Banyai Michael banyai at
Fri Sep 1 17:34:24 EDT 2000

Dr. L.M. Barre schrieb:
> What does "Israel" literally mean, please?

Current explanation "fighter of El". 

Mine after droping the opening Y, as done in the Assyrian rendering 
Sirilai, "bull of El". Maybe we have to consider the name of the Syrians 
too (missing the theophoric element), who were after all, according to the 
Israelites their very next relatives.

We have to ask first, on reading Genesis 22,31-32, which is the image one 
has to make himself of Jacob in this story. He is certainly taking some 
zoomorphic form, being the cause for the taboo of eating the thigh muscle 
(probably presented as a sacrifice to gods). Probably no chicken (snip), 
but rather a bull, since we frequently have Israel called in the HB "the 
bull of El", however never as in Genesis, only as an inadequate conclusion 
of the story, "fighter of El". Could anybody illustrate this last (highly 
esotheric) reading with any other occurence in the HB? Instead we have 
frequent occurences of Israel being called bull of El.

I see in Jacobs fight with the angel, a parallel to Enkidus and Gilgameshs 
with the "Himmelsstier", GU.AN.NA, the bull of Anu, following which fight 
Gilgamesh droped its thigh as a mock sacrifice to Ishtar.

The bull of El is probably to be identified with the west-semitic Baal, 
both in
his relationship with Ishtar, but also as turtanu of El, fighting with 
Gilgamesh (identified as a god with Nergal, the lord of the Underworld), 
which story is paralleled by the Ugaritic myth of Baals fight with Mot.

Best regards,

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