Monday, January 17, 2011

Biblical Anthropology and Antecedents

The Heth Temples (Gen. 10:15, Gen. 23:2-11)

of the deified ruler Set/Seti/Seth, of the Lower Nile/Delta

of the Anu shrine cities
The founders of On were Anu. In the Pyramid Texts, On (Heliopolis) is called the "House of Ra" who is one with his son Horus.

Priest of God
Abraham's father was Tera/Terah.

Alice C. Linsley

Every day I receive e-mail and Facebook communications from people telling me that they have found the approach of Biblical Anthropology helpful in gaining a clearer understanding of the Bible. Often they have questions that I attempt to answer, and sometimes they provide me with extremely important data that advances this research. This is enormously rewarding!

I have noticed in these conversations that Evangelical Protestants tend to ignore the Old Testament and they struggle to find Jesus Christ in Genesis, but young Jews mostly get it!
The Evangelicals say they believe what the Bible states, but they have trouble accepting the Nilotic antecedents of Abraham's ancestors. Genesis tells us explicitly that one of Abraham's ancestors was Kush.

The young Jews recognize that traditions concerning Messiah's ancestry in Luke and Matthew indicate that there were some non-Jewish mothers in His ancestry. This is troubling, since Jewishness is traced through the mother. It is troubling also because it raises questions about Jewish claims of racial purity.

It is troubling also that the Messiah is foreshadowed in Nilotic sacred texts long before we can speak of a people called Jews. The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts provide a great deal of information about Horus, the son of Ra. The righteous rulers who were buried in the half dozen pyramids in question hoped for bodily resurrection and their hope rested in Horus who was pierced in the side, died, and risen from the dead on the third day. The expectation that the Righteous Son would not remain in the grave is expressed in Psalm 16:10: For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. The final enemy is death. Psalm 110: The Lord says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet."

In the Coffin Texts, funerary prayers dating to about 1000 years before Psalm 110, we read in passage 148:
"I am Horus, the great Falcon upon the ramparts of the house of him of the hidden name. My flight has reached the horizon. I have passed by the gods of Nut. I have gone further than the gods of old. Even the most ancient bird could not equal my very first flight. I have removed my place beyond the powers of Set, the foe of my father Osiris. No other god could do what I have done. I have brought the ways of eternity to the twilight of the morning. I am unique in my flight. My wrath will be turned against the enemy of my father Osiris and I will put him beneath my feet in my name of 'Red Cloak'."

Both Evangelical Protestants and young Jews are struggling with antecedents and would benefit from the findings of Biblical Anthropology. Both groups rely on interpretations from rabbis, pastors, the Talmud and Bible commentaries. These sometimes pay too little attention to anthropologically significant details in the Biblical narratives. Biblical anthropologists work with data and details, cutting through layers of (sometimes conflicting) interpretations in order to gain a clear picture of archaic culture traits, religious beliefs, and the kinship patterns of Abraham's ancestors. The focus of my research is primarily the Proto-Saharan and Nilotic ancestors among whom the hope of immortality was already a long-standing tradition.

David Noel Freedman once said: “The Hebrew Bible is the one artifact from antiquity that not only maintained its integrity but continues to have a vital, powerful effect thousands of years later.”

The Bible is a miraculous book, clearly superintended through the centuries by the LORD. This is especially evident in the analysis of the kinship pattern of the ruler-priest lines from Genesis 4 to Joseph, of the priestly line of Mattai, and the Virgin Mary, daughter of the priest Joachim. The kinship pattern of these Horite Hebrew ancestors is unique and can be traced throughout the Bible, The same marriage and ascendancy pattern applies to Cain, Seth, Ham, Shem, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Elkanah and Joseph of Nazareth. This pattern could not have been written back into the texts at a late date. It is authentic and stands up to rigorous analysis by anthropologists using the tools of kinship analysis. The pattern weaves throughout the Bible, like the scarlet cord, from beginning to end.

When it comes to making discoveries, the Bible is a useful resource for anthropologists and archaeologists. When it comes to reconstructing a picture of the antecedents of the Messianic Faith we are talking about a matter of importance to Christians and Jews. We must not force data into a preconceived interpretation. We must avoid a literalist reading of everything, and we must not assume that some propositions are not to be taken literally. 

Some read the Bible in a scholarly way and some read for personal devotions. There is another way to read the Bible: through the lens of cultural anthropology, and this is what we are trying to do at the Facebook forum The Bible and Anthropology. Reading Scripture this way is rigorous because no assumption can stand untested, and no assertion can be made without data.

Biblical anthropology focuses on human populations, culture traits specific to peoples of the Bible, beliefs and practices found among Biblical peoples, their ways of communication, their technologies, and their material world in general. This is a scientific approach that demands rigorous research. Failing to do so represents poor stewardship of God's Word, a principal authority for Jewish and Christian faith communities.

Related reading: God's Word Never Fails; What Abraham Discovered on Mount Moriah; The Question of Immortality; Support Research in Biblical Anthropology; Anthropological Evidence for the Exodus


Matthew the Curmudgeon said...

I was told by a Rabbi and I also read somewhere that the 'matrilineal' line to prove Jewishness was post first temple destruction to exclude those we now call Samaritans. It was reinforced after the destruction of the second temple. I believe the 'patrilineal' line is the correct one because in that time the Hebrew/Israelite/Judahite people intermarried.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Jewishness is defined in two ways. You are a Jew if your mother is a Jew. You are Jew if you properly convert. This is what the rabbis teach.

The kinship pattern of the rulers listed in the Genesis genealogies shows two lines of descent. One is traced through the cousin/niece bride who named her first-born son after her father. Example: Namaah, Lamech the Elder's daughter,(Gen. 4) married her patrilineal cousin Methuselah (Gen. 5) and named their first-born son Lamech. This pattern, which I call the "cousin bride's naming prerogative," is found with the names Joktan, Sheba and Esau, among others.

The other line of descent is traced through the first-born son of the half-sister bride, as Sarah was to Abraham. The ruler-priest lines of the two first-born sons intermarried, thus preserving the bloodline of those to whom God made the promise that a woman of their people would bring forth the Seed who would crush the serpent's head and restore Paradise.

Georgia said...

Where are Mary Mother of Jesus' parents named in Scripture? I haven't been able to find it.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Mary's mother was Ana and her father Joachim. This is known by Holy Tradition. They are the righteous ancestors remembered by the earliest Christians, whose testimony has been passed out through the centuries.

The Gospel according to Matthew tells us that Joseph is ofthe priestly line of Mattai (also spelled Matthan). See Matt. 1:15.