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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Priesthood is About the Blood

Alice C. Linsley

Speaking from the perspective of Biblical Anthropology, the priesthood of the Church stands in continuity with the Hebrew priesthood that was known to Abraham and his ancestors. The priest's office is unique, very ancient, and stands as an ensign of the hope for immortality.

Melchizedek attended to Abraham's spiritual needs after the battle of the kings (Genesis 14). It appears that he performed a cleansing ritual to diminish Abraham's blood guilt. After that, there was a communion of bread and wine.

The priesthood has always been about the Blood. Priests sacrificed animals because blood is the sign of the Covenant. Jesus exhorts His own to drink His blood in the Sacrament. The priest stands at altar as a divinely appointed agent of that Blood. Life is in the Blood!

Redemption and eternal life require that we have that Blood as our "covering" just as the skins of rams dyed red formed the covering over the Tent of Meeting (Exodus 26:14).

The Hebrew priests kept sheep and cattle to offer as sacrifices. These were often kept in a stone sheep cote (naveh) that had a beehive shape. The sheep cotes were sacred places. With the exception of red heifers, rarely were the females sacrificed. The sacrifice of the red heifer was to be a perpetual sacrifice for Israel (Numbers 19:9). It was for cleansing. 

The earliest ritual burials suggest a priestly office associated with blood. The burial of nobles in red ochre (a blood symbol) was the custom among Abraham's R1b people for at least 40,000 years. It expressed the hope of life after death through the blood.

In the ancient world the community was represented by its chief or ruler. Hope of life after death was pinned on the ruler. If the ruler rose from the grave he would lead his people to immortality. This royal procession language is found more than once in the Bible. Psalm 68:18 says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” (Also Ephesians 4:8; Colossians 2:15) Messiah Jesus leads the royal procession to the Father from Calvary's bloody hill.

Paul writes that we who are baptized into Christ "have been brought near in the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). We enter with boldness into the Most Holy Place "by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is His body..." (Hebrews 10:19, 20)

In this we follow Jesus, our great High Priest, who "did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood..." (Hebrews 9:12)

"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth." (Ephesians 1:7-10)

This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it is to be signified by every priest of the Church whether at the altar or in the confessional.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew (Part 5)

All rights reserved. If you borrow, please cite this page. This information represents 35 years of research.

Alice C. Linsley

Part 1 of this series addresses the Feminist claim that the biblical Hebrew had a patriarchal social structure. This argument is used to support the ordination of women to the priesthood among Anglicans. The argument maintains that women were denied the opportunity to serve as priests among the Hebrew because of patriarchy and to correct that social injustice the Church should ordain women.

A detailed examination of the social structure of the biblical Hebrew reveals that the argument has no basis in fact. The social structure of the biblical Hebrew is not patriarchal because it is not characterized by these 6 conditions of absolute patriarchy:

1. descent is traced through the paternal line only (Part 2)
2. inheritance rights come through the father's lineage only (Part 3)
3. right to rule is vested with males only (Part 4)
4. patrilocal residence; that is the bride lives with or near the groom's clan/family
5. governed by a council of all males
6. ultimate authority rests with a male figure such as a patriarch, chief or king.

In this article we explore the claim that the biblical Hebrew practiced patrilocal residence (point #4 above). Patrilocal residence or patrilocality refers to a system in which a married couple resides with or near the husband's parents. In other words, the bride leaves her family or clan. However, this is not a characteristic of the biblical Hebrew because they practiced endogamy which means the bride and groom are close kin. As half-siblings (Abraham and Sarah) or patrilineal parallel cousins (Jacob and Leah) the bride and groom have the same relatives in their extended families.

The clan to which the individual belonged did not depend on where the person resided. It depended on the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the Hebrew people. For example, upon her marriage to Methuselah, Naamah belonged to her husband's clan, but her first born son Lamech the Younger belonged to the clan of Naamah's father, Lamech the Elder.

Further, the evidence of Scripture indicates that the biblical Hebrew had at least four residential arrangements: patrilocal, matrilocal, neolocal, and avunculocal. The residence of married couples depended on the social position of the groom. The residence of widows depended on their eligibility to remarry.

Patrilocal residence

Among the biblical Hebrew it was customary for the first born son of the principal wife to ascend to the throne of his father and to reside in the territory over which he ruled. This meant maintaining two separate households, one for the principal wife and another for the second wife. Abraham's territory extended on a north-south axis between Sarah's residence in Hebron and Keturah's residence in Beersheba. As the proper heir to Abraham's holdings, Isaac ruled over Abraham's territory and resided at both settlements. When he first met Rebekah, he was residing in Beersheba. This would have been where his first wife was living. She was Isaac's half-sister (as was Sarah to Abraham). This is also where Abraham spent the last years of his life.

Edom (Idumea) extended between Hebron and Beersheba.

As Abraham approached his death, Isaac had not taken his second wife, a prerequisite for ascension to his father's throne. According to a long observed Hebrew custom, the heir's second wife was a patrilateral cousin. Therefore, Abraham enjoined his servant to seek a wife for Isaac among his Aramean kin in the territory of Abraham's older brother Nahor.

Abraham's servant asked what he is to do if the woman refused to come back to Beersheba with him. Abraham answered: "If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there." (Gen. 24:8) As the proper heir to Abraham's territory, Isaac was not to leave Abraham's territory in Edom. Upon marriage, Rebekah was to reside with her husband in his father's territory (patrilocal residence). Patrilocal residence applied to the proper heir and his wives, but not to all married couples.

Widows who were not eligible to remarry lived with or near their fathers. This is why Judah told Tamar to return to her father's house. "Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, 'Live as a widow in your father's household..." (Gen. 38:11)

Some widows resided in the Temple precincts or at shrines. Anna is an example. She was a widow for 84 years. "She never left the temple, but continued to worship there night and day with times of fasting and prayer." (Luke 2:36-38)

In the ancient world, some women attached themselves to shrines or temples once their husbands died. This is still a custom in Africa and India. The Hindu scholar, Dr. Shubhash C. Sharma, explains: "The same type of consideration, as … for young girls, is generally applicable to adult women, especially the widows, when they decide to live in temples and religious places... Note that even though the widows living in such places (temples etc.) might number in several thousand they still represent an extremely small minority relative to millions of Indian widows."

Matrilocal residence

Widows who were eligible to remarry went to live with or near their mothers. This is why Naomi told her daughters-in-law to return to their mothers. "Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, 'Go back, each of you, to your mother's home." (Ruth 1:8)

Neolocal residence

The first biblical reference to residence is found in Genesis 2:24. "Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife." The context is a garden in Eden from which the man and the woman are sent away.

Likewise, Cain was sent away and he built a city named Enoch, in honor of his son Enoch. This city was away from his natal home and appears to be an example of neolocal residence. Neolocal residence pertains to sent-away sons. These are the sons who venture from their homes to gain a territory of their own, often with the help of kinsmen living in the region.

Most of the heroes of the Bible were in similar circumstances: Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and David. Abraham moved to Hebron where he had familial contacts. Jacob moved to Paddan-Aram where he initially had familial support. Moses moved to Midian where he had a kinsmen in Jethro, and David sought refuge for his parents with the king of Moab, who was a royal kinsmen.

Before he died, Abraham gave grants to all his sons and sent them away from Isaac, his heir. These sent-away sons had establish neolocal residences in places where they could maintain their households.

In some instances, the sent-away sons received assistance from their maternal uncles. If they take up residence with or near their maternal uncles, it is called avunculocal residence. Avunculocal residence is common in matrilineal societies, as it brings the adult males of a matrilineage together as a single residential unit.

Avunculocal residence

Upon the death of Terah, Abraham's older brother ruled over Terah's holdings in Mesopotamia. Abraham became a sent-away son. Sent-away sons, like Abraham and Jacob, often lived with or near their maternal uncles. This is called "avunculocal residence" and Abraham's visit to the prophet at Mamre may have been directed by his maternal uncle who was a ruler in that territory. Abraham's mother was said to be the daughter of a Hebrew ruler of Nebo. He is called Kar-Nevo/Nebo in the Talmud. Kar/Har Nebo refers to Mount Nebo. From Mount Nebo sentries would have been able to survey all of Palestine.

Likewise, Jacob was sent away to live with his maternal uncle Laban. There he gained the wealth and wives he needed to establish himself in another place (neolocal residence). He set out for his natal home in Edom, but after making peace with his estranged brother Esau, he finally settled in the area of Shechem. Shechem later became the first capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

Related reading: Abraham's Maternal Line; Isaac's Second Marriage; Jacob's Journeys; Where Abraham Spent His Old Age; The Bible and Anthropology FB Forum

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Abraham's Maternal Line

Alice C. Linsley

Abraham's mother is not identified in the Bible. This seems a strange oversight since Jewish identity is traced through the mother. Perhaps the final editor of Genesis (the Deuteronomist Historian) found this problematic because Abraham's mother was not a Jew, and therefore, Abraham was not the first Jew, as is often claimed. This is one of the many questions that reveals contextual incongruities in the book of Genesis.

Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Abraham's Horite Hebrew people indicates that Abraham's mother was his father's half-sister. This means she was Terah's first wife, the wife of his youth. According to Jasher 7:50 her name was Amsalai. This name suggests her high rank. It means the "sweet fragrance of the people." Am refers to people, and salai refers to frankincense derived from the Boswellia serrata, a deciduous tree that grows in dry, mountainous areas. Her people are often referred to as the "hill people" and known by various names: Amurru/Amorite, Edomite/Seir, and Horite.

During the time of Abraham, the Amurru controlled a territory from Mount Hermon to Beersheba in the south, and from Engedi to Gerar in the west.

Jasher 7:50 states, "Terah took a wife and her name was Amsalai, the daughter of Karnevo; and the wife of Terah conceived and bare him a son in those days." Kar refers to a high place or a mountain. Nevo is a variant of Nebo, so it appears that Abraham's maternal grandfather ruled a territory from near Kar-Nebo or Mount Nebo, which is הַר נְבוֹ‎ (Har Nevo) in Hebrew. The oldest known settlement in this area is Jericho which had ramparts as early as 4000 BC. The name Jericho is related to the name Jerah, a son of Joktan. Jerah was a grandson of Eber (Genesis 10:26).

Amsalai gave birth to Nahor and Abraham. Abraham was the younger and therefore, not the proper heir to his Terah's throne. He was a sent-away son to whom God gave a kingdom between Hebron and Beersheba, in the ancient land of Edom. The Greeks called this land Idumea, meaning "land of red people."

Note that both Hebron (where Sarah lived) and Beersheba (where Keturah lived) are in Edom. Abraham's territory extended on a north-south axis between the settlements of his two wives and was entirely in Edom.

When Abraham arrived from Mesopotamia he likely visited his maternal uncle and went from there to consult the prophet (moreh) at the great Oak at Mamre, near Hebron. Hebron is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) from Mount Nebo. Mount Nebo and Edom are in the modern state of Jordan. 

This was the land of the Horite Ha'biru (Hebrew) rulers who are listed in Genesis 36. Abraham's mother and father were kin to these rulers. Among Abraham's Horite ancestors (called "Horim" by Jews) ancestry was traced by double descent, along both the maternal and paternal lines. However, the ethnicity of a son depended on the clan of his mother. This is still true for Jews today. One is a Jew by two means: either by proper conversion, or if one's mother is Jewish.

Amsalai and Terah had the same father, Nahor the Elder. Nahor was a ruler in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. He was ethnically Kushite, a descendant of Nimrod, the son of Kush (Gen. 10:8) As the Horite Hebrew practice endogamy, we may assume that they shared this Kushite ethnicity.

Suggestion of avunculocal residence

Abraham's older brother ruled over Paddan-Aram upon the death of Terah. This was the pattern among the Horite Hebrew. The first born son of the half-sister bride was the proper heir. Other sons born to that bride were sent away either to serve in the realms of their maternal uncles, or to establish their own kingdoms. Sent-away sons, like Abraham and Jacob, often lived with or near their maternal uncles. This is called "avunculocal residence" and it appears that Abraham's trip to Mamre and Hebron was directed by his maternal uncle who ruled that territory. From Mount Nebo his sentries would have been able to survey all of Palestine.

A distinctive pattern of marriage and ascendancy

Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Abraham's people indicates that his mother was his father's half-sister (as was Sarah to Abraham). She was of the Horite ruler caste. These rulers have the Canaanite Y, a solar symbol, at the beginning of their names: Yitzak, Yaqtan, Yisbak, Yishmael, Yacob, and Yosef are examples. This solar cradle indicated divine appointment by overshadowing.

These ruler-priests clans intermarried. The women named in Genesis are Horite brides who married Horite rulers. Abraham's father's name was Terah which means "priest" among his Nilotic ancestors. The daughters of priests married the sons of priests, and all are descended from the same rulers named in the Genesis King Lists.

The Horites were  associated with the rulers of Nubia, Kush, Egypt and Edom. Joseph married Asenath, the daughter of the priest of On or Onn (OXO, Iunu, city of the High God Anu), where the tera ruled. Heliopolis (biblical On) was a very prestigious shrine city in the ancient world.

In the ancient world these ruler-priests were called Ha'piru, Ha'biru or A'piru. They served at the temples in the ancient sun cities. The temples were called O'piru, meaning sun houses. The O symbolizing the sun. My Luo friend and language consultant, John Ogutu, noted a fascinating correspondence with his Luo language. He wrote, "O'mbiru, obiru refers to a small house built like a shrine or as a symbol among the Luo. A man who died before he could build his house would have the mourners erect one before his burial."

Many Hebrew words have a linguistic connection to Luo and other Nilotic languages. We would expect there to be linguistic connections, seeing that Abraham's ancestors were Nilotic ruler-priests.

Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the Horite Hebrew indicates that Abraham’s mother was a daughter of Terah, a ruler-priest of Kushite ancestry. It is likely that Amsalai was the sister of Keturah's mother who was of the royal house of Sheba (see diagram). This connects Abraham's mother to the line of Sheba. Terah and Keturah's father, Joktan the Younger, appear to have married sisters, a common pattern with among the Horite Hebrew ruler-priest caste.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Artifacts of Great Antiquity

Alice C. Linsley

The age of the earth and archaic human populations continues to be debated among Young Earth Creationists in their attempts to prove evolution wrong. Evolution stands on four main pillars: mutation, adaptation, natural selection, and common ancestry of apes and humans. Mutation and adaptation are facts. There is evidence for natural selection, but not sufficient evidence to hold this model as a law of biology. The pillar that should be questioned is common ancestry of apes and humans, for which there is no physical evidence. Even evolutionary paleontologists are having doubts about common ancestry.

From the perspective of anthropology, the deep time record of human activity is evident in the vast number of objects made and used by humans. Here is a short list. Note the 40 thousand+ custom of burial in red ochre.

2.5-3.4 million
Butchering flints found in Dikika, Ethiopia. This bone shows evidence of butchering.

Evidence of meat consumption 3 million years ago.

A large assemblage of handaxes excavated at Stratum 4a and 4b at the Kathu complex in South Africa. Large mammal remains have been identified at both strata.

Engraved shell found in Java

Earliest known use of red ochre at site GnJh-03 in the Kapthurin Formation of East Africa, and at Twin Rivers in Zambia.

Heat-treated silicrete stone tools at Pinnacle Cave in South Africa.

More than 69 000 Stone Age implements have been found at Border Cave in the Lebombo Mountains.

Thomas Strasser and his team found hundreds of stone tools on Crete dating to between 100,000 and 130,000 years.


Incised red ochre stone found at Blombos Cave, Western Cape, South Africa

African projectiles

Barbed harpoon points (right) were used to spear catfish in Central Africa. Hundreds of bone harpoons have been found at the lake site of Ishango.

Mattress of reed and rushes

Engraved stone from the Blombos Cave in Southern Africa (below).

Python stone in Botswana

A small boy buried with a seashell pendant and covered in red ochre

A man buried at La Chapelle-aux-Saints in southern France in red ochre

Lebombo bone found at Border Cave in Natal

Flour processing plant
Four bodies buried in red ochre at Sungir in Russia.

The "Fox Lady" of Doini Vestonice, Czechoslovakia, buried in red ochre

A thirty-year-old man buried in Bavaria surrounded by mammoth tusks and submerged in red ochre.

Australian burial sites dating to about 20,000 years reveal pink staining of the soil around the skeleton, indicating that red ochre had been sprinkled over the body. The remains of an adult male found at Lake Mungo in southeastern Australia were copiously sprinkled with red ochre.

The oldest copper artifacts

Two skeletons buried in red ochre found at La Braña-Arintero cave in the Cantabrian Mountains of Spain

Two flexed burials were found in Mehrgarh, Pakistan with a covering of red ochre on the bodies

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew (Part 4)

All rights reserved. If you borrow, please cite this page. This information represents 35 years of research.

Sultan Jamal ul-Kiram (seated at center), with his chiefs. 
They are holding knob sticks or rods as the sign of their rank.
Also shown US Army officer and some visiting Muslims.
Photo taken in Mindanao c. 1899-1901

Alice C. Linsley

In seeking to understand the social structure of the biblical Hebrew, we must investigate numerous features such as descent, inheritance, right of rule, residence, form of government, and ultimate authority for decisions. 

Feminists claim that the biblical Hebrew had a patriarchal social structure, but they are unable to prove this. In feminist and gender studies, patriarchy refers to the universal oppression of females in male-dominated societies. This is an ideological definition, and one which lacks empirical evidence.

In The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew (Part 1), we saw that for the feminist claim to be true, the social structure of the biblical Hebrew would be characterized by these 6 conditions:

1. descent is traced through the paternal line only
2. inheritance rights come through the father's lineage only
3. right to rule is vested with males only
4. patrilocal residence; that is the bride lives with the groom's clan/family (Part 5)
5. governed by a council of all males
6. ultimate authority rests with a male figure such as a patriarch, a chief or a king.

In Part 2 (Descent), we investigated whether the Hebrew social structure traces descent through the paternal line only and discovered that this is not the case.

In Part 3 (Inheritance), we investigated the claim that only men were permitted to inherit among the biblical Hebrew. We found that the inheritance laws among the biblical Hebrew are more complex because the ruler had two first born sons. Provision was made for both sons to receive an inheritance. Additionally, grants were made to the sent-away sons of concubines. Daughters could petition to receive inheritance. By levirate marriage a widow was able to preserve her deceased husband's holdings for his son. In an extremely archaic practice, inheritance rights were attached to whoever had possession of the clan ancestor figurines. These were stolen by Rachel who knew that her husband Jacob (Israel) had no inheritance.

Having found that the feminist claim of patriarchy does not apply to the Hebrew patterns of descent and inheritance, we move to the question of the right to rule among the biblical Hebrew to see if it fits the pattern of absolute patriarchy.


Among the biblical Hebrew the first born son of the principal wife ruled over his father's territory upon the death of the father. These were regional kings, not high kings whose territories we would consider empires. Abraham is an example. These rulers carried rods as a sign of their rank. Below is the image of a ruler-priest (tera-neter) holding a rod (Petrie 1939). This ruler-priest served the Creator, the High God, who was called Anu in Akkadian (the equivalent of El Elyon in Hebrew).

Annu refers top "those of royal blood"
according to Gwendolyn Leick
(Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology, 1998, p. 7)
The first born son of the second wife, a patrilineal cousin, served as a vizier in the court of his maternal grandfather's territory. Abraham's first born son, Joktan, is an example.

Other sons and the sons of concubines received grants which enabled them to become chiefs in areas where they did not pose a threat to the first born sons. Ishmael is an example.

Some of these sent-away sons ruled over kingdoms that they gained by conquest, negotiation, and marriage. This was the case with Nimrod, a Kushite kingdom builder (Gen. 10:8).

Some sent-away sons are noted for being city builders. The Hebrew phrase וַיְהִי בֹּנֶה עִיר may be translated as [Cain] "he existed as a builder of a city" or "he existed, building a city." He named his city Enoch, after his father-in-law and the first born son of his cousin wife (Gen. 4:17). Nimrod, the son of Kush (Gen. 10:8) built the cities of Erech and Accad (Gen. 10:10).

The most protected and most desired lands were areas where copper and gold were collected. If these were acquired, the son's right to rule was established by virtue of wealth and power to control much desired commodities. It is significant that the oldest chacolithic sites are places where the Horite Hebrew rulers were established: Predynastic Lower Nile and the shrine city of Jericho (9000 BC). The next oldest sites are in Mesopotamia: Harran, Eridu, Lagash, Mari, Nippur and Ur (5000-4000 BC). Abraham's father, Tera, controlled a territory between Harran and Ur.

Among the Horite Hebrew one woman was especially honored: Hathor. Her image and name appear at many ancient shrines and temples. She is the foreshadowing of the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos, who is venerated by Christians.

Hebrew women ruled their households and exercised considerable influence in their social circles as the wives of ruler-priests. Some women ruled in Israel as judges and queens.

Now we will look more closely at each of these situations.

Right to rule of the first born son of the first wife

Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the biblical Hebrew refers that the Hebrew ruler-priests maintained two wives in separate households. The principal wife was the bride of the man's youth and his half-sister. Sarah is an example. The first born son of the half-sister wife was the ruler's proper heir. Sarah's inability to have a son posed a serious problem for Abraham. When Isaac was born, Abraham rejoiced to have a proper heir. Isaac ruled after Abraham's death and his territory extended on a north-south axis between Hebron and Beersheba and on an east-west axis between Engedi and Gerar. Isaac was a ruler of prestige and great wealth.

Keep in mind that "These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom, before any king reigned over the children of Israel.” (Genesis 36:31) Their smiths were among the most elite metal workers of the ancient world. Edom was rich in copper and the patroness of their mines and smelting operations was Hathor. She is the overshadowed one (Luke 1:35) who brings forth the son of God, Horus, from whom the Horite Hebrew or Horim are named. A temple dedicated to Hathor was discovered at the southwestern edge of Mt. Timna by Professor Beno Rothenberg of Hebrew University.

There is little doubt that Hathor was venerated among the Horite Hebrew. The Chalcolithic works at Timna in the foothills along the western fringe of the southern Arabah Valley include smelting works, slag, and flints found to be identical to those discovered near Beersheba where Abraham spent much of his time. The metal workers of Timnah and Beersheba were kin, and the patroness of their mining and smelting operations was the mother of Horus. Rothenberg concluded that the peoples living in the area were "partners not only in the work but in the worship of Hathor." (Timna, p. 183)

Right to serve as a chief (vizier) in the territory of the maternal grandfather

The first born son of the second wife became a high ranking official in the territory of his maternal grandfather. He was named after that ruler. This explains why there are two named Esau, Enoch, Lamech, Nahor, Joktan, etc. This is the "cousin bride's naming prerogative" and it is a distinctive feature of the social pattern of the biblical Hebrew.

An example is Joktan. He had a right to rule as an official in his maternal grandfather's territory. He was Abraham's first born son by his cousin wife, Keturah. 

Right to rule by conquest, negotiation, and marriage

Royal sons who were not first born received grants and were sent away to gain territories of their own. Abraham is an example. He was the youngest son of Terah. When Terah died, Abraham's older brother Nahor ascended to the throne.

Abraham left Haran in search of a territory of his own and, following God's leading, he gained a territory in Edom between Hebron and Beersheba. This involved marriage to Keturah, a descendant of Sheba, and aligning with some regional chiefs who were kinsmen: Mamre, Eschol and Aner (Gen. 14:13). They are called "Amorites" in Genesis 14:13.

The word is Am-urru refers to people of the high places. Urusalem (Jerusalem) means high place of peace. Ur-shu is the ancient Egyptian word for a sentry posted at a high place. These "high place" allies joined their forces with Abraham's army of 318 trained warriors (Gen. 14:14). This confederation of about 1300 warriors raided the contingent of Elamites who had taken Abraham's nephew captive. Abraham relinquished his share of the booty to his allies (Gen. 14:24) and received the cleansing rite after combat from Melchizedek, the high priest of Jerusalem.

Genesis 6 speaks of Hebron, where Sarah resided, as a holding of Anak. Anak's father was Arba and Hebron was called Kiriah-Arba (Gen. 23:2). This is likely related to the Akkadian kiprat arba, meaning four regions/four peoples. In addition to Anakim, this same region was populated and controlled by Hittites, Horites, and Jebusites. The clan of Het lived in Kiriath-Arba (Gen. 23:3,7) and the sons of Het are designated as Hittites in Genesis 23:2-11. The Hittites recognized Abraham the Horite ruler of Edom as a great prince among them (Gen. 23:6). Indeed, Genesis 13:2 describes Abraham as very wealthy.

Most of the heroes of the Bible were sent-away sons to whom God delivered a kingdom. These speak of the Son who was sent by the Father to transfer us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Col. 1:12-14)

Just as Abraham established his kingdom through marriage to Keturah, so Jesus Christ will come as the Divine bridegroom (Mat. 9:15, 25:6), and this time of fasting will become the time of feasting at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:6-9).

The Rule of Women
Examination of the biblical data reveals that Hebrew women ruled their households and exercised considerable influence in their social circles as the wives and daughter of high ranking priests.

The responsibilities of the Hebrew ruler's wife are described in Proverbs 31. This woman is the wife of a city elder (like Ruth) and a respected figure in her own right. She is the mistress of her house and a decision maker. She buys and sells merchandise, and “makes herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.”

Feminists insist that the Hebrew woman's condition under Patriarchy is one of subjugation. Instead, we find strong, dignified, multi-talented, caring women who make a mark for themselves in the world. They invest wisely, oversee servants, and manage real estate. Some are so important that they are named in the Genesis king lists: Naamah, Anah and Oholibamah, are examples. Anah is called a "chief" in Genesis 36.

Some women are consulted by priests and kings as in the case of Huldah. Deborah judged in Israel from her tamar between Bethel and Ramah. No telling how often wives saved their husband’s estates from destruction, as did Abigail. The Wise Woman of Abel Beth-Macaah is praised for saving her entire city.

Women also ruled as queens. The August 2008 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) reports on a Judean queen named Salome Alexandra who ruled alone from BC 76-67. Archaeologists have uncovered her palace in Jericho. She was so admired that generations of mothers named their daughters Salome in her honor. Salome was the only woman to govern Judea as its sole ruler, ad she is the only woman mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls. She is responsible for some of the religious reforms that shaped second-Temple Judaism, and her reign is viewed as a golden age in the Talmud.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Spinners of Evolutionary Fictions

The 250,000 year hand of Homo Naledi is virtually identical to that of modern humans.

Evolutionary Timeline

55 million years ago - First primitive primates evolve
15 million years ago - Hominidae (great apes) evolve from the ancestors of the gibbon
8 million years ago - First gorillas evolve. Later, chimp and human lineages diverge
5.5 million years ago - Ardipithecus, early 'proto-human' shares traits with chimps and gorillas
4 million years ago - Australopithecines appeared. They had brains no larger than a chimpanzee's
2.8 million years ago - LD 350-1 appeared and may be the first of the Homo family
2.7 million years ago - Paranthropus, lived in woods and had massive jaws for chewing
2.3 million years ago - Homo habalis first thought to have appeared in Africa
1.85 million years ago - First 'modern' hand emerges
1.8 million years ago - Homo ergaster begins to appear in fossil record
1.6 million years ago - Hand axes become the first major technological innovation
800,000 years ago - Early humans control fire and create hearths. Brain size increases rapidly
400,000 years ago - Neanderthals first begin to appear and spread across Europe and Asia
200,000 years ago - Homo sapiens - modern humans - appear in Africa
40,000 years ago - Modern humans reach Europe

The critical period for understanding how evolutionary fictions are spun is here:

5.5 million years - Ardipithecus, 'proto-human' shares traits with chimps and gorillas
4 million years - Australopithecines appeared with brains no larger than a chimpanzee's 

Let's check the facts concerning Ardi and Lucy. Are they two different species of hominid? Are they ape or human?

Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy) and Australopithecus ramidus (Ardi) existed at the same time, c. 4 million years ago, and both had human hands, human feet, and walked upright. The assignment of 5.5 million years for Ardipithecus is unfounded. It represents an attempt to create a progression that fits the evolutionary theory. White's team assigned an age of approximately 4.4 million years.

The description of Ardi as a "proto-human" is also unsupported by the evidence. Ardi's anatomical structure is well within the range of human anatomy.

The claim that Lucy (AL 288-1) and the Australopithecines could not have been fully human because of their small brain size is pure foolishness. Brain size is not a measurement of the complexity of thought. The cranial size of both Ardi and Lucy is consistent with their body size.

"Australopithecus ramidus" was the name given to Ardi by the American paleoanthropologist Tim White who discovered the first Ardipithecus ramidus fossils in the Middle Awash area of Ethiopia between 1992 and 1994. Since that time, White's team have uncovered over 100 fossil specimens that it identifies as Ar. ramidus. Little has been said in public about the subsequent 100+ finds, which makes one wonder if they are significantly different from Ardi, and perhaps very like Lucy?

The name given to Ardi was to distinguish White's find from Lucy and thereby create an evolutionary bridge between apes and humans. Ardi is posed as the missing link, but the data is not there to support this theory.

Ardi was found only 46 miles from where paleoanthropologist Donald C. Johanson discovered Lucy in 1974 near Hadar village in the Awash Valley of the Afar Triangle in Ethiopia. Lucy and Ardi date to the same time, c. 4 million years. Ardi's anatomical structure has some anomalies, but these are still within the range of human anatomy. She had a rigid big toe that somewhat splayed outward. The large bones of her upper pelvis are consistent with human bipedalism. Some of the anomalies are explained by the fact that her remains were apparently trampled into mud by hippos. Her "badly crushed and distorted bones" were exposed millions of year later by erosion.

Tim White has spun a fiction using the same technique that Donald Johanson used in 1978, when he attempted to create the missing link by naming Lucy "Australopithecus afarensis." Australopithecus means "ape of the south."

Mary Leakey’s 1979 discoveries in Tanzania added to the evidence that humans walked the earth over 3 million years ago. At Laetoli, about 25 miles south of Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, Leakey discovered footprints of a man, woman and child created about 3.6 million years ago and preserved under falling ash from the nearby Sadiman volcano. The raised arch and rounded heel of the footprints showed that whoever left these footprints walked as humans today.

Unfortunately, Johanson had already presented Lucy as more ape than human though Mary Leakey would have classified her Laetoli finds as Homo/human. She expressed her regret that “the Laetoli fellow is now doomed to be called Australopithecus afarensis.”

Johanson and Mary Leakey were scheduled to speak at a Nobel Symposium in Sweden in May 1978. The conference honored Mary Leakey, who received a medal from the King of Sweden for her scientific investigations. Mary Leakey received the Golden Linnaean Medal, but also was very embarrassed when Johanson announced the new name - Australopithecus afarensis - for his Afar Triangle finds and included Mary Leakey's 4 million year old Laetoli specimen (jaw bone LH4) from Tanzania as an exhibit.

Johanson, who was scheduled to speak before Mary Leakey, scooped Mary's speech. Leakey was perturbed that Johanson had named her discoveries, using a designation at odds with what she believed to be the evidence. Johanson's designation of ape for Lucy has held, though today Johanson has doubts based on the more recent discovery of a complete fourth metatarsal of A. afarensis at Hadar. This shows the deep, flat base and tarsal facets that "imply that its midfoot had no ape-like midtarsal break. These features show that the A. afarensis foot was functionally like that of modern humans." (Carol Ward, William H. Kimbel, Donald C. Johanson, Feb. 2011) Read the report here:

One of two fossilized bones from Dikika, Ethiopia, that show evidence of stone tool use. 
Credit: Dikika Research Project

A. Afarensis had human dentition, used polished bone tools, and controlled fire. Some of the earliest evidence of controlled use of fire by humans was found at Swartkrans in South Africa. Other sites that indicate fire use include Chesowanja near Lake Baringo, Koobi Fora and Olorgesailie in Kenya. Discoveries in Dikika, near Gona and Bouri (Ethiopia) indicate that they used flints to scrap, saw and chop. Two fossilized bones have been found that show the marks of stone tools. On the basis of low-power microscopic and environmental scanning electron microscope observations, these bones show unambiguous stone-tool cut marks for flesh removal and to access bone marrow.

As the world renown paleoanthropologist John Hawks has noted, arguing about species has more to do with ego than with evidence. He writes, 
"Just today, I got notification of a new paper by Walter Neves and colleagues, in which they suggest that Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi are actually South African representatives of Homo habilis. Some people might scoff at this—after all, the Dinaledi fossils are only 236,000–335,000 years old, while the latest-known H. habilis is around 1.6 million. But a young date for some fossils doesn’t bar them from membership in a species with much older fossil representatives. Identity is tested with morphological evidence, not geological age."

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Dark Sky and Howling Wind

Bronze bull head

Alice C. Linsley

The Peshitta is a version of the entire Bible read by Syrian Christians.  This is the Bible that St. Ephrem the Syrian knew. In the Peshitta, Genesis 8:4 says that Noah's Ark landed in the “mountains of Quardu.” Quardu is an Akkadian word formed of kur - land of /controlled by + - hill, and the term refers to warlike hill people, like the Scythians. (See The Origin of Kurds, p. 77.)  

(Note the similarity to the Arabic Đū Shará (ذو شرى‎) which means "Lord/King of the Mountain.")

These people of Quardu are related to or associated with the Jats of Punjab and the Gutians (bull people). The horns of the bull were a solar cradle that indicated divine appointment by overshadowing. Images of Hathor, the mother of Horus, show her overshadowed by the Sun resting in the long horns of a bull. Divine appointment of the Horite Hebrew ruler was indicated by the solar cradle Y at the beginning of the ruler's name: Yishmael, Yitzak, Yacob, Yeshua, etc. and by the ili/itti suffix in the Akkadian and Nilotic languages. Akkadian is the language of Nimrud's territory and he was a Kushite kingdom builder (Gen. 10:8).

The rulers of Quardu (Kardu) are known to have had red hair, like the Horites of the hill country of Edom. Esau, the Red, lived in the hill country of Seir the Horite (Gen. 36). Archaic populations lived along the ridges in rock shelters (kar or kur) and later in fortified shrine cities called "high places" in the Bible. These mountain peoples were in the R1b Haplogroup, the same genetic group as Noah and his sons.

The dark red spot in Central Africa is Noah's homeland.
This is the region of Lake Chad.

The Peshitta appears to have preserved the connection between the R1b peoples who had dispersed into Turkey and Iran. This represents the eastern tradition of the older African account of Noah, a ruler in the region of Lake Chad.

There appears to be traces of the older account in Arabic also. The identification of Noah's Ark with Ararat probably represents a misreading of the Arabic word herarat - حرار  - which means vehemence.  Har-arat, better translated, would mean Mountain of Vehemence. This fits the story of divine wrath expressed in extensive catastrophic flooding.

Noah's ark is often linked to Armenia, but Armenia is likely a corruption of Har Meni, Mount Meni. This coupled with the data of the Genesis king lists and the DNA studies supports the theory that   Noah lived in central Africa. One of his grandsons was Kush, the father of Nimrod, the sent-away kingdom builder (Gen. 10:8). Another red spot on the map above shows the homeland of Kush in the Upper Nile.

There is the parallel between har-meni and har-arat. The conjunction "meni" in the Afro-Asiatic languages means "then, after that" and may refer to a time after the flood's devastation or to continuing turbulence in nature. Har-meni (mountain of "then, after that") and Har-arat (mountain of vehemence) convey the concept of a prolonged and intense encounter with God's visible power.

The word "meni" appears only once in the Bible, in Isaiah 65:11, where it is paralleled with the word gad, meaning good fortune. This suggests a connection between meni and encounters with God on mountain tops because where the word gad appears there is often a contextual reference to sacrifice offered on mountains. We recall that Noah offered burnt sacrifice on the mountain in thanksgiving for his deliverance (Gen. 8:20) and that God established a covenant with Noah and his descendants.

The Gikuyu of East Africa tell this story of the experience of their first parents, Gikuyu and Mumbi:

There was wind and rain. And there was also thunder and terrible lightening. The earth and the forest around Mount Kerinyaga shook. The animals in the forest whom the Creator had recently put there were afraid. There was no sunlight. This went on for many days so that the whole land was in darkness. Because the animals could not move, they sat and moaned with the wind. The plants and trees remained dumb. 
It was, our elders tell us, all dead except for the thunder, a violence that seemed to strangle life. It was this dark night whose depth you could not measure, not you nor I can conceive of its solid blackness, which would not let the sun pierce through it. 
The wording is like that of an Akkadian flood. The 1646 to 1626 BC account begins with the creation of man and quickly moves to the flood. The saga gives this description: "The flood roared like a bull, Like a wild ass screaming, the winds howled.The darkness was total, there was no sun."

The Gikuyu story continues:
But in the darkness, at the foot of Mount Kerinyaga, a tree rose. At first it was a small tree and it grew up, finding a way even through the darkness. It wanted to reach the light and the sun. This tree had Life. It went up, sending forth the rich warmth of a blossoming tree - you know, a holy tree in the dark night of thunder and moaning. This was Mukuyu, God's tree. 
Now you know that at the beginning of things there was only one man (Gikuyu) and one woman (Mumbi). It was under this Mukuyu that He first put them. And immediately the sun rose and the dark night melted away. The sun shone with a warmth that gave life and activity to all things. The wind and the lightening and thunder stopped. The animals stopped moaning and moved, giving homage to the Creator and to Gikuyu and Mumbi. And the Creator, who is also called Murungu, took Gikuyu and Mumbi from his holy mountain to the country of the ridges near Siriana and there stood them on a big ridge.

Here we have language reminiscent of Abraham's encounter on a wild and windy mountain where salvation through the promised Son was revealed to him. William H. Willimon wrote: "The sky darkens, the wind howls and a young man walks up another Moriah, driven by a God who demands everything and who stops at nothing. He carries a cross on his back rather than sticks for a fire, but like Abraham, he is obedient to a wild and restless God who is determined to have his way with us, no matter what the cost."

Related reading: Africa in the Days of NoahPeaks and Valleys; Sacred Mountains and PillarsThe Animals on Noah's Ark; The Historicity of Noah's Flood; What Abraham Discovered on Mt. Moriah