Who is 'El' in the Semitic Pantheon (in Coastal Egypt), c.400-300 BC?

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
Post Reply
User avatar
billd89
Posts: 519
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:27 pm
Location: New England, USA

Who is 'El' in the Semitic Pantheon (in Coastal Egypt), c.400-300 BC?

Post by billd89 »

"Eloi is the Hebrew God; El Saturnus, the Phoenician El, Kronos." - Samuel Fales Dunlap, The Ghebers of Hebron [1894], p.54.

Dunlap is like G.Massey, rather dubious but not always wrong. This point seems valid, regardless of the OT, but here Dunlap is paraphrasing Philo of Byblos (c.125 AD), who claimed to have used 'ancient' Thoth books received from a Jewish priest (!!!) and which describe some curiously Semitic historical aspects of the local Phoenician religion. I'm daring to date, from internal evidence, the key 'Phoenician' deities in Philo B. to c.150-50 BC.

As a counter-point, the thoroughly Hellenic Lucian of Samosata - who had no obvious interest in Jews AND who had been initiated in the local Adonis cult of Byblos - ignored this Semitic history altogether. Philo of Byblos had a different orientation and purpose: I suspect it's actually a kind of guide-book for Jews fleeing Alexandrian/Egyptian persecution (c.115 AD) and settling in a more tolerant city (Byblos), in what's now Lebanon.

What's really quite interesting, I think, is that tacit connection to the Alexandrian Diaspora Jews. An earlier support, Kronos is mentioned as 'God' in three or four Powers by Philo Judaeus (c.25 AD) a century before. This is no coincidence, because the connection of Egypt to Byblos was ancient and still strong (again: confirmed by Lucian's claim the local god Adon was worshipped as Osiris by some Byblians) when Philo Judaeus wrote. So Philo J. is addressing an Allegorist topic of interest to a cosmopolitan synagogue, 'How Does our Jewish God Relate to the Hellenistic Kronos Concept?' two or three generations before Philo B. (although Philo B.s source-material was probably contemporaneous w/ the Alexandrian.)

The question then is who was 'El' - the Phoenician Semitic God - in Egyptian Rhakotis and Pharos before Alexander, c.400-300 BC, before the Ptolemies arrived? I'm looking for that god's Egyptian Name (or Concept equivalent), perhaps not Greek, among Phoenician 'Jews' or indigenous Semitic coastal/Delta peoples in Egypt.

Citing a variety of sources, Eusebius of Caesarea (315 km south: ~4.25 days' sail) grappled with the identity of these Byblian/Phoenician gods - which one substituted for another, the order replacement, etc. Hypothetically, but narrowly following Sanchuniathon, Phoenician 'El' (c.700-500 BC) is the proto-Jewish/Semitic 'El' in the OT, who becomes 'El-Kronos' (c.500-200 BC) in Philo B's god-lineage. This is either a) not Yahweh, or b) the name 'Yahweh' has been suppressed at that time; herein lies the question, debate, etc.

1) Philo B. mentions the solar god Baalshamin, a deity well-established in Syria and Northern Phoenicia c.1000 BC, the Romans (re-)built a Temple of Baalshamin in Palmyra, Syria c.125 BC-125 AD: archaeological evidence proves this. However, Baalshamin (Egyptian Re) disappears from the Philo B. narrative early on.This is logical: 'Baalshamin' fits a Chaldaean tradition (i.e. Baal), already long-defeated and anathematized by Mosaicized Egyptian Jews and therefore forbidden. Philo of Byblos wants to present a different tradition, one of Semitic Phoenicians, received from a local Jewish priest. However, if Phoenician Zeus Demarus??/Adodos is a hidden form of Baal Hadad, this conflation looks anachronistic. Chronologically (known), Baalshamin must follow 'Baal Hadad'. Furthermore, by the OT 'Baal' (in whatever form) is certainly an opponent of Yahweh c.300 BC, whereas Hellenizing any controversial Semitic High God as 'Zeus' was deemed neutral. (Egyptian Baal=Seth would be a likely candidate, but nothing in Philo B. suggests that option; this also pushes the cosmogony later than a Seth-Typhon or Seth-Baal mythos, not earlier.) These assumed/estimated dates become very helpful, narrowing the range to which we must focus, if Philo B. has credible source-material.

Scholars have sought in vain for any confirmation of Philo B's mysterious 'Zeus Demarus'/Adodos (c.300 BC - 100 AD), but Baal-Tamar is one intriguing suggestion (Sayce, 1907). 'Baaltamar' as the material Form of god, a 'Master of the (Date) Palms', transposed as 'Zeus Demarus',would be the cult Philo B. recommends. Baaltamar interpreted as the Phoenix (i.e. Phoenicia) also fits neatly (correct?); Phoenician Semites. They (priests of Ieoud?) presumably still practice circumcision in Phoenicia; they are (Zeus Demarus' = Ieoud?) also religious syncretists, and presumably shared 'Books of Thoth' (i.e. Judeo-Phoenician and Judeo-Egyptian religious history) with Philo B. Therefore, Zeus Demarus = Baal-Tamar would establish a defensible Judeo-Phoenician correspondence, c.300 BC-100 AD.

Uncorroborated but on point, 1843:
The term ‘pillar’ was used in a way similar to corner-stone. See Galatians 2:9 Under “Rome” {British Magazine} Vol.24, p. 176, I showed that Jupiter Ruminus {Nourishing Zeus; Ruminal Fig = Ficus Ruminalis} was Rimmon {Syrian god?}, and I connected Jupiter Tigillus with Syriac dikla. Rimmon signifies a pomegranate both in Syriac and Hebrew, and we consequently find Rimmon {Rummanah?}, Hadad Rimmon {Hadad of the Figs?}, in Scripture; but for the Syriac dikla, a palm-tree, the Hebrew has a distinct term, tamar. In the Hebrew Scriptures, therefore, we meet with the idol Baal-Tamar, (Judges 20:33) but not with the term dikla. Hence, Baal Rimmon and Baal-Tamar were eastern titles of Jupiter Ruminus and Jupiter Tigillus… The particular attribute intended by Tigillus may be inferred from the Hebrew tamar, which signifies both a pillar and a palm-tree; and Herodotus mentions an Egyptian temple of which the pillars were formed like palm-trees, (2.169). St. Augustine seems to describe a pillar when he says that Jupiter was called Tigillus because, like a tigillus, he held together and sustained the world: quod tanquam tigillus mundum contineret ac sustineret (St. Augustine, City of God, Book 7.11). Sanchoniatho, in Eusebius, mentions the Phoenician god Zeus Aroterios, the son of Ouranos, (Præparatio Evangelica 1.10) Dagon, surnamed Zeus Demarous, is … Baal-Tamar, or Jupiter Tigillus. ---- Bedford, W. B. WINNING

Furthermore, Zeus Demarus = Baal-Tamar = Jupiter Tigillus would establish a known Latin correspondence c.150 BC. That hasn't resolved the Coastal Egypt 'El' question two centuries earlier, unfortunately.

If 'Baal-Tamar' is a sanctuary of Baal, a garden of Eden, where the Palm is considered 'the Tree of Life'/Yggdrasill-tree, the Judeo-Egyptian myth must be c.500-300 BC at the latest. The Latin name for the god who upholds the Sky - 'Jupiter Tigillus' (c.150 BC?) - would be equivalent to the Egyptian god Shu (c.1100 BC), son of Atum. This anachronistic Egyptian formula seems unlikely, however. An ancient lineage would complete as 1) Atum 2) Shu 3) Geb 4) Osiris 4) Horus, but at some later point - in the Egyptian New Kingdom - it was reduced to 1) Osiris-Sah 2) Horus-Sopdu, perhaps. Augustine c.425 AD isnt supported by other sources, but he was looking at material dated before c.100 BC (if proximate references to Quintus Valerius Soranus are relevant) and Plutarch reports multiple and contrary old Osiris myths, c.100 AD.

If we admit the lineage (again, citing the order Philo Judaeus, writing c.25 AD but on older concepts):
1. Baalshamin/Ouranos (El #1) ........... Kronos #1
2. El-Kronos (El #2) ......................... Kronos #2, assisted by Phoenician Taauthos/ Egyptian Thoth
3. Zeus Demarus/Baal-Tamar ............. Kronos #3

then Phoenician Deity #3 (c.250 BC-150 BC) should correspond to Jewish Yahweh (c.300 BC), as Second God after El-Elyon but also 'Son of the Demiurge' and 'Second Son of the Most High God'. This - if true - would confirm both a Judeo-Phoenician and Judeo-Egyptian Father-Demiurge-(Adopted) Son formula which pre-dates the euhumerized Jesus Christ by several centuries.

Another known, competing Phoenician deity must be examined, compared:
2) Adonis the local Phoenician deity is well-attested by many sources; on this god Philo B. is notably silent, however. Adon is probably a competitor w/ the El-Kronos lineage. Why? As Osiris (by c.500 BC?) if not Serapis (c.150 BC?), Semitic A. a) is 'Lord' and 'Master' but IS NOT the 'Most High God' (i.e. Zeus/El), b) A. is not mentioned or recommended by Philo B., c) A. does not have a circumcision ritual reported (presumably, Lucian would have noted his own circumcision, since he was so initiated!), d) classical Greek myth has Adonis euhemerized; Apollo (competitor/murderer) is the son of Zeus, etc. Adon doesn't work as Supreme Zeus, but I should like to see evidence that contradicts this Phoenician formula, anyway.

The Biblical story of Tamar-'Palm-tree' (Gen 38:12-30) has quasi-incestuous elements which definitely recall the (Byblos) Adonis myth of king Cinyras and his daughter Myrrha, begetting Adon (the Dying and Reborn God-Child). Amongst the Carthaginians, Adon is the son of Phoenix (c.800 BC), etc.; note the above.

The substance of the 'Sanchuniathon' myth, supposedly 'Phoenician', involves Jewish and Egyptian elements which have been Hellenized. Taauthos (Thoth) is claimed as the source - perhaps (Judeo-)Egyptian, but supposedly Phoenician. Semitic Elyon (hypothetically: c.800-600 BC) 'El' begets Ouranos (Hesiod's myth: a Greek adaptation, therefore later) who may be another Sky God, uncertain. 'Zeus Ouranios' begets Kronos: 'El-Kronos' who replaces whichever god preceded but retains the 'El' - a back-&-forth contest between rival religions? Then the El-Kronos Myth introduces Egyptian Hermes Trismegistus, NOT Thoth (c.250 BC). If not a late inclusion, Hermes' arrival dates this approximately: Judeo-Phoenician 'El-Kronos' supported by a foreign (Judeo-)Egyptian 'Hermes Trismegistus' AFTER 200 BC is the only possibility.

What is interesting in this lineage is the incidence of two Kronos characters, since we know (from Manetho, c.250 BC) there were three Thoths at the beginning of the Ptolemaic Period. In Egypt, Thoth #2 (c.500?-250 BC) is identified as Agathodaimon, the Great Serpent. Philo B. records that Thoth taught the 'Egyptians' (i.e. Judeo-Egyptians) to worship snakes, which situates his myth in pre-Ptolemaic Egypt (Thoth #2) and would incorporate part of the OT Jewish Moses myth also. Presumably, Moses' god 'El Shaddai' transforms into Yahweh c.500-300 BC. (If 'Yahweh' is Sopdu, following Völter, then 'El' should be Thoth #1, or Osiris-Sah; Moses would then be Hermes Trismegistos.) However, the Third Thoth (Hermes Trismegistos, c.275 BC) is not equal to 'El-Kronos' nor is he a son. In Philo B. (Myth: c.200-100 BC?), 'Hermes Trismegistus' is a foreign helper of El-Kronos, God #2. Hermes/Thoth as the helper of Egyptian Osiris still fits here, but Philo B's 'old Thoth books' must predate the Corpus Hermeticum by ~100 years or so. Likewise, there's no hint of 1st C BC Jewish Gnosticism or 1st C. AD theurgic Hermeticism, so Philo B's core-material is therefore most probably older (well before c.50 BC).

That is the best resolution I can offer, now. I am revising what I began working on awhile back:
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. ... The whole occurrence is miraculous. It occurs every year, and it came to pass while I was myself in Byblos... in that city.

Regarding the later Gnostic expression (c.75-150 AD), Ialdabaoth is a mixture of Saturn, Yahweh, Kronos, and Baal/Bel.

Link:
Ialdabaoth himself is also sometimes called by two additional names, ... Phoenician) lion-headed Baal-Kronos as a possible source for Ialdabaoth's form.

Last edited by billd89 on Mon Apr 04, 2022 6:07 pm, edited 29 times in total.
Ethan
Posts: 936
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:15 pm
Location: England
Contact:

Re: Who is 'El' in the Semitic Pantheon, c.400-300 BC?

Post by Ethan »

The first verse of Homer's Iliad reads "Sing, O Goddess" (μηνιν αειδε θεα) and similar to Genesis 1:1 "the God created" (אלהים ברא).

Thus one could say, "Who is Theos in the Greek Pantheon" because El and Theos are interchangeable..
User avatar
billd89
Posts: 519
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:27 pm
Location: New England, USA

Can you unpack this?

Post by billd89 »

Ethan wrote: Sun Apr 03, 2022 5:41 am The first verse of Homer's Iliad reads "Sing, O Goddess" (μηνιν αειδε θεα) and similar to Genesis 1:1 "the God created" (אלהים ברא).

Thus one could say, "Who is Theos in the Greek Pantheon" because El and Theos are interchangeable.
I'm not following what you mean. Can you explain, detail?
User avatar
billd89
Posts: 519
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:27 pm
Location: New England, USA

Excellent Background on 1st C. BC Phoenician Theology

Post by billd89 »

I am particularly interested in the Great Serpent cult at Alexandria and in the Delta also, among the coastal Semites. In Philo of Byblos, Thoth introduces Agathodaimon worship: this must have occurred long after animal worship began, but well before the OT stories c.300 BC. Any 'Judaic' involvement in an Egyptian Great Serpent Cult would therefore date far before our earliest descriptions of Judeo-Egyptian life.

A general discussion may provide background. See Aaron P. Johnson, Ethnicity and Argument in Eusebius' Praeparatio Evangelica [2006], pp.69-76:

{p.69} Euhemeristic and astral elements are equally present in the origins of Phoenician theology.63 In the fragment at 1.10.7, the first mortals who will become divinized for their benefaction to humanity also worship the sun, ‘for they regard the lord of heaven alone as god, calling him Baalshamin, which is among the Phoenicians 'Lord of Heaven', but among the Greeks 'Zeus'’. The solar theology and the euhemerism need not be mutually exclusive.64 The sun, moon and other heavenly phenomena {p.70} are first principles (arche) and are not the focus of euhemerist theories; rather, it is the myths of ‘gods, male and female’ and their names that are ascribed to human origins in euhemeristic interpretations.65

The astral theology is in fact the subject of the first fragments of Sanchouniathon’s history, which Eusebius cites from Philo B. in 1.10.1–6.66 The first principles, he says, were Air and Chaos.67 When Wind fell in love with these principles, Mot was produced,68 from whom animals and the heavenly elements were created. .... The entrance of Elyon (called the ‘Most High’, Hupsistos)76 and his wife Beryth, who both dwell in ancient Byblos, marks the beginning of {p.71} what J. Barr has aptly called the ‘theogony’ for its obvious parallels with the eponymous work by Hesiod. This couple and their family enact a story that sounds remarkably similar to Greek myths (even the names are the same).77 Ouranos and Gaia were born from this pair, and then deified their father, Elyon, after he was killed by wild animals. Ouranos married his sister and had numerous children by her, most notably Kronos.78 Kronos drove his father from power and founded the first city—none other than Byblos in Phoenicia. ...

The story of the offspring of Elyon and Beryth notes the benefactions to humanity on the part of its characters, even while relating the scandals and strife of the reigns of Ouranos and Kronos. Importantly, it also forges connections to traditional Greek mythology. By providing Phoenician names and slight alterations to otherwise well-known episodes of Greek mythology, Philo effectively claims the stories for the Phoenicians. In effect, Philo is saying: ‘What you Greeks thought was yours, is really ours.’ It is good to keep in mind the remarks already quoted above, that the Greeks originally borrowed Phoenician stories and dressed them in tragic style: ‘making adaptations to them, they conquered and drove out the truth’.82 ...

63 See J. Sirinelli and E. Des Places, Eusèbe de Césarée. La Préparation évangélique, 309–10.
64 Diodorus’ introduction to the fragment of Euhemerus in his lost sixth book says as much: ‘With regard then to gods the ancient humans have handed down two notions to later generations.’ First, the astral deities, ‘for each of these has an eternal generation and persistence’. Second were ‘earthly (epigeious) deities, having obtained immortal honour and glory through their benefactions to humanity, such as Heracles, Dionysus, Aristaeus, and the other similar ones’ (ap. PE 2.2.53). See also, Brown, ‘Euhemerus and the Historians’, 263.
65 See PE 1.9.16. Throughout the passages cited from the Phoenician History, Philo will indiscriminately refer to the characters of the story as men/women and as gods/goddesses.
66 Barr, ‘Philo of Byblos and his ‘‘Phoenician History’’ ’, 22–3, labels this section of Philo’s narrative the ‘cosmogony’ for obvious reasons.
67 Edwards, ‘Philo or Sanchuniathon? A Phoenician Cosmogony’, 218, sees this element of the cosmogony as parallel to Gnostic formulations and hence another indication of its Hellenistic milieu.
68 On Mot as an ancient Ugaritic daemon, see Baumgarten, The Phoenician History of Philo of Byblos, pp.111–12. Alternatively, Barr, ‘Philo of Byblos and his ‘‘Phoenician History’’ ’, 23 n. 2, asserts the possibility of a connection to the Hebrew for ‘heavenly lights’.
...
76 Barr, ‘Philo of Byblos and his ‘‘Phoenician History’’ ’, 53, draws the connection to El Elyon of the Old Testament, though no equivalent has yet been found at Ugarit.
77 PE 1.10.14–29. Barr, ‘Philo of Byblos and his ‘‘Phoenician History’’ ’, 25. He adds: ‘Philo does not call it by this name, but it is closely parallel to such theogonies as that of Hesiod, and modern scholars will regard it as a theogony even if Philo himself did not.’ Barr provides a table of the genealogy of this section on page 64.
78 For parallels to a Kronos, son of Ouranos and Gaia, in Sibylline Oracles 3.110V, see Barr, ‘Philo of Byblos and his ‘‘Phoenician History’’ ’, 60.
79 The story is repeated later with additional details, such as the son’s name, Ieud {leoud} (1.10.44).
80 PE 1.10.21–9. 81 I provide the Greek equivalent given by Philo himself, both here, with respect to Dagon, and with the other names for which Philo has offered the Greek equivalent. 82 PE 1.10.40. See Baumgarten, The Phoenician History of Philo of Byblos, 236–7.


{p.72} In addition to the history of the founders of Phoenician customs and religious practices, Philo offers an account of the Phoenician origins of the deification of animals (specifically the serpent). According to Philo’s Phoenician History, Taautos was the first to introduce the notion that serpents were divine, albeit from an allegorizing theological standpoint.83 Because the serpent is especially full of breath and fiery, and also because of its swiftness, ability to take on any shape, and immortality, this animal had been divinized by the Phoenicians and called the Agathodaimon. Philo84 summarizes: ‘Everyone gave physical explanations [of the serpent god], taking their impulse from Taautos . . . and having built temples, they consecrated in the shrines the primary elements represented by serpents, and performed festivals, sacrifices and mysteries to them, considering them the greatest gods and the founders (archegous) of all things.’85 This account of the Phoenician divinization of the serpent will find a parallel later in the report on Egyptian animal worship that Eusebius cites from Diodorus. In each case, Eusebius has had to draw on later material from the respective author, Philo or Diodorus,86 in order to include their descriptions of the animal worship of the two nations. Hence, the inclusion of such material should not be taken as a failure on Eusebius’ part to end a quotation once it has got going, but rather as a conscious decision to include material that is significant for his apologetic purposes. In this case, he can capitalize on the superstitious and impious elements of Phoenician and Egyptian national character as it is embodied in the historical cult practices. Eusebius has crafted the narrative, even by employing their ‘native’ sources, to emphasize this aspect of their national character. [...]

83 PE 1.10.46–8.
84 I am following the suggestion of Mras, Eusebius Werke VIII. Die Praeparatio Evangelica, in the apparatus criticus of his edition (ad loc.), that the sentence here given is still part of Philo’s fr. 9 Muller, even though Muller ends the quotation just before, at 1.10.52. Jacoby, fr. 4 follows Mras. Baumgarten’s commentary (The Phoenician History of Philo of Byblos, 259) neglects the issue.
85 PE 1.10.53.
86 Eusebius adds Philo’s discussion of Phoenician serpent divinization after giving a citation from an entirely different work of Philo (On the Jews) at 1.42–44; in the case of Diodorus, Eusebius will jump in his citations from 1.27 to 1.86 of the Bibliotheke in order to obtain a record of Egyptian animal worship.
{p.73}


{p.74} The Egyptians:

While no sustained treatment of the subject was offered, Philo had given hints in his narrative of a direct borrowing of features of Phoenician theology by the Egyptians. Taautos, a Phoenician, had given the Egyptians the knowledge of letters. He was known by them as Thouth, or by the Alexandrians as Thoth, and by the Greeks as Hermes.87 Kronos had given Egypt to Taautos as his kingdom.88 The latter had also instituted the deification and veneration of the serpent.89 Philo had claimed that Egyptians adopted the Phoenicians’ own theta-like symbol of the deified serpent, the Agathodaimon, to represent the cosmos.90 Apart from these brief statements in Philo, the possible connection of Phoenicia and Egypt is never made explicit by Eusebius himself. As will be discussed later, the exact relationship between these two nations matters little to Eusebius. For him, the primary emphasis must be on the Greeks’ dependence upon both of them (regardless of which came first or borrowed from the other). As Eusebius moves into this second phase of his narrative of descent, he allows Diodorus’ statements that the first humans were Egyptians to stand without comment alongside the earlier claims of Philo for Phoenician chronological primacy. Eusebius’ concern in his citations from Diodorus91 on the Egyptians is primarily to describe the character of the early Egyptians and of their way of life and theology. Hence, as with the Phoenician stories, it matters a great deal that the figures of the story are human founding fathers and not allegorical representations of physical phenomena. Diodorus begins: ‘Accordingly the Egyptians say that the first humans arose in Egypt during the first creation of the universe because of the {p.75} temperate climate and the nature of the Nile.’92 These first Egyptians worshipped mortal humans as gods, and ‘they attained immortality because of their wisdom and public benefits to mankind’.93 Some said Helios was the first king of Egypt, who also gave his name to a star; but others claimed that Hephaestus ruled first, since he was the discoverer of fire.94 Kronos (or Osiris, according to others) ruled next, marrying his sister Rhea (or Isis). From this couple were born Osiris ( ¼ Dionysus), Isis ( ¼ Demeter), Typhon, Apollo, and Aphrodite. Osiris succeeded to the throne of his father (Kronos) and ‘did many things for the benefaction of the populace’.95 His accomplishments were religious and agricultural: first, he founded a temple dedicated to his parents, Zeus and Hera,96 as well as other temples of gold to the other gods, especially Hermes; secondly, he discovered the vine and the art of farming. After becoming the founder of Egyptian Thebes,97 Osiris travelled over the whole world and founded numerous other cities. In Phoenicia he founded Busiris,98 in Ethiopia and Libya he founded Antaios, in India he founded ‘not a few cities’.99 He went through Phrygia and into Europe, leaving one of his sons, Macedon, as king of Macedonia. He entrusted the arts of agriculture throughout Attica to Triptolemus. Diodorus remarks: ‘And when every nation received him as a god because of his benefactions, Osiris left behind markers of himself everywhere’ (2.1.12). His death by dismemberment and the subsequent retrieval of his body parts (except his membrum virile) by Isis was the basis for subsequent cult. [...]

87 PE 1.10.14.
88 PE 1.10.38.
89 PE 1.10.46.
90 PE 1.10.51.
91 On the highly problematic nature of Eusebius’ ‘quotations’ of Diodorus, see G. Bounoure, ‘Eusebe citateur de Diodore’, 435–8, who names Eusebius’ style of quoting Diodorus (as contrasted to the other authors quoted in the PE whose words we can verify by their extant writings) as ‘le style abreviatif ’ (438), and claims that his Diodoran citations show ‘the declining attention of the citationist and his growing indifference to details of the rationalist argumentation of the mythographer’ (436). Bounoure also provides a list of the passages cited and their order (or disorder in the PE 2), see nn. 11, 15. For Diodorus’ general attitude towards Egypt, see K. A. D. Smelik and E. A. Hemelrijk, ‘Who Knows Not What Monsters Demented Egypt Worships?’ ANRW 2.17.4 (1984), 1895–8.
92 PE 2.1.1.
93 PE 2.1.2.
94 PE 2.1.3.
95 PE 2.1.5.
96 The fact that there is a confusion of names here (since this Kronos/Osiris will have a son named Osiris, who will then establish temples to his parents, Zeus and Hera) need not concern us. Clearly there is a joining of separate traditions about Osiris here. What is significant for the purposes of the present analysis is how it functions within the larger narrative of descent that Eusebius is creating. This functional value of the episode of Osiris lies not in who Osiris’ parents were, but in the fact that he was offering divine honours to his mortal parents. And furthermore, these mortals were native to the land of Egypt, not Greece. Osiris was the founder of the Thebes in Egypt, not the Hellenic Thebes.
97 PE 2.1.6.
98 This sort of Egyptocentric account of the founding of cities in other regions by an Egyptian is, of course, an oppositional story to such accounts as are found in Philo of Byblos. A similar account (other than that of Herodotus’ second book), which greatly predates these Hellenistic renderings, may be found in an ancient attempt to establish kinship ties between Egypt and Phoenician Byblos: Rib-Abda, ruler of Byblos in 1370 BC, wrote to Pharaoh that Byblos was an Egyptian foundation (see J. Teixidor, The Pagan God: Popular Religion in the Ancient Near East [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977], 21). For such Hellenistic constructions, see Bickerman, ‘Origenes gentium’, 74V.
99 PE 2.1.9–13.

As with the Three Egyptian Thoths and Two Kronoses, there was an Egyptian tradition (c.55 BC) of Two Osirises. Diodorus did not have a good grasp of these gods, as scholars have long understood.

Diodorus Siculus 1.15.3:
Osiris, they add, also built a temple to his parents, Zeus and Hera, which was famous both for its size and its costliness in general, and two golden chapels to Zeus, the larger one to him as god of heaven, the smaller one to him as former king and father of the Egyptians, in which rôle he is called by some Ammon

Amun-Min/ Geb ....... (Zeus)
Mut/Nut? ............... (Hera)
Min-Hor/ Horus ....... (Osiris)
User avatar
ConfusedEnoch
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:39 am

Re: Who is 'El' in the Semitic Pantheon (in Coastal Egypt), c.400-300 BC?

Post by ConfusedEnoch »

[Ri]b Hadda says to his lord, king of all countries, Great King: May the Lady of Gubla grant power to my lord. I fall at the feet of my lord, my Sun, 7 times and 7 times. May the king, my lord, know that Gubla (ie: Byblos), the maidservant of the king from ancient times, is safe and sound. The war, however, of the Apiru against me is severe. (Our) sons and daughters and the furnishings of the houses are gone, since they have been sold [in] the land of Yarimuta for our provisions to keep us alive. "For the lack of a cultivator, my field is like a woman without a husband." I have written repeatedly to the palace because of the illness afflicting me, [but there is no one] who has looked at the words that keep arriving. May the king give heed [to] the words of [his] servant... ...The Apiru killed Ad[una the king] of Irqata-(Arqa), but there was no one who said anything to Abdi-Ashirta, and so they go on taking (territory for themselves). Miya, the ruler of Arašni, seized Ar[d]ata, and just now the men of Ammiy<a> have killed their lord. I am afraid. May the king be informed that the king of Hatti has seized all the countries that were vassals of the king of Mitan<ni>...Send arc[hers]!
Last edited by ConfusedEnoch on Tue Apr 05, 2022 4:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
ConfusedEnoch
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:39 am

Re: Who is 'El' in the Semitic Pantheon (in Coastal Egypt), c.400-300 BC?

Post by ConfusedEnoch »

To the king, [my] lo[rd, my Sun]: Message of Ili-ra[pih, your servant]; message of Gu(b)la, [your maidservant. I fall at] the feet of the lord, the Sun, 7 times and [7 times]. Do not neglec[t Gu-la, your city and the city of [your] ancesto[rs] from most ancient times. Moreover, behold Gu-la! Just as Hikuptah, so is Gu-la to the king, my lord. Do not neglect the delicts of a serva[nt], for he acted as he pleased in the lands of the king-(i.e. the "king's" brother: Rib-Hadda). Here is the crime that Aziru ... against the king: [he kill]ed the king of Ammiya, and [the king of E]ldata-(Ardata), and the king of Ir(qata)-(="King Aduna"), [and a co]mmissioner of the king, my lord. He also broke into Sumur.
[And indeed] he is now intent on [committing] a cri(me) against the king. Moreover, ... ...May the king (my) lord, know am his loyal servant. And so let him send a garrison to his city—30 to 50 men— as far as Gubla. The king is to take (n)o account of whatever Aziru sends him. Where were the things that he sends coveted? It is property belonging to a royal whom he has killed that he sends to you. Look, Aziru is a reb(el) against the king, my lord. -EA 139, lines 1- 40 (complete, but major lacuna: lines 20-28)
Last edited by ConfusedEnoch on Tue Apr 05, 2022 4:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
ConfusedEnoch
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:39 am

Re: Who is 'El' in the Semitic Pantheon (in Coastal Egypt), c.400-300 BC?

Post by ConfusedEnoch »

There is a clear development between the Titanic Gods of old and the newer wave of quasi-euhemeristic Olympians, in both Greek and Levantine mythologies.

"Zeus" as a name is akin to Ba'al in that it's multifarious and couldn't possibly be understood as a proper name (or even a theonym).They have developed from the oldest Vedic Dyaus Pater (Zeus the Father) who is ironically almost identical to Kronos, not Zeus, and Yahweh himself who is clearly a distinct diety from Ba'al as shown in Sanchuniathon's genealogy as well as, and more importantly, in the Ugaritic Baal Cycle where Yahweh and Baal are seen as enemies fighting for the same position as "King of the World".

"El" is the same, although even the more modern references to the name retain a sort of archaic flavor. This is due to the universality of the name "El" to refer to the ultimate God of all Levantine and peninsular pantheons. The word "El" is found everywhere in pre-Islamic Arabia, especially in places where the name Yahweh became popular later on in Antiquity.

The concept of Baetylus also comes to mind, the House of El (Beth El) is universal in the Middle East. In Islam, whether or not its adherents believe it, the Ka'aba is clearly a nod to the black meteoric stone seen as the House of El. The name Allah being a contraction of Al Elah (The El) also comes to mind.
User avatar
ConfusedEnoch
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:39 am

Re: Who is 'El' in the Semitic Pantheon (in Coastal Egypt), c.400-300 BC?

Post by ConfusedEnoch »

Zeus was worshipped as Abellios in Scythia, and Philo's genealogy also calls him "Belus". Ba'al and Zeus are sons of El/Kronos, the ultimate God, and yet they have the names of an Ultimate God themselves. Zeus is called "The Father" when clearly he has one himself, whereas Kronos is more of a Titanic "power of nature" type of God.

This is all just proof of a sweeping wave of transformation that happened in the Late Iron Age as the Apolline wave of logic and philosophy made worshipping meteoric stones and force of nature less valuable compared to Ancestor/Euhemeristic idolatry. But it's also clear that this transformation was very slow and fragmented, because almost every civilization still has some remnants of much older rituals and traditions which would have been eradicated if the transition was as fast as Akhenaten's Atenism. For example, how come the word "Shemesh" refers to both the Sun (A symbol of Apollo/Zeus/Ba'al) and Saturn the Great Bull in the sky (planet of Kronos/El)?
User avatar
ConfusedEnoch
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:39 am

Re: Who is 'El' in the Semitic Pantheon (in Coastal Egypt), c.400-300 BC?

Post by ConfusedEnoch »

The inclusion of those two quotes by Rib-Hidda and his brother Illi-Rapih was done to show that the Apiru/Shasu who invaded from the East had their Yahweh come with them. Before the Iron Age, Yahweh was simply a son of El, part of the enormous pantheon of "Elohim" (A Hebraic term) and represented the serpentine river god Yamm who was worshipped almost exclusively in the Arabian peninsula by the nomadic cattle herder Shasu to whom water and rain were inherently divine

Slowly but surely, in Judea, Yamm/Yaw/Yahweh the "Monster" fought and won the battle against the Phoenician "Ba'al" (An almost identical image of storm/mountain god), whereas in Phoenicia it was Ba'al who fought the serpent and won. In either case, the Son replaced the Father and took control of almost all his functions.

The transition in Greece is a bit more complex but the story of Zeus and Typhoeus can also be analyzed. Again, the Minoans worshipped a sedentary agricultural bull-god similar to Kronos but the Myceneans started transitioning towards a more "human" hero figure when traveling across the seas.
User avatar
ConfusedEnoch
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:39 am

Re: Who is 'El' in the Semitic Pantheon, c.400-300 BC?

Post by ConfusedEnoch »

Ethan wrote: Sun Apr 03, 2022 5:41 am The first verse of Homer's Iliad reads "Sing, O Goddess" (μηνιν αειδε θεα) and similar to Genesis 1:1 "the God created" (אלהים ברא).

Thus one could say, "Who is Theos in the Greek Pantheon" because El and Theos are interchangeable..
Funnily enough, Theion as in "Divine" is also translated as "Brimstone" or "Fire". It also looks like the impersonal 'divinity' (theion) has a longer history than the personal, "Theos" god, in Greek writings.

It seems to me as though the word "Theos" itself derives from one of the many primitive forms of *deiwos meaning "Light", which works well with the idea that Zeus was originally a title of the Father God aka Kronos.
However, Wiktionary says this is wrong and gives an ultimate origin of *dʰéh₁s "To do, put up" which perhaps could be seen as form of creation? "Theos, the One who puts up"?
Post Reply