God as Chronos in Philo, Quod Deus Sit Immutabilis 30ff

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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More Ieoud Evidence Required

Post by billd89 »

I'm not prepared to throw everything in the blender, not yet. I know there is extensive evidence the Byblos priesthood had influence on the Egyptian elite, but that doesn't mean everything is 'same-same but different.' I narrow my focus here: what is ALL the evidence we have on this 'Ieoud' ? Where was his cult center, how many temples did he have, and in what period? I have suggested Ieoud = Adonis but where is any evidence of that?

I'm back tracking: 'Ieoud' might be a syncretistic Judeo-Phoenician expression for 'Adonis' and/OR Osiris, but that's not evident. I still suppose it would be a late phenomenon in either/or Byblos or the larger Alexandrian network. And a (suggested, guessed) date would be most useful!

Byblos:________________________________ Tyre _______________________________________ Hellenized ___________
Tammuz: c.2600 - 1100 BC ............ 'Ouranos': .................................................. Epigeius/Autochthon/Ouranos;
.............................................. Baal-Hadad: c.1300- c.900 BC ......................... Ouranos #2
Adon: c.1200 BC - ....................... Baal-Shamin-Zeus Demarous/El: c.1000-500 BC ...... Kronos/El
Adonis c.400 BC - c.225 AD ............ Baal-Melqart: c.600 BC - ................................. Kronos #2
............................................ Melqart-Hercules: c.400 BC - ............................ Ieoud? c.50 BC ??

Yes: one would presume the Adon cult originates at Byblos, Adonai is the Israelite (Norther Semitic tribe) name for God. Coinage proves Adonis was still worshipped at Byblos, but Lucian of Samosata (c.160 AD) confirmed that fact: "I saw too at Byblos a large temple, sacred to the Byblian Aphrodite: this is the scene of the secret rites of Adonis: I mastered these." Yet there was another related interpretation, the cult was Osiris and Egyptian:
Some of the inhabitants of Byblos maintain that the Egyptian Osiris is buried in their town, and that the public mourning and secret rites are performed in memory not of Adonis, but of Osiris. I will tell you why this story seems worthy of credence. A human head comes every year from Egypt to Byblos, floating on its seven days' journey thence: the winds, by some divine instinct, waft it on its way: it never varies from its course but goes straight to Byblos. The whole occurrence is miraculous. It occurs every year, and it came to pass while I was myself in Byblos, and I saw the head in that city.

Lucian (an outsider, a Greek, a trafficker of rumors) also indicates there's a great mess of conflicting myths, "many tales were told to me, some of which were sacred, and some public property; some, again, were absolutely fabulous; others were mere barbarians' tales; others again tallied with the Greek accounts. All these I am ready to narrate, though I withhold my acceptance of some." Lucian saw the red river (Nahr Ibrahim: "The red color is actually caused by a mineral carried in the water as the snow melts [Lebanese Ministry of Tourism, 2001]") then says he traveled into the Libanus (lands of Mt. Lebanon) to see the "Temple of Aphrodite (Aphakitis)" - no mention of a 'Temple to Adonis' at Afqa. Of course, there is no mention of Ieuod, nor Kronos anywhere! Either Lucian is poorly informed or those deities are already too mythic (forgotten) or false, here. Given the stories that King Cinyras built the Temple, brought Adonis to Byblos, etc., those would be deeper layers of myth: the Greek only tells the current Greek (and Graeco-Egyptian) version, which was probably taught/told to everyone in that day. I can imagine Cinyras as a real Founder (builder) of Temples, c.600 BC; maybe it was to Adonis and the (Graeco-Egyptian) Osiris cult came later? The distance of 7-days sail (from Alexandria?) was direct, with the most favorable trade-wind. Scion of a shipping magnate, the well-educated Philo Judaeus, would certainly know something of a major city on an easy, major and ancient trade-route.

But Lucian's account tells us nothing of this mysterious 'Ieoud' - presumably, a Jewish derivation - IF in fact it belongs here. I suppose it does not.
The so-called"Ieoud" in his supposed connection to Anobret and Kronos points only at one place, I think: Aphaca/Afqa. But I see no confirm of 'Ieoud' = Ihuh, Iahu, Iao/Iu, Ieou {Massey [1907], p.500 "Egypto-Gnostic"} in the local 'Phoenican' mythology.

Eusebius' information about a "god Ieuo" seems purely apocryphal. And are we certain that is 'Ieoud' likewise?
[PORPHYRY] 'Of the affairs of the Jews the truest history, because the most in accordance with their places and names, is that of Sanchuniathon of Berytus, who received the records from Hierombalus the priest of the god Ieuo; he dedicated his history to Abibalus king of Berytus, and was approved by him and by the investigators of truth in his time.

I think this history is terribly garbled (w/ Egyptian material inappropriately conflated), but it does seem a Judaic version of various Phoenician bits. Child-sacrifice is richly suggested in the Torah, and Phoenicians were People of the Tophet!


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On second thought...

Post by billd89 »

I tried to make some sense of Eusebius, by putting the names in order. Hastings' presentation of two Kronoses is wrong (as is the suggestion of two Ouranoses elsewhere), but there were several Baals in fact. Closer examination of the names leads me to the obvious conclusion 'Sanchuniathon' is just a hot mess, folklore cobbled together (as many scholars have long declared.)

There are tiny shards of truth, but watch you don't cut yourself sifting. From this source alone, and any based upon it, I wouldn't assume 'Ieoud' is even Phoenician - or anything else for that matter. We definitely need other sources for that 'god' wherever he may have been.

Eusebius, Praeparatio 1.10 (Part 1):
In their time is born a certain (El-?) 'Elyon called “the Most High,” and a female named (El-?) Berith {Tehomot = Springs, bʾrôt “fountains” (or ‘Abyss’) ~ Anobret = ‘En-’obereth “springs”; alternately: bərīt = “covenant”}, and this couple lived in the vicinity of Byblos. And from them was born Epigeius/Autochthon (later called Ouranos = ‘Sky’); so from Him the element above us ‘Sky’ is so named, because of the excellence of its beauty. And Ouranos had a sister born of the same parents: She was called Gea (Earth; recalls Egyptian Geb?), and from Her (Philo B. says) for Her beauty, Earth was called the same name.

And their Father, the Most High ('Elyon), died in an encounter with wild beasts {like Adon } and was deified, and his children offered libations and sacrifices to 'Elyon.

And Ouranos, succeeded 'Elyon’s rule, took to his sister Gea in marriage, and He got four sons by Her: El (also called ‘Kronos’= El-Kronos), Baetylus {Baitylos; Bethel: c.700 BC}, Dagan (also called ‘Sidon’, c.675-350 BC?), and Atlas.

By other wives Ouranos also begat a numerous progeny, so Gea was angry and jealously began to reproach Ouranos; they even separated. Though He had left Her, Ouranos still raped Her whenever He chose; he was with Gea, then would go away again. Also, Ouranos tried to destroy the children He had by Her, but Gea repelled Him many times, having gathered Her own allies.

When El-Kronos {The First Son} had advanced to manhood, He repels his father Ouranos and avenges His Mother Gea. El-Kronos did this with the counsel and help of his secretary Hermes Trismegistos {c. 200 BC}. To El-Kronos are born two daughters: Persephone and Athena. Persephone died a virgin. By the advice of Athena and Hermes Trismegistos, El-Kronos made an iron sickle and a spear. Then Hermes Trismegistus spoke magical words to the allies of El-Kronos, inspiring them on behalf of Ge with a fighting desire against Ouranos. And thus El-Kronos engaged in war, driving Ouranos from his seat, and El-Kronos won the kingdom.

Also taken in the battle was Ouranos’ beloved concubine, pregnant with Ouranos’ child, whom El-Kronos afterwards gave in marriage to Dagan. In Dagan’s house, this concubine gave birth to Ouranos’ child, whom she named Zeus-Demaros {viz. a very obscure, temporary Greek god c.300 BC?} …

In the thirty-second year of Ouranos’ reign and kingdom, El-Kronos waylaid His Father (viz., Ouranos) in an inland spot, captured and emasculates Ouranos near some fountains and rivers {viz., at Aqfa}. Ouranos’ was deified there {at Aqfa}: and at his last breath, the blood from His wounds dripped into the fountains and rivers’ waters. That spot {Aqfa} is indicated to this day. …

But Ashtaroth {Phoenician; Greek: Astarte}, the greatest goddess {viz., consort of Ouranos? Baal Hadad, and??}, and Zeus-Demaros {Greek: after 300 BC ???}, and Adodus {=Roman god, so circa 60 BC; derived from Ba'al-Hadad, deified Ouranos?}, the King of Gods {ergo: Hadad, of myth}, reigned over the land with the consent of El-Kronos.

No: Ouranos isn't Adon or Adonis. Hermes Trismegistos and Adodus must be very late (recent) in this rubbish Phoenician folklore. So the integrity of the Sanchuniathon mythos just disintegrates on closer inspection... other period sources from foreigners are better and reasonably consistent, tho.
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Re: God as Chronos in Philo, Quod Deus Sit Immutabilis 30ff

Post by yakovzutolmai »

Unless someone discovers some lost ancient scrolls in a cave, we'll probably never have more sources on ancient Phoenician religion.

It's clear that the ancients did not have a neat, systematized framework for religion. The later Greeks sort of attempted this, but weakly. It appears as if Phoenicia and Egypt came the closest to recognizing each other's systems. It seems like a general rule that the ancients believed that all their gods were probably part of one single system. The question is which elements are later merged for convenience and which elements have a common source. We might also speculate that there was a common system which granted many elements which incorporated local cults, then were reincorporated back into those cults and evolved from there.

I find it remarkable that Odin has his sacred tree, and someone decided to put a serpent around it. For example.

If I had to guess, I'd say there were multiple rounds of syncretism. First, an astro-theological system taught far and wide. Then, local variants reincorporated into a single system at crucial cultural contact points. And again, with just enough memory each time for there to be awareness of a common origin - giving impetus to the need to keep reconciling different cults.

What we DO have are esoteric texts. These might preserve some of the content of these ancient systems in greater detail. More than likely, all this knowledge was processed, remembered and disseminated by priestly classes. This leaves us the knowledge without the kind of context a historian would provide.

I don't think Philo would have had knowledge of ancient Phoenician cults, given his apparent lack of knowledge on the subject. Then again, do we have all his writings? And should we assume he didn't have an agenda which would keep him from mentioning these connections? I've associated Philo with the political activities of his family, and through the Flavians grant that they almost nearly gained control of Rome. Perhaps Philo knew the Jewish religion's sources very well, and was aware of the embarrassment associated with this knowledge. Hence the need to universalize and abstract Judaism. I'd guess he synthesized Jewish and Egyptian esoterica, packaging it in a contemporary framework.

In the ancient Near East, the parallels with golden calf worship, the basic myth of the twins, and so forth, repeat too often. There is more than just syncretism occurring, in my opinion.

Adonis is Hadad, and the cult is linked to Tammuz. It seems as if we can say this is Ieoud. Perhaps, however, we have no basis with which to link Ieoud to Yahweh. The use of Yaw in Ugaritic texts, and the association of Lotan with Leviathan (and the Levites) suggest to me that Iahu is more probably of that origin rather than some lower Canaanite rip-off of Koze. It seems more likely that someone was trying to argue that Koze and Hadad were Yahweh, then suggest that there was a pre-existent folk belief in a unique Yahweh that happened to have all their characteristics.

If Ieoud is Adonis/Hadad, and our "Cronus" is El, then who is Yahweh?

Yam appears to be a version of Typhon, and Hadad is as Zeus (Zeus Kaisos), driving him from Olympus. Yam is a son of Cronus, while Hadad in this myth is son of Dagon (perhaps a lazy syncretism, which is interesting because Dagon is more Koze-like). We know that more ancient Greek literature is confused about divine genealogies. We might have a juxtaposition of Tartarus against Uranus, as if the Titans of Canaan were not all descended just from the latter.

Yam is called Judge Nahar (river). And Hadad is promised a kingdom without end (like David). Maybe the biblical construct of the judges is echoing a Yahwist period, or is invoking the idea of one. Regardless, an inherent conflict between Yahweh and Ba'al is reflected in the Bible's history of Israel. Maybe the highland peoples worship Dagonite gods, and the lowland "river" or coastal peoples worship the exiled judge. Hebrew may derive from Eber which means river, giving it a loose connection to the meaning of Yehudim (if we assume Yam is Yahweh).

We can imagine a quaint, timeless rivalry between brothers. Lowlanders and highlanders. Maybe the migration of lowlanders to the highlands leads to the elevation of Yahweh and his assumption of Dagonite traits.

Nevertheless, while we have a war between Yam and Baal in the Ugaritic texts, we also have Hadad sacrificing his own son, or a Zeus overthrowing a Cronus. Thus, there's a father-son myth, and a brothers myth. With Abraham, the myths are combined.

I do find it interesting that Judge Nahar seems to describe the role of Osiris, who judges the dead and whose power over the Nile leads to the death and rebirth of vegetation there. Baal's next rivalry, after Yam, is with Mot who is god of the dead. Here is when he dresses a son (golden calf) in his robes as his substitute to death. These myths parallel the sacred cows of Memphis, where Ptah plays a prominent role (and the myth is repeated in Daedalus). Kothar-wa-Khasis is said to be from Egypt, and plays the role of Hiram of Tyre in building Baal a large palace which is obviously the origin of Solomon's temple. Solomon's temple then, must be seen as the house of Baal.

One interpretation is that the myth is cyclical. After defeating Mot, Baal grows old and his son returns from the underworld. He overthrows Baal, who becomes the new Yam.

The cyclical interpretation works best if one treats Baal and Yam not as father and son, but as twins. Slavic myths, which do incorporate the celestial storm and chaos dragon, have the bipolar twins as two seasonal aspects of the same being.

Greece's Castor and Pollux invoke an association with Orion (Adonis?), including a seasonal aspect. Nergal of Babylon is an Osiris-like god with a dual aspect.

Perhaps our original mythic structure is of the twins who are each other's father and son, trading places as lord of death seasonally. An astronomical metaphor. In Canaan, the Sea and the Mountain. In Egypt, the River and the Desert.

Hadad overthrows Yam. Next, Mot the lord of death is served bread and wine, but hungers for flesh and is offended (Cain and Abel, except here Cain offers the bread to Abel and Able is offended instead of God). For unknown reasons, curiously missing from the text, Baal must give his kingdom to Mot. So, on the advice of the female aspect of the Sun, Baal dresses up his son with a heifer as himself and offers it to death.

Mot then eats this pseudo-Baal and goes on a rampage that displeases El, allowing Baal to return and overthrow Mot from Mount Zephon.

It appears to me that maybe this narrative is suggesting that Mot is Baal. A sort of Jekyll and Hyde situation, where Hadad goes mad from fear of death. I say this because Mot is in the role of Cronus in eating the flesh of Baal's son. This also reminds of Hathor, whose rage must be satiated with blood and who is also associated with the Apis Bull and links to the presence of Shapash in the Baal Cycle.

Thus, I interpret the Baal Cycle as implying that Yam/Hadad/Mot are the same bipolar deity. That Osiris and Set are the same entity. Seasonally, one aspect lies dormant in the underworld and has a madness that seeks blood and life, while the other rules benevolently. The sacrifice seems to be - as the Apis Bull - a means to satiate the madness of the death aspect of this entity. Or in Phoenicia, child sacrifice.

What is hard to unravel is the idea of a battle between the two. Don't we elevate this child as Ieoud to the level of Adonis?

Osiris and Isis, Tammuz and Inanna, Adonis and Aphrodite. It seems to have a common origin.

Both the father and the son have the same story. I can only explain this by comparing Anat and Isis. It is Anat who finds Baal after he goes missing.
When the text recontinues, Anat is searching in the netherworld for the shade of her brother. She demands that Mot restores him to her. However, Mot answers that he had searched for him over the earth, where he found him at the entrance of his domain, and then he simply ate him. Anat continues her search, until she loses patience, and she seizes Mot, and attacks him, attacking him with a sword, shaking him, burning him, crushing him, then throwing his remains to the birds. When the text continues, Anat returns to El and announces that Mot is dead. El then has a dream which tells him that Baʿal lives. Shortly after that, Baʿal returns. However, soon Mot comes back to life and complains to Baʿal of the treatment he has received. He demands that Baʿal surrender one of Mot's brothers. When Mot has returned, Baʿal sends messengers telling him that he will banish him, and that if he is hungry, he may eat the servants of Baʿal. However, this fails to please Mot, and so the two gods fight on Mount Zephon until exhausted. Shapash arrives and warns Mot that fighting Baʿal is useless, and that El is now on Baʿal's side and will overturn Mot's throne. Mot is afraid, and so declares that Baʿal is king.

So, the story must be this: Yam was Baal's father, whom he overthrew. Baal begins to die, and in his decay and madness becomes Mot. Knowing Baal is Mot, certain gods trick Baal into selecting a false son for Mot, and then later as Mot he eats the son thinking this will defeat Baal. Meanwhile, Anat produces Baal's actual son in secret - as Isis did with Horus. The real son grows up after being in hiding (like Zeus) to be the new Baal, overthrowing his father who is now called Yam.

Set and Osiris are not brothers, but rather Set is the hunger and despair of dying Osiris. His wraith, hungering for flesh. Set prosecutes Isis, who must nevertheless produce his son by deception. Set would eat his own son, as his madness is caused by his own fear of death (and replacement). There is a substitute. For the Greeks, it is the omphalos stone later sacred to the Delphic oracle (and Apollo, whom later Egyptians associate with Horus). Finally, Zeus/Adonis/Baal 2.0 comes out of hiding to overthrow his father just as his father once did for Yam.

There's also a hint here that Horus is born of a Frankenstein's monster of Osiris, who did in fact die. Esoterically, the new body can receive his soul again, but that Isis/Anat must hide from Osiris the wraith until the body is repaired and renewed.

The baetylus of Elagabalus recalls the penis of Osiris. With the baetylus, Anat can create a new body of Hadad's soul. However, Mot would drag it down to the underworld, and Anat too. This is also a fertility metaphor (and it all fits nicely with the Chronos aspect of the god). Thus, the meteor is the death of Hadad. Perhaps the 33 year cycle of the Leonids, marking in November the beginning of the Middle Eastern winter and rain season. The baetylus is the only part of his body which survives, and is sacred because from it Anat could resurrect Hadad, ending his wrathful phase as Mot/Yam. The end of the rainy season, in April/May, sees massive storms suggesting the ascendancy of Baal.

Judge Nahar causes me to connect Yam to Osiris, or recognize that the ancients made this connection. If the fundamental myth has an astronomical origin, then the similar timing of the seasons in Canaan and Egypt could explain divergent localizations retaining core aspects. The fact that the overlapping foundations of these myths transcend localism, while the local variations are tied directly to local weather patterns and geography, tells me that both the Baal and Osiris myths arose from a common origin. Rather than contributing elements to each other over time.

Ieoud is Adonis, who is Hadad, who is Yam. Obviously, if the story was understood this way at one time, this doesn't mean it was understood that way at other times.

However, the effort of Philo to apply a philosophical veneer to the generations of the gods certainly invokes the cyclical pattern seen generation to generation (the continued reemergence of a Cronus).

Anyway, I don't think these myths really seem totally independent. And I think we'd be waiting a long time for an ancient source who was aware of it. Generally, I would not trust ancient sources to know better than us. We probably have a much better big picture, even if they had sources which we lack. They may know just as much as they're sharing, which is about what we know. However, we have more information from other cultures and from archeology and science.

We can abstract out patterns, but it's true we will not understand the genealogical development of ideas. Nevertheless, the patterns can help us identify additional sources which previously were not considered related.

Either way, the Slavic Chernobog and Belobog provide a template for Yam and Hadad being the same entity. Interpreting the cycle of Baal's death and resurrection through the Osiris myth. Slavic mythology also has the Zorya sisters which invoke the mythology seen in the whore-becomes-virgin typology associated with the two Marys. These live on the mythical island Bunyan, and there's a sacred stone there guarded by a serpent. This reminds of the Hesperides in the garden of Atlas, and the golden apples guarded by Lodan.

So, this is my new interpretation of Chronos as a bipolar deity, father and son, twins, Hadad and Yam, Cain and Abel, Osiris and Set. I don't know if that serves in interpreting Philo. Even if true, he may not have known it.

I would guess that the Hyksos presence in Egypt allowed for extended contact between Egyptian and Semitic civilizations, and while the bipolarity of the deity may have been known to them, their respective situations caused them to use the twin faces to symbolize their own conflict. Leading to a theology where each side split off the aspect of the god they didn't like, and treated him as a separate god. Therefore moving away from acknowledgment of the bipolarity.

After the Hyksos left, other than the brief emergence of Atenism, the cult of Amun supplanted and absorbed that of Atum in Lower Egypt. So, the evolution of Cronus from a bipolar god to the respective religious systems of Canaan and Egypt as we know them may have been catalyzed by the Hyksos invasion.
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Philo of Byblos, Sanchuniathon c.135 AD ?

Post by billd89 »

If the work is by a 'lapsed' Jewish refugee from Alexandria in or near Byblos c.135 AD, and the reference to Hermes Trismegistos is not a later copist's addition, that reference is interesting. It's a weird promotion, and it hints at the author's background. He doesnt seem to know much about Byblos, at any rate, although he has an authorial historian's professionalism.

An Alexandrian Jew probably would have left some years earlier, dating the (Egyptian) material to no later than c.115 AD. I think the Hermetica was Judaized in Philo's day (c.10 AD), and much of the C.H. is essentially 1st C. AD material. The centrality of Hermes Trismegistos in the Kronos fable suggests a great importance to this author AND that's an early reference outside Alexandria or Middle Egypt (most scholars insist -wrongly- the Hermetica is 2nd & 3rd C. AD.)

If there were an actual 'cult of Ieoud' in/near Byblos, it may have been merely a synagogue or tiny community of heterodox sectarians: a kind of one-off? This might be drawn from local material (not well-informed, nor especially 'ancient') of a little library with ~50-100 year old papyri.
Last edited by billd89 on Mon Aug 23, 2021 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Philo of Byblos, Sanchuniathon c.135 AD ?

Post by yakovzutolmai »

billd89 wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 5:12 pm If the work is by a 'lapsed' Jewish refugee from Akexandria in or near Byblos c.135 AD, and the reference to Hermes Trismegistos is not a later copist's addition, that reference is interesting. It's a weird promotion, and it hints at the author's background. He doesnt seem to know much about Byblos, although he has an authorial historian's professionalism.

The Alexandrian Jew probably would have left some years earlier, dating the (Egyptian) material to no later than c.115 AD.

I think the Hermetica was Judaized in Philo's day (c.10 AD), and much of the C.H. is essentially 1st C. AD material.
Unreliable then, but still mention of Canaanite beliefs the ancients weren't aware of so that's weird.

As for my thesis about Yam=Hadad (Osiris=Set), I was doing a post on similarities of Japanese Shinto myths to Egyptian solar myths and noticed something interesting. There's the obvious parallel linking the Japanese Susanoo to Yam, with Amaterasu as Hathor/Shapash.

However, I had forgotten the dual nature of Susanoo:
The younger brother of Amaterasu, goddess of the sun and mythical ancestress of the Japanese imperial line, he is a multifaceted deity with contradictory characteristics (both good and bad), being portrayed in various stories either as a wild, impetuous god associated with the sea and storms, as a heroic figure who killed a monstrous serpent, or as a local deity linked with the harvest and agriculture.
As siblings, he and Amaterasu fulfill the same role as Hadad/Dea Syria in the schema of Simonian style mysticism.

From other Japanese folk legends:
In a folk tale, it is told that once seven suns appeared at the same
time, and the people were very uncomfortable in the heat. To remedy
the situation, a giant, Amanojaku, shot down all but one of the suns
with bow and arrow.3 This tale has parallels among the Miaos, Taiwan
aboriginies, and in Chinese mythology. According to one version transmitted by the words of a rice planting folksong from Izumo, Sanbai, the
deity of the rice field, was born of Father Sun and Mother Dragon.
This is a perfect framing of the rise of Cronus as Orion or Adonis in his youth, and squarely identifies Hadad's consort as the dragon. The battle is sexual, it seems. Partly. Japanese historians recognize serpentine or draconic aspects to earlier interpretations of Amaterasu.

These beliefs probably came up through the Austronesian peoples, and would have traveled via the Indian Ocean coastlines from the Middle East. The dating of Gobekli Tepe suggests this timeframe for the genesis of these astrological myths. Alternatively, a later spread on the Eurasian steppe.

Either way, the parallels are too strong to be ignored. I'll continue to think of Cronus as bipolar, Yam and Hadad.
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Re: more thoughts on Sanchuniathon

Post by billd89 »

A few more comments. 'Sanchuniathon' is worse than the Historia Augusta, but perhaps it tells a fascinating story between the lines? {Brackets are my notes in my adapted text from Eusebius.} And this, my 200th post, returns to my very first ...

Eusebius, Praeparatio 1 (Part 2):
Now the historian of this subject {viz., Phoenician theology} is Sanchuniathon, an author of great antiquity – older, people say, than the Trojan Wars {~1250 - 1185 BC} – one whom they testify has been approved for the accuracy and truth of his Phoenician History. Philo of Byblos – not Philo Judaeus {c.25 BC-50 AD} – translated (Sanchuniathon’s) whole work from the Phoenician language into Greek then published it. Porphyry’s compilation against us {viz., Christians} mentions the following in the fourth book of his Against the Christians {c.275 AD?}, where he testifies on Sanchuniathon’s behalf word for word:

[PORPHYRY] “The truest history of Jewish affairs, for the greatest accordance with their places and names, is that of Sanchuniathon of Berytus {named “Berytus” in 64 BC; Biruta = Beirut}, who received records from Hierombalos {Ierombal = Jeremiah* c.575 BC? See Baumgarten [1981], p.54 }, Priest of the god Ieuo {uncertain; Yahweh? Yam?}; Sanchuniathon dedicated his history to King Abibalus of Berytus {Abi’Baal: c.980 BC}, and was approved by him and by investigators of truth in his day. Now the times of these men precede the Trojan War {c.1200 BC}, and nearly approach Moses’ day {est.1300 BC}, as is shown by the succession of Phoenician Kings. Sanchuniathon lived during the reign of Assyrian Queen Semiramis {Shammuramat, 810 BC}, recorded to have lived before the Trojan War or in those very times {c.1300-1180 BC}.

Obviously, the incompatible dates are a complete mess. Nor does Philo's ‘succession of Phoenician Kings’ (viz., the rubbish Kronos-God geneaology) appear accurate. Philo B. may have accessed a great variety of texts with some names/data – or a single garbled history, from a 1st C AD Temple library? It is not a complete invention, but we cannot be certain what Philo B.'s artistic license altered.

* c.35 AD, Philo Judaeus alludes to a 'newer' Jewish fraternity, a cult of Jeremiah. I am, of course, fascinated by 1st C. BC/AD Diaspora cults - if anyone has further info, please share.

So wrote Porphyry, bearing witness to the truthfulness and antiquity of the so-called theologian, Sanchuniathon. But in his work’s progress he does not treat the God who is over all (nor even the gods in Heaven) as divine. Instead, he describes mortal men and women, and not even those refined in character, appropriate or approved for their virtue, nor to emulate for their love of wisdom, but rather dishonorable individuals involved in every kind of vileness and wickedness.

Sanchuniathon also testifies these individuals are the very same who are still regarded as gods by everyone, both in cities and rural districts. But let me give you proof of this from his writings.

Implication: Sanchuniathon/Philo B. offers a clever slander against Phoencian-Greek 'gods'. These exemplars are mortals, and shitbags. The 'gods' sometimes have Greek names, and Hero Cults of the Eastern Medit. Basin are presumably familiar and more or less the same? But the Jewish character of the work is obscured – our Author would protect himself by pseudoepigraphic tricks – and not want any part of this to corrupt/harm any Jews by association. Furthermore, I can detect no anti-Jewish sentiment whatsoever in the work, so far. However, the absence of any explicit mention of Jews (viz., Israelites, in Phoenician lands) from what we might be called as a 'Jewish history' is very telling.

Having divided Sanchuniathon’s whole work into nine books, Philo B. then makes this preface in the introduction to the first book, word for word:
[PHILO B.] “Sanchuniathon was a man of much learning, great curiosity, and a desire to know from the creation of the world the earliest history of all nations, so he carefully researched the history of Taautus {Egyptian Thoth: primarily, c.700 BC-}. Of all who have existed on earth, Sanchuniathon knew {Thoth} was the first to invent letters and begin the writing of records, so he laid the foundation of his History by beginning with {Thoth}, whom the Egyptians called Thoyth, and the Alexandrians Thoth, translated by the Greeks as Hermes {Trismegistos}.”

Implication: Sanchuniathon represents Thoth, or at least a Thoth substitute - a Thoth paradigm. Thoth is Sanchuniathon’s authority. Thoth/Hermes is the patron of ALL scribes in Alexandrian Egypt, especially in the Late Ptolemaic – Early Roman Period (100 BC–100 AD). This implies that Philo Byblos (writing c.135 AD, at ~Age 55) was trained by a (Judeo?-) Hermeticist, that although he may now be secular, lapsed, our Author still orbits a tradition of (Judeo-) Hermetic scholarship. Why should he mention Hermes Trismegistos, in a Phoenician history? This supposes that our highly literate Hellenistic Philo B. was from/ raised in Alexandria, Egypt: born 80 AD, departed c.115 AD (~Age 35) and (after some travels in Syria?) established himself in Byblos a decade or so later, as a teacher. He was of Jewish descent or an apostate Jew – and, since his treatment of Byblos history seems unsympathetic/unpatriotic, he is still an 'outsider'.

Otherwise, if our date for the work is correct (c.135 AD), there should be an established Hermetic community in Byblos in the 1st C. AD, perhaps in Philo Judaeus' lifetime? So early!

After these statements Philo B. faults more recent authors {c.100 BC – 100 AD} as offensively and untruthfully reducing the god's legends to allegories, physical explanations and theories: “But the most recent religious writers rejected real events from the beginning. Having invented allegories and myths and formed a fictitious affinity to the cosmological phenomena, they established mysteries and overlaid them with a cloud of absurdity so we cannot easily see what actually happened. Yet Sanchuniathon had found collections of the Ammoneans’ secret writings discovered in shrines and of course not known publicly, and he diligently studied them all. When he {unclear: Sanchuniathon? Hierombalos?} had completed the investigation, he set aside the original myth and allegories and completed his proposed work. Then it came to pass that {unclear: Phoenician? Jewish?} priests of later times wanted to hide all this away again, to restore a mythical character; since then the mysticism arose, which not previously reached the Greeks.”

Philo B. wants to set his writing apart from two Hellenistic schools of historicism: 1) a known and disliked (Jewish?) Alexandrian Allegorist School and 2) strictly materialist (Greek?) interpreters. Presumably, Philo B. means the historians of Philo Judaeus’ day and immediately afterwards (c.100 BC – 100 AD); Flavius Josephus was not the only historian whose work was circulating, and this Author was commercially competitive with his History. A confusion arises in whether 'Sanchuniathon' or 'Hierombalos' should be credited here; the translation is unclear.

Have we forgotten the records come from a 'Jewish' priest, Hierombalos (Ierombal/Jeremiah)? The identity of "Ammoneans" must be solved. If ‘Ammonites’ are meant, do we suppose the Trans-Jordanian Semitic culture 1000-500 BC, or a Tobiad library c.200 BC? However, that is 150 miles from Byblos; why they should hold ‘the best Phoenician history’ makes no sense to me. Likewise, ‘Ammoneans’ could be Priests of Ammon/Amun in Thebes, Egypt, or even the Libyan/Carthaginian cult of Ba'al Hammon? True, an Egyptian Temple confirms Thoth (who is referenced so many times in ‘Sanchuniathon’), but this is supposedly a Jewish history: documents from a priest of Ieou. Last and most likely, I will suppose a library of the Temple of Baʿal Ḥammon near Byblos. Baʿal Ḥammon (in 135 AD: Zeus-Ammon-Serapis) combines as a solar deity, moon deity, fertility deity associated with the Egyptian Amun. Note: some such statues which VERY STRONGLY resemble Serapis, and some Judeo-Egyptians reportedly venerated as Joseph-Serapis); also, identification with Phoenician gods Dagan and Melqart, plus in its Greek form 'Kronos'. This is by far the best ethnographic link, HOWEVER there is no precedence for claiming an established (Judeo-) Hermetic culture already existed in Phoenicia as early as 135 AD. I do think that entirely possible – I believe the Judeo-Hermetica is older than 21st C. AD scholars' consensus will now admit – but my dating is considered too early. Anyway, the Ammoneans = Kronoi, and there's no doubt this 'Phoenician' history is syncretistic and the Author is integrating Hermes Trismegistos quite definitively.

Hypothesis: to escape persecution locally, some Jews joined an 'Egyptian' (Hermetic) Amon Fraternity. By this familiarity, they could affiliate w/ a mixed Temple of Hammon/Kronos/El in Byblos. If the Author was an immigrant (Judeo-) Alexandrian, his own connection to his city deity Serapis may be assumed; Serapis = Baʿal Ḥammon. A few scholars have loosely postulated that Serapis Priests were creators of the Hermetica, but after the mid-2nd C. AD; no conclusive link has been found. So all this assumes our Author had somehow navigated and successfully crossed multiple religious subcultures very early: Hellenistic Jewish, Serapis-Hermetic, Phoenician Zeus-Ammon. Or simply: it supposes an Hermetically-trained (apostate) Hellenistic Jew who had become 'secular' and moved country/culture, adapting to local customs abroad in a period (c.125 AD) when Judaism was despised, hidden. Philo B.'s blatant advertisement of Byblos' Elyon/El-Kronos was coded for any refugees who were neither "Greek" nor "barbarian": in that Temple, the cognescenti found their people. Assimilate to survive!

Next to this Philo B. says: “These things I discovered in my eager desire to know the Phoenicians’ history, after a thorough investigation of much material not found among the Greeks, because theirs is contradictory and compiled by writers in a more contentious than truthful attitude.” And after other statements: “And my conviction that the facts were as ‘Sanchuniathon’(Hierombalos?) described came to me on seeing disagreement among the Greeks. Concerning this, I have carefully composed three tractates titled ‘Paradoxical History’.” Again after other statements, Philo B. adds: “But to be clear hereafter and to determine particulars, we must point out in advance that the most ancient of barbarians, especially the Phoenicians and Egyptians (from whom the rest of mankind received their traditions), saw those who discovered life’s practicalities or who in some way helped the world as the greatest gods. Esteeming these individuals as benefactors and authors of many blessings, they also worshipped them after death as god by building shrines and consecrating pillars and stelae to their name. These {greats} the Phoenicians held in profound reverence, assigning their major festivals to them. They especially applied names of their kings to comic elements {viz., planets & stars}, and some of those were regarded as gods. But Phoenicians knew no other gods besides Nature, Sun, Moon, and the rest of the orbiting stars, and elements (or such connected to them), so some of their gods were mortal and others immortal.”

This Other-ing (ethnic; ethical & religious, etc.) is by who, again? Greeks are labeled contentious and less-truthful, while the object of our discourse, primitive “barbarians” (Phoenicians and Egyptians, lumped together??) worship folkloric heroes and stars (viz.: ‘Chaldeans’ in both lands). Clearly, the Author is ‘something else’ and I have difficulty seeing him as anything but a highly intellectual cosmopolitan disdaining ‘Others.’ Jewish, much? Admittedly, he could be another ethnic (a Roman?) of Phoenicia, but - from the evidence! - I suspect ‘Hellenistic (lapsed) Jew’ fits best here. At a time of persecution, there's a tacit (Jewish) subtext just beneath the surface, as a reason. Or it's just drivel? You decide for yourself.

That's my read, for now. More later.

Statue of Serapis-Zeus-Ammon; there are apparently many recovered examples:
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Re: There's more there

Post by yakovzutolmai »

Zeus-Hammon was just the appropriation of Amun-Ra, who was the Theban response to Aten. By the classical era, a cosmopolitan and sophisticated way of being "monotheistic-curious".

Ammon of Libya and the Ammonites, adopted by Carthage as Ba'al Hammon, was Amun. The original chief god of Thebes, recognized in Nubia and Cuth, in Libya and Eastern Mauritania.

We know the Sahara was green, and can assume that the religious system of the Upper Nile would be similar to those found in Mauritania. These cultures were not cut off from one another.

We can also identify Crius the Titan with Hammon and simultaneously with Ham. The Titans of Greece, in their parallel with the sons of Noah, imply that the ancients had a minimal awareness of religious differences between cultures.

Serapis combines the Apis bull - the propitiatory sacrifice, the blood of the firstborn needed to satiate the madness of Cronus, or later the wraith of Osiris (Set) - with Osiris himself. The religious system which sees Cronus as a bipolar god treats the propitiation as expendable, but later it becomes a holy egg from which... what is born?

I can interpret Adonis and Horus as the recreated body of dead Osiris, reunited with his Ka. But the wraith of Osiris, as Set/Yam, holds his Ba. So Adonis/Horus defeats Set, the Ba is reunited, and Osiris is alive again. Osiris/Hadad -> Set/Yam -> Horus/Adonis -> Osiris/Hadad. With a propitiation so the wraith is distracted while Isis/Astarte builds/makes/births a new body - Horus/Adonis - from Osiris's penis.

Serapis proposes that propitiation is Horus, and this is your early concept of Christ. Abolishing the cycle for a generational, philosophical hierarchy.

His association with Zeus-Hammon must have been Greek influence, an early Philonic conceit. The monotheos and his son. That's all that means, by the first/second centuries CE.

Sanchuniathon is certainly mythic, but maybe not fabricated. If this is an attempt at propaganda, the effort is meant to disassociate the original cosmic myths from all Hellenic developments. Not because there wasn't a mythic interpretation there, but rather to rescue it from these innovations by concealing it.

I have a problem with your analysis. You propose a mundane evolution of thought from 1000 BC. There is a sense of everything being novel. Of the Carthaginians inventing Ba'al Hammon then introducing him to Berytus, or something like this. Of there not being a legacy of Phoenician religion that is ancient.

The problem with that lies with this kind of philosophy validating the Jewish religion. If there is no proto-Judaism, then Judaism stands as a novel set of narratives which then clash with the classical world in various ways. The Jewish religion is obviously derived from polytheistic beliefs. Solomon's temple is obviously the palace of Hadad. And the megalithic structures at Baalbek remain unexplained.

Nothing makes much sense unless we accept some form of Sanchuniathon's explanation as valid. An ancient astro-theological system, ancient, real kings who had the cosmic narratives applied to them. Thence, the religious systems of the ancient world.

I'll grant that by the first/second CE, they are not longer competing for ownership of the old system, nor allegorizing it, but distancing from it.
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Re: more on 'Sanchuniathon', c.135 AD?

Post by billd89 »

In all likelihood, 'Sanchuniathon' = a mythic, Homer-like character mentioned in urban folklore c.100 AD. Very obscure, until 'Philo of Byblos' cobbled together this 'history' from Egyptian Hermetic and Phoenician bits. Hadad is never named; no, Hadad is long-forgotten, buried. But a few ancient names come from some (local?) source, however convoluted. Much more significantly, there's alot of Egyptian Hermetic material here: that's my interest. I'm not convinced it could have been locally relevant in Byblos before the Roman period, tho.

Isn't it very odd that Resheph is ignored? Myth and imagery of that god should be all over this 'ancient text' - but no. 'Sanchuniathon' reads more Alexandrian Jewish (viz., Roman Period) than Phoenician (viz., very ancient). Where Philo B. says "(Zeus) Demarous had a son Melkartos who is also known as Herakles." Ergo, at some point Melqart becomes Herakles (the Resurrected Warrior), whereas Adonis was apparently Osiris for 'Egyptians' in Byblos (as mentioned earlier): 'the Resurrected Child/Youth'. yet Philo B. (supposedly a local) cannot get this straight?? Hmmm.

See Baumgarten [1981],p.210:
An important passage in Menander (FGrH 783 F 1) cited by Josephus speaks of the Tyrian festival of the awakening of Herakles (= Melqart). An inscription of the Greco-Roman period mentions someone who held the office of 'awakener' (egerseitēn; Awakening: ἔγερσιν; mqm 'lm: Resuscitation, Resurrection) of Herakles. These texts, as Baudissin (1911?) realized, indicate that Melqart must have been some sort of dying and reviving god."

Of course, my prime interest is this εγείρω (Resurrection, Resuscitation) ἀνίστημι (Resurrection; Ascension; Arising, etc.) through whatever process of Anagogy, Palingenesis, Metempsychosis, etc.

Having explained these points in his Preface, Philo B. next begins his interpretation of by setting forth the theology of the Phoenicians as follows:

“Sanchuniathon supposes the First Principle of Cosmos was an Air dark with Cloud and Wind (or rather a gust of Dark-Air) and a foul and nether Chaos as dark as Erebus {the deep darkness of Hades}; and these were boundless, limitless for a long aeon. But when the Wind {Pneuma} became enamored of its own parents {? Air/Male and Cloud/Female?}, and a mixture took place, that union was called Pothos {Desire}. This was the beginning of the creation of all: but {Chaos} itself knew nothing of its own sources. From its intercourse, Môt was produced, which some say is Mud and others a putrescence of watery compound {viz., Cosmic Slime}. And out of this came every Germ of Creation and the generation of the Universe.

More Hermetica? This is an imported Hermetic cosmogony. Again, see Baumgarten [1981],p.112 who denies this is local. It is from Hermopolis, and for an earlier simpler version (?) of the sinuous turbid Darkness (but without Hermes’ explanation of the Poemandres) see G.R.S. Mead's 1906 trans. of CH 1.4-16. Pothos is the State and Môt the Product.

So there were certain animals which had no sensation, and out of them grew intelligent animals, and were called ‘Zophasemin,’ that is ‘Overseers of heaven’, formed in the shape of an egg. Also Môt burst forth into Light, Sun, Moon, stars, and the great {Zodiac} constellations.”

Bizarre stuff: the ‘angelic aberrations’ (in the shape of the World-Egg?) suggest perhaps a primordial or archetypal animal disgorging eggs? I would think of the Nile, but ‘Zophasemin’ is a North West Semitic word (see S. Efthymiadis “'The Children of Putrefaction': A Phoenician Mythological Allusion in Patriarch Photios' Homily IX on the Birth of the Virgin (Ch.6),” Byzantion 84 [2014] p.168). This version has a few adaptations, its been localized already? Barely.

In Egypt, Ma'at (Order) is Thoth’s Wife; Hermes T. is the thermo-nuclear explosion of Creation in the P. Strasburg inv. 481 (c.150 AD?)
Such was their cosmogony, introducing downright atheism.

Eusebius speaking; he does not identify the Corpus of Hermes, elsewhere? But by this (presumably complete work and from Byblos, c.135 AD), Hermes Trismegistos should already be well-known in the Diaspora. 'Ancient history,' we might say.

Next after this the same writer adds and says: “These things were found written in Taathus’ {Thoth’s} cosmogony, and in his Commentaries, both from conjectures and evidences which his intellect discerned, discovered, and made clear to us.”

Hermes/Thoth is the origin of Sanchuniathon’s Cosmogony. But we have already been informed his records come from
1) a Priest of Ieou (somewhere) AND
2) the secret writings of the Ammoneans (somewhere).

This is a third source (#3), unless we admit a syncretistic Judeo-Hermetic cult affiliated with a Temple to Zeus-Serapis-Ammon, that an occult (Judaic) group was already established by c.115 AD in the vicinity of Byblos. I doubt this; instead, I think Philo B. (an immigrant Hermeticist, probably educated at Alexandria c.100 AD) gathered various older documents (c.100 BC-100 AD) – mostly from Egypt? – to create a ‘Phoenician History’. Had Philo B. been raised in a Jewish Hermetic community in Egypt before 115 AD, most of this 'history' might have been largely recited from memory. Remember too: in all this, we are assuming Porphyry has not hoodwinked us!

… after mentioning the names of the Winds Notos and Boreas and the rest, Sanchuniathon’s continues: “But these were the first who consecrated the productions of the earth, and regarded them as gods … Then he says that from the wind Colpias and his wife Baau (which he translates "Night") were born Aeon and Protogonus, mortal men, so called: and that Aeon discovered food taken from trees. That their offspring were called Genos and Genea, and inhabited Phoenicia: and that when droughts occurred, they stretched out their hands to heaven towards the sun; for him alone (he says) they regarded as god the lord of heaven, calling him Baal-Shamin {Baal Hadad, after 1000 BC}, which is in the Phoenician language ‘Lord of Heaven,’ and in Greek ‘Zeus.’ … From Genos, son of Aeon and Protogonus, were begotten again mortal children, whose names are Light, and Fire, and Flame. These, says he, discovered fire from rubbing pieces of wood together, and taught the use of it. And they begat sons of surpassing size and stature, whose names were applied to the mountains which they occupied: so that from them were named mount Kassios, and Libanus, and Antilibanus, and Brathy {? Cypress Mountain = Mt. Amanus?}. From these, he says, were begotten Memrumus and Hypsuranius; and they got their names, he says, from their mothers, as the women in those days had free intercourse with any whom they met.

Modern scholars haven't had success identifying almost all of these. Parallels to parts of Genesis are noted; Colpia and Baou seem less certain to me. Do these look like (Alexandrian) Gnostic genealogies? This would further indicate Gnostic groups existed in the Diaspora during the First C. AD. The ‘seven races’ CH 1.17-18 (and elsewhere in the Hermetica) offer variations on a theme that scholars have not been able to unravel here, if truly folkloric and not utter fiction. Again: see Baumgarten (1981), p.141.

The whole thing is very odd, if 'Sanchuniathon' should actually be dated to 135 AD.
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Re: God as Chronos in Philo, Quod Deus Sit Immutabilis 30ff

Post by billd89 »

Going back to the OP:
billd89 wrote: Tue Jun 29, 2021 7:58 amMy working trans.:
(30): “But God is the Father, and Craftsman, and Guardian {ἐπίτροπος} of all in Heaven and the True Cosmos. […] (31) God is the Demiurge {δημιουργὸς} and God of Time also, for He is the Father of ‘Time’s father’ — that is, the Cosmos’ Chronos {χρόνου κόσμος} — who made the movements of one the origin of the other. Thus Time has this order unto God: for this Cosmos, as perceptible by the outward sense, is the younger Son of God. He {Demiurge-God} assigned the senior rank {i.e. over the congregations} of the intelligible Cosmos and purposed that it should remain in his own {i.e. Chronos’} keeping. (32) So this younger son, the sensible Cosmos set in motion, brought that entity we call Time to the brightness of it’s rising.

First Power: Father/Craftsman/Demiurge, Guardian of the All-Cosmos.
Second Power (First Son): First Chronos, Administrator of Intelligible Cosmos.
Third Power (Second Son): Second Chronos, Master of Perceptible Cosmos.
Fourth Power: Manifest/Material Reality/Actual Time, Sunrise/Sunset, etc.
Suppose Philo's allegorizing involves a pre-existent schemata (or rationalizing adapting multiple schema?) of Time-Lords. At issue is the God(s) of Time (Kronos), His lineage, the division of His Powers, etc. And if this can be traced to a one or more folklore(s), somewhere, whose? Obviously, I haven’t seen this defined before.

In Nonnus' Dionysiaca (40.366–580), Tyre has a Temple of Heracles Astrochiton (Son of Zeus and Asteria?) identified with the Sun-God Helios. Helios would be the mundane driver of 'Manifest Reality', the Fourth Power. Heracles-Astrochiton (the celestial form of Heracles-Melqart) is presumably the 2nd Son, the Third Power.

This should be especially confirmed if a Kronos/El can be identified (as a Son of Ouranos and/or Father of Melqart). So we need to identify both the 1st and 2nd Powers.

Presumably, Zeus Ouranios should be the 1st God/Power, see G.F. Hill The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Vol. 31 (1911), pp.56-64
p.59: “At Byblos - where dedications attest the worship of Zeus Ouranios and Thea Ourania - Egyptian influence was strong, and Astarte, or Baalat-Gebal was inextricably confused with Isis. It would take us too far afield to go into this contamination. But the {Byblos} coins are of some interest as showing certain details of the temple or temples of the goddess...”

p.61: “At Tyre the marine Heracles-Melqart had a celestial counter-part as Heracles-Astrochiton, and each had a consort.” “At Tyre the chief god was Melqart, whom the Greeks called Heracles. One hears of a Temple of Zeus Olympios {formerly Ba‘alshamin, c.1000 BC} there; but what is more interesting and important is the bare mention of the fact that Heracles was known and had a temple as Heracles of the Starry Robe (astrochiton). Thus we have a celestial Melqart; but the Melqart on the coins, especially on the earlier coins, is a maritime Heracles (riding-over the waves on a hippocamp, and armed with a bow. In the Hellenistic age, Melqart is watered down into a mere Heracles with lion-skin knotted round his neck.) Here then are the pair of Melqarts, Lords of the Sky and Sea. For the consort of one of them there is the marine Astarte in the usual conventional form; but just as the record of the Heracles Astrochiton is obscure, so we have some difficulty in finding the celestial Astarte on the coins. Still, we are told in legend that Astarte actually picked up and consecrated in a Tyrian shrine {as a Baetyl: worshiped meteorite}…”

So Philo B. (‘Sanchuniathon’) has merely lifted/garbled elements of the well-known Ouranios and Gaia myth (12 Sons, 6 Daughters, Kronos is the 5th Son who castrates Ouranios w/ adamantine sickle, whose blood falls to Earth as a curse, etc.). Most importantly, I think: this is Greek folklore, not Phoenician. Furthermore, Ouranios a gigantic, star-spangled man is an Egyptian image; in Roman times, O. is called Aion {Aeon} who supports the Zodiac, etc. Astarte/Ashtoreth/Aphrodite, also Uni/Juno Regina. Numismatic evidence confirms an Adonis/Astarte cult (cones, horns = phallic symbolism?) and the Temple of the Obelisks are all curiously missing in ‘Sanchuniathon’.

The coin people tell us https://www.cointalk.com/threads/zeus-o ... eus.354921: “The epithet Ouranios (‘of Heaven’) indicates Zeus as ruler of the heavens. The star and crescent probably represent the Sun and Moon. According to Zahle, Religious Motifs on Seleucid Coins, Zeus Ouranios is a new Hellenistic creation and he testifies to the advanced syncretism of the late 2nd and early 1st century BC.”

There is ALSO numismatic evidence of Kronos/El, who I would suppose is the 2nd God/Power and the First Son:

(1) Fig. 82. Depiction of the coin of Antiochos IV Epiphanes.

Sanchuniathon describes the deity Kronos-El: “But before these things the god {Thoth}, having portrayed Ouranos, represented also the face of gods Kronos and Dagan, and sacred characters of the Elements. He also designed for Kronos the ensign of his royal power, having four eyes in his forehead and two at the back, two closed as asleep; and upon his shoulders four wings: two active, flying and two reposing, at rest. And the symbol was, that Kronos whilst he slept was watching, and reposed whilst he was awake. And in like manner, with respect to the wings, that he was flying whilst he rested, yet rested whilst he flew. But for the other gods there were two wings only to each upon his shoulders, to intimate that they flew under the control of Kronos; and there were also two wings upon the head, the one as a symbol of the intellectual part, the mind, and the other for the senses."

Kronos-El is the 2nd Power/First Son here.

First Power: Father ............................. Ouranos ('Thoth/Hermes') ...................... El Elyon
Second Power: First Son ....................... Kronos/El = Yahweh ............................. El Olam
Third Power: Second Son ...................... Herakles-Astrochiton: Celestial Melqart ..... El Shaddai ?
Fourth Power: Manifest Reality, etc. ........ Helios: The Charioteer of the Sun
........... Helios*?

* There is ample evidence of a 'Helios-type' god portrayed in +5 synagogues uncovered by archaeologists. This god has never been identified - studies simply call this figure 'Sol Invictus' or 'Helios'. What was the god's Jewish name? Among candidates to consider, perhaps something related to Jupiter Heliopolitanus/IOMH/Zeus Megistos Heliopolites (kyrios, angelus, etc.)

“But before these things the god {Thoth}, having portrayed Ouranos, represented also the face of gods Kronos and Dagan ..." I read that as: Thoth is Baʿal, in whatever older superior iterations of the deity. But this would be a fairly recent schemata, not earlier than 200 BC, and Philo Judaeus has hidden the pagan gods well. We may wonder why and if other clues in Quod Deus Sit Immutabilis show that work directed at a Judaic Byblos audience in particular.

The Ophites were Phoenician (Lebanese)! And this (Proto-)Gnosticizing was well in evidence, at least 75 years before the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed - where Philo Judaeus is responding in Quod Deus Sit Immutabilis 30ff to a then well-known Phoenician folklore, c.25 AD.
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Re: God as Chronos in Philo, Quod Deus Sit Immutabilis 30ff

Post by yakovzutolmai »

The four powers, in this context, seem pretty straightforward.

1st - God principle/Monad
2d - First power of heaven
3d - Second power heaven
4th - Manifest reality

Even Akhenaten described the Sun as merely God's body.

I continue to favor my hypothesis of Chronos/El as a tripartite god. Adonis/Ieoud (Youth) - Zeus (Kaisos)/Hadad (Maturity) - Cronos/Yam (Decay). Even Hermes Trismegistus has this form.

Nevertheless, while this might be the origin of Jewish mystical forms, we should probably assume that by Philo's time there was only a tenuous identification with past form. I'd like to identify Canaanite mysticism as the origin of Jewish theology, but whatever happened in the eleventh and tenth century BC, we know the result.

Philo is probably using the two powers in heaven concept, which is an area of great debate.

Adam Kadmon and the second Adam. Yahweh and Metatron. It seems even the Jews are debating whether Yahweh is actually the first power in heaven or not. I would assume they had some oral traditions, syncretic context (that is, Phoenicians had better memory back then and could be consulted), and even texts that inform their debate. So, they are somewhat aware of how the Baal Cycle speaks toward the identity of Metatron, even if they aren't seeing it that way.

To answer this question, we probably have to have a much better understanding of what Babylonian Jews were doing with the two powers of heaven, then how an Egyptian-Hermetic perspective would have interpreted that.

In Babylon, they're taking these two stages of Cronos - Yam and Hadad - and organizing them by a Zoroastrian scheme. A King of Kings and a regent. There's also a late Syrian model which sees a similar concept out of Egypt which organizes divine powers into Triads which are able to represent elemental or philosophical principles. Hadad becomes King Helios, and the Triad becomes almost a trinity that makes all other divinities obsolete. This Syrian system (which led to Neoplatonism) is competing with Jewish mysticism. Hadad the regent (Metatron), is supplanting Yahweh as the one true god. Reinterpreted through Greek forms, Yahweh is the Gnostic demiurge. The third power is sent by the first power to overthrow the usurping second power.

Philo appears to apply a Greek solution, in which the hierarchy represents an idealized regulation of powers. The presence of two powers in heaven suggests two substrates of existence sandwiched between manifest reality and Monad. This is what Philo's trying to do.
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