Sumerian history

by StarTrekAngel 9 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • StarTrekAngel

    Can anyone recommend a good, updated book or documentary on the Sumerian civilization?

    Thanks in advance

  • kepler


    In my own inquiries, I found Georges Roux's "Ancient Iraq" very informative. It's available from Penguin in paperback and has been updated from time to time by the author. Other books of some help have been guides to hieroglyphics, who wrote what, how and when.

    This might not be a bull's eye on your basic question, since you said Sumeria. Sumeria is ancient Iraq though, but there is not necessarily continuity with the Semitic language peoples that followed it. And what's more, I find myself compelled to mention Roux's account (pp. 319-396) of Sennacherib's destruction of BABYLON (circa 689 BC) and his son Esarhaddon order ( in stone ) to have it rebuilt prior to the 70 years ( after a eleven years of ordered desolation issued after 681 BC, he inverted the numerals on a tablet in a formal ceremony).

    This implications of this should be unsettling to any reader of Biblical archeology.

  • Crazyguy
    Give more details of what your talking about Kepler, I remember reading something about that but can't remember now.
  • Mephis
    Probably something by Kramer as a general book, although that's kind of 'classic' now (50 years old!). Crawford would be the other to check out which fills in more of the blanks uncovered in the 40 years between her book and Kramer's.
  • Magnum
    StarTrekAngel, I'm interested in that, too, and I appreciate the info already provided by the posters above. May I ask why you're interested in such? Do you believe the Bible is inspired by a supernatural being? Are you trying to decide? Are you trying to prove it is or isn't? If you'd rather not answer those questions publicly, please PM me and let me know. My interest is genuine and in no way am I challenging you.
  • StarTrekAngel

    Well, I am not sure Magnum. In JW land there's always been the idea that ancient civilization that had similar believes as the Jews had twisted understanding of the same teachings as the Jews, rather than being the initial proponents of the belief. I've learned before about stories like the Epic of Gilgamish but I've never read credible sources. I am more in a learning path at the moment. I am not at a point where I even have enough brain power to begin questioning more abstract things (like the existence of God).

    Any read, wether on Sumerians or simply ancient and early civilizations is good.

  • Diogenesister
    StartrekAngel n my own inquiries, I found Georges Roux's "Ancient Iraq" very informative. It's available from Penguin in paperback and has been updated from time to time by the author. Other books of some help have been guides to hieroglyphics, who wrote what, how and when.

    Ha ha, that book is staring right at me as I read this! Now I am definately gonna read it!

  • Crazyguy
    If your looking in to their religious beliefs then, Three Babylonian creation myths, by Soliman El-Azir, is a good easy read. Something with a lot more meat would be "The Chaldean account of Genesis " by George Smith. I have watched a good video on YouTube on the Sumerians their culture and their civilization. I'll find it and post it here when I can.
  • kepler

    CrazyGuy, StarTrekAngel,

    Responding to the question about destruction of Babylon:

    Back about 5 or 6 years ago, I was asked to take instruction by my then fiancée. This consisted of having two representatives come to my house on Saturdays and take me through the pamphlet "What the Bible Really Teaches". About page 23 there was a section titled, "A Book of Prophecy". The text made claims about the book of Isaiah, about how Isaiah prophesied the destruction of Babylon by Cyrus and quotes on page 25:"She will never be inhabited, nor will she reside for generation after generation. And there the Arab will not pitch his tent, and no shepherds will let their flocks lie down there (13:20)". "I will sweep her with the broom of annihilation (14:22)."

    The idea here was that Jehovah had devastated Babylon for desecrating the Temple. And wouldn't you like to have a deity like Jehovah backing you up when you're in trouble, et cetera?

    Interesting. But I found this odd. I looked at my under-used copy of Herodotus. It seemed like Babylon was a bustling metropolis according to his account of his world a century or so after its presumed destruction. No reports of recent destruction or recovery from thereof. Later Alexander seemed to want to establish his capital there and the Persians were loose with the notion of where a capital was, save for where they liked to have court. And Ezra with a large party appears to have left Babylon with well wishes from Cyrus. Not even all the Jews left when he did. Something fishy.

    I look at other accounts of history and I start reading Isaiah carefully for myself.

    Chapter 14 is whole host of denunciations, that lead up to a fist shaking at Assyria which in Isaiah's time under Sennacherib had laid siege to Jerusalem and fumbled the ball. A plague broke out in its camp and the siege was lifted. Isaiah credits Jehovah's intervention ( or the Lord's or Yahweh's... depending on text). Prior to that, about Babylon, he says, quoting the Lord: "I will rise against them, ... and deprive Babylon of name, remnant, offspring and posterity, declares Yahweh. I shall turn it into the haunt of hedgehogs, a swamp. I shall sweep it with the broom of destruction... ( 14:22-23)."

    As I said, the next few lines are about how the Lord would "break Assyria in my country: (14:25).

    So what about the Ancient Iraq section and other similar texts? The destruction of Babylon did NOT occur 150 years later (539 BC), but around 689 BC. Cyrus was greeted as a hero. A peaceful takeover and favorable reception by local religious authorities is chronicled in stone. As is the earlier destruction by Sennacherib the Assyrian by FLOODING. "I will turn it into a haunt of hedgehogs, a swamp." Sennacherib diverted the river to flood the city and carted off the nobility and wealthy to slavery much as would happen later to the same classes in Jerusalem under order of Nebuchadnezzar. Cyrus did nothing of the kind, however.

    And it means that the whole proposition of the segment on "What the Bible Really Teaches" was wrong. Jehovah did not punish Babylon for destruction or desecration of the Temple by desolation because it was Sennacherib that had done the deed 150 years before. And it was his son Esarhaddon who rescinded the 70 year sentence after 681 in an act of mercy or remorse that the Biblical account, which seems to borrow from Assyrian "jurisprudence" seems unable to consider or imagine. I would add that the scribes appear to have deliberately conflated the two events. And their work in that regard seems to have succeeded immeasurably better than they could have imagined.

    Several times I confronted elders from the particular Kingdom Hall with these matters. They continued to insist that Babylon was irrevocably destroyed. It's amazing the tenacity of their beliefs. I also pointed out that the NWT claims that Peter was writing his epistles from Babylon...

    Case closed.

  • Crazyguy

    Babylon was still one of the most populous cities in the world in the first century and wasn't depopulated until several hundred years after the Roman Empire fell. It was finally destroyed when they had several times rebelled against and Iraqi leader and he forcibly removed the population to other areas in the area. So really Babylon was never destroyed after Assyria but just abandoned.

    Thanks Kepler for your post about the curse of the Assyrian over Babylon, I read about his a little but never connected the dots. It's clear to me this is what Isaiah was talking about and Jeremiah possibly and that to use it in connection with Jerusalem was per propaganda.

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