Cain and Able: from bad translations and interpretation to evangelical fundamentalist distortions

Adam and Eve (Sistine ceiling by Michelangelo)

Cain and Abe (Hebrew: קין ,הבל, and in Arabic: هابيل قابيل) are the mythic “sons of Adam” (ابني آدم).  Adam is an ancient word, pre-Canaan in origin that means “red earth”, while Cain means “farmer” or “crop farmer”, and Abel it means “shepherd”). Mythology has “Adam” marrying “Eve” (Hebrew: חַוָּה; Arabic حواء:a word meaning “life” but also “helpmeet” (Book of Tobit viii, 8; Sept., viii, 6): being someone who helps the overseer, and is a reference to a worker and is gender neutral, although canonical texts is referred to as the “first woman”—who if she was that, she was cloned, being taken from the “rib” of Adam and thus having his identical incest; a best she would have been his sister and their “marriage” {a word for sexual union} was incestuous (Genesis 2:21–22), which is common throughout the Old Testament among the legendary progenitors: from Jacob marrying his first cousins Leah and Rachel, etc.). Her “name” is quite late in Biblical lore, coming for the first of five times in Genesis 3:20. 

Eve was none less than Babylonian creatrix Tiamatwhose biography matches that of El/Eloi/Elohim in the Bible.  The cuneiform read:

The goddess Tiamat said: "I walked on the land, and I saw it was good."

Tiamat is Goddess of the primeval saltwater sea. In the beginning there was only Tiamat and Apsu, God of the freshwater. Tiamat surrounded Apsu, and their waters mingled to produce Lahmu and Lahamu,  produced Anshar and Kishar. Anshar and Kishar mated to produce the God Anu, who was the father of the Gods Enlil and Ea [Enki in Sumerian].

The noise of all of her descendants bothered Tiamat, and Apsu wanted to kill them.  Tiamat said no. Ea had overheard their plans, and he plotted to kill Apsu.

Marduk slays the goddess Tiamat

In vengeance, Tiamat created an army of giant snakes and dragons to attack the younger Gods. Ea’s son, Marduk, engaged in combat with Tiamat, and he used the four winds against her. When Tiamat swallowed the winds, her belly became very distended, and Marduk shot her with an arrow, slicing her in two.

Ancient Babylonian map on the separation of the sky from the earth (it matches Genesis 1, 2)

Marduk used Tiamat’s body to form the sky and the earth. Her eyes were placed as the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and her breasts became great mountains. Her last breath was transformed into the clouds.

Tiamat evolved from the Hurrian Goddess Kheba was derived from Kubau, a woman who reigned as the first “king” of the Third Dynasty of Kish (Munn, Mark (2004). “Kybele [Cybele] as Kubaba in a Lydo-Phrygian Context”: Emory University cross-cultural conference “Hittites, Greeks and Their Neighbors in Central Anatolia” cp. http://www.livius.org/cg-cm/chronicles/abc19/weidner.html; Cybele appeared long before the sixth

Cybele pulled by liona to sacrifice to the Sun god (Afghanistan 2d century BCE)

century BCE and was the protector goddess of the Syria Carchemish on the upper Euphrates, in the late Hurrian – Early Hittite period: 20th to eighth century BCE—long before any Hebrews had entered the Middle East (cf. Graf, Fritz (1985). Nordionische Kulte : religionsgeschichtliche  und  epigraphische  Untersuchungen zu den Kulten von Chios, Erythrai, Klazomenai  und Phokaia (Roma: Schweizerisches Institut in Rom, p. 111; ref. Strabo, Geographia, Bk X, 3:18; Vassileva, Maya (2001). “Further considerations on the cult of Kybele. Anatolian Studies 5.1, pp. 51-63.  An online article on the Hittite civilization is at http://history-world.org/hittites.htm.

Hittite bull god (at the Metropolitan Museum of Art) photo by Mark Dawson

Hittite Empire in ancient world

The Hittites were a people who worked with iron and bronze.  They made statues of bulls and cows.  It is recorded that their industry and worship influenced religion throughout the known world–with the exception of Egypt that had developed its theology thousands of years earlier.  The Hittites and Egyptians gave to world theology the concept of the bull as a god (in Egypt the name for the bull was Apis, although some were known as Yah; later invading Hebrews would change the gender of Yah and create from it Yahweh.  The worship of the bull played a predominate role in early Hebrew religion as seen in Exodus 32:4.  However, rather than the bull being a “golden calf” (עֵגֶּל הַזָהָב ‘ēggel hazâhâb) it most likely was fashioned from bronze after Apis. This is discussed in the early Christian Constitutiones Apostolorum  (Apostolic Constitutions, vi. 4 (c. 380) with full text translated into English at http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ante-Nicene_Fathers/Volume_VII/Constitutions_of_the_Holy_Apostles/Book_VI/Sec._IV).

Egyptian worship of bull-god Apis

The citation  mentions that “the law is the decalogue, which the Lord promulgated to them with an audible voice, before the people made that calf which represented the Egyptian Apis”),  For further information on the cult of Kybele, see the article in Anatolian Studies 5.1 (2001), pp. 51-63.  Cp. Roller, Lynn Emrich (1999). In Search of God the Mother: The Cult of Anatolian Cybele. Los Angeles: University of California Press; cf. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Cybele). Kybele/Cybele  ultimately became Asherah in the first millennium BCE (she was Chawat, Hawwah in Aramaic, and Eve in English.  Early Egyptian theology had her married  to the Egyptian god Yah (a cow, from which the myth of the Golden Calf appears in the Book of Exodus and most likely was made of solid gold; cp. http://www.bibleorigins.net/EgyptianOriginsGoldenCalf.html). 

”]”The worship of Yah and Asherah required  ritual sodomy of and/or by Holy (a word that comes from the Hindu Holi (पवित्र) meaning a spring festival celebrated sexually) quedesh priests and quedeshah priestess (temple “dogs” or prostitutes; see Fuchs, Esther, review of Keefe, Alica A. (2001).  Woman’s Body and the Social Body in Hosea by Alice A. Keefe (Sheffield: Sheffield: Academic Press, 243pp.) and Shields, Mary E. (2004). Circumscribing the Prostitute: The Rhetorics of Intertextuality, Metaphor and Gender in Jeremiah 3:1-4: (London and New York: T & T Clark, 2004, 184pp; the review is at http://www.relegere.org/index.php/bct/article/viewFile/63/49; cp. Ide, Arthur Frederick (1991). Yahweh’s wife: sex in the evolution of monotheism: a study of Yahweh, Asherah, ritual sodomy, and Temple prostitution. Las

Mesopotamian fertility priestess

Colinas: Monument) and had sex with numerous species.  Early Hebrews were as involved in ritual sodomy as were their neighbors, for it was seen as an act of petitioning the gods for bountiful harvest, rains, and regeneration; only later was it condemned, and then because of the establishment of a priestly class (Levis) who wanted to control all people so that they would gain wealth for their god.  To this end, the tithe was invented:  a tithe being one-tenth part of something, paid as a (usually) voluntary contribution or as a levy for religious purposes, beginning with Abraham (Genesis 14:18-20) whose grandson, Jacob, reaffirmed his willingness to “give back” to the deities one-tenth of his wealth in grains, flocks, and other works of the hand (Genesis 28:22).  There is only one reference to direct tithing (ἀποδεκατόω) in the New Testament: Hebrews 7:5, although it is found four times in the New Testament: Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42, 18:12 (the first two are but copies of each other), and Hebrews 7:5 which repeats the Leviticus code and refers to the tithe Abram paid to Melchizedek, meaning that tithing really exists only twice in the New Testament.  For most people, studies show, they tithe in terror that not doing so will bring evil upon them and their families from a vengeance-riddled deity (see: Bailey, Ronald (October 7, 2008), “Does Religion Make People Nicer? Only if they think Sky Big Brother is Watching” at http://reason.com/archives/2008/10/07/does-religion-make-people-nice).

Samash Babylon's Sun God

Tithing is not Jewish nor Christian in origin but comes from ancient Babylon where it was known as esretu being demanded by the sun-god Shamash and even paid by other Babylonian gods, such as Bel, Nabu, and Nergal.  The purpose was to show superiority over other things, gods, and people and allow the senior god or ruler to live lavishly while the poor suffered and went hungry and without common necessities. No where in the Bible does tithing require one-tenth of money or any form of currency or script.  (In Islam, tithing, known as Zakat (Arabic: زكاة‎) is to be given to the poor, the deprived, and those unable to help themselves.  Tithing in Islam is based on wealth, production, and animals, with wealth “taxed” at 2.5%, production at 5%, the rate on animals varies according to the animal, and on found treasure the tithe is 20%.  For additional material, read Ghamidi, Javed Ahmed (2002).  Meezan, Lahore, Pakistan: Al-Mawrid; cp. http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_COM-1377).

While Adam sleeps Eve is taken from one of his ribs (12th century icon)

The issue of Eve being created from the “rib” of Adam is at best spurious and more realistic it is propaganda, for the word appears only in later mistranslations: where, for example, the King James Version, is that אַחַת מִצַּלְעֹתָיו means “one of his ribs” (Genesis 2:21; but men and women have the same number of ribs: 24) being a cognate to Assyrian êlu “rib”.  Opposed to this is the ancient Jewish position is that the term צלע ela, occurring forty-one times in the Tanakh, is most often translated as “side” in general.  The early Greek version of the Bible, the Septuagint, has μίαν τῶν πλευρῶν αὐτοῦ, with ἡ πλευρά choosing a Greek term that like the Hebrew ela may mean either “rib”, or, in the plural, “side [of a man or animal]” in general.  The origin of this motif or fable is distinctly from the Sumerian myth in which the goddess Ninhursag (not a male Lord or Lords. Elohim: אֱלהִים, which can be both male or female) created a beautiful garden full of lush vegetation and fruit trees, called Edinu, in Dilmun, the Sumerian earthly Paradise (Kramer, Samuel Noah (1944, 1988, republished 2007), Sumerian Mythology: A Study of the Spiritual and Literary Achievement in the Third Millennium BC. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press).

Horus and Seth/Set struggling to control world

The problem with Adam and Eve is within the Book of Genesis itself (see: Ide, Arthur Frederick (1981), Woman in Biblical Israel 2nd ed; Mesquite: IHP [1st ed. 1980], and Ide, Arthur Frederick (1982), Woman in ancient Israel under the Torah and Talmud: with a translation and critical commentary on Genesis 1-3; Mesquite: IHP; and Ide, Arthur Frederick (1981), Woman in the civilization of the ancient Near East, Mesquite: IHP; Ide, Arthur Frederick (1982), Woman in the ancient Near East, Mesquite: IHP).  The order of their creation differs dramatically.

Genesis 1:27 reads: says male and female [God] created them” at the same time; but in Genesis 2:18 ff, the account differs persuasively: Eve was brought of Adam’s rib because Adam was lonely, according to the Genesis record. 

Lilith

[Genesis is not the only source for the story, for there are other accounts that give Adam an earlier wife: Lilith (לילית), who was rejected and became an evil spirit in the Babylonian Talmud (but this Talmud was not completed until an unknown date between 500 and 700 CE.  It was written that she had numerous children, but each child became more evil than his or her mother, and led to tales of vampires and ghosts and goblins, more in keeping with medieval European superstition (that actually controlled the Christian church) than with

Malleus Maleficarum (1520 ed)

sound reasoning; read: Kramer, Heinrich and Sprenger, James (1486), Malleus Maleficarum; the sole purpose of the book was to denounce witches, but in 1490, the Inquisition denounced Kramer]  Eve was an afterthought of a landlord who was not omniscient nor cognitive and only brought “woman” into being to comfort “man”, two whom she gave children (Genesis 5:4).  However, in apocryphal texts there is the claim that

Cain and Luluwa and children

Cain had a twin sister and Abel has two twin sisters (Jubilees 4:1-12) who later “Cain took ’Âwân his sister to be his wife and she bore him Enoch” (v. 10), and in even more spurious works that Eve gave birth to 36 sons and 23 daughters (nothing appears before the eighth and ninth centuries CE and then as a way to explain away the more obvious incestuous pattern of sex between Seth and Eve that was from the ancient Greek story of Oedipus and his mother by whom the king gave birth to children who would rival him for his throne. 

Since the only “mortals” on the planet were children of Eve, all of Eve’s children committed incest to populate the world—and this was with the blessing of the lord or the guardian of Gan Eden who needed workers.   Eve, however, gave birth to more daughters

Nephelim by James Lyon

than to sons, so the daughters seduced the Nephilim (נְפִילִים from which come the word “fall”, “to cause to fall” and “to kill, to ruin” but the “fall” is not of the Nephilim/angels (they are frequently portrayed wings as a sign that they can cover great ground at a rapid speed) but of their enemies whom they slaughter), or angels, (Genesis 6:4).  The Nephilim moved to Canaan to be with their wives, giving faux-justification for later Habiru migrating from India to conquer the land of a far more advanced civilization, that of the Palestinians/Canaanites, and force the creation of Judaism (Numbers 13:33) in order to conceive demigods (Ezekiel 32:27 refers to these as dead Philistine soldiers or warriors; Ezekiel argues that the “giants”/Nephilim had to fall since they were uncircumcised: gibborim nophelim, גִּבֹּורִים נֹפְלִים). 

Grave in Turkey; hormonal imbalance can account for accelerated growth

Like all other passages in Genesis, this tale is plagiarized from a far older theology: with the Nephilim particularly being from Aramaic culture, with the term niyphelah referring to the Constellation of Orion, and thus nephilim to the offspring of Orion in mythology: they were divine and could transcend time and distance: space travelers (cp. Missler, Chuck and Eastman, Mark (1997).  Alien Encounters: The Secret Behind the UFO Phenomenon Coeur d’Alene, Idaho: Koinonia House, but this has little support among scholars). Only in The Qumran (Dead sea) scroll fragment 4Q417 do we find the “giants” or “big men” mistranslated as “angels” (at best it would be messengers) judged as descendants of Seth (see my article on Seth).  A more realistic reason for these “giants” is hormonal imbalance.  The pituitary gland is known as the master gland of the endocrine system. It produces growth hormones or GH which stimulate and regulate the body’s growth. When it produces too much growth hormones, it can cause gigantism in children while it manifests as acromegaly in adults.  Today there are records from various nations where people have reached 8 feet to 9 feet in height–the size of a Nephilim (Giant) in Genesis (see: http://community.guinnessworldrecords.com/_Sultan-Kosen-The-Worlds-Tallest-Man/blog/718461/7691.html for male {Sultan Kosen} and unnamed woman at http://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon/2921708240/ with a list and confirmation status of height at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tall_people).

While Job 38:7 argues that the angels were known as “morning stars”, giving rise to the thought they were extra terrestrial, were “Sons of  God”, theologians today attempt to argue that Jesus claimed that angels do not have sex.  Jesus’ claim, nonetheless, is about angels in heaven and not those who come (mistranslated as “fall”) to earth (Matthew 22:30). 

Woman with long neck (considered a mark of beauty)

Nephilim appears only once in the Bible (Numbers 13:33) and it clearly refers to the descendants of Anak (the word meaning “long-necked”, with Anak being the son of Arba, father of the Anakim, in Joshua 15:13; 21:11) similar to Nimrod in Genesis 10:8; spelled as both ענק and as הענק depending upon the reference), who were big people, but still people.  The “Sons of God” actually refers to the Hebrews (Hosea 1:10) although it is plagiarized from Babylonian beliefs that were pre-Habiru.

All three names, Cain, Abel, and Seth (who I shall discuss in a separate article), and all three characters (although they are not always male in all or part in each account) are found in numerous different stories of antiquity.  The Eastern Greek has styled Cain as εκ του πονηρου (from the Evil One: or the spawn of the serpent matching the Hebrew idea: nahash נחש) with the earliest account of Cain not found in an original Book of Genesis, but in a first century CE Dead Sea scroll (4QGenb = 4Q242).  This has been accepted by most serious biblical scholars (but not by biblical literalists who have had little to no education in exacting translation and interpretation; with most evangelical fundamentalists only reading contemporary versions of the Bible that appeared after 380 CE) since it fits in with the thinking of Genesis apologists. 

Research shows that Dead Sea scrolls are a guided interpretation to prove what many want the material to read—not an historical record of what really happened, nor even a redaction as the scribes’ livelihood and even life depended upon pleasing the clergy who paid them to record the myths that the faithful were to be taught. There is, however, a Sumerian story representing the conflict between nomadic shepherds and settled farmers that is more in keeping with the alleged murder of Abel by Cain than there is in the Old Testament or Torah which can be read in the transliteration of original language version of Dumuzid and Enkimdu at Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (ETCSL) that was established by Jeremy Allen Black from Oxford University. (Read the translation at “Chapter IV. Miscellaneous myths: Inanna prefers the farmer”. Sacred Texts at http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/sum/sum09.htm.). 

Abel, as a word (הבל), and not as a name means “wasteful,” “elusive,” and “vanity” (Brown Driver Briggs (BDB) a standard reference for Biblical Hebrew; its chief editor was Francis Brown, with the co-operation of Samuel Rolles Driver and Charles Augustus Briggs, p. 210 that is at http://en.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=Page:A_Hebrew_and_English_Lexicon_(Brown-Driver-Briggs).djvu/210&action=edit&redlink=1) and agrees with Strong—and does not indicate the love of any deity but the elevation (breath) of the self: arrogance. 

Cain murders Abel

Cain or Qayin (קין), literally meant “son of the Serpent” who was a rival god to the lord of the garden: Gan Eden (a dualism that appears in Job 2:1).  Cain was a crop grower, and in Sumerian theology he took a stand to repel the onslaught of shepherds who were trespassing across his fields with their flocks—a mark of vanity (“abel”). Far from being a murderer, Cain is pictured as a farmer protecting his lands, a hero for those who settled down to work the soil and make crops grow.  It was Abel who was the thief and criminal who entered his flocks without the permission of the farmer—but this was discounted when flock tenders were subject to overlords who had no respect for individual gardens or the working poor as continued even in Russia until the Revolution of 1917.

"The First Mourning" (Death of Abel) by Bouguereau

The names of both Cain and Abel are but descriptive words indicating their roles in the story, but do not necessarily reflect real people and has a far older history, at least to Akkadian mythology (Schrader, Eberhard (1872). Die Keilinschrift und das Alte Testament, 1872, cf.  Schrader, Eberhard (1872) Die assyrisch-babylonischen Keilinschriften. Kritische Untersuchung der Grundlagen ihrer Entzifferung … Nebst dem babylonischen Texte der Trilinguen-Inschriften in Transcription sammt Uebersetzung und Glossar. Mit einer lithographirten Tafel, Leipzig). 
 

Man shaped on a potter's wheel

The creation and future actions of Cain and Abel and all who follow is far older than the Genesis account, and carries a greater reasoning than the simplistic idealization of the writers of Genesis. The creation of man (mortals), in fact is far older in ancient Egyptian theology, with the goddess  Khnemu shaping the new Pharaoh’s son upon the potter’s wheel while inspecting every detail save the for required ritual of circumcision that came after the youth was created.  At the same time the god Thoth marked the new mortal’s span of life (as all things, including one’s life span, was considered predetermined and predestined), as seen in the Ptolemaic Papyrus, British Museum, London.

Adam and Eve expelled from garden

While the Genesis account suggests that the “murder” was over the jealousy of and for the gods of Eden, The Midrash Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan but this book does not even appear before the fifth-sixth centuries CE.  It claims that the attack came from a conflict over women: Abel was given the most beautiful woman (a sister probably although there is no biblical account of an “Aclima” that indicates climate and literally means “water on demand” that was necessary since the “original parents” were expelled from the Garden and left to work on barren ground; Abel was to marry Aclima but refused as he found it better to illegally herded his flocks on his brother’s land with an arrogance that would outrage his brother who took steps deemed necessary to protect his property (this indicates that there were already property rights and the right to protect property: the introduction of law into a once lawless paradise; an unofficial biography is at http://www.dcuguide.com/who.php?name=aclima; more details are in my article “Abel”) than was Cain and Cain became enraged and thus a “murderer” (to seek vengeance; cp. The Holy Koran Surat Al-Ma’ida verses 27 – 32). The Church of the Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) goes even further with this tale than any other religion and beyond any existing ancient text.  Mormons argue in their extra-Biblical scripture, the Book of Moses (originally published in 1851 CE by Joseph Smith), that Cain murdered Abel as a result of a covenant of murder with Satan. 

Following the “murder,” Mormons claim, Cain exclaimed, “I am free; surely the flocks of my brother falleth into my hands” (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 5:33 [Pearl of Great Price is a selection of materials touching many significant aspects of the faith and doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These items were produced by Joseph Smith Jr. who divined them by looking through stones and were published in the Church periodicals of his day]) indicating that coveting Abel’s possessions was another motive for Cain’s action. All of this comes from purloined pseudepigraphic literature that has been rejected for enumerable centuries (a biased but factual {it cites the sources} is at http://www.pleaseconvinceme.com/index/Did_Joseph_Smiths_Doctrine_of_God_Change).

While the Book of Enoch (22:7), describes Abel as the “chief of Martyrs” and the “first of martyrs” in an effort to reconcile ancient pagan, Hebrew, and Christian sources, the passages actually note a blood-thirst by Abel to wipe out the entire House of Cain.  The story suggests that the “murder” was a feud between families one that would last for centuries.  The Testament of Abraham(at A:13 / B:11; while some argue that it was written around the second century CE, among the earliest fragments there are Vienna, Theol Grec 333 (ex 337), ff. 34r-57r, 11th century and the Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Grec 770, ff.225v-241r, dated 1315), reconstructs the scene plagiarizing from ancient

Maat with symbolic feather of eternal life

Egyptian theology with Abel replacing the goddess Maat to become the judge of souls, transmogrifying the goddess into a man to fit into Hapiru mythology that became the weak spine of the Book of Genesis.  The original account of Maat is found in Old Kingdom pyramid texts (ca. 2780-2250 BCE) where she is portrayed as the essence of justice and fairness.  The pyramid texts are the oldest known religious texts in the world, and much has been copied from them into later religions, including Hebrew, Christian, Islam, Zoroastrian, Taoist and even Confucianism thought and theory or theology. (On the value of the words in the text, consider F. Schmidt Le Testament grec d’Abraham, introducion, edition critique des deux recensions grecques, traduction TSAJ {Texte and Studien zum antiken Judentum}11, Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck., 1986)

Weighing of the human heart containing the soul with Ammit nearby to devour souls

Maat (symbolized by a feather that was the measure that determined whether the soul that was considered residing in the heart) made the final Judgment in Duat and determined the destiny of the dead and whether or not the dead would reach the paradise of afterlife successfully or was devoured by the goddess Ammit who was a female demon with a body that was part lion, hippopotamus and crocodile— the three largest “man-eating” animals known to ancient Egyptians.

Goddess Ammit

A funerary deity, Ammit’s titles included “Devourer of the Dead,” “Eater of Hearts,” and “Great of Death.” The most common depiction is in the scene from the Papyrus of Hunefer (ca. 1375 B.C.) that shows Hunefer’s heart being weighed on the scale of Maat against the feather of truth, by the jackal-headed Anubis. The Ibis-headed Thoth, scribe to the gods of ancient Egypt, records the result. If his heart is lighter than the feather, Hunefer is allowed to pass into the afterlife. If Hunefer is found to be unworthy for any misdeed, he would forfeit his heart and thereby his soul as the goddess Ammit would be waiting to eat both and damn Hunefer from the afterlife. Vignettes such as these were a common illustration in Egyptian books of the dead.

Much of what would become the foundation of Christianity came from the worship and literature written on the sayings of the goddess Maat: (2062 to c. 1664 BCE) text the Creator declares “I made every man like his fellow” (cp. Acts 10:24). Maat called the rich to help the less fortunate rather than exploit them, echoed in tomb declarations: “I have given bread to the hungry and clothed the naked” and “I was a husband to the widow and father to the orphan” (ref. Matthew 5:3-12, and Luke 6:20-22 which paraphrases Matthew; they are not found in John (the oldest gospel that exists) nor in Mark which is the primary source for Matthew and Luke; cp. “Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs“, James P. Allen, p. 116, Cambridge University Press, 2000, and Allen, James P. (2005) The ancient Egyptian pyramid texts by James P Allen; Peter Der Manuelian; ACLS Humanities E-Book (Organisation); History E-Book Project.; American Council of Learned Societies; Publisher: Atlanta, GA : Society of Biblical Literature). The fact that the “Sons of Adam” come from Egyptian theology of the gods should be of no great surprise, as even Sigmund Freud, in his book Der Mann Moses und die monotheistische Religion (Moses and Monotheism) Amsterdam de Lange 1939, claimed that Adam was just a rewriting of Akhenaton of Egypt

Akhenaton of Egypt (Freud saw him as prototype for Moses)

(cp. Rice, Emanuel (1999). “Freud, Moses, and the Religions of Egyptian Antiquity: A Journey Through History,” in Psychoanalytic Review, Apr; 86(2):223-243).

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7 Comments

Filed under Ancient Egypt, Bible, Church history, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), Evangelical Christianity

7 responses to “Cain and Able: from bad translations and interpretation to evangelical fundamentalist distortions

  1. Pingback: Adam and Eve | Arthur Frederick Ide's Blog

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  4. Demosthenes

    Cain, as dictated by my theology classes, actually mean “to increase.” Abel’s name means “vapor” or “mist” or “breath,” showing his brevity on this world. Noticed that it wasn’t in there.

    • I do not know where you are studying theology, but “Cain” is an old Gaelic word that scribes glossed from marginalia into the corpus of texts. The ancient Hebrew word is Qayin and means “created one”. It has been found in some ancient scrolls and translates as “to rise up” or in ancient Akkadian it means “to strike” with a special antecedent from the earliet Apiru from India who joined the Akkadians as mercenaries in the service and pay of the rulers of Egypt.

      As for Abel, it is from Hebhel that became Hebrew, and it actually translates as “vanity” and is a better reference point for the myth of the slaughter of the brother. Abel was killed because of his boasting, braggarty, vanity, and selfishness–and when it was first written in cuneiform the story tells us of a braggart that constantly bullied his brother rousing his brother to take his life by stoning. Unfortunately over the years, and with the determination of the first Constantine (emperor of the East), many of the original scrolls were burned in an effort to “purify” Constantine’s newly established “catholic [universal] church”. To do this required a total rewriting of approved biblical works that the Arian bishop Eusebius of Cesaraea did so well years later. There is no mention of “brevity” in Abel in any early scrolls; on the contrary he was seen as a leecherous individual who few of the tribes had any time for and thus Abel hastened his own death in keeping with the period of the time to become a “god” (he is referred to as a saint in the early Christian religions, and oddly enough styled a prophet in Islam).

  5. karen

    great article! thank you for all your work on this. and citations so now I have some more resources to explore on the subject. i think, tho, the pic of the giant in turkey?..i do believe that was shown to be a hoax pic. along w/ a few others. i think..(i have no citations. lol sorry). regardless, you hit the nail on the head. they were big ppl, but still ppl.

    Very informative and well researched. it’s hard to find these types of articles on this type of subject. i’m gonna check out your article on Seth. Very curious about that. And these Sethites. And didn’t Origen claim that everybody but Seth was wiped out in the flood? so all humankind comes from Seth? But then…didn’t Origen also castrate himself to be more….righteous? it’s hard for me to take “church fathers” srsly when they do that kinda thing. To me it just reeks of them having…issues.

    What I’m curious about is this god that cain and abel were offering sacrifices to. The convo between god and cain right before and after the death abel is odd. From different sources.

    it actually reminds me of the ancient mayan, I believe, mythology about 2 gods. they had very long complicated names. one i will call Mr. Q. (we know him, right?). The other mr. T. Mr. T was one that wanted blood sacrifice, whereas Mr. Q preferred offerings of flowers and grains.

    These two eventually went to war w/each other. Mr. Q. was defeated and had to leave..on a boat of silver serpents no less. He told his followers he would return and the time when the “gods” preferred offerings of flowers and grains rather than blood would return.

    And the mayan ppl (they may have been pre mayan, i’m sorry for the lack of good details) were pretty much screwed after that. The Mr T> blood cult took over.

    But this god in Eden w/ Cain and Abel reminds me of Mr. T……

    Then that convo w/Cain about how he was afraid to leave Eden because of the “barbarians” out in the world that would surely kill him. Right before god puts that mark of protection on him.

    So……there were other ppl in the world? Besides Eden? So….wait…what?

    So, who the heck were Adam and Eve? Or, could this even be a story about Cromagnon humans going out into the the rest of the world. Which may very well have been populated by divergent strands of proto human sapien…sapiens? that we’re finding actually existed side by side w/Cro M for thousands of years

    • Thank you for writing. The “god” of the Old Testament was plural (many gods: elohim), and they had all the same attributes as the pantheon in Greece, the multitude of gods in ancient Egypt, Syria, Canaan, etc: they were lecherous, cannibalistic, and evil–it is impossible to find any deity in the Old Testament who/that was loving, forgiving, self-effacing, etc.

      As for Adam and Eve, I have written numerous books and articles on these two mythologies (Eve being far
      superior and the account in the Garden of Eden actually being written long after the composition of the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, see my “Woman in Ancient Israel….”) but for a quick read consider my https://arthuride.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/adam-and-eve/.

      Seth was the ancient Egyptian god Set/Seti/Seth whom I also have written about extensively. Seth was unique
      and almost dual-gendered for ancient records detail self-copulation/intercourse, and of course in the god of masturbation and coitus interruptus (the sin of the legendary Onan in Genesis). Seth repopulates the world numerous times from his own body, as as ancient art shows (that I offer in several articles) he was born both with penis and testicles as well as a vagina and clitoris.

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