The Bible. Apendix I



The Bible

The Bible is a compilation of texts that were originally separate documents (called "books") first written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek for a very lengthy period, then assembled to form the Tanakh (Old Testament to Christians) and then the New Testament. Both testaments form the Christian Bible. The Bible as such was written over 1000 years (from 900 BC to100 AD). The oldest texts are in the Book of Judges ("Song of Deborah") and in the so-called "E" (Elohist tradition) and "J" (Yahwistic tradition) sources of the Torah (called Pentateuch by Christians) which is dated at the time of the two kingdoms (tenth to eighth century BC). The oldest complete book, that of Hosea, is also from the same era. The Jewish people identify the Bible with the Tanakh, not indulging in any way the term Old Testament; and they do not accept the validity of the so-called New Testament, but identifying the Tanakh as the only sacred text.

The canon of the Bible we know today was sanctioned by the Catholic Church, under Pope Damasus, in the Synod of Rome in 382 AC; and this is the version Saint Jerome translated into Latin. This canon consists of 73 books: 46 that constitute the so-called Old Testament, including 7 books currently called Deuterocanonical books (Tobit, Judith, I Maccabees, II Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach and Baruch) -which have been challenged by Jews and Protestants- and 27 of the New Testament. It was confirmed at the Council of Hippo in 393AD, and ratified at the Third Council of Carthage, in 397AD, and the Fourth  Council of Carthage, in 419AD.


Enuma Elish

Babylonian Poem

"When high above heaven had not been named it had not been called with a name the mainland below; and there was just the primordial Apsu, their father, (and) Mummu-Tiamat, She Who bore Them all, They mingled their waters as one body.

And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen; when none of the gods existed, and none bore a name, and no destinies were ordained then Lahmu and Lahamu were called into being. During eternities They increased in age and height. Anshar and Kishar were formed, surpassing the Others. Days passed, years accumulated. Anu was Their son, a rival of His own parents; yes, Anu, Anshar´s firstborn, was Their equal. Anu begat Nudimmud in His own image. Nudimmud became His fathers´ owner, unparalleled wise, insightful, strong and powerful, much stronger than His grandfather Anshar.

He had no rival among the gods His brothers. Together the divine brothers came and went altering Tiamat when they shook from side to side; yeah, They altered Tiamat with Their hilarity in Their heavenly abode.

Apsu could not stifle Their cries and Tiamat was speechless at Their behavior. Their actions were obnoxious to [...] Their behavior was abhorrent; They became unbearable. Then Apsu, progenitor of the great gods, shouted, addressing Mummu, His vizier: "Oh Mummu, my vizier, who brightens my spirit, come with Me to Tiamat. (...)".


They went and sat down before Tiamat, deliberating about the gods, their firstborns. Apsu opened His mouth and said to the resplendent Tiamat: "Their behavior is loathsome to me. I find no relief by day or rest at night. I will destroy Them; annihilate Their works, to restore calm. Let´s rest! ". As soon as Tiamat heard this, She was angry and shouted to Her husband. She shouted full of anger, alone in Her anger, on a threatening tone: "What? Are we going to destroy what We have built? Their behavior is certainly annoying, but we must be patient." Then Mummu responded and advised Apsu. Malicious and unfortunate was the advice of Mummu: "Destroy, My father, the rebellious behavior. So you'll have peace during the day and rest at night ". When Apsu heard this, His face beamed for the evil He was plotting against the gods, His children. Mummu hugged Him around the neck, sitting on His knees to kiss Him. But what They had plotted between Them was repeated by the gods, Their firstborn. When the gods heard everything They stirred, then fell silent and were speechless. Omniscient, perfect, witty, wisest, Ea guessed their plot. Ea designed and made a dominant strategy and made His counter spell, sovereign and holy that He recited and made it subsist in the deep, spilling sleep on Apsu. When Apsu was prostrated, fast asleep, Mummu, the counselor, could not wake Him up anymore. He loosened His band, took off the tiara, left His aura and put it on Himself.After chaining Apsu, Ea killed Him; tied Mummu and chained him.


Having thus established his dwelling upon Apsu, He seized Mummu, girdling his nose. After beating and trampling his enemies, Ea, having secured His triumph over His opponents, rested in His sacred chamber plunged into a profound peace. Apsu called Him to assign the sanctuaries. Right there He established His cult hut. Ea and His wife Damkina dwelt there in splendor. In the House of destinies, home of fate, a god was engendered, wise and more powerful than the other gods. In the heart of Apsu Marduk was created. He who begot Him was Ea, His father, and Who conceived Him was Damkina, His mother. He was breastfed by the goddess. The wet nurse who raised Him made Him terrible; His figure was seductive; the light shone in His eyes; His step was manorial, longtime sovereign. When Ea -the father Who begot Him- saw Him, His face rejoiced and lit; His heart was full of joy. He made Him perfect and gave Him double divinity; He was flawless, exalted among Them; perfect were His members beyond measure, impossible to understand, difficult to perceive; four were His eyes; four were His ears; when He moved His lips, fire escaped them; great were His hearing organs and His eyes, in equal number, scrutinized everything. He was the highest of the gods; sovereign was His stature; huge His members; He was exceedingly high. "My son, my dear son! My son, Sun, Sun of heaven!". Coated with the halo of ten gods, His strength was unrivaled with all its terrible flashes.



Garden of Eden

The word used to describe garden is gan-word of Sumerian origin- meaning enclosed place, leafy garden. The Vulgate, following the LXX (seventy), translated it as paradisus, which is the popular transliteration of Persian pairi daeza, originally meaning the garden fence, and then the garden. Xenophon often speaks of fine recreation estates of the Persian kings. It is therefore clear from the name used, that the hagiographer believes that the residence of Adam is a recreational property or leafy park, as he will specify later. And he locates it in Eden as its geographical designation. The LXX understand it here as geographic location, but in Genesis 3:23-24 is translated "Garden of Delights", as does the Vulgate: "paradisum voluptatis". Eden has been associated with the Sumerian edin and the Assyrian-Babylonian edinu, meaning desert. According to this etymology, the description of the Bible alludes to a lush garden or oasis amid the desert, which explains well the fact that Adam was cast out of the oasis to then live the hard life of the dessert by the sweat of his brow. Some authors have tried to identify the location of Bit-Adini of the Assyrian texts near Edessa. In any case, the hagiographer locates it eastward.



Bit-Adini (also known as Beth Eden) was an Aramaic state located in the Euphrates River valley in the area of the present city of Aleppo in Syria and about 20 km south of Carchemish. Most sources of information on the state are of Assyrian origin, with whom Bit Adini had several conflicts, to be eventually absorbed by the Assyrian state at the time of Shalmaneser III.

After the crisis of the great empires of the twelfth century BC, spacious semi-arid regions in northern Syria are under the political control of the Aramaic tribes that, after settling down, founded various states over the eleventh and tenth centuries BC; and will control the trade routes between Mesopotamia, the Levant and the neo-Hittite kingdoms of Anatolia. These include Bit Adini, located in the Euphrates River valley and its capital Til Barsip, strategically located on a river ford.

With the revival of Assyria, consolidated during the reign of Ashurnasirpal II, Bit Adini sees its trade relations in the area in jeopardy and thus, along with Babylon, promotes small uprisings in Border States with Assyria. After crushing these uprisings, Ashurnasirpal II dares not antagonize Babylon and turns against Bit Adini, snatching the territory east of the Euphrates.

By the year 858 BC, Bit Adini heads a coalition of Aramaeans and neo-Hittite states of northern Syria and southern Anatolia against the new Assyrian king Shalmaneser III. The coalition is defeated and the kingdom of Bit Adini is annexed to Assyria and becomes a province. The capital will be renamed Kar-Shulman-ashare-du ("Shalmaneser´s Fort") and will host the provincial government.

The conquest by Assyria was not a big cultural change in the region; the Aramaic language remained and prospered, and part of the local oligarchy entered the service of the Assyrian Empire.



The Vulgate

The Vulgate is a translation of the Bible into Latin, made ​​at the end of the fourth century (in 382 AD) by Saint Jerome. It was commissioned by Pope Damasus I two years before his death (366-384). The version takes its name from the phrase vulgata editio (editing for the people) and was written in a casual Latin in contrast to the classical Latin of Cicero, in which Saint Jerome was an expert. The aim of the Vulgate was to be easier to understand and more accurate than its predecessors.




The Greek Bible, commonly called the Septuagint Bible or Bible of the Seventy, and often simply abbreviated LXX, was translated from Hebrew and Aramaic texts older than the subsequent series of issues that centuries later were settled in the current form of the Hebrew-Aramaic text the Tanakh or the Hebrew Bible.

The name Septuagint comes from the fact that the total number of its 72 translators used to be rounded to 70. The Letter of Aristeas presents as historical fact an old version according to which, at the direction of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (284-246 BC), Greek ruler of Egypt, 72 Jewish sages sent by the High Priest of Jerusalem worked separately in the translation of the sacred texts of the Jewish people. According to the same legend, the comparison of the work of all the sages revealed an almost miraculous coincidence among them.



Cain and Abel

They are presented in the Bible as a farmer and a shepherd. Agriculture and grazing did not appear until the Neolithic period, since until then man lived by hunting and fishing. A great grandson of Cain is introduced as the first ironmonger, and it is known that the production of that metal had not happened in history until the twelfth century BC.





Valley of the Whales [15]
(Wadi Al-Hitan, Egypt)


15 - Extract from a note of the National Geographic magazine in which Philip Gingerich, one of the researchers who worked in Wadi Al-Hitan, Egypt, known as the valley of the whales, is interviewed. I found it interesting that he referred to them as "ferocious sea monsters."


The Egyptian deserts were -over forty million years ago- part of the seabed of the Tethys Sea that surrounded the supercontinent Pangaea...