[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Nabonidus

> Among the responses to this post Avigdor Horovitz mentions interesting 
> connections to Mesopotamian texts about the moon god Sin. Horovitz has also

> recently pointed out on this list several other influences on the DSS, that

> might have Akkadian background.
>  Some questions here: How, and through what channels and during what
> can these Mesopotamian cultural and other influences have come to Palestine

> and the DSS milieu? 
>  Gunnar [Stacke]

1 Enoch seems to have undeniable Mesopotamian influence in the oldest
portions, the Astronomical Book and the Book of Watchers, usually dated 3rd
century BCE.
See generally:

James VanderKam
_Enoch and the Growth of an Apocalyptic Tradition_ (1984).

Helge Kvanig
_Roots of Apocalyptic:  The Mesopotamian Background of the Enoch Figure and
of the Son of Man_ (1988).

Earlier threads on this list have also suggested that the conquest of
Palestine by Antiochus the Great ca. 200 BCE, which brought Judea out of the
Ptolemaic sphere into that of Seleucid Syria, may have facilitated
communication with Babylon.

In a more recent thread on the Qumran brontologion text, it was suggested by
Avigdor H. among others that Mesopotamian influence in Palestine in the area
of astrology as early as the Assyrian period was at least conceivable, though
of course documentary evidence is as yet still lacking.  I must congenially
disagree with this suggestion, in that the earliest Babylonian horoscope only
dates to 410 BCE and the earliest zodiac to 419 BCE (for photos and
discussion conveniently see Frederick H. Cramer, _Astrology in Roman Law and
Politics_ 6-8).  Berosus, who introduced astrology to the Greek world, was
4th century.  [Of course, according to Berosus the Chaldeans had been
gathering data to perfect the casting of horoscopes somewhere between 432,000
to 1,440,000 years -- classical reports vary on this figure :-) ]

Since 1 En. 8.3 refers to the fallen angels introducing the arts of astrology
and sky-omens to mankind, this demonstrates lively polemics against this sort
of thing in the third century, in a book with demonstrable Mesopotamian
influences.  The date's about right.  I think you have to use 1 Enoch and the
3rd century as a starting point on the astrology issue.  (However, I note
Avigdor was careful to use the word "astronomy" rather than "astrology" in
his suggestion of earlier Mesopotamian influences, perhaps in awareness of
the data I've presented.)

-- Russell Gmirkin