Monday, March 7, 2016

Paradise of Ancient Memory

Biblical Eden was a well-watered region with forests and grasslands. The region had inter-connected water systems including the Nile, Lake Chad, Lake Victoria and the Benue-Niger Trough.

Biblical Eden
Alice C. Linsley

Kush (Cush) is first mentioned in Genesis 10 as the father of the archaic rulers Nimrod and Ramah. They controlled commerce on the water ways in their territories. Nimrod ruled in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley and Ramah ruled in southwestern Arabia. Beside providing a means to transport cargo, the rivers supplied the necessary water for mining. Genesis 2:11 alludes to the gold of Kush where the river Pishon flowed through the land of Ha'vilah.

The term "Havilah" refers to the place where the waters form a V, likely the head of the Nile formed by the White Nile and the Blue Nile. Another river mentioned is the Gihon which flowed through the land of Kush (Gen. 2:13). Possibly, the Pishon and the Gihon are ancient references to the White Nile and the Blue Nile.

In 2007, archaeologists from the Oriental Institute discovered a 4000 year gold-processing center along the middle Nile in the Sudan. The site is called Hosh el-Guruf and is located about 225 miles north of Khartoum where two rivers flow into the Nile, forming a V shape.  More than 55 grinding stones were found at the site and the water was used to separate the flakes from the particle residue. Similar grinding stones have been found in Egypt and at Timnah in southern Israel.

The Oriental Institute expedition that discovered the gold operation at Hosh el-Guruf also discovered a cemetery with Kushite artifacts at the nearby site al-Widay. These included high-status pottery vessels like those produced at Kerma in Sudan. Kerma flourished from between 2500-1500 BC. In 2300 B.C., the peoples living between the first and second cataracts were under different rulers. The territories were called Irtjet, Setju, Medja, and Wawat. Later all of the land between the first and the second cataracts was called Wawat. Wawa is a redoubling or reduplication of the term for water and indicates a well-watered region.

In addition to an abundance of gold, the Ha'vilah region of the Upper Nile is described as having onyx and bdellium. Onyx was used in Egypt as early as the Second Dynasty to make bowls and other pottery items. It was mined south of there and also in areas of Eurasia that came under Egyptian control. Bdellium is a resin that comes from trees that grow in the Upper Nile region, especially in Ethiopia.

The term "Kushite" does not designate a single people but rather a regional identity that includes many peoples of the Nile Valley, Lake Chad, and the Sahara during the African Humid Period. The Nilotic peoples of East African and the people of Yemen have been linked by archaeologists. The flora and fauna of these areas are the same.

Linguistically, the peoples of the eastern African plate and the southwestern Arabian plate share many common roots. Many of these are found in the Luo languages and in the Nilo-Saharan Nobiin language. Key roots pertain to the pastoralism of the Nilo-Saharans before Abraham's time. These include the terms for cattle, sheep, goatskin, hen, cock, livestock enclosure, butter, milk and blood. This suggests that Abraham's Proto-Saharan ancestors were part of the C-Group Culture.

Mineral and ore deposits in the Upper Nile where the Gihon and Pishon form a V were exposed by water erosion and by the rifting in that area.

This is the vast region called "Eden" in the Bible. The Tigris-Euphrates Valley marked the northeastern boundary. Eden was not a small garden, but rather a vast being well-watered region. The phrase "east of Eden" in the Hebrew is quimat-Eden and is an ancient Nilotic reference to a place of bulrushes. Quimat is derived from the root qma, and ancient Egyptian word that refers to bulrushes.

The Bible names two sites from which massive amounts of gold were exported: Havilah and Ophir. Havilah is in Africa (Gen. 2:11) and Ophir is in southwest Arabia (the territories of Sheba and Ramah). It appears that both mining regions were under the control of Horite smiths.

The Horites were devotees of the Creator Ra and his son Horus, born of Hathor who conceived when she was "overshadowed" by the Creator whose emblem was the Sun. Gold was associated with the Sun and with Horus. In fact, the word oro - gold - comes from Horos/Horus. Mining operations were under auspices of the miners' patroness Hathor, as at the Timna Valley copper mines. A temple dedicated to Hathor was discovered at the southwestern edge of Mt. Timnah by Professor Beno Rothenberg of Hebrew University.

For Abraham's Horite ancestors, the Sun and the dung beetle spoke to them of their deity, HR (Horus in Greek). He was regarded, with his father Ra, as the fixer of boundaries. In ancient Greek philosophy horos refers to the boundaries of an area, or a landmark, or a term. From horos come the English words hour, horizon and horoscope. The association of Horus with the horizon is seen in the word Har-ma-khet, meaning Horus of the Horizon. Today "horoscope" connotes astrology, but originally it referred to someone who observes the hours or watches the times. The Indo-European root for year - yeHr - is a reference to Horus.


Anonymous said...

Where can I learn more about the etymological connections of words that you refer to, such the relationship between "oro" and "Horus" or the relationship between the word for "year" and "Horus"? Many times you refer to these etymological relationships between words and this interests me quite a bit. I want to learn more about this but don't know where to look. What are some sources you've studied for this information?


Alice C. Linsley said...

William, I have studied Hebrew, Greek, Spanish, Latin, and French in addition to speaking English. I've lived in other countries where I learned some of the native words such as Tagalog (The Philippines) and Farsi (Iran). I also have many books on linguistics and the development of languages. This background is essential for the work I do in Biblical Anthropology.

The connection between gold and Horus is well established in scholarly papers. It is also evident in the Horus images found by archaeologists. One especially famous image is the golden Falcon head of Horus which you can find on the internet. The emblem of Ra and Horus was the Sun and gold was associated with the Sun.

You can read about Indo-European roots such a yHR in various places. These are often found at the beginning of English dictionaries, such as The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (1969/1970). Much of this information is also available online. See this:

If you have questions about specific words, I would be glad to help you, if I can.

Thank you for reading JUST GENESIS!

Best wishes,

Alice C. Linsley

DManA said...

How do you reconcile this view with Genesis 3:24 that says man was banished from the Garden? Obviously man was not banished from the region you identify as Eden.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Banishment is an aspect of the Gospel message. Cain was banished also. See the pattern?