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Re: Nabonidus

> > In a more recent thread on the Qumran brontologion text, it was suggested
>  > Avigdor H. among others that Mesopotamian influence in Palestine in the
>  > of astrology as early as the Assyrian period was at least conceivable,
>  > of course documentary evidence is as yet still lacking.  I must
>  > disagree with this suggestion, in that the earliest Babylonian horoscope
>  > dates to 410 BCE and the earliest zodiac to 419 BCE (for photos and
>  > discussion conveniently see Frederick H. Cramer, _Astrology in Roman Law
>  > Politics_ 6-8).  Berosus, who introduced astrology to the Greek world,
>  > 4th century.  

>  > Since 1 En. 8.3 refers to the fallen angels introducing the arts of
>  > and sky-omens to mankind, this demonstrates lively polemics against this
>  > 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
>  > Avigdor was careful to use the word "astronomy" rather than "astrology"
>  > his suggestion of earlier Mesopotamian influences, perhaps in awareness
>  > 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 
>  mind.
>  Avigdor Hurowitz

In that case I quite thoroughly agree with you.  For instance, some of the
foreboding astral omens associated with the Day of the Lord in the prophets
(sun and moon darkened, meteor showers, etc.) are highly reminiscent of
Mesopotamian omen literature.  One should allow for the possibility of at
least some independent parallel development -- comets and eclipses were
viewed as dire omens in many places across the globe -- but given the contact
between Assyria and (vassal) Palestine, some transfer of culture probably
took place.  

-- Russell Gmirkin