Books read in 2017

March 2017:

1. Babylon: Mesopotamia and the birth of Civilization

Paul Kriwaczek.

After a woeful month of reading (February) I’m back on track. I blame the new glasses, which are working well now.

Just finished this book on Babylon, because Babylon is my main focus of study this year. Can’t say I loved this book, but collected a lot of good information for future articles.

Apart from mentioning Marduk, the patron god of Babylon, the book talks a lot about the plethora of female deities, Ishtar being one of them. I’m sure to hear a lot about Ishtar this month, because her name sounds like Easter and Christians celebrate Easter. According, to this theory, if something sounds like something else, then it must be that thing. It should be called the theory of idiots.

But back to the book, Babylon! When Jesus calls us out of Babylon, what is He calling us out of? Don’t believe the popular hype, Babylon is much, much deeper than you could’ve imagined. But look for female deities, female god like portrayals, from some of our pop icons, where they are impersonating Ishtar, Ishtar is Inanna by the way. William Fox Albright has some really good information about the morphing and the who’s who of these ancient Babylonian gods and goddesses.

Also, look for portals and gates which supposedly open doors and entrances into other dimensions. The dimensions being the underworld, so best not to go through them.
These gates and portals are appearing all over the place. Oddly, enough they are being taken from ancient cities and given new life in major cities around the world.
Ancient Babylon is coming to us little by little.

2. The Jewish Festivals: From their beginnings to our own day.

Hayyim Schauss

Just completed this book by Hayyim Schauss, he provided a very detailed study of the Jewish Festivals both from a historical and a religious perspective. I gathered, he is either a very knowledgable Rabbi or a lay-person who is well versed in Judaism. Either way, he’s pretty impressive.

He started off by stating the narrative that Jewish Festivals have Babylonian origins is false. But along the way confessed to some Jewish traditions as having their origins in Babylon. Which they do. And, since the Jews spent a considerable amount of time in Babylon, it’s hard to imagine they were not influenced by Babylon. But why the emphasise on denying Babylonian influence? I don’t get it, the Hebrew Scriptures tell us that Nimrod the founder of Babylon was Noah’s grandson.

Schauss, discussed the Sabbath, as a feast. I’m always curious about this aspect of Judaism, as I see it as very much part of the Zionist agenda to convert Christians to follow the Noachide Laws. She (the Sabbath) is called “The Bride”, “Queen of Heaven”, NO WAY! In fact, L’choch Dodi, the popular Jewish Sabbath song I used to sing along to, means, “Come my friend and meet the Bride (Sabbath)”. While it’s now part of the Zionist agenda to have non-Jews celebrating the Sabbath, it was not always the case, the Jews in-fact incouraged Christians to keep Sunday as their Holy Day, because it was good for Jewish trade.

I guess what I took away most was that the Jewish Festivals were developed over time. A Progression like most of the other festivals, as the religion became more and more organised, so did it’s festivals. Festivals therefore are part of Organised Religion, I may have to rethink Christmas and Easter as I intend to walk away from Organised Religion. Organised Religion stems from Babylon.

Since it is Purim, I will mention what he said about Purim…it’s doubtful that Esther’s story is a true story, and is considered by most Jews to be part of folk-lore, with it’s origins in Babylon. For example, Esther has the same story-line as the Book Of Judith that was not included in the Christian Canon of Scripture. Although, it’s in the Catholic Canon, that means the Catholics have Esther’s story twice? But then the Catholics wouldn’t know as they don’t read their Bibles 

Interestingly enough, Herodotus, who lived during the time of Esther, and wrote about the Persian dynasty, mentions Amestris, a Persian General’s daughter as being the wife of Persian King Ahasuerus. According to Herodotus, the King’s wife could only be chosen from the top seven aristocratic families, so where does that leave an outsider like Esther? Um…thinking, thinking.

Some of the other issues that religious Jews have with the Book Of Esther is that there is no mention of God, only ‘deliverance’ by a woman named Esther.

My thoughts…because of my reverence for the Bible, I will not comment on the Book of Esther itself. But I will confess to having trouble believing that a woman used her charm and beauty to seduce a Persian King into killing tens of thousands of non-Jews. Compare Esther’s deliverance to that of Joshua in Jericho, there is no comparison. I cannot accept God will use seduction to achieve His goals. So, on that note I won’t be celebrating Purim any time soon.


3. A History of Babylon from the Foundation of the Monarchy to the Persian Conquest.

Leonard W. King

Not a great deal to write about this book, as it focuses mainly on Babylonian layout of temples, city, life and of course it’s gods. It was good to see imagery of the location of the Tower of Babel, it’s design and purpose. I’m glad Mother’s Day is not too far away, as I need more Amazon vouches, hint, hint.

4. The Ancient Canaanites: The History of the Civilizations that Lived in Canaan Before the Israelites.

Charles River Editors.

Completed this Charles River Edition of the Ancient Canaanites today. I’ve covered most of this material before, although it doesn’t hurt to cover some topics again. This edition deals with the Canaanite culture which was quite advanced, even the Bible says that the Israelites were disadvantaged when they discovered the Canaanites had iron weaponry.

Both biblical and extra-biblical material confirms the unique polytheistic religion of ancient Canaan. From all accounts this religion was very enticing not only to the Israelites but to all of the neighbouring peoples. The chief gods being El and Baal.

“The Babylonians, Egyptians, Hurrians, and Hittites all wrote about the Canaanites in their texts, and it was during this period when different styles of writing the Canaanite language became prominent.”

And, “The form of writing used by the Canaanites eventually evolved into the Phoenician script, which provided the basis for the Greek and Latin alphabets.”

The Amarna Letters and the writings discovered in Ugarit have continued to provide scholars with an unending supply of information about the Canaanites.

It appears the Canaanites were disorganised in battle and it took a while before the Canaanite kings eventually formed an alliance and went up together to fight Israel, this is recorded in Joshua. Prior to that they were disunited and often fought each other, when Israel came along they had a common enemy.

“And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor had heard those things, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph, and to the kings that were on the north of the mountains, and of the plains south of Cine-rth, and in the valley, and in the borders of Dor on the west, and to the Canaanites on the east and on the west, and to the Amorite, and Hittite, and Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the mountains, and to the Hivite under Hermon in the Mizpeh. And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, much people, even as the sand that is upon the sea shore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many. And when all these kings were met together, they came and pitched together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.” (Josh. 11: 1-5).

February 2017:

Great book!!! Fantastic coverage of Martin Luther (The Reformer) will write more about this book later. Where would we be without printing? Loved it, loved it.

1. The Gutenberg Revolution

John Man.

January 2017:

I’m very much on a Martin Luther theme this year for two reasons: The 500th Anniversary of The Reformation and to get a better understanding of his concept of Babylon. Babylon is the other topic I’ll be covering in 2017. 

Apart from that the same old, same old, my passion for Ancient Near East and Jewish literature. I haven’t read the Quran at the start of this year; I covered all the Muslims texts last year; The Quran, The Hadiths and The Life of Mohammed etc. I will give the Muslims religious texts a break this year. 

1. Temple

Robert Cornuke.

2. The Babylon Captivity of the Church

Martin Luther.

3. The Ancient East

David George Hogarth.

Written by renowned British Archaeologist David Hogarth, this book covers all the ancient civilizations from Babylon to the Hellenistic Greeks.

Some valid points I took away from this book:

The Ur of the Chaldee was the first and the only Babylonian city, and that all ancient civilizations of the ANE were Semitic. The Babylonians, the Egyptians, the Sumerians, the Akkadians, the Canaanites and the Hebrews were and are all Semites, apart from the Greeks and the Romans that is.

Razzia is a concept I’d never heard of before; it’s what Abraham did when he was in the Valley of the Kings, where he met Melchizedek, the Prince of Peace. A Razzia was a summer raid performed by the Kings of the ANE where they went out to conquer; take captive their enemies and collect booty. Abraham was with Amraphel who was none other than Hammurabi per Hogarth. Razzia reminded me of the White Horse in the book of Revelation whose rider went out to conquer.

The Babylonian Semites were monotheist and worshiped Marduk. Marduk lived by the edge of the sword, “The point of the Sword,” if the sword was pointing upwards Marduk was pleased. Subsequently, if the sword was pointing downwards, Marduk withdrew his favour. Interesting…we have exactly that today, communities living by the point of the sword. In some ways, ancient Babylonian religion is akin to the monotheistic faith of the Abrahamic religions. But of course, it’s not, because we are warned to stay away from Babylon. Followers of the teaching of Jesus Christ do not and should not live by the point of the sword.

People so quickly forget that we know a considerable amount about the land of Canaan (Palestine) from the  Amarna Letters. Flinders Petrie discovered the Amarna Letters, and they are a record of the day to day official correspondence between the Canaanites, the Egyptians, and the Phoenicians. So, when people ask questions like: What was the borders of ancient Palestine? Who were its leaders etc., etc. they’re just being silly. There’s an enormous amount of information available from the Amarna Letters about the region before the children of Israel arrived. The Bible states that the Sons of Israel went to a land flowing with milk and honey, the Canaanites were a highly-developed civilization. Much of who’s language and culture became incorporated into the Hebrew culture.

In this book, Hogarth also covered the journey of the Children of Israel, their conquests in the land, their exile in Babylon where it all started with Abraham and then the return to Canaan again, the book ended with the Hellenistic Greek civilization.

4. The Messiah Idea in Jewish History (1906)

Julius H. Greenstone.

The Messiah Idea in Jewish History is one of those extant books I love to read. Always grateful to people who reproduce these old books for readers like me. Who cares if you have a shelf-full of yellow books. Thank you, thank you!

What this book clearly demonstrates is the Messianic expectations amongst the Jewish people, which reached fever pitch in the mid to late 1800’s. Disillusionment with false Messiah’s gave rise to Nationalism and later Zionism. (“Take our destiny in our OWN hands!”). Enough with waiting for a Messiah to redeem us from all our enemies, we’ll do it ourselves, thank you very much. Zionists claimed without the land; the rebuilding of the Temple; the restoration of Sacrifice and Sabbath, Messiah would never return. They then set out to achieve all these things, in their OWN strength? Perhaps.

Non-Zionist Jews don’t share the same desires for Nationalism, and there are plenty of them. In reality non-Jews are more pro-Zionist than most Jews and Non-religious Jews are more Zionist than religious Jews. As for me, I agree with Zionism in principle but not in practice. The intentions are good but the methods leave a lot to be desired.

5. Brand Luther

Andrew Pettegree.