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Re: Nabonidus

On Mon, 21 Oct 1996 RGmyrken@aol.com wrote:

> > 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
> periods 
> > 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
Dear Russell,
YOur reservations about the date of babylonian astrology are in order.  
HOwever, certain observations are called for.  Although astrology is a 
late comer to Mesopotamian science, astral divination is much older.  
Stars and planets were considered bearers of omens as early as the 
old-babylonian period and probably even before that.  Mathematical 
astronomy developed much later after centuries of star-gazing and 
meticulous observation.  Astrology is some kind of new phenomenon not to 
be confused with the others.  If I understand the little I have read about 
it, astrology assumes that the stars actually 
determine what will happen.  Omen-astronomy, on the other hand, regards 
the stars etc. as harbingers of future events which may then be averted 
by proper ritual.  When I suggested influence of babylonian astronomy on 
later Hellenistic astronomy and the possibility that it was transmitted 
through the Aramaen-Assyrian cosmensulism I had only the astral-omens in 
Avigdor Hurowitz