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Where Was Eden

Soemerië, Mesopotamië, Fenicië, Assyrië, Perzen etc.

Berichtdoor willy » wo 16 maart , 2005 9:55

Els, ik ga maar met een nieuwe lijst beginnen want ik vindt dat het allemaal zo door mekaar loopt. Nintil, Gabriel, de tuin van Eden, de rib, Dilmun, enz.
Verplaats het als ge dit niet goed vindt?

Where Was Eden?

Where was Eden? It is considered a great mystery, and there are probably a hundred theories about the situation of Eden including Luther’s that it was the whole world (ignoring what the bible says, as they do when it suits them). It has recently been put under the waters of the Persian Gulf and scarcely more reasonably in the Shatt-el-Arab, the marshes at the confluence of the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. How the biblical dry wasteland becomes a wet wasteland is for the biblicists to explain. They will be able to!

Yet Assyriologists and historians of the ancient near east have always known where it is. There are plenty of biblical clues. “Eden” is an Akkadian word “edinu” from the Sumerian word “eden”, meaning “plain” or “steppe”. Eden is a symbol of great fertility in Isaiah 51:3; Ezekiel 36:35 and Joel 2:3. Both Isaiah and Ezekiel promise that the waste places of Judah will blossom, becoming as Eden. Joel, referring to the locust invasion, indicates that prior to their arrival the land was as Eden but, after their departure, was a desolate place. Eden is also a place whence the merchants of Tyre obtained richly embroidered cloths (Ezek 27:23). Amos 1:5 speaks of Beth Eden in the context of punishments on Syrian nations. In 2 Kings 19:12 and Isaiah 37:12, the “sons of Eden” are mentioned with Gozan, Harran and Rezeph as the name of places conquered by the Assyrians. What could be more specific?

The plain was described as itself waterless but having a source of water nevertheless called, in the various translations of Genesis 2:6, by the Sumerian word “’ed” given as “mist”, “flood” and “stream”. The same word in Job 36:27 is mainly given as “mist”. But, though the passage in Job is highly meteorological, the Septuagint translates the same word in Job as “fountain”, suggesting that “spring” is meant. Eden was watered by a “mist” or “stream” or “spring” that “went up” (“Alah”) over the ground (Gen 2:6), a description, either of a stream or river flooding, or simply of the welling up of a spring. Either “spring” or “mist” would suit the foothills of the mountains better than an utterly flat arid plain, and since Job is considered to be of Phœnician provenance, this apparently dialect word is also a clue to where Eden was.

“Nahar” is a river, stream, or canal, in each case a permanent watercourse. In its first biblical appearance “nahar” is used for the “rivers” of Eden. The Jewish scriptures (Gen 2:8,10; 4:16) give a clear topography of Eden :

And a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
Gen 2:10

The Garden of Eden is described as having one river, but Eden has four significant rivers heading upstream to their headwaters (heads). The four rivers of Eden include the Tigris (Hiddekel) and the Euphrates. The other two are Pishon and Gihon, both now unknown but Gihon encloses Cush, Tigris feeds Assyria and Pishon encompasses Havilah, a land with gold. Some suggest that “heads” means the opposite, it is “mouths”, making the description one of a delta, and therefore impossible.

The Euphrates is called the “nahar Perat” (the word Euphrates is just Greek for “beautiful Parat”) or merely “nahar”, the River. The two upper tributaries of the Euphrates, the Balikh and the Khabur, may be those called the “two rivers” in the expression “Aram Naharaim”—“Aram of the Two Rivers”, or perhaps just “Aram of the Rivers”, because the expression is simply a plural. The promised land stretches from the “river (nahar) of Egypt” to “the great river, the River Euphrates” (Gen 15:18)—the very extent of the Persian starapy of Abarnahara. Incidentally, the Jordan is never called “nahar”. It is always just “The Jordan”.

The second-named of the four rivers of Eden is called Gihon (Gen 2:13) said to compass the whole land of Cush. Cush is foolishly thought to be Ethiopia—a mistake made already in Genesis because Nubia was also known as Cush—leading “scholars” to claim the Gihon is the Nile, but this Cush is the land of the (Akkadian) “kashshu”—Kassites. Biblical confusion over Cush has Assyria appearing in two separate groups of people when Genesis comes to dividing them. Babylonia was ruled by a Kassite dynasty for 600 years, but the word seems to have been used of the Indo-European invaders that settled in Iran at an earlier period. The Caspian Sea might be named after them or their god. So Kush is the mountain country north and east of Mesopotamia, or even Mesopotamia itself, and came to mean the lands where Babylonians and Persians lived. The Gihon must have been one of the several rivers which descend from the northern mountains to join the Euphrates river in the Syrian plain.

The Pishon, the first-mentioned of the four rivers that went forth from Eden, flowed through the “Havilah”, a land of gold (Gen 2:11). Havilah cannot be identified now but, according to the table of nations in the bible, he was a son of Cush—again evidently meaning the Kassites not the Ethiopians—so must have been one of the Indo-European Kassite tribes (Gen 10:7; 1 Chr 1:9). Eratosthenes cited by Strabo lists the Chaulotaioi (a Greek transliteration of Havilah) next to the Nabataeans in describing the route from Petra to Babylon, and Pliny also refers to them as neighbours of the Nabataeans. Havilah is therefore on the caravan route in northwest Arabia, east of the Sinai and Petra and fringing the northern edge of the Syrian desert, by Palmyra. A river that runs from the highlands into the Euphrates is the Khabur, which might have been Pishon, if Khabur could have received its name from Havilah by changes in pronunciation. The Khabur is the river of Gozan
(2 Kg 17:6).

Von Soden (The Ancient Orient), discussing this region, notes :

The small water courses, which were so important for farming, were found only in a few places outside of the hill country, such as in the region of the spring-fed sources of the Habur (Khabur).
The “spring-fed sources of the Khabur” take is back to the earlier discussion of springs or mists. These northern steppe lands were such good agricultural land that intesive cultivation permitted the export of surpluses. Salination was not the trouble it was down the rivers.

Moreover, it was not the flood plains of the Nile, the Tigris and Euphrates, and the Indus that were first used by agriculturalists. The tendency to flood was not easily controlled by primitive people, the dry season was long and harsh, the swamps were malarial, and the rivers were infested with nasty biting animals and snakes. Settlers preferred the higher reaches of large rivers like these. Towards the foothills, the land was watered enough, but the other problems were less serious. This is where any sensible Eden would be, not in the marshes and swamps. Having established themselves in the foothills and high plains, the gardeners and farmers slowly spread downriver, taking their skills with them, and slowly learning how to cope with the difficulties of the flood plains.

All of this suggests that Eden was conceived of as Mesopotamia, properly speaking—what the Greeks understood as Mesopotamia—where the two great rivers Tigris and Euphrates run off the Turkish Plateau and several tributaries of the Euphrates similarly arise. The name of this area in the time of the Assyrians was, in Akkadian, “Bit Adini” or “Beth Eden”! Bit Adini stretched from the western side of the Euphrates across the northen plain to the Tigris, where the Assyrian cities were. Its main towns were Urfa and Harran!

The plain was fertile, prosperous and welcoming compared with the desiccated hills of Yehud, and the deportees’ nostalgia for it gave Eden the meaning of “pleasure” or “delight”. In the Septuagint, the Garden of Eden is the Garden of Delight—Paradise (Rev 2:7). Paradise is a word of Persian origin for a Lord’s pleasure land, like a king’s hunting park. So, even the biblical Garden of Eden was scarcely just a garden. The Persian word “pardes” from which “paradise” comes, through Greek, is used only three times (Neh 2:8; Song 4:13 and Ecc 2:5) in the Jewish scriptures. It was the archaeologist, George Smith, who discovered the Epic of Gilgamesh, that deciphered cuneiform tablets from the library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh and found that “eden” was the Sumerian word meaning a “plain”. He also found that the Sumerian paradise was called “Tilmun”, a place where lions did not kill and wolves did not carry off sheep until the first human displeased the gods.

There is little mystery over the whereabouts of Eden. The Assyrians named it as Bit Adini, and Bit Adini was in a place that matches as precisely as anyone could expect, from old writings, the region around Harran that the bible suggests the Persian colonists of Yehud came from. The biblicists will not admit it because by so doing they have to accept that the bible is wrong. Eden was not a place remotely distant in time but was known in Assyrian times.

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Geregistreerd: di 06 aug , 2002 10:01
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Berichtdoor els » do 17 maart , 2005 17:22

Okee, dan knip en plak ik maar even bijdragen uit de 'leden welkom' pagina hierin, hopelijk met goedvinden van Brunetti:

Bijdrage van Brunetti, uit 'leden welkom':

Wel interessant om te weten wie er nou wat heeft overgenomen van wie, maar ik denk niet dat we het nog kunnen achterhalen.

Er is ondertussen wel al heel wat achterhaald. Op ditzelfde moment worden veel nieuwe gegevens van recente opgravingen en onderzoeken (met modernere middelen) bestudeerd. Een aantal zaken zijn nu reeds verrassend: bij voorbeeld het westelijke bassin van de Perzische Golf werd pas vanaf ca. 8000 vC met zout water overspoeld. Hiervoor was het een zoetwater bassin waar vier rivieren samenkwamen. Het moet een heel vruchtbare plek geweest zijn. Heel veel culturen die men iewat later teruggevonden heeft rond deze Perzische Golf (Elam, Sumer, Dilmun, ...) spruiten duidelijk voort uit een eenheidscultuur. Deze volkeren voegden zich samen met anderen die dan weer meer van het heuvellandschap kwamen dat meer ten noordoosten ligt van Sumer. Dit laatste is gekend (de opvolging van Halaf-Samarra-Ubaid prepottery culturen). Maar misschien maak ik hier wel een extra bijdrage van?

Bijdrage van Els:
Ik ben altijd er altijd een beetje allergisch voor als iemand 'vier rivieren' signaleert, maar dat de Perzische Golf rond 8000 jaar vc zout werd is inderdaad wel erg interessant. Zou dat iets met de zeespiegel te maken hebben, of zouden hier lokale factoren een rol hebben gespeeld?

Bijdrage van Brunetti:


Bijdrage van Els:

Nou, wie weet. :knipoog:
Het kaartje is wel een beetje geflatteerd om het punt duidelijk te maken, daarom ook nog een paar andere kaarten, en een pagina over de ontwikkeling van het deltagebied van Mesopotamië.

Hier is trouwens ook nog het artikel dat bij het kaartje hoort.

En nog twee links naar pagina's hierover:

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Geregistreerd: zo 14 jul , 2002 22:08
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