Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Merisms in Genesis

Mobius strip

Alice C. Linsley

Merisms are found in the Old and New Testaments. To the untrained, they suggest dualism, a concept quite foreign to Biblical theology, which is instead binary. In a binary set, one entity is seen as superior to the other. The Sun is greater than the Moon in that it is the source of light. The moon’s light is refulgent. The male is larger and stronger than the female. When the Bible speaks of good and evil, it is understood that good is always greater than evil. In Genesis, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:5) is a merism that speaks of omniscience.

A merism is a figure of speech which references parts that comprise a whole. To say this another way: a merism expresses opposite edges and unity at the same time, as can be demonstrated by a Möbius strip. To say that “they searched high and low” means that they searched everywhere. The set is often used to express the whole range of experience. The expression “night and day” represents a 24-hour cycle, a whole.

When we speak of night and day, we are speaking of two experiences with a range of in-between experiences: pre-dawn and dawn; twilight and dusk. In speaking of day and night we have a binary set. Hidden within this set is the more mysterious binary set dawn and dusk. One of the contributions of Martin Heidegger's work was to point out that Husserl's meriology has levels of complexity that Husserl failed to explore.

Paul uses merisms in Romans 8:38,39. The full meaning of this passage is not evident until we have explored what he intends by using death-life (all of human existence and experience); angels-demonic powers (all of the supernatural); present-future (all time); and height-depth (the whole cosmos). Paul intends us to understand that nothing in natural human experience, nothing in the supernatural realm, nothing in time, nothing in space, nothing exists that can separate the Christ one from the Christ, for their nature is one and inseparable.

Paul's message reflects Jesus' explanation about his relationship to the Father. Jesus spoke of his nature as being one with the Father and of the same essence with the Father. The distinction of Father and Son does not require a difference in essence or a separate existence.

In Genesis 1:1 we find another merism: "the heavens and the earth." If "heavens and earth" is a merism, this refers to the whole cosmos. Likewise, in Psalm 139 the psalmist declares that God knows "my sitting down and my uprising up,” which is to say that God knows all the psalmist's actions.

Merisms are a convention of poetry and prose. A merism is an example of synecdoche in which totality is expressed by contrasting parts" (e.g. high and low, young and old). In this figure of speech a pair of opposites refers to something greater than the constituents, as in the phrase, "they searched high and low," meaning that they searched everywhere.

Cyrus Herzl Gordon suggested that the biblical phrase “good and evil”( טוֹב וָרָע ) is a merism. Good and evil – as in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil - expresses a pair of opposites that refers to something greater than themselves. The tree symbolizes all that can be known. That a merism is intended is made evident from the context of the narrative. The snake tells the woman that by eating of the forbidden fruit her eyes will be opened and she will become like gods, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:5) Adam and Eve were barred from eating this fruit because such a property rightly pertains to God alone.

Merisms are common in the Bible, but not every binary set is intended to refer to something greater. Sometimes the stress is on the distinctions between the two entities. For example, the phrase "male and female" constitute the whole of humanity, but also the distinction between them. In the biblical worldview there is no gender continuum, there is male and female with distinct roles and functions necessary to human existence and survival. It is important to pay attention to context lest every binary set be taken as a merism. It is equally important to recognize a merism as a sign pointing to something larger, a whole.

Related reading: Binary Sets in the Ancient World; Levi-Strauss and Derrida on Binary Oppositions;The Biblical Worldview is Binary; Heaven or Heavens: Does it matter?; Howard Gardner on Revising Good and Evil

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Abusing Biblical Lists

Alice C. Linsley

Over the years I have come across some strange ideas about the peoples named in different Biblical lists. It seems everyone has a theory about their identity. The interpretations of the "Table of Nations" to the right contains many erroneous connections. It reminds me of the false correlations that have been made between Brahma and Abraham and between Brahma's wife Saraswati and Sarah.

The book of Joshua contains lists of people who were to have been driven out of Canaan by Joshua's army:

Joshua 3:10: This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites.

In Joshua 24:11 we find the same names in a different order: Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands.

The Joshua lists parallel the list of Israel's enemies in Deuteronomy 7:1-3:

When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;  And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, [and] utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

This list comes from a time long after Abraham and suggests that intermarriage between these peoples was forbidden, yet the rulers of most of these peoples were related. The Jebusites were a Kushite people with whom Abraham and his descendants had close interaction.

Under Jebusite rule and earlier, Jerusalem was divided into two cities.  The western part was called Jeru  or Yiru, and the eastern part called Salem. Both of these names appear in Genesis. In Genesis 21:14 we read that "Abraham called that place...Yiru" and Genesis 21:14 speaks of Melchizedek the King of Salem, who likely was the maternal uncle of Abraham's wife Keturah.

A Jebusite ruler called Araunah sold David a threshing floor upon which David constructed an altar. Araunah means "the lord". Threshing floors were built at high windy elevations so the wind could carry away the chaff. These were also places of worship in the ancient world. The daily activities of cooking, sowing, harvesting and threshing grain had religious significance. Threshing floors also were used to determine times and seasons. A center post served to cast a shadow on the same principle as a sundial. Threshing floors were associated with the Sun, which was regarded as the emblem of the Creator among many ancient peoples. 

According to this end times enthusiast, Psalm 83 names the alliance of peoples who "will soon attack Israel." Here is the passage to which he refers:

Psalm 83:5-12

With one mind they plot together;
they form an alliance against you—
the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
of Moab and the Hagrites,
Byblos, Ammon and Amalek,
Philistia, with the people of Tyre.
Even Assyria has joined them
to reinforce Lot’s descendants.
Do to them as you did to Midian,
as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,
who perished at Endor
and became like dung on the ground.
Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
who said, “Let us take possession
of the pasturelands of God.”

Here is his interpretation:

Somebody needs to sit this man down and have a conversation about hermeneutics!

The ten groups named in Psalm 83 represent a list of Israel's traditional enemies, but there are many such lists and they are not consistent in the groups they name. However, the mysterious "Hagrites" or "Hagarites" appear only in this list.

The House of David had close connections to many of these peoples, so it is possible that Psalm 38 is one of the later psalms. Though it is thought to be from David's time, it has passages that resemble portions of the much older book of Job and the post-exilic poem of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53 (as interpreted by Jews to be about Israel.) In most Bibles, Psalm 83 is attributed to Asaph, one of the leaders of David's choir mentioned in 1 Chronicles 6:39. It was recited by Jews as an act of repentance whereby they hope to spare Israel from its enemies, and probably dates to the time after Ezra.

David was related to the rulers of Edom, and Gebal was part of Edom. Abraham's territory was entirely in the land of Edom, shown below.

Both Hebron (where Sarah lived) and Beersheba (where Keturah lived) are in Idumea. Abraham's territory extended on a north-south axis between the settlements of his two wives and was entirely in Edom, the region called "Idumea" by the Greeks.

David was also descended from a Moabite, Ruth. He received materials and technical assistance from King Hiram of Tyre in building his palace. It was in Tyre that Jesus' true identity was known. The rulers there had preserved elements of Messianic expectation that were neglected or rejected by the rulers in Jerusalem.

The Ammonites were related to the Israelites also. They are the descendants of Lot, Abraham's nephew. The casting of the Moabites and the Ammonites as the fruit of incest is the work of the same writer who told us about Noah becoming drunk and exposing himself to his sons (Gen. 9:21-27). These stories of drunken fathers are used to bolster claims of one people over another by denigrating the ancestors. When this happens, God often overrules. According to Deuteronomy 23:3, no descendant of Moab was allowed in the assembly of Israel, yet David appeared in the assembly and he is a descendant of the Moabite woman Ruth.

The mysterious Hagrites

The peoples listed in Psalm 83 are all identified except the Hagrites. They pose a mystery. A man named Haggeri or Hagri is listed among David's great men in 1 Chronicles 11:38. He is of the line of Nathan. This suggests a possible connection to the Virgin Mary, known as "Miriam Daughter of Joachim, Son of Pntjr, Priest of Nathan of Bethlehem." Among Abraham's Horim, ntjr designated God or the divinely appointed ruler. Pntjr is Pa-Netjer, the name of Joachim’s mother. A limestone stela (1539-1291 B.C.) bearing the names of Pekhty-nisu and his wife, Pa-netjer, is on exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.

It is curious that Ishmaelites and Hagrites would be grouped separately if Hagrite is a reference to Ishmael's mother, Hagar. Among Abraham's people, blood line was traced through the mothers, not the fathers. However, regional identity was linked to the ruler, who often was an outsider, a conqueror.

Hebrew and Proto-Hebrew have no vowels. The root of this word is hgr and can appear in many forms. Hagrite has variant spellings, including: Hagarenes, Hagarite, Hagri, Haggeri. The word is also a girl's name - Hagrita - among the descendants of Noah who populated ancient Hungary. The Hungarians call themselves the Magyar and some Magyar-ab (people of Magyar) still live along the Nile Valley. I suspect that the Hagrites of Psalm 83 is a reference to the sea-faring ancestors of the Sardinians and Hungarians. 

This study compared the Y-DNA of Hungarians with other Finno-Ugrian populations to understand why modern Hungarians have so little of the typical Uralic haplogroup N1c. A few individuals from a 10th-century cemetery were tested and half of the individuals belonged to N1c. Ob-Ugrian is in the the macro-haplogroup N, with its sibling M, and is a descendant of haplogroup L3, originating in the Nile Valley. They are people whose ancestors moved through the Mediterranean into Europe. Multiple studies have verified that the Neolithic Hungarians are genetically close to Sardinians, and the data obtained from archaic Sardinian samples enabled Italian researchers to go back in time to the African ancestors of all humans.

It is also possible that the term Hagrite simply refers to traders. This theory deserves more research. The word "ha" means "the" and "gr" is an ancient reference to traders who moved from the Nile Valley and the Sahara into Pakistan, India, Anatolia and as far as Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. They are called Gur, Gar, Gurguri, Gurgar, and Gurjars in history books.  In their efforts to control borders and protect their holdings, the rulers of Israel would have encountered problems with the Gurjars or the Ha-grs.

One thing is certain: Biblical lists are important. They often tell us more about the composer of the list than about the peoples listed.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Common Questions About Genesis

Alice C. Linsley

Each week I receive messages asking questions about people and events in Genesis and Exodus. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions.

Was Abraham the first Jew?
No. Abraham was not a Jew and he did not speak Hebrew. Even rabbis admit that this is part of the Jewish narrative which is more myth than fact. Dr. Shaye Cohen (Harvard) explained how this is so in a 2008 NOVA interview:

The biblical narrative gets going with Abraham in Genesis chapter 12. Abraham in turn Isaac, in turn Jacob, in turn Joseph and the twelve tribes, this brings us directly to the people of Israel and the covenant at Sinai. So Abraham is thought of as the first Jew, the archetype. Historically speaking, of course, this doesn't make much sense. It's hard to talk about Jews living around the year 1800 B.C.E. or anytime near that. We don't have any of the institutions, beliefs, social structures in place that will later characterize Jews and Jewishness. So in a mythic kind of way we can say that Abraham recognizes God and that Abraham launches the process—biological and social and cultural—that will culminate in the people of Israel, who in turn will become Jews and the purveyors of Judaism. But to call Abraham Jewish simplifies things very dramatically.

The haplogroup of Abraham and his ancestors
This is a case where over-simplification approaches obfuscation.

Abraham was a Horite ruler in Edom. Were we able to test his DNA we would find that he is in haplogroup R1 (Y-DNA) which has a wide range of physical features. The dispersion of the R1b group is shown on the map (right). Note the bright red around Lake Chad, Noah's homeland, and the Upper Nile Valley. The R1b is also prevalent in the British Isles where Kushan peoples settled and where Horite mining experts took up residence.

The Genesis narrative suggests that Abraham had a distinctive red skin tone that is associated with other famous Edomites, like Esau. The Edomites may have been kin to the red Nubians. The Shasu of Nubia also lived in Edom.

Detail from drawing by Ippolito Rosellini (1828)
Nubian captives

What nationality was Abraham?
At the time that Abraham lived there were no nations in the modern sense. There were peoples, clans, and castes. Ethnic identities aligned with the territorial chief.

Abraham's ethnicity was Kushite and his father was a ruler-priest descendant of Nimrod, a son of Kush. Nimrod was a sent-away son who became a mighty ruler in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. This is why we first meet Abraham in Ur, though his ancestors were cattle-herding Nilo-Saharans.

Abraham was another sent-away son whose territory extended on a north-south axis between his two wives Sarah and Keturah. Sarah resided in Hebron and Keturah lived in Beersheba. Abraham also dug wells in Gerar to the west and had a treaty with the ruler of that region. Likely he also had water rights at Engedi to the east. This means that Abraham's territory was entirely in the region know as ancient Edom. The Greeks called this region Idumea, meaning "land of red people."

Edom is named in the Bible as one of the ancient seats of wisdom. The wisdom of the Horites extended to medicine, astronomy, writing, commerce, navigation, natural sciences, and architecture. The 400-acre Edomite complex at Petra reflects Horite beliefs. This was the home of the red Nabateans. Naba or Nabu was the guardian of scribes and prophets. The cult of Nabu was introduced into Mesopotamia and Babylon by the Kushites. Kushite kings sometimes bore the name Nabu, as with Nabu-shum-libur, an early Kushite king in Babylon and Nabu-aplu-iddina. This is the origin of the Hebrew word nabi, meaning prophet.

What language did Abraham speak?
Abraham and his advisers would have communicated using the languages of the peoples with whom they had contact. This included Egyptians, Nubians, Arameans, and peoples of Arabia. During Abraham's time many different alphabets and scripts were used.

The Egyptian hieroglyphs were priestly writings, and the symbolism of each glyph or pictograph pertains to the ancient Egyptian cosmology which changed over time. The oldest of these will be found in the Upper Nile and at the oldest Horite shrine in Nekhen. To understand the Sumerian pictographs we have to look at the earlier roots common to both the Nilotic and Sumerian peoples. Here we will find some very ancient lexemes: V, T, X and the solar symbols O and Y. Many of these appear in the old Dedanite scripts and in the Oasis North Arabian alphabets like Thamudic, Dumaitic, and Taymanitic. The urheimat of the Canaanite Y is the Nilo-Saharan cattle herding and boating populations. They are among Abraham's ancestors, and Messianic expectation appears to have originated among them.

Orly Goldwasser, professor of Egyptology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, argues that the first alphabet, from which all other alphabets developed, was invented by Canaanite miners in the turquoise mines of Serabit el-Khadem in the Sinai peninsula. The pictorial hieroglyphs of the Nile Valley served as the inspiration for this alphabet.

Other ancient writing forms used by merchants for keeping accounts are found along ancient trade routes; the spice routes, the silk routes, the King's Highway from Egypt through Palestine, the ancient tin route from Spain to Ireland, etc. These involve fewer pictographs and more hatch marks that suggest counting or record keeping. Ogham bears resemblance to these earlier commercial scripts. Some of the elements of the commercial scripts are found in Hebrew and in Ainu, scripts that are clearly related (see image at right).

A comparison of the Ainu (Kata) and Hebrew scripts reveals a connection that is explained by the fact that the earliest scripts were those used by priests in the service of rulers in many regions, and these priest-scribes kept royal accounts. These ancient rulers are the "mighty men of old" mentioned in Genesis. Among them were the "red" rulers associated with Abraham and the Edomites.

Was Noah's flood worldwide?
No. It was an extensive regional flood during the African Humid Period. At one time major water systems connected the Nile and central Africa. The highest concentration of R1b in Africa is in the Lake Chad region, Noah's homeland.

Noah lived approximately 2490-2415 BC. This is the period of the Old Kingdom, a time of great cultural and technological achievement in Egypt. This places Noah and his sons in relatively recent history. They ruled over territories during the time of the 7th, 8th and 9th Dynasties in Egypt.

Humans were dispersed globally by 20,000 years ago and during Noah's time these populations were not destroyed. Consider the following population estimates by urban center between 2500 and 2200 BC:

  • Memphis, Egypt - 32,000 inhabitants
  • Lagash, Iraq - 60,000 inhabitants
  • Mohenjo-daro, Pakistan - 40,000 inhabitants
  • Mari, Syria -50,000 inhabitants
  • Baodun settlements covering an area of about 373 miles show no evidence of destruction by flooding though all six Baodun settlements straddled the Min River in central Sichuan province. The Min is a tributary of the upper Yangtze River.

There is no evidence that any of these peoples were wiped out by a catastrophic global flood and that the earth was repopulated by Noah's descendants. However, there is evidence of a Kushite expansion out of Africa.

Were Adam and Eve real?
In Genesis Adam and Eve are meta-historical figures who represent the first parents of the ruler-priest lines from which Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus came. Adam was probably a red man. Later Biblical writers treat them as the first created humans. Were this the case, Adam and Eve would have lived about 4 million years ago.

It is doubtful that Adam and Eve lived 4 million years ago. That is not how they are presented in Genesis, although they are interpreted as the first of the human race in other places in the Bible. The Biblical writers recognized that the people among them with a red skin tone were of an extremely ancient ancestral line. These were the "mighty men of old." Some were rulers in Edom. These are listed in Genesis 36. Esau the Elder and Esau the Younger were among them. Esau is specifically described as being red in Genesis 26. David is related to the Horite rulers of Edom and he is described in the Bible as red/ruddy. Samuel, the son of a Horite priest from Ramah, anointed him ruler.

How many wives did Moses have?
As with all Horite rulers, Moses had two wives. His first wife was Kushite and a half-sister. She and Moses had the same father, but different mothers. His second wife was the daughter of a ruler-priest of Midian. Her name was Zipporah and she was Moses's patrilineal cousin.

Moses was a descendant of Seir the Horite (Gen. 36). As can be seen in the diagram above, Moses's father also had two wives. His first wife was his half-sister Jochebed and his second wife was his patrineal cousin Ishar. Ishar was the mother of Moses's half-brother Korah the Younger. She named her first born son after her father, according to the cousin bride's naming prerogative. Korah opposed Moses in the wilderness. "Korah" relates to the practice of shaving the head and body in preparation for the priest's term of service in the temple. (Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 2007, p.37)

Related reading: What Color Was Abraham?Noah's Flood: Where and When?; Moses's Wives and Brothers; Red and Black Smiths; Sent-Away Sons; When is the Evidence Sufficient?; How the Deuteronomist Changes the Genesis Narrative; Solving the Ainu Mystery; Were the Shasu Related to Moses?; Two Named Esau; Questions High Schoolers Ask About Genesis; Answers to More Questions

Monday, February 9, 2015

Twins, Sent-Away Sons, and Heirs to the Throne

Irish twins are a Guiness World Record
Alice C. Linsley

Most of the heroes of the Bible are sent-away sons. Cain, Nimrod, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David are examples, and most were men with blood on their hands. Cain killed Abel. Nimrod was a mighty hunter and a kingdom builder who forged his territory through conquest. Abraham killed in combat. Moses took the life of an Egyptian slave driver. David killed Goliath and arranged for the death of Uriah, Bathsheba's husband. The Bible does not sanitize the lives of these men.

Cain was the first ruler and city builder named in Genesis. Abraham, Terah's youngest son, built his territory between Hebron and Beersheba and Engedi and Gerar (the land of Edom). Moses, the youngest son of Amram, did not receive a territory. David, Jesse's youngest son, forged a kingdom in Judah and Galilee. Joseph became a ruler in Egypt. Birth order and the status of the man's mother are factors that must be considered in understanding the pattern of sent-away sons as kingdom builders. The first born son of the ruler's half-sister wife was never sent away. He ascended to the throne of his biological father. The first born son of the ruler's patrilineal cousin/niece bride served as a prime minister in the territory of his maternal grandfather, after whom he was named. Other sons were given gifts and sent away to establish territories of their own (Gen. 25:6).

The theme of twins as progenitors and/or city builders is found widely in ancient cultures. The twins Romulus and Remus are said to be the founders of Rome. According to the Rig Veda, Book X, Yama (a male) and Yami (a female) were the twin offspring of Surya, and the first humans. The Adam and Eve story conveys a similar idea. The man comes from mother earth as the first-born to rule over the earth. The woman comes from the man's rib, as the second born. She will rule in a subordinate role.

In the case of twins in the Bible, the first born of the half-sister bride ascends to the throne of his father and the younger twin serves the older twin or is sent away, as happened with Jacob. It is often the younger twin who receives the blessing over the first born twin. Such is the case with Joseph's sons Manasseh and Ephraim, suggesting that they might have been twins. The pattern is found with Esau and Jacob (Gen. 25:1-28) and with Perez and Zerah (Gen. 38). In the case of Isaac's twins, this reversal is explained by family deception. In the case of Judah's twins, the reversal is explained by delayed birth. The first to breach the womb had a scarlet cord tied to his arm, but he was born after his brother. The Bible does not indicate how much later. Sometimes the second twin is born much later. Though this is very rare, it can happen with twins, as in this case of Irish twins born 87 days apart.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Protruding Jaw a Human Feature

The Rising Star Expedition in Southern Africa has retrieved and cataloged over 1000 hominid fossils, and large numbers of fossils remain at the underground site to be retrieved in future expeditions.This expedition is forcing paleontologists to rethink the evolutionary model which has dominated. First, we have evidence of ritual burial. Second, we have a wide range of physical features. The features that have been identified are found in modern humans. One feature that has been shown in a sketch from the Rising Star Expedition is a protruding chin (projecting jaw). This feature is found in R1b lineages from Africa to Serbia and even to Ireland, and most commonly among the metal working castes (who intermarried) and who dispersed widely in service of ancient rulers.

Rising Star Expedition sketch of hominid with protruding chin

Note the lack of the characteristic diastema or tooth gap found in apes. It should be noted also that the "pillars" from nose to canines are a common feature among the Ainu who are noted for their extremely prominent nose that begins high, between the eyes.

The projecting jaw is found in modern humans. Compare the image below with the sketch above.

7-8th BC blacksmith with protruding chin
(R1b haplogroup)
Genesis asserts that the human race was a special creation and the evidence of paleontology supports this. Forget the labels assigned to different "hominid" finds. Focus on physical features and DNA tests. Labels such as Neaderthal and Australopithecus can cause confusion. The physical features identified in early hominid fossils from Africa to Asia are the same as the features found in modern human populations. So much so, that it is more helpful and more accurate to speak simply of archaic humans and modern humans. This is why I believe we may say that the human race extends back to 4 million years.

Related reading:  Genesis on Human OriginsSolving the Ainu Mystery; Red and Black Smiths; The Kushite-Kushan Connection; Kushites in Mindanao; The Tool Makers of Kathu

Friday, February 6, 2015

Kushites in Mindanao

Mindanao Sultan Jamal ul-Kiram (seated at center), with his counselors
Also shown US Army officers and some visiting Muslims
Photo taken c. 1899-1901

Dear Madame Linsley,

I have additional thoughts I wish to share with you. Historically, what is now called Philippines in the period 600 AD - 1300 AD is part of geopolitical area called Tanah Melayu or Malay Lands under or allied with the Malay Shri Vijaya empire based at Palembang, Sumaterah, now part of Indonesia. What is now called Philippines is a groupings of Kingdoms or Rajahnates.

Central of this grouping of kingdoms is the Uranen Kingdoms. The people in these Kingdoms are called Iranun. Iranun Kingdom was centered in what is now present Lanao provinces in Mindanao. It was said that before the Spanish conquest of Visyas and Luzon on the Philippines, Mindanao was never conquered by the Spanish empire in its 377 years of colonial occupation, kingdoms in what is now Philippines is peopled by Iranuns and only broken down into various tribes during colonial occupations to divide and rule. Historically Iranun are skilled sailors and fierce warriors that Spain and America was not able to subdue Mindanao during its colonial occupation. In 1515 a Shariff from Johor, now part of Malaysia, arrived in Mindanao and began Islamization, and married to Iranun and thus the present Muslim family in Mindanao come about.

I am wondering about the word Uranen, Ir-anun, Bul-Anun. I am thinking that word Uranen is composed of two words combined together the word UR and ANNEN wich may have come from the word ANNUN. And if it is both a noun UR being place and ANNEN or ANNUN being people it would translate into PEOPLE OF UR. I was reading ancient history about the kingdom of UR a port city in what is now Iraque (aque is an Iranun word which mean friend) and it flash to my mind that an Iranun in the Philippines are people from UR Kingdom, what you think Madame Linsley. and in fact these people, or some of them belong to royalty; claimed they are descendants of Abraham or related to Abraham and even to Adam.

Dear Mr. Bulang,

The Vijaya empire was ethnically Kushite. "Kushite" is a general label for many peoples whose ancestors lived in prehistoric times in the Upper Nile-Lake Chad area.The Kushites spread from the Nile Valley into Ur of Mesopotamia and into the Tarum Valley of Southern China. These people were great warriors, sea travelers, astronomers, pyramid builder, and mining experts. They mummified their dead rulers.

The Kushan-Yuezhi of Central Asia called themselves Visha or the Vijaya. They are Kushites also. They spread through Central Asia, from around 180 BC to 30 AD. Some Vijaya went to Madagascar, Borneo, and Sulawesi in Indonesia. Your family is probably part of this group of Kushite Vijaya. They were famous as rice merchants, sea travelers, and scribes. It appears that there were two ruling houses that intermarried, but at some point the two groups separated.

Annen or Annun does mean people, but it also is a reference to a Nilotic people of very ancient genetic lineage. They are called Ainu or Annu. They spread across the earth from the Nile-Lake chad area. They are a "first empire" people. Some live today in Western China. Some Ainu live on the islands of Hokkaido and Okinawa, and some live in the Hudson Bay area of Eastern Canada. Abraham ancestors were Ainu. The Ainu spread out of Africa before the Kushites moved into Central Asia. Bul-Anun means kingdom or territory of the Ainu, the same as Bul-Gharia (Bulgaria) means kingdom or territory of the Ghar/Gur/Gurjar.

I hope that this is helpful. Here are some articles with more information:

The Kushite-Kushan Connection

More East Africa-Asia Connections

Solving the Ainu Mystery

Best wishes to you in the pursuit of your ancestry!

Alice C. Linsley

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sun Symbolism and Blood Guilt

Over the past 2 years I have had several fascinating conversations with Mr. Jose C. Bulang of Bohol (Philippines). Mr. Bulang is a faithful reader of JUST GENESIS and has found some of the research helpful in his pursuit of information about his family's origins. The emphasis of his ancestors on adherence to One True God suggests Muslim merchants or traders - the Gur or Gurjars. In Akkadian gurguri means metalworkers or copper smiths. In Somali Oromo gurguru means to sell (gurgurtaa = sale, gurguraa = seller). In Somali "gur" refers to collecting something and gurgure means one who collects and keeps collecting. The Gurgure clan of the Somali Dir refers to traders who collect wares and resale them.

Mr. Bulang has proved to be a valuable source of information for me also. One account of his father's wisdom has been recorded here (how pythons were used in navigation).

What follows is a portion of a recent correspondence with Mr. Bulang.

Jose Bulang: When my father was alive, he died in 1993, he would always talked about symbolism, symbolism of thing called pair (or is it like to your binary) like the sun and the moon, the day and the night, the man and the woman, and according to him the most important is the hole and that something that is to be place in the hole that made a coupling. And that the most important symbol is zero for everything will get back into it, as zero is the symbol of supreme intelligence. I do not know how you think of it.

Alice Linsley: The binary feature of reality is the beginning of wisdom. I believe that your father was a very wise man. I wonder did he think of the zero as a sun symbol?

Jose Bulang: Yes, my father use to tell me that O is the symbol of sun, according to him the Alpha and the Omega, to the sun we come so to it we go. He also told me that the earth is a big hole that the sun breath unto it and there comes life. I remember he illustrated to me having his two palms together in a molding fashion and breathing an air on it, and he said that what he breath is like the energy from the sun and it gives life and it is what is said in the Bible "God made image of him from the dust and breath a spirit unto it and it become man."

He told me that spirit is energy trapped in a shell called human body from the earth, and earth is mother and sun is the father, earth is negative sun is positive. and when this energy is released the body returned to the dust and the spirit return to the source that is the Sun. But even the earth may come back into the sun, at anytime. My father lost interest in worldly things, he engrossed in prayers but he is not going into the church. Very seldom, when invited to baptisms or burials did he go to church.

Alice: The solar symbolism that your father shared with you is very ancient wisdom. The image of the human body as a shell is especially beautiful to me because I used to collect shells and I still have some that I gathered off the beaches of Luzon.

Jose: One day I ask my father where our eldest ancestor come and who is he, he answered, "I cannot be certain but accordingly our eldest ancestor was named Osman and claimed to have come from the House of Sulaiman. Accordingly, he told our grandfather, "bring your children to the belief and service of one and only God and so the blood of the Bulang will be cleanse of its Curse." This thing my father have told me. And because of this I have made a research which I started at age 40. I am now 57. It bothers me because the Curse in the Bible refers to Cain and his downline.  In history it refers to Alexander the Great, and in history of the family, if my research is right, there were killings between the family members - the reason why we are now in the Philippines.

Alice: The curse is the same for all clans, all families. It is blood guilt that comes from the blood on our hands, and the anxiety that comes from consciousness of our mortality. Some blame the Jews for Jesus' crucifixion because the agitators in the crowd shouted, "His blood be on us and on our children." However, every human in every generation bears guilt for His blood. The paradox is that His blood frees us from the curse, from guilt, and from anxiety.

None is without the curse. It is our existence since death entered the world. All have ancestors who have taken life and spilled blood. Blood is the substance of human life and it has power to speak even from the ground. When Cain killed Abel, Abel's blood cried out to the Creator from the ground. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ covers all blood guilt. Only by the blood of the Pure One can the blood of the impure ones be made right. And when we doubt that the curse has been removed, we need to receive HIM again in the Holy Sacrament of Bread and Wine; doing this with thanksgiving. Our thankful hearts make the heart of God rejoice.

The priesthood emerged as a response to blood guilt and anxiety of blood guilt. It is the oldest known religious office. Remember that the priest Melchizedek came to Abraham after Abraham had been in combat. Melchizedek came to perform the rite of purification to relieve Abraham of his blood guilt and anxiety, and this rite involved bread and wine. It speaks of Jesus Christ. His symbol in the ancient world was the Sun, and the Sun was believed to give life to the Earth. The ancients were very concerned when there was a solar eclipse, but over time they came to understand that life on Earth does not end when the Sun is black (eclipsed). The Eternal One remains even when His glory is veiled.