Friday, November 13, 2015

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Location, Location, Location

Phew.  In “The Song of Going Forth,” when Kumarbi becomes pregnant with the five gods, he spits out sperm at Mount Kanzura.

One candidate for Mount Kanzura is Tendürek Dagi in Turkey, about 20 miles northeast of Lake Van.  Since this is also where the Tigris river arises, and the Tigris is one of the five births of Kumarbi, it’s a pretty solid association.  The other candidate is about 40 miles west of Lake Van.
You know Lake Van.  It is about 40 miles southwest of the peak widely recognized to be Mount Ararat, where Noach landed. 
You may know something of the history of Ararat, or Urartu, which was conquered by the Assyrians in the 800s BCE.  Its name in Assyrian was Uraltu; its name in Old Babylonian was Urashtu.  (Urartu is an intermediate linguistic development, according to Friedrich Delitzsch.)   But again, that doesn’t define the date of origin of Urartu; in fact it had a Hurrian history and its language was related to Hurrian, and the Hurrians were already living in the region by the 2500s BCE when the ancestors of the Hittites migrated in.  Once again, then, the development of a distinct political or cultural entity in the region goes back probably centuries before the oldest textual reference.
The territory of Urartu included both Mount Ararat and Tendürek Dagi.
What we have here are streams of material all connected to Anatolia: the wars of the gods that play out in Enuma Elish and Greek mythology; the concept of a great flood that plays out in Gilgamesh of the 1700s BCE and also in Greek mythology; and a wine motif connected to a place where migrants from Anatolia lived before filling the Greek isthmus.
What wine motif?  The one in Greek myth attributed to the son of the flood survivor. 
Now let’s go back and look at the Noach stories in light of all this information about Anatolia.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

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