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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 1:50 pm 
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The next few posts come from my experience looking into the matter concerning Baal/Bel/"Marduk's Ordeal" and their tablets once in the British Museum. In other discussion forums folks are claiming that these tablets not only were never in the British Museum but never existed at all.

My e-mail sent:

I just stumbled across the article, "Technology contributes to scholar's reinterpretation of ancient tablets"
http://www.news.uiuc.edu/news/05/1110pitard.html

I am trying to track down the Baal tablets mention by J.Jackson & others that were at one time, in a British Museum. I'm wondering where they are now, the dating, most current interpretations & a photo of them. Any info leading to them would be appreciated. Here's all I really have so far...

"Christianity Before Christ" by John G. Jackson, 1985, pp. 43-46.

(A) Arthur Findlay's report of the translation by a Professor H. Zimmern, in German, of an ancient tablet which Jackson reports (citing Findlay) as Babylonian dating back to circa 2000 BC now in the British Museum in which the Babylonian myth of Bel (Baal in Hebrew) is described in a passion play in which:

(1) Bel is taken prisoner;
(2) Bel is tried in a great hall;
(3) Bel is smitten;
(4) Bel is led away to the Mount (a sacred grove on a hilltop);
(5) with Bel are taken two malefactors, one of whom is released;
(6) After Bel has gone to the Mount and is executed, the city breaks into tumult;
(7) Bel's clothes are carried away;
(8.) Bel goes down into the Mount and disappears from life;
(9) weeping women seek Bel at the Tomb;
(10) Bel is brought back to life.

"10/12/01: Update: The report by Jackson and the chart shown above has flaws which are addressed in the following report. The tablet referenced by Jackson, Findlay, and Goodman, does in fact exist, but according to Christopher Walker of The British Museum it is Assyrian, not Babylonian, was discovered in the town of Nineveh in Assyria, and dates from 700 B.C., not 2000 B.C., as reported by John Jackson citing Arthur Findlay.

The following report is based upon a photocopy provided to me by Christopher Walker of The British Museum of a translation of the Bel Myth Tablet by S. Langdon, published in 1923.

The Bel myth parallels to the Jesus myth are nevertheless present in the Langdon translation, clearly indicating that regardless of the discovery of the tablet in Nineveh in Assyria, not in Babylonia, and its dating as 700 B.C. and not 2000 B.C. The Bel myth does in fact have mythical elements including death and resurrection which parallel the Jesus myth and thus are forerunners of mythical elements in the Jesus myth.

From a stone tablet discovered in Nineveh, Assyria, and dated 700 B.C., now housed in The British Museum, and referred to by British Museum officials as the Marduk's Ordeal tablet (thanks to British Museum official Christopher Walker for this information and photocopies of translations by S. Langdon and S. A. Pallis of the Marduk's Ordeal tablet), and by me as The Assyrian Bel Myth Tablet, we get a version of the Assyrian Babylonian Bel (Bel-Marduk or Marduk-Bel) myth in which the god Bel is arrested, tried, judged, scourged, executed, and resurrected and thus are similar to the mythical elements of the last days of the life of Jesus found in the Jesus myth.

Critics should remember that the mythical elements of the Bel-Marduk myth are literally carved in stone on Marduk's Ordeal tablet/Assyrian Bel Myth Tablet which stands as an original source of mythical elements of the Bel-Marduk myth."
http://www.bobkwebsite.com/belmythvjesusmyth.html

Ancient Egyptian Mythical Parallels to the Jesus Myth
http://www.bobkwebsite.com/egyptianmythvjesusmyth.html

The Baal tablets have received great international scrutiny, but because they were badly damaged when the city of Ugarit in ancient Syria was destroyed

Quote:
Hello to you, Freethinkaluva,

Being merely the reporter on that story, I can add nothing one way or another, so I will forward your query on to Wayne Pitard, the faculty source for that story. I am sure he will be able to point you in several helpful directions.

Meanwhile thanks for your interest in our work, & best wishes,

Andrea LYNN

Professor Wayne T. Pitard: http://www.news.uiuc.edu/news/05/1110pitard.html

Hi, Freethinkaluva,

The text that you are referring to is best preserved on a tablet from Assur, published by Zimmern in Keilschrifttexte aus Assur religiosen Inhalts #143. There are some duplicate fragments known as well, including fragments from Nineveh, some of which are in the British Museum (BM 134503 and 134504). The best discussion of this text in English is by Tikva Frymer-Kensky,

"The Tribulations of Marduk: The So-Called 'Marduk Ordeal Text'", in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 103: 1983, pp. 131-41. She provides a history of the interpretation of the text, a detailed listing of the known fragments, and a newer translation and commentary. As you will see, the idea that it talks about the death and resurrection of Marduk seems unlikely, and certainly most of the parallels proposed between the Jesus story and this text are misguided and non-existent.

I think Frymer-Kensky is correct in seeing it as a theological interpretation of the capture of Marduk's statue by the Assyrians in 689 BCE and its subsequent return to Babylon twenty years later. I hope you find this helpful.

Professor Wayne T Pitard
Program for the Study of Religion
University of Illinois
3080 Foreign Languages Building
707 S. Mathews
Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 333-2207

Professor Wayne T. Pitard "His primary areas of research are (1) the history of ancient Syria and its political and cultural relationship with Israel..."
http://www.relst.uiuc.edu/people/faculty/pitard.html

...Is he Jewish?

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Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 1:52 pm 
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Dear Freethinkaluva,

Christopher Walker has now retired. I will do what I can to answer your question.

As for the present whereabouts of the Baal tablets, they should be in Syria, probably in Aleppo museum. For the latest interpretation we await Prof. Pitard's study. Until then, translations (and bibliography) may be found in Ancient Near Eastern texts relating to the Old Testament
(Princeton, N.J., 1950), edited by James B. Pritchard, pp129ff. They should date to within a century or so prior to c. 1200BC.

The tablets referred to by Jackson are different. They belong to a composition known to modern scholars as "Marduk's Ordeal". There are several clay (not stone) tablets and fragments containing this text, of which 4 are in the British Museum's collections. They come from Assyria and should date to the 7th century BC.

In the early days of Assyriology, some scholars saw parallels between this text and the passion. Modern scholars are a little more cautious. A more up-to-date translation of this text, with commentary, is now available in chapter 6 of Mystical and mythological explanatory works of Assyrian and Babylonian scholars (Oxford: Clarendon, 1986), by Alasdair Livingstone. ISBN: 0198154623. Images of the BM tablets may be requested from our departmental administrator, Angela Smith (asmith@thebritishmuseum.ac.uk). She will be able to advise you on technical specifications and their cost.

I hope this helps.

Yours faithfully,
Jon Taylor

Dr Jon Taylor
Curator (Cuneiform Collections)
The Department of the Middle East
The British Museum
Great Russell Street
London
WC1B 3DG
+44 (0)20 7323 8382
http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/ane/anehome.html

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2013 Astrotheology Calendar
The Mythicist Position
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
Stellar House Publishing at Youtube


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 1:54 pm 
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'Temple of Bel' "dates back to the 2nd millennium BC"
http://www.syriagate.com/Syria/about/ci ... asites.htm

Quote:
"I present here the most important of the mythological stories uncovered, the Myth of Ba'al. Seven tablets, written on both sides, five columns per side, contain the story. Unfortunately several were badly damaged during their almost 3200 years in the ground, so parts of the story are unclear. The language, however, is quite vivid, and in some cases very beautiful. Scholars now see that the writing style of the Torah is a continuity of that of the Canaanites, and certain expressions and descriptions are virtually identical, while some Canaanite Pagan vignettes have been rewritten in the Bible to support the newer religion. The language describing the deity YHWH shows that many of his characterestics are a combination of the Canaanite El and Ba'al."
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/lofts/2938/baalmyth.html

Numbers 25:3 "So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor. And the LORD's anger burned against them."

The Narmer Plate, Baal and the Beltane Festival*
http://ancientegypt.hypermart.net/belta ... /index.htm

"SYNOPSIS OF THE UGARITIC MYTH OF BAAL - SIX INCOMPLETE TABLETS & SOME FRAGMENTS"
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/lofts/2938/mythsynop.html

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2013 Astrotheology Calendar
The Mythicist Position
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
Stellar House Publishing at Youtube


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 1:59 pm 
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"Commemorative ceremonies of gods like Dionysos, Attis, Osiris, and even the Phoenician god Baal as recorded on a 4,000 year old tablet now in the British Museum, move in virtual lockstep with the Passion story of Jesus in the Gospels. Gospel characters and their features mirror astrological symbols and divine pantheons of contemporary cultures; the workings of the heavens (astro-theology) and especially solar myths have uncanny parallels in elements of the Christ story. And so on."

- Earl Doherty, review of "Christ Conspiracy" by Acharya page 204

http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/BkrvTCC.htm

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2013 Astrotheology Calendar
The Mythicist Position
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
Stellar House Publishing at Youtube


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:30 pm 
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Baal's 'Return to Life' or Resurrection

A full Baal study would require a monograph, of course, but here is a quote from Christian theologian and Bible studies professor Dr. Brian D. Russell, in his book The Song of the Sea (Peter Lang, 2007, pp. 41-42), speaking of the Baal cycle and the god's victory over Yamm, the sea monster:

Quote:
Baal's victory "creates" order in the world. The concern, however, turns to the maintenance and preservation of the ordered world with the rise of a new threat in the form of the god Mot. The death of Baal represents those trying periods of famine and drought whereas his return from the dead and victory over Mot symbolizes the return of life and fecundity to the cosmos. Thus, the entire Baal epic (CAT 1.2-6) may be understood in cosmological terms.

The Baal cycle appears to be the basis of the story of God/Moses controlling the Red Sea at Exodus 15, as Russell himself contends. However, as a Christian theologian, he must approach the Exodus tale as if it really happened to some extent, with Moses as a historical figure, and that it was "embellished" with the Baal myth.

As we know, the data demonstrate that the Baal cycle most likely was the mythical core around which fictional "historical" details were accreted, in order to produce the Moses myth. In other words, we are look at myth historicized, not history mythologized. It is this sort of biased perspective that mars most of the books produced by theologians, regardless of how scholarly or by whom published.

Resurrection Not Exclusively Christian

Note how Russell uses the phrase "return to life" to describe Baal's resurrection, which we have discussed elsewhere as well. I searched through his book and found no use of the words "resurrect" or "resurrection," etc. There is no difference between the two notions, but I'm guessing that this Christian theologian knows the word "resurrection" is loaded, in the favor of Christian theology, which essentially asserts that the term cannot be used for any other "return to life" in ancient mythology. The word "resurrection" does not belong exclusively to Christianity, and no amount of hair-splitting or distraction fallacies will change the fact that Baal - as only one of many - was resurrected in his fertility myth, the same as Tammuz, whom the Jews worshipped, according to the biblical scribe Ezekiel (8:14).

As we have seen elsewhere, the Egyptian god Horus was described in the first century BCE by Diodorus Siculus as having been resurrected from the dead, using the precise term employed decades later to describe Jesus's resurrection, or anastasis in the Greek of Diodorus and the New Testament.

Ancient Fertility Myth

In any event, we can see that, per Russell (and others), Baal is dead and then he returns to life - that is the definition of "resurrection." This Semitic/Canaanite/Ugaritic myth dates back to at least the Late Bronze Age (1550-1200 BCE), so there is no question of precedence. This fertility myth archetype can be found in many cultures, representing the death of winter and resurrection of spring or other manifestation of this natural cycle. This cycle has been incorporated into myth throughout the history of humanity, and it eventually found its way into the rehashed Christian doctrine, as its central focus, because this death-resurrection motif has constituted a major core of religious belief dating back thousands of years.

Such a focus on the renewal of life - eternal life - is sensible for human beings, who, naturally, do not want to die and who would like life to continue. The deathly nature of winter and nighttime, full of predators, have always been a concern to humanity, as is understandable, and the return of life in the spring or with the daily sun has been a source of rejoicing since remote antiquity. Christianity's death and resurrection are simply the Judaized version of this very old motif. Previous to the creation of Christ, Jews had worshipped Tammuz and Dionysus "the Indestructible" in the same role. The move to the newly created messiah Jesus would be fairly seamless from there.

Image

Here's a great quote from the Baal article where I found the image above:

Quote:
Resurrection Smesurrection

Other cultures that worshipped resurrection included the Egyptians (with the Pharaohs), the Greeks (with Hercules), and obviously the Christians (with Joshua [now known as Jesus] -- note that it's no accident that Easter happens to fall during the spring, when the lands are resurrected to life via the rains).

Speaking of resurrection, did you know that in the third century BCE, many Greeks worshipped Hercules, who was believed to have been born of the union of Zeus and a human mother, was put on Earth to undergo various trials, died, descended to Hades for 3 days, and then was resurrected to sit at the right hand of Zeus on Mt. Olympus. Sound familiar? Ask Paul of Tarsus about this -- some believe he fell off his ass on the road to Damascus one day and, well, started a new religion with a little help from Greek storytelling.

We can see here that the author comprehends the "buzz" attached to the word "resurrection" and that it is supposed to be the sole domain of Christianity, hence the title "Resurrection Smesurrection." There is more good info on Baal at the same site, Baal.com, subtitled, "Resurrecting Interest in the Ancient Deity."

Indeed. And when we examine the tale, we will find more correspondences to biblical ideas, in both the Old and New Testaments. It becomes obvious these biblical stories are the reworking of hoary myths such as that of Baal.

See also "Baal Dies and Rises from the Dead."

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:19 am 
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Photos from the Louvre 3 - Baal

Quote:
Baal is a god who is closely associated with the weather. He is above all a storm and regngud. It is therefore somewhat surprising that he(Baal), like Jesus, is also a dying and from the dead upstanding god, then those gods are usually vegetation gods.
(please remember this is by Google translator)

Quote:
...What we see here is a complete vegetation cycle, from life to death and back to life - just as Jesus is said to have been born, died and then rose from the dead.


Image

Image

Quote:
This picture Marsyas from Phrygia, one of the "crucified gods", which is then imaged hanged on the gallows. The French caption (I can not really French) seems to say that the statue is of one of the first two centuries. Underneath is a picture of a relief that was only on a small picture next to the caption and also represent Marsyas.


All images are owned by Roger Vicklund and is a part of the above article from his blog.
Roger Viklund 2013-08-24


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 1:16 pm 
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Baal's Death and Resurrection Redux

Here is more about the b'l/Baal/Balu myth, from Divine Epithets in the Ugaritic Alphabet Texts by Aicha Rahmouni (Brill, 2008).

On pp. 57-58, in a discussion of epithet 15, "Ba'lu the mighty one," Rahmouni relates the following passages in which it appears:

Quote:
Ba'lu the mighty one has died,
The prince, lord of the earth, has perished.

Another relevant text reads:

Quote:
With a loud voice she called to the lamp of the gods, Šapšu:

Load up, Ba'lu the mighty one for me!

And:
Quote:
The lamp of the gods, Šapšu, heard her,
She lifted up Ba'lu the mighty one...

The result can be found in another text:

Quote:
Then I may know that Ba'lu the mighty one is alive,
That the prince, lord of the earth, exists.

The Ugaritic texts clearly depict Baal as dead and then alive again. The Semitic death and resurrection were fundamental to Canaanite religion. As such, the Canaanitish/Amoritish Israelites likely would be well aware of the motif's existence and importance.

Sun Goddess

Note also that it is the sun goddess špš/Šapšu or Shapash/Shapish who resurrects the fertility god. This theme can be found in the story of Isis - a solar goddess long before she came to represent the moon - resurrecting Horus, as in Diodorus a century before the common era. It is interesting that the Canaanites had a sun goddess, Shapash, as opposed to the masculinized sun god of the Babylonians, Shamash. In this regard, the use of the word shamash in the Old Testament to describe the sun reflects the Babylonian origin of that part of their culture.

Image

Canaanites + Amorites = Israelites

It should be recalled that the Amorites came from Syria, the same basic region of the Levant as Canaan/Ugarit. Both Ugaritic and Amorite are northwest Semitic languages, as is Hebrew. The Amorites essentially conquered and destroyed Sumeria, while adopting and adapting many of its religious ideas. The combination of Amorite and Sumerian created the distinct Babylonian culture. The Israelites are a mixture of Amorites and Canaanites/Ugaritians, reflected in the J and E sources of the Old Testament and in the southern and northern kingdoms, respectively.

When you know all the background, the scenario "fits like a glove," so to speak, in explaining the various elements and properties of the Pentateuch in particular. As concerns non-Semitic cultural influence, we need to toss in Egypt and the Indo-European Hittites and Mitanni to explain even more of the biblical elements.

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