[b-hebrew] Nephesh Mesopotamian myths
Lisbeth S. Fried
lizfried at umich.edu
Fri Feb 7 10:16:13 EST 2003
We are on the same wave-length here.
The speech put into the mouth of the Rabshekeh by the Deuteronomist
(as I believe) reflects Hebraic thinking. According to 2 Kings 18:27
the dead, alive in Sheol, are condemned to eat their own dung and
drink their own urine.
I would think at the least that this requires a body, first to produce
the dung and urine, then to eat it!
> Liz wrote:
> "We are also told in Isaiah 8:19 that they "chirp and
> mutter" or something, they make noises anyway.
> Now, I would like to know from these instances what makes you
> think they don't have a physical body, wear clothes, can look old,
> and have a mouth, tongue, etc. to chirp and mutter?"
> IF, IF memory serves me rightly, I recall that in some
> Mesopotamian myths
> the dead were described as alive in the Underworld possessing
> BODIES, flying about, chirpping and twittering. Egyptian
> myths have the Soul
> or "BA," as a bird with a human head that leaves the body and
> flies about,
> always returning to the body.
> So, we have in Mesopotamian and Egyptian myths, notions of the dead
> possessing feathered bodies, capable of flight. As Israel did
> not come into
> being in "a vaccum" and as "some" scholars allow that
> Israelite beliefs
> evolved from those of the nations who preceeded her and
> co-existed with her,
> I see nothing strange in the Hebrew notion of the dead as
> twittering as a
> means of communication ( did not the Heavenly Spirit or Soul
> of God descend
> upon Christ in the form of a twittering Dove ?).
> When Erishkal, the Queen of Hell in the Mesopotamian myths threatened
> mankind and the gods, she said if she didn't get her way she
> would release
> the Dead from Hell and they would terrorize the world by
> EATING the bodies
> of the living. Now Physical bodies of the dead arising from
> Hell EATING the
> Living makes sense to me, but NOT spirit beings
> "metaphysically" eating
> Living flesh.
> The dead in the underworld eat and drink, now if they were
> spirits who could
> not die, why would they need to eat and drink to sustain
> their bodies and
> life (the same question could be applied to the Resurrected
> dead in the Book
> of Revelation- if they have immortality, why do they need to
> eat and drink
> to sustain their fleshly bodies ? The same goes for God, why
> does he NEED
> sacrifices and drink offerings at the Jerusalem Temple, if he already
> possesses immortality and cannot die ? For my "rational" mind
> this makes no
> sense (the feeding of a God, and of the resurrected dead who possess
> An Assyrian king, upon conquering Elam and its capital, had the graves
> opened of the earlier Elamite kings and their bones removed,
> carrying them
> off to Assyria. He did this because the Elamites had scorned
> Assyria's gods.
> He said that these Kings in the underworld would suffer as a
> result of their
> bones being taken away, because drink and food offerings
> could no longer be
> performed before their graves by their descendants. So they
> would suffer
> hunger pangs, I guess, in the underworld.
> Regards, Walter
> Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld, M.A. Ed.
> Regards, Walter
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