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Parpola & the Assyrian Tree

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  • Trudy Kawami
    Being properly admonished by Robert Whiting, I have now gone through Simo Parpola s 1993 The Assyrian Tree of Life... in JNES, as well as more of his, and
    Message 1 of 19 , Mar 31, 2006
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      Being properly admonished by Robert Whiting, I have now gone through
      Simo Parpola's 1993 "The Assyrian Tree of Life..." in JNES, as well as
      more of his, and other scholars,' writing on the same theme. Herewith is
      my reaction:

      As an art historian I had trouble with his first sentence: "A stylized
      tree with obvious religious significance already occurs as an art motif
      in fourth-millennium Mesopotamia..." No image is provided and no
      explanation, however brief, of what is "obvious" -ly religious about the
      image. By the end of this sentence the writer is already in the Indus
      Valley with a very hefty typological footnote to underscore this spread.
      The second sentence introduced the concept of the "Tree of Life" -
      without explaining where this concept comes from-and ends with Buddhist
      art. Alas, the "Tree of Life" does not occur in Buddhist art though the
      Tree of Enlightenment, and of course the Bodhi tree, does. But Parpola
      is not interested in the specific trees or cultures or their ideas about
      the tree images, but only the ideal forms that can fit into his abstract
      system. He puts "sacred trees" carefully carved 6 ft high in royal
      buildings and 1" high trees quickly cut w/ a wheel into a cylinder seal
      into the same category (his Appendix A) when art historical method
      requires that function, patron, craftsman and material all be considered
      as part of the context of the work. He does not care about the
      individual works of art, the very basis of art historical research. The
      fact that nearly all the illustrations are line drawings, not
      photographs, is telling. Art historians do not discuss Rembrandt's
      brushwork using other people's etchings of Rembrandt's paintings. They
      base their discussion on the painting itself.

      The explication of Parpola's theory of the tree does not explain
      anything about the Assyrian image; it just cloaks it in mystery, the
      very opposite of the goal of scholarship. The result tells us more about
      Parpola than the Assyrians. In an ironic twist, another article on the
      same topic appeared 30 pages before the Parpola article: Barbara N.
      Porter's "Sacred Trees, Date Palms, and the Royal Persona of
      Ashurnasirpal II. Porter is specific and concrete; she gives us insights
      into a remarkable historical figure, the development of Neo-Assyrian
      state ideology, and the complex relationship between Assyria & Babylonia
      in the 9th century BCE, not to mention practical information about date
      palms.

      Parpola's theories clearly resonate in this New Age when even pop stars
      study the Kabbalah. However, this tells us more about ourselves than the
      ancient Assyrians.

      Trudy S. Kawami





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • paulina albenda
      Additional bibliography. For a study of the sacred tree on the wall reliefs of Ashurnasirpal II, see my article, Assyrian Sacred Trees in the Brooklyn
      Message 2 of 19 , Mar 31, 2006
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        Additional bibliography. For a study of the 'sacred tree' on the wall reliefs of Ashurnasirpal II, see my article, "Assyrian Sacred Trees in the Brooklyn Museum," Iraq 56 (1994):123-133.

        Trudy Kawami <tkawami@...> wrote: Being properly admonished by Robert Whiting, I have now gone through
        Simo Parpola's 1993 "The Assyrian Tree of Life..." in JNES, as well as
        more of his, and other scholars,' writing on the same theme. Herewith is
        my reaction:

        As an art historian I had trouble with his first sentence: "A stylized
        tree with obvious religious significance already occurs as an art motif
        in fourth-millennium Mesopotamia..." No image is provided and no
        explanation, however brief, of what is "obvious" -ly religious about the
        image. By the end of this sentence the writer is already in the Indus
        Valley with a very hefty typological footnote to underscore this spread.
        The second sentence introduced the concept of the "Tree of Life" -
        without explaining where this concept comes from-and ends with Buddhist
        art. Alas, the "Tree of Life" does not occur in Buddhist art though the
        Tree of Enlightenment, and of course the Bodhi tree, does. But Parpola
        is not interested in the specific trees or cultures or their ideas about
        the tree images, but only the ideal forms that can fit into his abstract
        system. He puts "sacred trees" carefully carved 6 ft high in royal
        buildings and 1" high trees quickly cut w/ a wheel into a cylinder seal
        into the same category (his Appendix A) when art historical method
        requires that function, patron, craftsman and material all be considered
        as part of the context of the work. He does not care about the
        individual works of art, the very basis of art historical research. The
        fact that nearly all the illustrations are line drawings, not
        photographs, is telling. Art historians do not discuss Rembrandt's
        brushwork using other people's etchings of Rembrandt's paintings. They
        base their discussion on the painting itself.

        The explication of Parpola's theory of the tree does not explain
        anything about the Assyrian image; it just cloaks it in mystery, the
        very opposite of the goal of scholarship. The result tells us more about
        Parpola than the Assyrians. In an ironic twist, another article on the
        same topic appeared 30 pages before the Parpola article: Barbara N.
        Porter's "Sacred Trees, Date Palms, and the Royal Persona of
        Ashurnasirpal II. Porter is specific and concrete; she gives us insights
        into a remarkable historical figure, the development of Neo-Assyrian
        state ideology, and the complex relationship between Assyria & Babylonia
        in the 9th century BCE, not to mention practical information about date
        palms.

        Parpola's theories clearly resonate in this New Age when even pop stars
        study the Kabbalah. However, this tells us more about ourselves than the
        ancient Assyrians.

        Trudy S. Kawami





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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      • walter mattfeld
        Dear Trudy, Were you seeking a statement from Parpola explaining why he identified the Assyrian tree with the tree of life ? If so, then I can understand
        Message 3 of 19 , Mar 31, 2006
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          Dear Trudy,

          Were you seeking a statement from Parpola explaining "why" he identified the Assyrian tree with "the tree of life" ? If so, then I can understand your frustration. I too have been trying to "nail down" an actual quotation from some ancient Assyrian text specifically calling the Assyrian tree "the tree of life." I have not been successful. I am an acknowledged amateur, so my knowledge is somewhat limited on this subject, perhaps Robert Whiting could help us here ?

          What little I have been able to piece together is that beginning with the late 19th century CE and into the early 20th century CE, a number of scholars "identified" trees appearing on ANE cylinder seals and in bas-reliefs as "sacred trees". However some scholars -with no ancient text to support them- took the "leap" and suggested these "sacred" trees were perhaps a "Tree of Life" as in Genesis. Thus an identity was forged, the Assyrian "sacred" tree became the proto-typical "tree of life." Not all scholars of course have made this "leap", some stuck to their guns and insisted on referring to these images as "sacred trees" or simply "trees" primarily because no ancient text accompanying the tree images identified them as "a tree of life."

          Parapola's mention of Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadrezzar's dream of a great tree, being the king himself (Daniel 4:10-22), is interesting, Parapola suggesting the Assyrian stylized palm tree with vine tendrils might be a symbol of the king . Elsewhere in the Bible such imagery (similar to Daniel's) appears again, Ezekiel metaphorically likens Pharaoh to a great Cedar tree towering over all the other Cedars in the garden of God (Ez 31:1-18) and verse 16 suggests the Cedars who envy Pharaoh will themselves descend into sheol, so apparently minor kings are likened to Cedar trees as well ? Psalms metaphorically speaks of "the righteous flourishing like a palm-tree which will grow like a Cedar of Lebanon", planted in the house of the Lord, bringing forth fruit to an old age (Ps 92:12-14).

          If memory serves me rightly, images of the gods were at times carved from the wood of trees in Mesopotamia, so perhaps an association of a tree with a god is possible if the wooden statute later inhabited by a god's spirit is in what was formerly a tree? I recall here the asherah, believed to be variously: a goddess, a tree, a pole or a pillar.

          I have not been successful in finding an ancient text from the ANE specifically calling any tree "a tree of knowledge of good and evil," nor have I found anywhere a text from the ANE specifically identifying a tree as "the tree of life". In Mesopotamian belief (The Adapa story) immortality is bestowed on man via the eating of the "bread of life" and drinking the "water of life", not consuming a tree's fruit as in Genesis.

          Yet I see some possible "parallels". In the Mesopotamian myths, some of the gods dwelt on the earth in cities they had made for themselves. The Anunnaki gods made the Igigi gods labor in their city-gardens which possessed fruit-trees, date-palms, fig trees, and vegetables. Then the Igigi objected to the working conditions and the gods made man to toil in the city-gardens to raise the food and feed it to them in temples. When one eats a fruit for the first time one is "acquiring knowledge" of what the fruit tastes like, how can it be useful (a main meal, a dessert, a snack), ergo eating of a fruit tree bestows a type of knowledge to its eater. The Mesopotamian gods surprisingly despite being described in texts as "immortal", were in fact NOT immortal. They could and were slain by each other in myths. They had fleshly bodies. They could go hungry and starve to death. The food they ate was raised on the earth in their city-gardens, not in heaven. The gods enjoyed their immortality only if (1) they were not slain by their fellow gods, and (2) if they had a continuous supply of earthy food to eat provided by man from the gods' earthly city-gardens. In other words the gods HAD TO EAT in oder to maintain life, their "immortal lives". That's why Yahweh DEMANDS he be fed twice a day by his priests, like the Mesopotamian gods, he TOO must eat to stay alive. Its all rather silly isn't it ? If one has immortality and cannot die there should be no need to eat as the act of eating is a requirement to stay alive or starve to death. There should be then NO REASON for the feeding of Yahweh, except that the Hebrews are following along in the beliefs of the ANE world. So, in a sense, the fruit from a tree grown in a gods' earthly city-garden would indeed be a "TREE OF LIFE" because fruits were part of the gods' diets, that they ate inorder to stay alive and be "immortal".

          I have concluded that the Hebrew's notion of a "tree of knowledge of good and evil" and "of life" is their unique contribution to the ANE myths, based on a reworking of earlier Mesopotamian myths, cf. the following urls if interested:

          http://www.bibleorigins.net/EdensTreeofKnowledgeLife.html

          http://www.bibleorigins.net/FleshlyResurrection.html

          Regards, Walter
          Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
          mattfeld12@...
          www.bibleorigins.net

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Trudy Kawami
          To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Friday, March 31, 2006 5:17 PM
          Subject: [ANE-2] Parpola & the Assyrian Tree


          Being properly admonished by Robert Whiting, I have now gone through
          Simo Parpola's 1993 "The Assyrian Tree of Life..." in JNES, as well as
          more of his, and other scholars,' writing on the same theme. Herewith is
          my reaction:

          As an art historian I had trouble with his first sentence: "A stylized
          tree with obvious religious significance already occurs as an art motif
          in fourth-millennium Mesopotamia..." No image is provided and no
          explanation, however brief, of what is "obvious" -ly religious about the
          image. By the end of this sentence the writer is already in the Indus
          Valley with a very hefty typological footnote to underscore this spread.
          The second sentence introduced the concept of the "Tree of Life" -
          without explaining where this concept comes from-and ends with Buddhist
          art. Alas, the "Tree of Life" does not occur in Buddhist art though the
          Tree of Enlightenment, and of course the Bodhi tree, does. But Parpola
          is not interested in the specific trees or cultures or their ideas about
          the tree images, but only the ideal forms that can fit into his abstract
          system. He puts "sacred trees" carefully carved 6 ft high in royal
          buildings and 1" high trees quickly cut w/ a wheel into a cylinder seal
          into the same category (his Appendix A) when art historical method
          requires that function, patron, craftsman and material all be considered
          as part of the context of the work. He does not care about the
          individual works of art, the very basis of art historical research. The
          fact that nearly all the illustrations are line drawings, not
          photographs, is telling. Art historians do not discuss Rembrandt's
          brushwork using other people's etchings of Rembrandt's paintings. They
          base their discussion on the painting itself.

          The explication of Parpola's theory of the tree does not explain
          anything about the Assyrian image; it just cloaks it in mystery, the
          very opposite of the goal of scholarship. The result tells us more about
          Parpola than the Assyrians. In an ironic twist, another article on the
          same topic appeared 30 pages before the Parpola article: Barbara N.
          Porter's "Sacred Trees, Date Palms, and the Royal Persona of
          Ashurnasirpal II. Porter is specific and concrete; she gives us insights
          into a remarkable historical figure, the development of Neo-Assyrian
          state ideology, and the complex relationship between Assyria & Babylonia
          in the 9th century BCE, not to mention practical information about date
          palms.

          Parpola's theories clearly resonate in this New Age when even pop stars
          study the Kabbalah. However, this tells us more about ourselves than the
          ancient Assyrians.

          Trudy S. Kawami





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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        • Trudy Kawami
          Thanks, Walter. I had been trying to find the text that included the term, but the best I can do is Frazier s Golden Bough which is a triffle late for the
          Message 4 of 19 , Mar 31, 2006
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            Thanks, Walter. I had been trying to find the text that included the term, but the best I can do is Frazier's Golden Bough which is a triffle "late" for the ANE. Hopefully someone can come up with something more timely.
            Trudy Kawami

            ________________________________

            From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com on behalf of walter mattfeld
            Sent: Fri 3/31/2006 8:46 PM
            To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Parpola & the Assyrian Tree


            Dear Trudy,

            Were you seeking a statement from Parpola explaining "why" he identified the Assyrian tree with "the tree of life" ? If so, then I can understand your frustration. I too have been trying to "nail down" an actual quotation from some ancient Assyrian text specifically calling the Assyrian tree "the tree of life." I have not been successful. I am an acknowledged amateur, so my knowledge is somewhat limited on this subject, perhaps Robert Whiting could help us here ?

            What little I have been able to piece together is that beginning with the late 19th century CE and into the early 20th century CE, a number of scholars "identified" trees appearing on ANE cylinder seals and in bas-reliefs as "sacred trees". However some scholars -with no ancient text to support them- took the "leap" and suggested these "sacred" trees were perhaps a "Tree of Life" as in Genesis. Thus an identity was forged, the Assyrian "sacred" tree became the proto-typical "tree of life." Not all scholars of course have made this "leap", some stuck to their guns and insisted on referring to these images as "sacred trees" or simply "trees" primarily because no ancient text accompanying the tree images identified them as "a tree of life."

            Parapola's mention of Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadrezzar's dream of a great tree, being the king himself (Daniel 4:10-22), is interesting, Parapola suggesting the Assyrian stylized palm tree with vine tendrils might be a symbol of the king . Elsewhere in the Bible such imagery (similar to Daniel's) appears again, Ezekiel metaphorically likens Pharaoh to a great Cedar tree towering over all the other Cedars in the garden of God (Ez 31:1-18) and verse 16 suggests the Cedars who envy Pharaoh will themselves descend into sheol, so apparently minor kings are likened to Cedar trees as well ? Psalms metaphorically speaks of "the righteous flourishing like a palm-tree which will grow like a Cedar of Lebanon", planted in the house of the Lord, bringing forth fruit to an old age (Ps 92:12-14).

            If memory serves me rightly, images of the gods were at times carved from the wood of trees in Mesopotamia, so perhaps an association of a tree with a god is possible if the wooden statute later inhabited by a god's spirit is in what was formerly a tree? I recall here the asherah, believed to be variously: a goddess, a tree, a pole or a pillar.

            I have not been successful in finding an ancient text from the ANE specifically calling any tree "a tree of knowledge of good and evil," nor have I found anywhere a text from the ANE specifically identifying a tree as "the tree of life". In Mesopotamian belief (The Adapa story) immortality is bestowed on man via the eating of the "bread of life" and drinking the "water of life", not consuming a tree's fruit as in Genesis.

            Yet I see some possible "parallels". In the Mesopotamian myths, some of the gods dwelt on the earth in cities they had made for themselves. The Anunnaki gods made the Igigi gods labor in their city-gardens which possessed fruit-trees, date-palms, fig trees, and vegetables. Then the Igigi objected to the working conditions and the gods made man to toil in the city-gardens to raise the food and feed it to them in temples. When one eats a fruit for the first time one is "acquiring knowledge" of what the fruit tastes like, how can it be useful (a main meal, a dessert, a snack), ergo eating of a fruit tree bestows a type of knowledge to its eater. The Mesopotamian gods surprisingly despite being described in texts as "immortal", were in fact NOT immortal. They could and were slain by each other in myths. They had fleshly bodies. They could go hungry and starve to death. The food they ate was raised on the earth in their city-gardens, not in heav en. The gods enjoyed their immortality only if (1) they were not slain by their fellow gods, and (2) if they had a continuous supply of earthy food to eat provided by man from the gods' earthly city-gardens. In other words the gods HAD TO EAT in oder to maintain life, their "immortal lives". That's why Yahweh DEMANDS he be fed twice a day by his priests, like the Mesopotamian gods, he TOO must eat to stay alive. Its all rather silly isn't it ? If one has immortality and cannot die there should be no need to eat as the act of eating is a requirement to stay alive or starve to death. There should be then NO REASON for the feeding of Yahweh, except that the Hebrews are following along in the beliefs of the ANE world. So, in a sense, the fruit from a tree grown in a gods' earthly city-garden would indeed be a "TREE OF LIFE" because fruits were part of the gods' diets, that they ate inorder to stay alive and be "immortal".

            I have concluded that the Hebrew's notion of a "tree of knowledge of good and evil" and "of life" is their unique contribution to the ANE myths, based on a reworking of earlier Mesopotamian myths, cf. the following urls if interested:

            http://www.bibleorigins.net/EdensTreeofKnowledgeLife.html

            http://www.bibleorigins.net/FleshlyResurrection.html

            Regards, Walter
            Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
            mattfeld12@...
            www.bibleorigins.net

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Trudy Kawami
            To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Friday, March 31, 2006 5:17 PM
            Subject: [ANE-2] Parpola & the Assyrian Tree


            Being properly admonished by Robert Whiting, I have now gone through
            Simo Parpola's 1993 "The Assyrian Tree of Life..." in JNES, as well as
            more of his, and other scholars,' writing on the same theme. Herewith is
            my reaction:

            As an art historian I had trouble with his first sentence: "A stylized
            tree with obvious religious significance already occurs as an art motif
            in fourth-millennium Mesopotamia..." No image is provided and no
            explanation, however brief, of what is "obvious" -ly religious about the
            image. By the end of this sentence the writer is already in the Indus
            Valley with a very hefty typological footnote to underscore this spread.
            The second sentence introduced the concept of the "Tree of Life" -
            without explaining where this concept comes from-and ends with Buddhist
            art. Alas, the "Tree of Life" does not occur in Buddhist art though the
            Tree of Enlightenment, and of course the Bodhi tree, does. But Parpola
            is not interested in the specific trees or cultures or their ideas about
            the tree images, but only the ideal forms that can fit into his abstract
            system. He puts "sacred trees" carefully carved 6 ft high in royal
            buildings and 1" high trees quickly cut w/ a wheel into a cylinder seal
            into the same category (his Appendix A) when art historical method
            requires that function, patron, craftsman and material all be considered
            as part of the context of the work. He does not care about the
            individual works of art, the very basis of art historical research. The
            fact that nearly all the illustrations are line drawings, not
            photographs, is telling. Art historians do not discuss Rembrandt's
            brushwork using other people's etchings of Rembrandt's paintings. They
            base their discussion on the painting itself.

            The explication of Parpola's theory of the tree does not explain
            anything about the Assyrian image; it just cloaks it in mystery, the
            very opposite of the goal of scholarship. The result tells us more about
            Parpola than the Assyrians. In an ironic twist, another article on the
            same topic appeared 30 pages before the Parpola article: Barbara N.
            Porter's "Sacred Trees, Date Palms, and the Royal Persona of
            Ashurnasirpal II. Porter is specific and concrete; she gives us insights
            into a remarkable historical figure, the development of Neo-Assyrian
            state ideology, and the complex relationship between Assyria & Babylonia
            in the 9th century BCE, not to mention practical information about date
            palms.

            Parpola's theories clearly resonate in this New Age when even pop stars
            study the Kabbalah. However, this tells us more about ourselves than the
            ancient Assyrians.

            Trudy S. Kawami





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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          • walter mattfeld
            Dear Trudy, This morning I chanced across a quote from 1898 identifying Eden s tree of life with the Palm-tree found in neo-Assyrian bas-reliefs from one
            Message 5 of 19 , Apr 1, 2006
            • 0 Attachment
              Dear Trudy,
              This morning I "chanced" across a quote from 1898 identifying Eden's "tree of life" with the Palm-tree found in neo-Assyrian bas-reliefs from one of my articles identifying Eridu's city-garden as one of several edenic prototypes:
              "The seaport of primitive Chaldea was Eridu, "the good city", now Abu-Shahrein, which stood near the mouth of the Euphrates. In its neighborhood was a garden, 'a holy place', wherein grew a sacred palm-tree -the tree of life- whose roots of bright lapis lazuli were planted in the cosmic abyss, whose position marked the center of the world...This tree of life is frequently represented in Assyrian sculptures..." (p. 643. A. H. Sayce. "Eden." James Hastings. A Dictionary of the Bible. Vol. 1. T. & T. Clark. Edinburgh. 1898)

              -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

              "This Eridu, as we shall see farther on, was the blessed city, or Paradise, wherein was the tree of life, and which was watered by the twin streams of the Tigris and the Euphrates.." (p. 43. Theophilus G. Pinches. The Old Testament In the Light of the Historical Records and Legends of Assyria and Babylonia. London. The Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge. 1908)

              If interested, cf. the below url for more information:


              http://www.bibleorigins.net/EdenDatePalmGardenIraqHrouda.html



              Regards, Walter

              Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.

              mattfeld12@...

              www.bibleorigins.net




              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Trudy Kawami
              To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Friday, March 31, 2006 10:11 PM
              Subject: RE: [ANE-2] Parpola & the Assyrian Tree


              Thanks, Walter. I had been trying to find the text that included the term, but the best I can do is Frazier's Golden Bough which is a triffle "late" for the ANE. Hopefully someone can come up with something more timely.
              Trudy Kawami

              ________________________________

              From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com on behalf of walter mattfeld
              Sent: Fri 3/31/2006 8:46 PM
              To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Parpola & the Assyrian Tree


              Dear Trudy,

              Were you seeking a statement from Parpola explaining "why" he identified the Assyrian tree with "the tree of life" ? If so, then I can understand your frustration. I too have been trying to "nail down" an actual quotation from some ancient Assyrian text specifically calling the Assyrian tree "the tree of life." I have not been successful. I am an acknowledged amateur, so my knowledge is somewhat limited on this subject, perhaps Robert Whiting could help us here ?

              What little I have been able to piece together is that beginning with the late 19th century CE and into the early 20th century CE, a number of scholars "identified" trees appearing on ANE cylinder seals and in bas-reliefs as "sacred trees". However some scholars -with no ancient text to support them- took the "leap" and suggested these "sacred" trees were perhaps a "Tree of Life" as in Genesis. Thus an identity was forged, the Assyrian "sacred" tree became the proto-typical "tree of life." Not all scholars of course have made this "leap", some stuck to their guns and insisted on referring to these images as "sacred trees" or simply "trees" primarily because no ancient text accompanying the tree images identified them as "a tree of life."

              Parapola's mention of Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadrezzar's dream of a great tree, being the king himself (Daniel 4:10-22), is interesting, Parapola suggesting the Assyrian stylized palm tree with vine tendrils might be a symbol of the king . Elsewhere in the Bible such imagery (similar to Daniel's) appears again, Ezekiel metaphorically likens Pharaoh to a great Cedar tree towering over all the other Cedars in the garden of God (Ez 31:1-18) and verse 16 suggests the Cedars who envy Pharaoh will themselves descend into sheol, so apparently minor kings are likened to Cedar trees as well ? Psalms metaphorically speaks of "the righteous flourishing like a palm-tree which will grow like a Cedar of Lebanon", planted in the house of the Lord, bringing forth fruit to an old age (Ps 92:12-14).

              If memory serves me rightly, images of the gods were at times carved from the wood of trees in Mesopotamia, so perhaps an association of a tree with a god is possible if the wooden statute later inhabited by a god's spirit is in what was formerly a tree? I recall here the asherah, believed to be variously: a goddess, a tree, a pole or a pillar.

              I have not been successful in finding an ancient text from the ANE specifically calling any tree "a tree of knowledge of good and evil," nor have I found anywhere a text from the ANE specifically identifying a tree as "the tree of life". In Mesopotamian belief (The Adapa story) immortality is bestowed on man via the eating of the "bread of life" and drinking the "water of life", not consuming a tree's fruit as in Genesis.

              Yet I see some possible "parallels". In the Mesopotamian myths, some of the gods dwelt on the earth in cities they had made for themselves. The Anunnaki gods made the Igigi gods labor in their city-gardens which possessed fruit-trees, date-palms, fig trees, and vegetables. Then the Igigi objected to the working conditions and the gods made man to toil in the city-gardens to raise the food and feed it to them in temples. When one eats a fruit for the first time one is "acquiring knowledge" of what the fruit tastes like, how can it be useful (a main meal, a dessert, a snack), ergo eating of a fruit tree bestows a type of knowledge to its eater. The Mesopotamian gods surprisingly despite being described in texts as "immortal", were in fact NOT immortal. They could and were slain by each other in myths. They had fleshly bodies. They could go hungry and starve to death. The food they ate was raised on the earth in their city-gardens, not in hea! v en. The gods enjoyed their immortality only if (1) they were not slain by their fellow gods, and (2) if they had a continuous supply of earthy food to eat provided by man from the gods' earthly city-gardens. In other words the gods HAD TO EAT in oder to maintain life, their "immortal lives". That's why Yahweh DEMANDS he be fed twice a day by his priests, like the Mesopotamian gods, he TOO must eat to stay alive. Its all rather silly isn't it ? If one has immortality and cannot die there should be no need to eat as the act of eating is a requirement to stay alive or starve to death. There should be then NO REASON for the feeding of Yahweh, except that the Hebrews are following along in the beliefs of the ANE world. So, in a sense, the fruit from a tree grown in a gods' earthly city-garden would indeed be a "TREE OF LIFE" because fruits were part of the gods' diets, that they ate inorder to stay alive and be "immortal".

              I have concluded that the Hebrew's notion of a "tree of knowledge of good and evil" and "of life" is their unique contribution to the ANE myths, based on a reworking of earlier Mesopotamian myths, cf. the following urls if interested:

              http://www.bibleorigins.net/EdensTreeofKnowledgeLife.html

              http://www.bibleorigins.net/FleshlyResurrection.html

              Regards, Walter
              Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
              mattfeld12@...
              www.bibleorigins.net

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Trudy Kawami
              To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Friday, March 31, 2006 5:17 PM
              Subject: [ANE-2] Parpola & the Assyrian Tree


              Being properly admonished by Robert Whiting, I have now gone through
              Simo Parpola's 1993 "The Assyrian Tree of Life..." in JNES, as well as
              more of his, and other scholars,' writing on the same theme. Herewith is
              my reaction:

              As an art historian I had trouble with his first sentence: "A stylized
              tree with obvious religious significance already occurs as an art motif
              in fourth-millennium Mesopotamia..." No image is provided and no
              explanation, however brief, of what is "obvious" -ly religious about the
              image. By the end of this sentence the writer is already in the Indus
              Valley with a very hefty typological footnote to underscore this spread.
              The second sentence introduced the concept of the "Tree of Life" -
              without explaining where this concept comes from-and ends with Buddhist
              art. Alas, the "Tree of Life" does not occur in Buddhist art though the
              Tree of Enlightenment, and of course the Bodhi tree, does. But Parpola
              is not interested in the specific trees or cultures or their ideas about
              the tree images, but only the ideal forms that can fit into his abstract
              system. He puts "sacred trees" carefully carved 6 ft high in royal
              buildings and 1" high trees quickly cut w/ a wheel into a cylinder seal
              into the same category (his Appendix A) when art historical method
              requires that function, patron, craftsman and material all be considered
              as part of the context of the work. He does not care about the
              individual works of art, the very basis of art historical research. The
              fact that nearly all the illustrations are line drawings, not
              photographs, is telling. Art historians do not discuss Rembrandt's
              brushwork using other people's etchings of Rembrandt's paintings. They
              base their discussion on the painting itself.

              The explication of Parpola's theory of the tree does not explain
              anything about the Assyrian image; it just cloaks it in mystery, the
              very opposite of the goal of scholarship. The result tells us more about
              Parpola than the Assyrians. In an ironic twist, another article on the
              same topic appeared 30 pages before the Parpola article: Barbara N.
              Porter's "Sacred Trees, Date Palms, and the Royal Persona of
              Ashurnasirpal II. Porter is specific and concrete; she gives us insights
              into a remarkable historical figure, the development of Neo-Assyrian
              state ideology, and the complex relationship between Assyria & Babylonia
              in the 9th century BCE, not to mention practical information about date
              palms.

              Parpola's theories clearly resonate in this New Age when even pop stars
              study the Kabbalah. However, this tells us more about ourselves than the
              ancient Assyrians.

              Trudy S. Kawami





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            • Ariel L. Szczupak
              ... Thank you. I had Parpola s tree in my to check list because I kept seeing it referenced in serious publications even though the claim seemed
              Message 6 of 19 , Apr 1, 2006
              • 0 Attachment
                At 00:17 01/04/2006, Trudy Kawami wrote:
                >[...] I had trouble with his first sentence: "A stylized tree with
                >obvious religious significance already occurs as an art motif in
                >fourth-millennium Mesopotamia..." No image is provided and no
                >explanation, however brief, of what is "obvious" -ly religious about
                >the image. [...] But Parpola is not interested in the specific trees
                >or cultures or their ideas about the tree images, but only the ideal
                >forms that can fit into his abstract system. [...] He does not care
                >about the individual works of art, the very basis of art historical
                >research. [...]

                Thank you.

                I had Parpola's tree in my "to check" list because I kept seeing it
                referenced in serious publications even though the claim seemed preposterous.

                In signal detection theory (important to the pattern recognition
                aspects of cognition) there are four possible outcomes - hit, miss
                (false negative), false alarm (false positive) and correct rejection.
                What you describe is not just bad "art historical research", it's
                symptomatic of false pattern recognition, which means that the
                reasoning used to support the falsely recognized pattern will be flawed.

                Myths will have similar symbols (trees, fishes, the sun and moon,
                genitalia, etc etc). It's something you can bet on, because of the
                similarities in the human experience. The tellers of the myths are
                the causal factor, the definers of patterns. And there will be
                similarities not only in the choice of symbols but also in the
                characteristics of what what they represent because each symbol has
                certain characteristics (e.g. the sun will be used to symbolize
                something cyclical, not a fish).

                But what you describe implies that Parpola defines his pattern by the
                symbols, not by the symbol creators, and that's a false alarm, unless
                he can support his claim by linking the creators of the symbols in some way.

                The basic reasoning for the necessity of binding patterns to the
                pattern creators and not to the creations is that the creations are
                not self-generating. The 6 ft and 1" trees didn't just appear, they
                were created by a volitional, cognitive processes.

                If Parpola can link the acts of creation of those symbols in some
                way, show that they're the result of similar cognitive processes,
                then he may have a viable theory, but otherwise what he's doing is
                fiction, not science - he's creating a pattern where there isn't one.

                Example of similar creations without an otherwise established link
                between the creators (false positive) - the Egyptian and American pyramids.

                Example of similar creations with an otherwise established link
                between the creators (hit) - the Greek and Phoenician alphabets. The
                link is not in us knowing that there were contacts between the Greeks
                and Phoenicians (though it helps), but in our knowledge of what the
                creators intended the symbols to represent, the similarity in the
                phonetic value of the symbols.

                So Parpola has to show that the creators of the Assyrian trees and
                the Kabbalah tree meant them to mean something very similar
                (something vaguely similar won't do because the inherent
                characteristics of trees already limit the possible symbolisms) or a
                step by step evolution from one to the other with every step
                supported with evidence of the intent of the symbol creators.

                [...]

                >Parpola's theories clearly resonate in this New Age when even pop stars
                >study the Kabbalah. However, this tells us more about ourselves than the
                >ancient Assyrians.

                Parpola will stay in my "to check" list, but not as a scientific
                theory but as something that seems to affect and captivate people - a
                fictional creation (which, if good enough, could be art).



                Ariel.

                [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

                ---
                Ariel L. Szczupak
                AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
                POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
                Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
                ane.als@...
              • Cynthia Edenburg
                ... the ... about ... resonate in this New Age when even pop stars ... than the ... This reminds of a comment Jonas Greenfield made, that Jacobsen s
                Message 7 of 19 , Apr 1, 2006
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                  --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "Trudy Kawami" <tkawami@...> wrote:
                  > The explication of Parpola's theory of the tree does not explain
                  > anything about the Assyrian image; it just cloaks it in mystery,
                  the
                  > very opposite of the goal of scholarship. The result tells us more
                  about
                  > Parpola than the Assyrians.<snip> Parpola's theories clearly
                  resonate in this New Age when even pop stars
                  > study the Kabbalah. However, this tells us more about ourselves
                  than the
                  > ancient Assyrians.

                  This reminds of a comment Jonas Greenfield made, that Jacobsen's
                  description of Mesopotamian religion was more likely a reflection of
                  J's own pantheistic tendencies.
                  How well have Jacobsen's views on Mesopotamian religion actually
                  stood the test of time?

                  Cynthia Edenburg
                  The Open University of Israel, Ra'anana
                • Sabina_Franke@T-Online.de
                  For those who read German there might also be of interest the review of Parpola s Assyrian Prophecies (SAA 9) by Eckart Frahm in WO 31 (2000/2001), 31-45 Wie
                  Message 8 of 19 , Apr 1, 2006
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                    For those who read German there might also be of interest the review of
                    Parpola's Assyrian Prophecies (SAA 9) by Eckart Frahm in WO 31
                    (2000/2001), 31-45 "Wie "christlich" war die assyrische Religion?


                    Dr. Sabina Franke (Universität Hamburg)
                    Obotritenring 149
                    19053 Schwerin
                    Germany
                    Sabina_Franke@...
                  • Tomas Marik
                    The tree of life is (among others) a technical term and belongs to the structural theory of religion. This theory is based on archetypes, i.e. models that help
                    Message 9 of 19 , Apr 4, 2006
                    • 0 Attachment
                      The tree of life is (among others) a technical term and belongs to the structural theory of religion. This theory is based on archetypes, i.e. models that help to explain common features in the symbolism of various religions. To get an idea of what is meant, you may want to start with Mircea Eliade (it's repeated and explained in almost any of his publications, on the tree in particular see the relevant chapters in his Traité d'histoire des religions).
                      One of the most frequent assyriological arguments against a "tree of life" in Mesopotamian religion has always been the absence of an expression for it in Sumerian and Akkadian. If we bear in mind the theoretical nature of the term "tree of life" then it is much the same as saying there was no status constructus in Akkadian, since we don't have a genuine term for it.
                      Though the structural view of religion can be criticized, it offers a useful tool for interpretation. Yet nobody has tried
                      to apply it fully on Mesopotamian stuff.
                      Parpola's Ishtars and esoteric trees remind one of P. Jensen's monstrous Gilgamesch-Epos in der Weltliteratur, but the other side (philologists building up religion on attested words, rationalistic and naturalistic horse-sense interpretations) is stuck deep in the 19th century, if not deeper.

                      Tomas Marik
                      tomas.marik@...
                    • Victor Hurowitz
                      Dear Thomas, Just to clarify things, may I point out that although Parpola s first article is called The Assyrian Tree of Life , he states at the end of the
                      Message 10 of 19 , Apr 4, 2006
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                        Dear Thomas,
                        Just to clarify things, may I point out that although Parpola's first
                        article is called "The Assyrian Tree of Life", he states at the end of the
                        first paragraph "many scholars today prefer the more neutral term "sacred
                        tree" when referring to the Mesopotamian Tree". (JNES 52 p. 161). In the
                        rest of his article he refers to the Tree (capital T) or the Assyrian, or
                        the Mesopotamian Tree. In his article about Gilgamesh's name he speaks of
                        the "sacred tree". In any case, Parpola seems to steer clear of the "Tree of
                        Life" which, of course, is a biblical concept designating one of the two
                        trees in the Garden of Eden and serving metaphorically in some passages in
                        Proverbs, and should not be transferred outside the Bible and its
                        derivatives without specific warrant to do so.
                        I doubt that Parpola would claim that someone who ate from the
                        (Mesopotamian/Assyrian [Sacred]) Tree would live forever or be rejuvenated
                        or become young in his or her old age.

                        Victor Hurowitz
                        Dept. of Bible, Archaeology and ANE Studies
                        Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
                        Beer-Sheva, Israel

                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                        Tomas Marik
                        Sent: Tuesday, April 04, 2006 2:27 PM
                        To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Parpola & the Assyrian Tree

                        The tree of life is (among others) a technical term and belongs to the
                        structural theory of religion. This theory is based on archetypes, i.e.
                        models that help to explain common features in the symbolism of various
                        religions. To get an idea of what is meant, you may want to start with
                        Mircea Eliade (it's repeated and explained in almost any of his
                        publications, on the tree in particular see the relevant chapters in his
                        Traité d'histoire des religions).
                        One of the most frequent assyriological arguments against a "tree of life"
                        in Mesopotamian religion has always been the absence of an expression for it
                        in Sumerian and Akkadian. If we bear in mind the theoretical nature of the
                        term "tree of life" then it is much the same as saying there was no status
                        constructus in Akkadian, since we don't have a genuine term for it.
                        Though the structural view of religion can be criticized, it offers a useful
                        tool for interpretation. Yet nobody has tried
                        to apply it fully on Mesopotamian stuff.
                        Parpola's Ishtars and esoteric trees remind one of P. Jensen's monstrous
                        Gilgamesch-Epos in der Weltliteratur, but the other side (philologists
                        building up religion on attested words, rationalistic and naturalistic
                        horse-sense interpretations) is stuck deep in the 19th century, if not
                        deeper.

                        Tomas Marik
                        tomas.marik@...







                        Yahoo! Groups Links
                      • Tomas Marik
                        ... Dear Victor, I don t see any reason, why not borrow from the Bible, which actually has been done since long ago. Tree of Life sounds very good, Sacred
                        Message 11 of 19 , Apr 4, 2006
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                          Victor Hurowitz wrote:

                          >Dear Thomas,
                          >Just to clarify things, may I point out that although Parpola's first
                          >article is called "The Assyrian Tree of Life", he states at the end of the
                          >first paragraph "many scholars today prefer the more neutral term "sacred
                          >tree" when referring to the Mesopotamian Tree". (JNES 52 p. 161). In the
                          >rest of his article he refers to the Tree (capital T) or the Assyrian, or
                          >the Mesopotamian Tree. In his article about Gilgamesh's name he speaks of
                          >the "sacred tree". In any case, Parpola seems to steer clear of the "Tree of
                          >Life" which, of course, is a biblical concept designating one of the two
                          >trees in the Garden of Eden and serving metaphorically in some passages in
                          >Proverbs, and should not be transferred outside the Bible and its
                          >derivatives without specific warrant to do so.
                          >
                          Dear Victor,

                          I don't see any reason, why not borrow from the Bible, which actually
                          has been done since long ago. "Tree of Life" sounds very good, "Sacred
                          Tree" a little bit empty. What more, the Eden story is a nice example of
                          demythologization, it destroys the common plot by explaining what the
                          trees are good for, fresh from the beginning. This fits well into the
                          terminology of the study of religions. On the other hand, at least in
                          Akkadian and in Ugaritic we have trees that are qd$, quddu$u
                          respectively, which is often being translated as "sacred". So I don't
                          know, why "sacred tree" should be better.

                          >I doubt that Parpola would claim that someone who ate from the
                          >(Mesopotamian/Assyrian [Sacred]) Tree would live forever or be rejuvenated
                          >or become young in his or her old age.
                          >
                          >
                          I don't think it is impossible. By all means, the antithetical
                          composition, their artificial composite nature, interchangebility with
                          the king etc. clearly point to a comparable concept as the trees in the
                          Garden of Eden. While we can doubt, whether the Assyrian artistic motiv
                          was connected with any narrative at all, a connection with fertility,
                          life and abundance can safely be proven.

                          >Victor Hurowitz
                          >Dept. of Bible, Archaeology and ANE Studies
                          >Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
                          >Beer-Sheva, Israel
                          >
                          >
                          Tomas Marik
                          tomas.marik@...
                        • victor avigdor hurowitz
                          ... The problem is that unless there is explicit evidence showing that the stylized trees from outside of the Bible some how give life, there is no reason to
                          Message 12 of 19 , Apr 4, 2006
                          • 0 Attachment
                            On Tue, 4 Apr 2006, Tomas Marik wrote:

                            >
                            >
                            > Victor Hurowitz wrote:
                            >
                            > >Dear Thomas,
                            > >Just to clarify things, may I point out that although Parpola's first
                            > >article is called "The Assyrian Tree of Life", he states at the end of the
                            > >first paragraph "many scholars today prefer the more neutral term "sacred
                            > >tree" when referring to the Mesopotamian Tree". (JNES 52 p. 161). In the
                            > >rest of his article he refers to the Tree (capital T) or the Assyrian, or
                            > >the Mesopotamian Tree. In his article about Gilgamesh's name he speaks of
                            > >the "sacred tree". In any case, Parpola seems to steer clear of the "Tree of
                            > >Life" which, of course, is a biblical concept designating one of the two
                            > >trees in the Garden of Eden and serving metaphorically in some passages in
                            > >Proverbs, and should not be transferred outside the Bible and its
                            > >derivatives without specific warrant to do so.
                            > >
                            > Dear Victor,
                            >
                            > I don't see any reason, why not borrow from the Bible, which actually
                            > has been done since long ago. "Tree of Life" sounds very good, "Sacred
                            > Tree" a little bit empty. What more, the Eden story is a nice example of
                            > demythologization, it destroys the common plot by explaining what the
                            > trees are good for, fresh from the beginning.
                            The problem is that unless there is explicit evidence showing that the
                            stylized trees from outside of the Bible some how give life, there is no
                            reason to impose this function on them. That having been said, I can think
                            of two basic types of stylized trees: 1) trees which are being tended by
                            genies or divine creatures either with or with out the well known bucket
                            and cone; 2) trees which seem to be being eaten by animals. The later type
                            of representation would be the type of evidence I look for so that I can
                            call the trees "tree of life", although in any case I would proceed
                            cautiously.


                            This fits well into the
                            > terminology of the study of religions. On the other hand, at least in
                            > Akkadian and in Ugaritic we have trees that are qd$, quddu$u
                            > respectively, which is often being translated as "sacred". So I don't
                            > know, why "sacred tree" should be better.
                            I think you made a mistake here and mean to say that "at least in Akkadian
                            and Ugaritic we DON'T have trees that are qd$, quddu$u". That being the
                            case, then the term "sacred tree" is used only because they seem to be
                            objects of rituals or associated with recognizably divine creatures.

                            > >
                            >I doubt that Parpola would claim that someone who ate from the
                            > >(Mesopotamian/Assyrian [Sacred]) Tree would live forever or be rejuvenated
                            > >or become young in his or her old age.
                            > >
                            > >
                            > I don't think it is impossible. By all means, the antithetical
                            > composition, their artificial composite nature, interchangebility with
                            > the king etc. clearly point to a comparable concept as the trees in the
                            > Garden of Eden. While we can doubt, whether the Assyrian artistic motiv
                            > was connected with any narrative at all, a connection with fertility,
                            > life and abundance can safely be proven.
                            Yes, I agree with that. And with all this, I still prefer to err on the
                            side of caution and refrain from "biblifying" fro the time being.
                            >
                            > >Victor Hurowitz
                            > >Dept. of Bible, Archaeology and ANE Studies
                            > >Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
                            > >Beer-Sheva, Israel
                            > >
                            > >
                            > Tomas Marik
                            > tomas.marik@...
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                          • Tomas Marik
                            ... Appart from its name, how does the Tree of Life in Genesis some how give life ? ... Obviously not a pine cone, since they seem to have always a regular
                            Message 13 of 19 , Apr 5, 2006
                            • 0 Attachment
                              >
                              >
                              > Victor Hurowitz wrote:
                              >
                              >

                              >>...
                              >>
                              >>Dear Victor,
                              >>
                              >>I don't see any reason, why not borrow from the Bible, which actually
                              >>has been done since long ago. "Tree of Life" sounds very good, "Sacred
                              >>Tree" a little bit empty. What more, the Eden story is a nice example of
                              >>demythologization, it destroys the common plot by explaining what the
                              >>trees are good for, fresh from the beginning.
                              >>
                              >>
                              >The problem is that unless there is explicit evidence showing that the
                              >stylized trees from outside of the Bible some how give life, there is no
                              >reason to impose this function on them.
                              >
                              >

                              Appart from its name, how does the "Tree of Life" in Genesis "some how give
                              life"?

                              >That having been said, I can think
                              >of two basic types of stylized trees: 1) trees which are being tended by
                              >genies or divine creatures either with or with out the well known bucket
                              >and cone;
                              >
                              >

                              Obviously not a pine cone, since they seem to have always a regular grid on the
                              reliefs. Rather the flower clusters of a male date palm, which has been pointed
                              out already by Felix von Luschan in 1912 (Entstehung der Ionischen Säule,
                              Leipzig == Der Alte Orient 4, esp. p. 27) and reinvented by B. Neveling Porter
                              in her JNES article (no. 52 from 1993). So the reliefs would show a way of
                              pollinating date palms that is still being used. BTW, the Akkadian verb for
                              this is raka:bu.

                              >2) trees which seem to be being eaten by animals. The later type
                              >of representation would be the type of evidence I look for so that I can
                              >call the trees "tree of life", although in any case I would proceed
                              >cautiously.
                              >
                              >

                              I would be even more cautious. As I said, "tree of life", if used as a
                              technical term does not need to be connected with life at all. I've opened
                              Eliade's Traité, the reprinted 1949 edition, the relevant chapter is "La
                              végétation. Symboles et rites de renouvellement" on pp. 229-309. There he has
                              an "Essai de classification" with seven groups: arbre microcosme, arbre image
                              du Cosmos, arbre-théophanie cosmique, arbre symbole de la vie, arbre centre du
                              monde, liens mystique entres arbres et hommes, arbre symbole de resurrection.
                              There are no clear borders between the various types.

                              >>This fits well into the
                              >>terminology of the study of religions. On the other hand, at least in
                              >>Akkadian and in Ugaritic we have trees that are qd$, quddu$u
                              >>respectively, which is often being translated as "sacred". So I don't
                              >>know, why "sacred tree" should be better.
                              >>
                              >>
                              >I think you made a mistake here and mean to say that "at least in Akkadian
                              >and Ugaritic we DON'T have trees that are qd$, quddu$u".
                              >
                              And what about `s. qd$ in the incantation RS 92.2014 and in Akkadian at
                              least $e:p lemutti, 81-82.

                              >That being the
                              >case, then the term "sacred tree" is used only because they seem to be
                              >objects of rituals or associated with recognizably divine creatures.
                              >
                              >

                              And what about discussing the "tree of death" instead?

                              Tomas Marik
                              tomas.marik@...




                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Victor Hurowitz
                              Appart from its name, how does the Tree of Life in Genesis some how give life ? Well according to Genesis 2:22 YHWH God says to whoever was listening
                              Message 14 of 19 , Apr 5, 2006
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                                Appart from its name, how does the "Tree of Life" in Genesis "some how give
                                life"?
                                Well according to Genesis 2:22 YHWH God says to whoever was listening
                                "behold the Man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil, and now
                                let him not put out his hand and take as well from the Tree of Life and
                                eat and thereby live forever." I don't think things can be more
                                explicit. One eats from the Tree of Life and gains immortality, or at least
                                longevity long enough to eat again and again.

                                I'll get back to your other questions later, but I must go teach now.
                                Victor Hurowitz
                                Dept. of Bible, BGU, Beer-Sheva, Israel

                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







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                              • Victor Hurowitz
                                ... I would be even more cautious. As I said, tree of life , if used as a technical term does not need to be connected with life at all. I ve opened Eliade s
                                Message 15 of 19 , Apr 5, 2006
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                                  >2) trees which seem to be being eaten by animals. The later type
                                  >of representation would be the type of evidence I look for so that I can
                                  >call the trees "tree of life", although in any case I would proceed
                                  >cautiously.
                                  >
                                  >

                                  I would be even more cautious. As I said, "tree of life", if used as a
                                  technical term does not need to be connected with life at all. I've opened
                                  Eliade's Traité, the reprinted 1949 edition, the relevant chapter is "La
                                  végétation. Symboles et rites de renouvellement" on pp. 229-309. There he
                                  has
                                  an "Essai de classification" with seven groups: arbre microcosme, arbre
                                  image
                                  du Cosmos, arbre-théophanie cosmique, arbre symbole de la vie, arbre centre
                                  du
                                  monde, liens mystique entres arbres et hommes, arbre symbole de
                                  resurrection.
                                  There are no clear borders between the various types.

                                  I can see that all or most of these characteristics might be wrapped up in a
                                  single tree. A cosmic tree, a Weltbaum, which is a microcosm of the
                                  universe, divine and divinely omnipresent stands at the center of the
                                  universe, binding together heaven, earth, the underworld and the
                                  subterranean sea, and offering life, rejuvenation and resurrection to all
                                  who "partake" of its fruit or its shade. Nice! Wow! Sounds great, but how
                                  can we know?


                                  >>This fits well into the
                                  >>terminology of the study of religions. On the other hand, at least in
                                  >>Akkadian and in Ugaritic we have trees that are qd$, quddu$u
                                  >>respectively, which is often being translated as "sacred". So I don't
                                  >>know, why "sacred tree" should be better.
                                  >>
                                  >>
                                  >I think you made a mistake here and mean to say that "at least in Akkadian
                                  >and Ugaritic we DON'T have trees that are qd$, quddu$u".
                                  >
                                  And what about `s. qd$ in the incantation RS 92.2014 and in Akkadian at
                                  least $e:p lemutti, 81-82.

                                  I'm afraid I don't have these texts in front of me, but I'd like to see the
                                  terms in context.

                                  >That being the
                                  >case, then the term "sacred tree" is used only because they seem to be
                                  >objects of rituals or associated with recognizably divine creatures.
                                  >
                                  >

                                  And what about discussing the "tree of death" instead?
                                  Excuse my ignorance, but is there such a creature?

                                  Victor Hurowitz
                                  Dept. of Bible, Archaeology, and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
                                  Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
                                  Beer-Sheva, Israel

                                  Tomas Marik
                                  tomas.marik@...




                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







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                                • walter mattfeld
                                  Dear Victor, Playing the role of the Devil s advocate here, I can see why one _might_ want to argue that a tree of death exists. Yahweh told Adam and Eve
                                  Message 16 of 19 , Apr 5, 2006
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                                    Dear Victor,

                                    Playing the role of "the Devil's advocate" here, I can see why one _might_ want to argue that a "tree of death" exists. Yahweh told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for "in the day that you eat of it you shall die" (Ge 2:17). So, I guess some _could_ extrapolate this tree into the "tree of death."

                                    Regards, Walter
                                    Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
                                    mattfeld12@...
                                    www.bibleorigins.net




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                                  • victor avigdor hurowitz
                                    quite frankly, I would mention the Adapa legend in which Adapa is told not to eat or drink water of death or food of death, and then he is offerred water of
                                    Message 17 of 19 , Apr 5, 2006
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                                      quite frankly, I would mention the Adapa legend in which Adapa is told not
                                      to eat or drink water of death or food of death, and then he is offerred
                                      water of life and food of life and he turns it down and thereby loses his
                                      chance for eternal life.
                                      Victor Hurowitz
                                      BGU Israel



                                      On Wed, 5 Apr 2006, walter mattfeld wrote:

                                      > Dear Victor,
                                      >
                                      > Playing the role of "the Devil's advocate" here, I can see why one _might_ want to argue that a "tree of death" exists. Yahweh told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for "in the day that you eat of it you shall die" (Ge 2:17). So, I guess some _could_ extrapolate this tree into the "tree of death."
                                      >
                                      > Regards, Walter
                                      > Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
                                      > mattfeld12@...
                                      > www.bibleorigins.net
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                      >
                                      >
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                                    • walter mattfeld
                                      Dear Victor, But where is there any mention of a _tree_ in the Adapa myth ? Adapa is offered bread of life by Anu, but Enki lead Adapa into believing he
                                      Message 18 of 19 , Apr 5, 2006
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                                        Dear Victor,

                                        But "where" is there any mention of a _tree_ in the Adapa myth ? Adapa is offered "bread of life" by Anu, but Enki lead Adapa into believing he would be offered the "bread of death".

                                        Your mention of the Adapa Legend is relevent. As many on this list are aware the Myth of Adapa and the South Wind is understood to be a Mesopotamian explanation of how, _once upon a time_, man had a chance to obtain immortality by eating the "bread of life" and drinking the "water of life" offered by Anu. Some scholars have suggested the notion that man can obtain immortality _via eating something_, resonates "somewhat" with the Eden scenario, a fruit if eaten bestowing immortality. I am in agreement with these scholars that Genesis is recasting the Mesopotamian myths about how man came to be made and why his demise was sought in a universal flood. This recasting being understood as a "challenge" or "_disavowal_" of the Mesopotamian concepts.

                                        If, as some have suggested, Adapa and the South Wind myth has been recast in Genesis, Adapa being understood to be a prototype of Adam, where is the serpent, the two trees, and the woman ? My research suggests several different Mesopotamian myths lie behind the Eden story. I understand Adam is a recast of Adapa, Enkidu, Enki, and Utnapishtim. Eve is a recast of Nin-ti ("Lady of the rib"), Ninhursag, Utnapishtim's wife, and Shamhat. The Edenic serpent is a recast of Dumuzi (Tammuz), Ningishzida, and Enki. The Garden of Eden is a recast of Dilmun, Eridu, Nippur, Humbaba's Cedar mountain, and the Eridu Genesis Myth (naked man wandering a wilderness steppe with animals for companions instead of gods and knowing no fear from these beasts).

                                        For me, Genesis is _denying_ the Mesopotamian myths' explanation of how and why man came to made, what his purpose on earth is, and why his demise was sought in a flood. This "_denial_" -is for me- accomplished by taking the Mesopotamian motifs from a varety of myths and giving them a number of "new twists" by changing the names of the characters, the locations, and sequences of events. If interested in this Secular Humanist approach cf. the following urls:

                                        The Tree of Knowledge (Its Mesopotamian Prototypes)
                                        http://www.bibleorigins.net/EdensTreeofKnowledgeLife.html

                                        Why a Naked Adam in Eden ? (Eden is Eridu & Nippur & Edin)
                                        http://www.bibleorigins.net/EdenDatePalmGardenIraqHrouda.html

                                        Genesis' Genesis (The Hebrews' Recasting of Mesopotamian Creation Myths on Man)
                                        http://www.bibleorigins.net/genesisgenesis.html

                                        The Mesopotamian Prototypes behind Eden's Serpent
                                        http://www.bibleorigins.net/ningishzida.html

                                        The Sabbath's Origins (The sebittu day, 7th day, when ALL the Mesopotamian gods rested)
                                        http://www.bibleorigins.net/sabbathorigins.html

                                        Regards, Walter
                                        Walter Reinhold arttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
                                        mattfeld12@...
                                        www.bibleorigins.net




                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      • victor@bgumail.bgu.ac.il
                                        There is no tree in Adapa. That is clear. I didn t say there was. I was just pointing out what might be a parallel motif, and especially because Thomas asked
                                        Message 19 of 19 , Apr 5, 2006
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                                          There is no tree in Adapa. That is clear. I didn't say there was. I was just pointing out what might be a parallel motif, and especially because Thomas asked about a Tree of Death.
                                          Victor Hurowitz
                                          Dept. of Bible Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
                                          Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
                                          Beer-Sheva, Israel
                                          >
                                          > From: walter mattfeld <mattfeld12@...>
                                          > Date: 2006/04/05 ד PM 10:08:10 GMT+05:30
                                          > To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                                          > Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Parpola & the Assyrian Tree
                                          >
                                          > Dear Victor,
                                          >
                                          > But "where" is there any mention of a _tree_ in the Adapa myth ? Adapa is offered "bread of life" by Anu, but Enki lead Adapa into believing he would be offered the "bread of death".
                                          >
                                          > Your mention of the Adapa Legend is relevent. As many on this list are aware the Myth of Adapa and the South Wind is understood to be a Mesopotamian explanation of how, _once upon a time_, man had a chance to obtain immortality by eating the "bread of life" and drinking the "water of life" offered by Anu. Some scholars have suggested the notion that man can obtain immortality _via eating something_, resonates "somewhat" with the Eden scenario, a fruit if eaten bestowing immortality. I am in agreement with these scholars that Genesis is recasting the Mesopotamian myths about how man came to be made and why his demise was sought in a universal flood. This recasting being understood as a "challenge" or "_disavowal_" of the Mesopotamian concepts.
                                          >
                                          > If, as some have suggested, Adapa and the South Wind myth has been recast in Genesis, Adapa being understood to be a prototype of Adam, where is the serpent, the two trees, and the woman ? My research suggests several different Mesopotamian myths lie behind the Eden story. I understand Adam is a recast of Adapa, Enkidu, Enki, and Utnapishtim. Eve is a recast of Nin-ti ("Lady of the rib"), Ninhursag, Utnapishtim's wife, and Shamhat. The Edenic serpent is a recast of Dumuzi (Tammuz), Ningishzida, and Enki. The Garden of Eden is a recast of Dilmun, Eridu, Nippur, Humbaba's Cedar mountain, and the Eridu Genesis Myth (naked man wandering a wilderness steppe with animals for companions instead of gods and knowing no fear from these beasts).
                                          >
                                          > For me, Genesis is _denying_ the Mesopotamian myths' explanation of how and why man came to made, what his purpose on earth is, and why his demise was sought in a flood. This "_denial_" -is for me- accomplished by taking the Mesopotamian motifs from a varety of myths and giving them a number of "new twists" by changing the names of the characters, the locations, and sequences of events. If interested in this Secular Humanist approach cf. the following urls:
                                          >
                                          > The Tree of Knowledge (Its Mesopotamian Prototypes)
                                          > http://www.bibleorigins.net/EdensTreeofKnowledgeLife.html
                                          >
                                          > Why a Naked Adam in Eden ? (Eden is Eridu & Nippur & Edin)
                                          > http://www.bibleorigins.net/EdenDatePalmGardenIraqHrouda.html
                                          >
                                          > Genesis' Genesis (The Hebrews' Recasting of Mesopotamian Creation Myths on Man)
                                          > http://www.bibleorigins.net/genesisgenesis.html
                                          >
                                          > The Mesopotamian Prototypes behind Eden's Serpent
                                          > http://www.bibleorigins.net/ningishzida.html
                                          >
                                          > The Sabbath's Origins (The sebittu day, 7th day, when ALL the Mesopotamian gods rested)
                                          > http://www.bibleorigins.net/sabbathorigins.html
                                          >
                                          > Regards, Walter
                                          > Walter Reinhold arttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
                                          > mattfeld12@...
                                          > www.bibleorigins.net
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
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