Biblical nomenclature

Although a much debated date in certain quarters, the unanimous view holds that alphabetic writing was the invention of Semites around 1,500 B.C. Much earlier, the Sumerians are said to have introduced their particular language known as cuneiform which is the earliest form of writing known together with those of China and Egypt. The latter, however, had by then devised a hieroglyphic system that represented sounds. Sumerian Cuneiform, once spoken in cities of southern Mesopotamia, now only exists in its written form. The development of this language for use in complex documents was understandably a slow one, but by 2,500 B.C. it had been completed, comprising a total of 300 signs that were put to successful use in the realms of politics, commerce, and religion. This language-system would be replaced 150 years later by the Akkadian equivalent which would soon after become the official language in the area. Sumerian cuneiform provides a bridge between the Indo-European languages that include Greek, Latin, and English, and the Semitic group that consists of the languages employed in the writing of the Old Testament, that is, Aramaic and Hebrew.

Etymologists tell us that a written word is the expression of a thought or idea. To penetrate a word’s original meaning they say, is to look into the mind of the person who coined it. ‘Etymology’, from the Greek etumus, meaning ‘truth’, can thus help elicit the true cultural and technical development of ancient civilizations. Importantly, ´philology´, from the Greek philos, meaning ‘word’, equally leads to a better understanding of basal terminology, such as the names of ancient gods, legendary characters, rituals, and ceremonies whose authentic meanings have remained obscure almost since their very inception. To understand their eventual and more sophisticated meanings in literatures like the Judaeo-Christian, for instance, we must first follow their evolution.

The earliest cuneiform ideograms that were found in Kish were plain and would have thus made easy reading for most of its community. However, because the ridges caused by the indenting stylus on the wet and soft clay would often blur these outlined pictures, the wedge-shaped incision -whence the term cunei- was introduced in its place. This script, which was now rendered by new, clean impressions that represented syllables of consonants and vowels that made up word bricks that joined together to compose sentences, eventually obviated the pictorial system altogether. Inevitably enough, cuneiform script became progressively incomprehensible to the masses, ultimately uniquely legible to influential local scribes, priests, politicians, and merchants. Evidently, Sumerian Cuneiform Script is the forerunner and herald of so-termed liturgical languages which in due course would become the exclusive domain and preserve of the priesthood.

In his cogent essay entitled The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, John M. Allegro -a renowned British linguist commissioned by the Jordanian Government to lead an investigation team to analyze the Dead Sea Scrolls- declared that the Greek Zeus and the Jewish YHWH were names derived from the Sumerian for ‘juice of fecundity’, ‘spermatozoa’, and ‘seed of life’. Allegro argued that such names are composed of two syllables; IA (‘ya’, dialectically ‘za’, meaning ‘juice’ and, literally, ‘strong water’) and ‘U’ -perhaps the most important phoneme in south-western Asia. The latter, according to him, is featured in Sumerian cuneiform texts that are represented by a number of different signs and at whose root we find the concept of ‘fecundity’. Thus, one ‘U’ may mean ‘copulate’, ‘mount’, or ‘create’, and another ‘rainstorm’ as a source of heavenly seed. Yet, another ‘U’ can mean ‘vegetation’ as the offspring of the god, while another can be the name of the storm deity himself. Behind these earliest compositions, Allegro identified the basic fertility phoneme ‘U’.

The universal sabaoth’s destructive power finds its genesis in the Sumerian storm-god ISKUR, meaning ‘Mighty Penis’, the actual name itself having derived from the Sumerian composition SIPA-UD meaning, quite literally ‘Penis of the Storm’. It is thus no wonder that Iskur’s frequent descents to earth, like those of the later Greek Zabazios and the Jewish Sabaoth among others should have often been marked by tempestuous climatic conditions.

Lamentation Priest is rooted in I-LU-BALAG-DI, the latter part of this word meaning ‘penis stirrer’. Initially and as already said, Lamentation ceremonies were mostly held during the dry season in an attempt to excite and erect the apparently uninterested Penis of the Sky. In other words, these ceremonies had been supplications for rain. Indeed, the word ‘lamentation’, which is qinah in common Hebrew, actually flows from GI-Na* meaning ‘erect’, and from URA which means, quite literally, ‘penis’.

The Law (the fertilizing rain) was the prerogative of God poured liberally upon “the just and the unjust.” This law, for example, is clearly reflected in some ancient monolithic works, such as the stele that commemorates Hammurabi’s Code of Law which depicts Marduk, the Sun-God, as the evident ejaculator and out-pourer of the laws thereon inscribed. This kind of law thus also becomes abundantly evident throughout the Bible, the Hebrew word Torah meaning ‘Lawgiver’, ‘Teacher’, or ‘Out-pourer’. The kingship and the priesthood were divine lawgivers, teachers, and imparters of life who thus held the secret to God’s Benevolence and, correlatively enough, the keys to paradise. The Hebrew word kohen actually derives from the Sumerian GU-EN-NA meaning exactly ‘Guardian of the Semen’, while the biblical shepherd itself stems from the Sumerian root RIG, which when broken down unfurls the original idea of fecundity. This is why Jesus, as both king and shepherd, delivered the new divine mandate in the Sermon on the Mount. Universal history, we should note, reveals that kings traditionally boasted divine origins, and in England, for instance, and only until a few centuries ago when Oliver Cromwell successfully disputed it, all kings had enjoyed so-called Divine Rights, a status that until then had allowed monarchies to wield unrestrained clout over their gullible subjects.

The biblical grace and mercy are likewise embedded in fertility tradition. In Genesis we thus find that the rainbow -the natural consequence of moisture in the atmosphere- was the symbol introduced by God to commemorate precisely His Benevolence. “Wherever I bring rain clouds over the earth, this shining bow will recall my promise,” enounces Yahweh. When God was benevolent, He was also demonstrating His Mercy and Compassion, whence the biblical citation: “it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not, they are (the dew) new every morning.” Like compassion, which originally spoke of the morning dew, grace and mercy were synonymous with rain, while “the pouring of blessings” in Malachi, 3:10, for instance, was representative of downpours and the resulting delectable bumper harvests.

Prophet (rebim, or nabi in Hebrew), as well as seer, water-oil expert, and physician, all come from the Sumerian root A-ZU, or I-ZU meaning ‘essene’. Not surprisingly, the Essenes, who were also known as the Sons of Light and as the Nazarenes, were those who had concentrated primarily on the preparation and dispensation of medicinal remedies throughout Jerusalem as from the 3rd century B.C., sharing many escetic practices with both Egyptian and Buddhist traditions, including the purification of the soul through baptism in water.

The Royal City, or Seat of the Gods Creative Activity already discussed, was the very uterus of Mother Earth, whence the Greek delphi meaning precisely ‘uterus’ and which was the name of the most venerated religious location of its time. Osiris, or Asari, actually means ‘Seat Maker’, and this is exactly why he was God’s priest, solely responsible for the fertility of the Egyptian soil. He was thus the God of Life and Fertility often depicted in green skin -the colour of the rich and exuberant vegetation. One of his tasks included the minding of the resources of the Nile during the months of July and August when he would prepare the Seat of the Gods´ (sexual) Creative Activity by allowing the Father of the Waters to both swell to its optimum level and to then burst its banks in order to fertilize the surrounding flood plains, thereby securing not only the harvest, but also the survival of the resident flock. Jerusalem, we must note, flows from the Sumerian ‘City of the Heavenly Womb’, or ‘Groin’, and can also mean ‘Virgin Daughter of Zion’. Not surprisingly, Jerusalem, the biblical Holy City and the site of the Temple built by Solomon as a house of sacrifice to his god is itself located under the level of the sea. To Israel, Zion originally meant ‘City of David’, and the name David, appropriately enough, actually comes from the Sumerian for ‘the lover’. Zion, running counter to established criteria, is not Semitic either, but Sumerian in provenance, whilst Sinai itself comes from ZA-NE meaning ‘brazier’, whence the Torah’s Burning Bush by the way, which is itself symbolic of Canaanite Sun worship and the obvious reason for Moses’ gloriously shining face.

The name Cain means ‘womb’, and proceeds from the Sumerian GAR-EN which means ‘seed container’. Correlatively, Abel flows from BAL meaning ‘bearer’, or ‘phallus’. The biblical story may thus be alluding to the delusional priestly notion of the balance of nature and of its sinful transgression which could trigger widespread devastation and death.

Halleluia comes via the Greek eleleu eleleu, from which stems ELohim, meaning ´Gods´. The former is actually a Sumerian combination of E-LA meaning ´strong water´, or ´juice´, and of IA-U/UIA which, as already noted, actually means ´juice of fecundity´.

Last, but certainly not least, the name Jehoshua (‘Joshua’) is also Sumerian in provenience. IA-U-ShU-A* means ‘semen´ and which, as previously discussed, restores, heals, and ultimately saves.

Other biblical nomenclature denotes a possible association with inebriating fungi. For instance, Hermon comes from ´Organ of Support´ which would have held up the sky and offered celestial visions. Needless to say, this is the description of a mushroom and, evidently, of the psycho-genetic type. It is a fact that mushrooms gain in hallu- cinogenic potency when grown at over 2000 metres, and this may well account for the universal sacredness of mountains, including the biblical Mount Hermon, the Highest Region and the place for heavenly glimpses as reportedly witnessed by Moses himself.

Esau, the name of Isaac’s first-born, comes from the Sumerian and Greek composition EShU-A which means ‘volva’ of a mushroom, or ‘raised canopy’, whence, incidentally, the rich covering borne over priests in Roman Catholic and other Orthodox street processions.

The name Jacob (Iakobos in Greek) comes from the Sumerian IA-A-GUB meaning ‘pillar’, or ‘stem’. Again, this accords well with the description of a mushroom. Apropos of the mushroom and Catholicism, all member churches include an altar upon which is found the curtained tabernacle which allegedly houses the symbolic and regenerating host of the Christian Messiah and which is accessed only by the priest during Mass and when Holy Communion takes its turn. Gill fungi have a fine cobweb-like veil, stretching between the cap and stem, whence this species’ appropriate name of Cortinarius meaning ‘veil’. As during Mass, this veil would have been firstly removed ceremoniously by the fertility shaman, and its sacred, life-giving properties within the exposed toadstool’s cap was then administered to religious apprentices.

To recapitulate and in a nutshell, Mesopotamian fertility culture is the bed-rock source of much Judaeo-Christian religious nomenclature and tradition.

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