Abraham

gilius

Active Member
Dunno about you guys, but I find the writing style a bit difficult to comprehend. Can anyone provide a summary of the significant points relating to Abraham and how they relate to the oligarchs or overall context of the articles? It would be nice if these articles were more explicit, ie. the official story says this (1), but in reality this is what happened (2) and here's the evidence to support that (3).

I soon get lost reading this and trying to understand the significance or main points being raised in the context of propaganda:

"Abraham and his descendants are said to have curiously never learned their god’s ‘real’ name until Moses’ time. Instead in the relevant verse above, the god’s earlier (superseded?) name is rendered in Hebrew as bə·’êl šad·dāy. As is the case with the majority of English language bible translations, the translation at the link given above states that this means ‘as God Almighty’, leaving us with just ‘El’ as representing the former name of God himself. This ‘El’ is believed to be the Hebrew cognate of the most ancient proto-Semitic name of God, which also has direct cognates in ancient Ugaritic, Phoenician, and Akkadian. But also note, in this verse the complete word used for ‘God’ is bə·’êl, and how similar bə·’êl is to ba’al, the latter being a more local Canaanite or Phoenician deity.

As is well known, vowels were not used in the earliest Hebrew texts, and here we believe that these words may very well be identical generic nouns. And important to our wider Postflavian premise, just as even today, the English refer to their earls and dukes as Lord this or Lord that, then in those biblical days the names of the gods, such as El, Ba’al, and even Yahweh, were also titles applied to the human leaders of respective local communities and were also generically prefixed to the local and regional patron gods, e.g. Ba’al Hadad. This has the effect of placing the leader’s status and ear closer to his respective god, and thus to appear to the gullible to act as a voice for the god.

..."

Presumably this has something to do with the pantheon of gods that the Canaanites originally worshipped, based on discoveries at Ugarit, and the bible redactors have put a monotheistic filter on top of the polytheistic reality?
Does the author of the article agree with Ellis that Abraham was this Hyksos shepherd king of northern Egypt?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheshi
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Giles,

Sorry you had trouble with the article. We do have some difficulty organizing and concisely summarizing the information, and I guess it still shows. The material doesn't lend itself to organizing as you suggest, because generally we know very little about what really happened; so we can only comment about what the text itself says, and in what ways it looks like propaganda hiding a different reality. Only to a very limited extent can we look to archaeology as independent evidence to support our conclusions.

As to your specific questions:

(1) We aren't sure whether the Israelites were Hyksos, or whether Abraham was Sheshi. We invite the interested reader to draw their own conclusions if any. We have very little information about Sheshi, and that what information we do have about Abraham is likely to be wrong. That is, the story of Abraham appears to be largely mythical, written and then redacted long after the fact, with a political agenda.

To the extent that the OT gives specific data about Abraham, we can say that it seems to contradict Sheshi's data. There is no reason to think Sheshi was an itinerant merchant like Abraham, who undertook travels from Ur to Harran to Hebron, near Jerusalem, where he made his home base. Sheshi's capital was in Avaris, quite far to the south compared to Hebron. But such apparent contradictions can be reconciled: perhaps Sheshi had two capitals, and traveled between them. Perhaps he also had an embassy in Edessa. Perhaps Edessa is where his dynasty came from.

If Abraham was the Pharaoh, how could he have traveled to meet and talk to Pharaoh? Ellis suggests that Sheshi travelled to Tunis to meet the southern Pharaoh, but we don't know of any evidence to suggest that the real Hyksos pharaohs were systematically trying to extend their influence over all Egypt. On the other hand, we're not aware of evidence indicating they didn't, either.

Perhaps all of this could have, and should have, been said in the article?

(2) Regarding your "bad example" paragraphs - yes, this is related to the progress from polytheism to monotheism, and the activities of the redactors, but that's not the specific point we were making in those paragraphs. As to readability, let me try again:

______________

According to Exodus (6:3), Abraham did not even know that God's name was Yahweh. Instead, he was known to Abraham as bə·’êl šad·dāy, which is usually translated to mean "as God almighty." The word "El" is the name of the god. This "El" is believed to be the Hebrew form of the name of the most ancient proto-Semitic god. This name also has equivalent forms in ancient Ugaritic, Phoenician, and Akkadian.

But we are not sure that the syllable "ba" means 'as'. In the verse, bə·’êl appears to be a single word, which is very similar to ba'al, the Canaanite or Phoenician deity. As is well known, vowels were not used in the earliest Hebrew texts. So, in the original (now lost) ancient sources, the names bə·’êl and ba'al may have been one and the same.

Even today, the English refer to their earls and dukes as Lord this, or Lord that. Similarly, in Biblical days, these names of gods, such as El, Ba'al and even Yahweh, were used as titles applied to human leaders. Such generic names were also attached to the names of local and regional patron gods such as Ba'al Hadad. This places the leader's status and ear close to his god, even allowing him to speak (to the gullible) as a voice for the god.

__________________

Does that help? Flesch-Kincaid Readability Score: before, 56.7; after, 71.4. (Higher is more easily readable.) Grade level: before, 11; after, 8. "Text to be read by the general public should aim for a grade level of around 8." But, these computerized algorithms can't really measure clarity of thought & expression.

https://readability-score.com
 
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Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
Hi Gilius,

I too appreciate your concerns, and to address your first one, no one has ever accused me of being a good writer, especially my long ago English teachers. :(

This post all started out with seemingly rather modest goals in examining the rather brief narrative of Abraham, but after perusing our sources, ended up having all sorts of unanticipated tangled tentacles. (Perhaps this is proof of the Flying Spaghetti Monster's divine existence?) One of which is the Hyksos business and perhaps that should be considered as a follow up post. That said, it's starting to appear that our take on the Abraham topic could become a book in its own right, but our main intent here was more modest and to flesh out the rather glaring internal absurdities and oddities. For instance, prior to reading Cyrus H. Gordon's books I had never considered that Abraham (and his half-Hittite descendants) might be Hittite and therefore what this might mean. Gordon was a Jewish (not Mormon - sorry Robert Baird) professor at (the Jewish) Brandeis University BTW.

Now, my opinion is that the Hyksos business is closely related to the Hittite business of Abraham. And as you mention Sheshi, Ellis also makes the later respective identifications of David and Solomon with Tanis pharaohs Psusennes (I and/or II) and Sheshonq. Tanis does also meet the biblical bounds (for Israel) of being on the Nile. But Jerry and I will also be looking into evidence of yet another Solomonic character much further to the east, with perhaps some interesting support from Josephus and other contemporaneous historians. Perhaps such as Sheshonq's and this other's aspects get merged into the OT accounts? After all there were a dozen or so Josephan Jesi.

Jerry wanted me to address Abraham, and the rest of our OT analysis, in a rather linear chronological approach, but one quickly learns that there are simply too many forward and backwards references, both internal and external to the biblical text to make that completely possible. One problem, among many, is that most of the OT was heavily rejiggered (more than once) rather late, somewhere between the time that Necho (with God's support) is supposed to have killed Josiah (no good deed goes unpunished) and that of so-called Babylonian Exile period and just after. Therefore such as as our source materials are constantly drawing forward and backward references in time, as well as our adding our own conjectures to the mix.

As time permits I'll try to assemble a summary of pertinent items like you suggest, but in any case, we (or I) were hoping that the reader would compare the provided verses with what we wrote, and attempted to keep in approximate order. But then something seemingly simple grew beyond what had been anticipated.
 

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
Hi Richard and Jerry,

I love this analysis - I'll spread the woed
as far as the Egyptians and Hittites getting together
Tut's widow asked the Hittite king for a replacement husband
to do so must have meant some corroboration between the two empires (at least up to that point)
http://www.themuseum.ca/blog/unwrapping-secrets-ancient-egypt-mysteries-king-tut’s-death
Thanks Duane,

Yes, thanks for reminding about Tut's widow. We'll have to include that in any update.

My understanding is that Howard Carter found some rather interesting items in Tut's tomb, perhaps the most so being his ritual vestments. But, having never seen anything more than assertions, I don't know if this is true.

BTW, I'm going to take the opportunity here to ask Jerry to move all the Abraham post comments to a separate thread on the same category, so that people wont get confused between separate comments to the Intro post and this one.
 

gilius

Active Member
Yeah, perhaps this discussion would be more appropriate for continuation in a separate thread - but I wouldn't want to dwell on it too much or waste your time. I appreciate you guys taking the time in the first place to write these articles, bringing different threads of evidence together in creating a fresh perspective on the subject since Ellis. Firstly, I would say the comprehension is more my problem than your English/writing skills. Both your commands of the English language are far superior to mine, but this seems to be more a problem (perhaps only affecting me) of teaching methods and transmission of knowledge in an organised, meaningful, and contextual way. Contrary to the readability score, I doubt an editing framework even exists that could be applied to writing history. Logically, there seems to be 2 main approaches I am aware of: present separate strands then put them into context afterwards; or present an overview then drill down deeper. For example:

*Mark has 16 chapters. Luke has 24 chapters. Matthew has 28 chapters. John has 21 chapters. These 4 books form the canonical gospels of the New Testament in the Bible. The Bible is divided into the Old Testament and New Testament.
*The Bible is divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament. The New Testament includes 4 books known as the canonical gospels: Mark has 16 chapters; Luke has 24 chapters; Matthew has 28 chapters, and John has 21 chapters.

And depending on the level of significance for each point, there's a danger one might get lost and lose the main thread so to speak (the above might describe the types of ink used by scribes to write the bible but forget to mention God or Jesus). A good example would be in describing the biography of a Roman emperor, but then talking too much about generic Roman customs that could apply to any Roman emperor and not specific to the one in question; it then becomes like one Amazon reviewer stated "Instead of a real biography, it should rather be seen as a “life and times” of X".

Apologies if this is sounding like a rant, but I really am keen to connect to your brains and download the information that you present, in a way that is easily comprehendible. I guess I'll try re-reading the articles and come up with some closed questions for further clarification.

Thanks for sharing your views in relation to Ellis' re: Hyksos. I now have a better understanding of your stance/position in comparison to others.
 

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
In addition to Ellis, there is also the similar works of Osman, and then with a somewhat different focus there is the Sabbah brothers rather impressive demonstration for high level Egyptian input into Judaism, particularly the esoteric basis for the 'modern' Hebrew font. And then there is also Robert Feather's interesting work on the DSS Copper Scroll making a strong link to Amarna. And there are some others I can't bring to mind offhand. But Jerry and I will be discussing these in the Moses post. The important thing to keep in mind is so much of the OT narrative gets cobbled together between the time of king Josiah and the so-called Babylonian Exile period, so one-on-one identifications with specific individual pharaohs don't seem necessary to me, but rather that amalgamations of prior narratives are operative.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
So was it at all helpful to re-write the example paragraphs so as to get a better Flesch-Kincaid Readability Score? I thought the result of the exercise was an improvement.

Basically the goal is to re-write using shorter sentences and simpler words with fewer syllables. But sometimes there are good reasons to use a big word, and perhaps sometimes longer sentences with subordinate clauses flow more smoothly and are more readable than chopped up little sentences.

Here's a third attempt, which will get a poorer readability score, but I think is actually continuing a trend towards better clarity with each re-write:

________________________________

According to Exodus (6:3), Abraham did not even know that God's name was Yahweh. Instead, he was known to Abraham as bə·’êl šad·dāy, which is usually translated to mean "as God almighty." The word "El" is the name of the god, which is believed to be the Hebrew form of the name of the most ancient proto-Semitic god, and which also has cognates in ancient Ugaritic, Phoenician, and Akkadian.

But we are not convinced that the syllable "ba" means 'as'. In the verse, bə·’êl appears to be a single word, which is very similar to ba'al, the Canaanite or Phoenician deity. As is well known, vowels were not used in the earliest Hebrew texts. So, in the original (now lost) ancient sources, the names bə·’êl and ba'al may have been one and the same.

Even today, the English refer to their earls and dukes as Lord this, or Lord that. Similarly, in Biblical days, these names of gods, such as El, Ba'al and even Yahweh, were used as titles applied to human leaders. Such generic names were also attached to the names of local and regional patron gods such as Ba'al Hadad. This has the effect of placing the leader's status and ear close to his god, and even allowing him to speak (to the gullible) as a voice for the god.

_________________________________

Score: 68.4, grade level: 9.
 
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