Seminary Program

This is where we post the essays from many of our Universal Life Church Seminary students. When students finish a ULC course, they write a comprehensive essay about their experiences with the course, what they learned, didn't learn, were inspired by, etc. Here are their essays.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Biblical Egyptology

Dr. of Biblical Egyptology
New Discoveries Lead to New Theories
Rev. Margie B


This essay is devoted to Sir Laurence Gardner (17 May 1943 – 12 August 2010)


My final essay will further explore lesson 16 in staying current with new discoveries.

My approach to writing an essay about this course will be a little different than most students. I believe that truth is stranger than fiction; and religious history, for me, is best approached like putting the pieces of a puzzle back together - the pieces being fragments of knowledge lost and found. These pieces are a mixture of conjecture and truth. To put the puzzle back together is to find a picture that shows that there is truth in myth, and unexpected wisdom in what is often viewed as mere quaint Biblical stories.

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Adam's apple is so named because a piece of the biblical forbidden fruit is supposed to have stuck in his throat… Perhaps this is why the Forbidden Truth so often appears 'chewed up', transformed into metaphor, humour, satire, slang (or dream and myth, of course). -- Thomas Szasz

Staying current with new discoveries and theories requires me to view the story of the Exodus and other related texts in abstract fragments that correspond to certain historical events and scientific phenomena. The purpose of this essay is not to prove any holy book OR academic volume as "wrong," but to explore the provocative possibilities of how Moses can be placed into context of both conventional knowledge of history and unconventional theory. Within this essay is contained both independent scholarship and theory based upon it; which should not be confused with undeniable fact or even religious "truth."

This is also how I approach comparing religions of closely related cultures searching for deeper spiritual concepts - notably for this essay, the ancient near east Hurrians, the Mediterranean Cretans, and the north African Egyptians and how they relate to who the ancient Hebrews might have been.


Triangulating the Origins of the Hebrews


The Bible, and the culture of the ancient Hebrews, appears to be influenced from several major near East cultures of the time. One can cross reference several stories from the Old Testament with Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and even ancient Greek beliefs. How did the Bible come to contain several different stories obviously influenced from several different cultures? I think the answer is in the Hyksos - an ethnic group that has a long history of getting around the world of the ancient near east.

I believe that before the Bible was written, the Hebrews were a part of the Hyksos, a widespread and loosely related ethnic culture; often at odds not only with the larger cultures they dwelt among but also at odds with their kin as well. It's my opinion that to view any ancient ethnic group as a static, cohesive whole with no miscommunication or disagreement among the people is a naive and simplistic way to stereotype cultures we don't understand. Especially ethnic cultures like the Hebrews who were nomadic, loosely related groups that are influenced by the larger cultures around them. I believe that the battles written about in the Bible are cultural wars meant to bring the variances of their people together under one way of life and one religion.

The Hyksos are known in Egypt as the "foreign rulers;" appeared in the Eleventh dynasty of Egypt, were called the "Shepherd Kings" and were of non-Egyptian origin. There are many theories about their ethnic identity, the most convincing to me is that they were the ancient Levantines who would eventually come to be known in history as the Hebrews. The Hyksos had Canaanite names, as seen in those which contain the names of Semitic deities such as Anath or Ba'al. They introduced new tools of warfare into Egypt, most notably the composite bow and the horse-drawn chariot. The people are shown wearing the cloaks of many colors associated with the mercenary Mitanni bowmen and cavalry (ha ibrw) of Northern Canaan, Aram, Kadesh, Sidon and Tyre. The Hyksos Fifteenth Dynasty rulers established their capital and seat of government at Memphis and their summer residence at Avaris. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/hyksos)

The Hyksos, even after being expelled by Ahmose I, continued to play a strong role in Egypt long after their departure. This is evidenced by Ramesses I having hereditary states in the vicinity of Avaris; as well as Ramesses II who during his reign wholly lacked the anti-Hyksos invectives. Other notable evidence includes moving his capital city back to Avaris and re-named it after himself as Pi Ramesses; promotion of Asiatics to positions of prominence within the civil administration; celebrated the 400th anniversary of the worship of Sutekh (Set, the patron god of the Hyksos) in honor of his father Seti I; and even adopting a Semitic name for one of his favorite daughters Bintanath (meaning daughter of the goddess Anath).

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Jacobivici suggests that the Hebrews and the Hyksos were one and the same, a thesis he supports with Egyptian style signet rings uncovered in the Hyksos capital of Avaris that read "Yakov/Yakub" similar to the Hebrew name of the Biblical patriarch Jacob (Ya'acov). -- Exodus Decoded

The Greeks would eventually identify the Hyksos within their own mythology of the expulsion of Belus (Baal, the major Cannanite god) and the daughters of Danaus (or Tribe of Danaus - or Biblically, the Tribe of Dan). This is only the beginning of the Hyksos connection with ancient Greeks. Danaus (represented as Hyksos) had a twin brother named Aegyptus (represented as Egypt); and when Aegyptus demanded that his sons marry Danaus' fifty daughters, Danaus built the first ship that ever was and fled to Argos. Danaus is descended from Io, who was turned into a heifer and pursued by Hera until she found asylum in Egypt.

Argos was ruled by King Pelasgus, which is an eponym for the indigenous inhabitants of Greece (perhaps Eteocretans?). Through careful reading we find that this is a political story that suggests that the Pelasgian kingship in Argos was overcome by seafarers out of Egypt whose leaders then intermarried with the local dynasty. We can compare this with the enigmatic Sea Peoples who brought about the collapse of several empires - the Hittite, Mitanni, and the Myceneans.

I feel that the ship Argo is connected to this story, even though the legend of Jason and the Argonauts says the ship was named after it's maker, Argus. Jason and the Argonauts also sailed to Minoan Crete, where the ship was attacked by Talon - a giant bronze golem-like entity (robot? More on ancient technology later) that could only be taken down by pulling a pin out of his leg and draining the oil. This is only one of many examples of technology the Minoans had, especially in context that the tale of Atlantis applies to Minoan Crete; and relates to popular theories that the eruption at Santorini could explain not only the story of Atlantis, but the story of the Exodus as well.

There is no mistake that there is a strong connection between Minoan Crete, Egypt, and the Hyksos. The Phaistos Disk bears strong resemblance to the Egyptian game Mehen, these games were a symbolic journey through the underworld. Cretan hieroglyphics can be compared to Egyptian religious symbolism. Minoan bull leaping paintings have been found in Avaris, the Hyksos capital during their occupation of Egypt. Phillip Coopens (http://www.philipcoppens.com/crete_dead.html) proposes that Minoan Crete was the Egyptian Island of the Dead.

Phillip Coppens contributes;

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"In Knossos, an alabaster lid with the name of the Hyksos king Khyan has been found." And "During the Middle Kingdom (1500 BC), the dead in Egypt were buried in valleys – the same practice was adhered to in Crete, with one of the more famous Valley of the Dead behind the Palace of Kato Zakros. Namewise, Zakros is similar to Saqqara and Sokar, an important necropolis and god of the dead in ancient Egypt. Interestingly, the ancient Egyptians argued that the dead went to live on an island in the West. Crete is an island in the west. Furthermore, the concentration of Minoan civilisation is in Eastern Crete – the part closest to Egypt."


The bull is a sacred animal in both Minoan Crete and Egypt. There may even be evidence in the Bible of references to bull leaping: (http://www.lectio.unibe.ch/04_2/PDF/guillaume_blockman.pdf).

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"By my God, I bull leap (Psalm 18:30 // 2 Samuel 22:30).

In comparison to the Stiersprungszenen of the √Ągais, Syria, Anatolia and Egypt the word rw * would have to be translated in the psalm 18.30 as well as in 2Samuel 20.30 not with "wall" simply separate with "bull". This also counts to all the other passages in the Bible in which the word rw * seems like in genesis 49:22; psalm 92:12. Psalm 18 should be counted unambiguously to the Stiersprungszenen.

Psalm 18:30 and its parallel in 2 Samuel 22:30 are considered obscure and exegetes have performed acrobatics over them. The general trend is to put the two parts of the verse in synonymous parallel and change dwdg into rwdg "wall" in light of rw# "wall" at the end of the verse."


Also in the Bible are strong parallels between the god of Abraham and Zeus. Not only did the ancient Levantines worship a god named Baal, Baal was also represented as a bull. The Greeks used Baal and Bel as interchangeable (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bel_%28mythology%29), and referred to Zeus as Zeus Belos, or Jupiter Belus (Latinized). The connection becomes clearer when Eusebius of Caesarea (Praeparatio Evangelica 9.18) cites Artabanus as stating in his Jewish History that Artabanus found in anonymous works that giants who had been dwelling in Babylonia were destroyed by the gods for impiety (reference to the Flood of Noah), but one of them named Belus escaped and settled in Babylon and lived in the tower which he built and named the Tower of Belus (reference to the Tower of Babel).

Greek Zeus was born on Crete, and was fed milk and honey by Melissa. This could very well be the origin of the reference to the promised land "flowing with milk and honey." The god of Abraham punished the world with a flood for the sin of cannibalism, assumed to have happened after angels lay with human women and created giants who resorted to eating humans after the food supply ran out. Zeus becomes very angry with men and decides to destroy them as revenge for their impieties (Tripp 608). His intention is to destroy all of mankind. However, Prometheus, who tells his son, Deucalion, to build an ark so Deucalion and his wife could escape Zeus wrath, thwarts Zeus attempt. Zeus also shares some parallels with Jesus and Moses, as he was hidden away soon after he was born to escape certain death. The Bible relates a story of how a woman brings death into the world, likewise the Greeks related the story of Pandora, who was also tempted to open the box where from all ills of the world escaped except hope. Even the creation myths of the Bible and the Greeks begin with a void.

And lastly, there's the ancient relic of the Ark of the Covenant that resembles the Minoan Tripartate Shrines.


Ancient Technology


The subject of ancient technology alone is controversial; add a well known and well liked religious figure like Moses and the complications only multiply. When most people think of ancient technology; they think of the wheel, plough, or the sword. These are fine examples of how humanity has developed the ability to make tools; however, the examples I think of are a lot more sophisticated and contain greater possibility to reconsider our knowledge of the quality of life in the ancient world. Such inventions like the Anikythera mechanism, used for astrological purposes; and the Baghdad Battery, used for electroplating are hard evidence that ancient people were not without the ability and capability to create the technology we have today.

There are other examples of technology, however, they rely on myth, religious testament, and speculation rather than hard evidence. Such examples include Vimana flying machines, the Dendera light bulbs, and the ancient accounts of disaster that resemble nuclear fallout.

The Bible contains possible examples of ancient technology and possibly even unidentified flying objects. The one form of technology that the Egyptian and the Hebrews had in common was known as "What is it?" in both cultures.

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It is explained by Flavius Josephus in his 1st-century Antiquities of the Jews that the term 'manna' was actually a question, meaning, What is it? - and the book of Exodus confirms this, stating: "They called it manna because they knew not what it was". Laurence Gardner (http://graal.co.uk/whitepowdergold.html)

The Biblical description (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manna#Biblical_description) of manna is that it appeared like dew in the morning six days out of the week. The sixth day the Hebrews were to gather enough to observe the Sabbath. Exodus adds that manna was comparable to hoarfrost in size, similarly had to be collected before it was melted by the heat of the sun, and was white like coriander seed in color. Numbers describes it as having the appearance of bdellium, adding that the Israelites ground it and pounded it into cakes, which were then baked, resulting in something that tasted like cakes baked with oil. Exodus states that raw manna tasted like wafers that had been made with honey.

The etymology of manna could be as simple as meaning food, or even plant lice - the honeydew harvested by aphids that evaporates quickly into a sticky solid that is a good source of carbohydrates.

Manna could even be something as simple as algae. George Sassoon, in the book "The Manna Machine," presents Othiq Yomin in the Zohar not merely as a visage of the god of Abraham known as the Ancient of Days, but as a machine that produced algae the Hebrews could have survived on while wandering in the wilderness. Algae may seem like a primitive solution to a fulfill base necessity of food, but scientists today are rediscovering it as an integral part of sustainable environmental technology. Trapping carbon dioxide and using it to grow algae not only helps the atmosphere, but can be refined to make biodegradable plastic, ethanol fuel for cars, and feed for farm animals.

But the question remains - "What is it?" And it is this question that places it in both Egypt and Moses. Is there a simple explanation or is manna something more? A part of technology that we haven't been able to unlock until the twenty first century?

David Hudson (http://www.asc-alchemy.com/hudson.html), while doing an analysis of natural resources in the area where he was farming, would come to be known as the re-discoverer of white powder gold, known to the Mesopotamians as 'shem-an-na' (highward fire-stone), the Egyptians as Mfkzt and shewbread, the Hebrews as Manna, and the alchemists as the Philosopher's stone.

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"I am purified of all imperfections. What is it? I ascend like the golden hawk of Horus. What is it? I pass by the immortals without dying. What is it? I come before my father in Heaven. What is it?" - Papyrus of Ani

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"Our Stone is nothing but gold digested to the highest degree of purity and subtle fixation. It is called a stone by virtue of its fixed nature; it resists the action of fire as successfully as any stone. In species it is gold, more pure than the purest; it is fixed and incombustible like a stone, but its appearance is that of a very fine powder". - Eirenaeus Philalethes, Secrets Revealed


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The uses of ORMEs (orbitally re-arranged mono-atomic elements) reported is varied and miraculous. When it is heated it has anti-gravity affects and appears to disappear and reappear when cooled. When it disappeared, you can try to stir it with a spoon but when it reappears it's like the spoon never touched it. Which means, it went somewhere while it was being heated. The Egyptians believed that the pharaohs, after death, moved on to the Field of Mfkzt, the realm of the blessed. Could this be where the gold "went" to when heated? Is it only a coincidence that the phrase "What is it" also meant "where is it?" in Egyptian hieroglyphs?

The substance was also found to be a natural superconductor with no magnetic field, repelling both magnetic poles, while having the ability to levitate and store any amount of light and energy within itself. Because gravity determines space and time, it was concluded by Hal Puthoff that any substance that any material that were capable of bending space and time be classified as "exotic matter." Miguel Alcubierre Moya confirms this exotic matter could be used to travel beyond the speed of light, and outside of time and space as we know it.

In 1995, the magazine Scientific American published a story called "Electric Genes" reporting that single ruthenium atoms are placed at each end of a short strand of DNA, the strand becomes 10,000 times more conductive; therefore making it a superconductor. Application of platinum metal compounds to DNA relaxes the strands and they correct themselves. Not by killing any cells, but by rebuilding them correctly.

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The magical powder of projection was manufactured by the priestly Master Craftsmen of the temples (the Guardians of the House of Gold) for the express purpose of deifying the kings - and it re-emerges today as the primary new substance in fields ranging from cancer treatment to stealth aircraft. It will also provide the essential 'exotic matter' required for warp drive space travel in hitherto insurmountable dimensions of space-time. - Laurence Gardner

How this relates to certain myths like the Golden Fleece, and religious leaders like Moses is ground breaking to better understanding the technological feats of the ancient world. This reinterprets why Moses fed the golden calf to the Hebrews - obviously you cannot "burn" gold, but you can break it down to monoatomic form and consume it in water just like Exodus describes. He didn't force them to drink out of punishment, he was showing them that gold has a much more divine use than to form and worship idols with it! He was giving them the gift of health and longevity; as well as feeding their "light bodies" like Egyptians did.

Hebrews 9:4 states that the ark of the covenant contained "the golden pot that had manna" and Aaron's rod that had budded with power. If the Ark of the Covenant had a technological use, the most logical would be that it was an electrical conductor. Could Aaron's "rod" be a nuclear fuel rod? Could this explain why the Philistines returned the ark after only seven months, because they became overcome with skin tumors and boils? Could Manetho's account of Osarseph, who changed his name to Moses; and his followers being "lepers" be explained skin lesions from radiation poisoning?

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Moses depicted above, and in various illustrations, show him with horns. This characteristic is associated with radiation exposure. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cutaneous_horn)

But where did it come from? Egypt? The Levant? The Bible isn't the only place we can find stories that seem to describe ancient atomic radiation. There are stories and examples that can be found around the world relating to ancient atomic capabilities. (http://www.s8int.com/atomic1.html)


Conclusion


As we move forward into a more advanced, brighter future I feel that new discoveries in science and technology in conjunction with archeology will give us a broader and deeper perspective about Moses. Staying current with new discoveries, both scientific and archaeological will give the lifelong student of Biblical Egyptology the tools they need to form independent new theories about the nature of the cultures that eventually penned their sacred books.

I feel that the study of ancient technology will open a new door of wonder and respect for our collective ancestors. They may not have been the backward thinking primitives many modern people assume them to be. Having faith may not be a great obstacle to scientific and technological advancements after all. Perhaps, faith in the divine is the catalyst of human creation that drives us to become better than we are. And that's the ultimate message of all holy books that exist today.

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