlap of the Hyksos period with a dearth of records of the Assyrian kings. What this would do is create an overlap between Assyrian and Jewish religious systems which, especially with esoteric traditions, would explain the Age of Prophets as Jerusalem's reaction to a similar set of trends in Assyria, and explain Jewish mysticism as an attempt to make a local brand.

Anyway, the elevation of Seth happened during the Hyksos period. I would almost agree that the Hyksos were the ancestors of Israelites, and this is confused because it requires us to admit that the history of the patriarchs is false.

The Hyksos left for Canaan, and Thutmose conquered them there. Later, during the Sea Peoples' invasion, Egypt was driven from Canaan and the former colonized became Israel.

One explanation for all this is that the civilization which grew from Lake Van is responsible for Cretan and Delta civilization, while fertile crescent nomads always coexisted in their presence.

Obviously, the Amorites conquered Babylon, showing that the Hyksos could be a similar phenomenon. However, the Hyksos are not Amorites as far as we can tell, so having them come from the proto-Assyrian tribes is one explanation.

I've noticed that the lava field of Trachonitis near Damascus was created by two volcanoes at Shahba, and the eruption coincides with the first generation of old Assyrian, legendary kings. The incident has hallmarks of being driven from Eden, flaming sworded Cherubim, and the end of the world through a flood of fire (contrasted to the Noahide flood of water). One of the first Assyrian kings was Adamu.

This land Bashan is esoterically referenced as the land of the dead in the Writings, which fits its "look", but perhaps there's a memory of it having been the place of a destroyed civilization. This Gilead is the third largest arable plane in the Middle East, as far as I can tell, after Mesopotamia and the Nile Delta.
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