Is it Mekkah or Petra?

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Takeiteasynow
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Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

Post by Takeiteasynow »

So the next blockbuster is 'Who owns the oral and written tradition'. Is it Jerusalem? Or is it Ishmaelic Petra?

Stay tuned!
Abraham= H'ammu'rab(b)i, Historical Muhammad=Benjamin of Tiberias. Islam: Syncretic Israelite Yahwishm Deity: nameless, epithets Dsr, El Qutbay, ʼAlâhâ, Allāh. Ka'ba: Kutha => Samaria => Petra=> Makkah. Hijrah 622: Petra => Kerak

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Takeiteasynow
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Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

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A recent discovery indicates that Moses was actually well known before the start of the Intertestamental period. It's all about how to understand the Semitic root msy. It can be used to shape Semitic words but also theophoric names knowing that suffixes y or w in the Nabataean realm were used to indicate divinity. So when you strip suffix y from msy you have Moshe/Musa/Moses. If you strip suffix w from dsrw you have instantly the 'the god from seir', as he is known in other scripts such as Hismaic and Safaitic. Elegant, simple and at first glance very provable....

Image

So the next question is what suffixes y or w implicate. Is it solely divinity? Or perhaps trueness? Or oneness? And where is Aron in the epigraphical record?
Abraham= H'ammu'rab(b)i, Historical Muhammad=Benjamin of Tiberias. Islam: Syncretic Israelite Yahwishm Deity: nameless, epithets Dsr, El Qutbay, ʼAlâhâ, Allāh. Ka'ba: Kutha => Samaria => Petra=> Makkah. Hijrah 622: Petra => Kerak

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Takeiteasynow
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Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

Post by Takeiteasynow »

A recent discovery indicates that Moses was actually well known before the start of the Intertestamental period. It's all about how to understand the Semitic root msy. It can be used to shape Semitic words but also theophoric names knowing that suffixes y or w in the Nabataean realm were used to indicate divinity. So when you strip suffix y from msy you have Moshe/Musa/Moses. If you strip suffix w from dsrw you have instantly the 'the god from seir', as he is known in other scripts such as Hismaic and Safaitic. Elegant, simple and at first glance very provable....
This lead is a misnomer and very faulty. Safaitic mSy derives from Akkadian and leads straight to Khorsabad and hometown of Sargon who, like Moses, was concealed as an infant and abandoned in a boat, - which resembles the story of the baby Moses in Exodus 2.

Moses and Aron in the epigraphical record
Yet we have found Moses and Aron as personal names, theophoric elements and as part of compound names. The hypothesis was if any theophoric names like for instance Wahab-Allah (whb'lh) or Abdallah could be found south of the Nabataean realm.

Near Al-'Ula and Madain Saleh you can find many. Main theophoric elements are ms', 'lh* and r'n which renders names such as:
- Wahab-Moses
- Wahab-Aron
- BdR'n (servant of Aron)
- Aron son of Qn
- bn R'n - son of Aron
- Whbrʿn bn rʿn (Wahab-Aron son of Aron)
- Wahab-Allah.
etc.

No worries this time, everything comes from a recent published Oxford Ociama database (Online Corpus of the Inscriptions of Ancient North Arabia). It will take some time to incorporate this material.

* Note 'lh: 'the god' pronounced as Al-lah
Abraham= H'ammu'rab(b)i, Historical Muhammad=Benjamin of Tiberias. Islam: Syncretic Israelite Yahwishm Deity: nameless, epithets Dsr, El Qutbay, ʼAlâhâ, Allāh. Ka'ba: Kutha => Samaria => Petra=> Makkah. Hijrah 622: Petra => Kerak

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Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

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A recent discovery indicates that Moses was actually well known before the start of the Intertestamental period.
Given that Moses is mentioned at length in the book of Exodus, which has two authors both around 1000 BC and also in Deuteronomy, 350 years later, both well before the intertestamental Period, why is that surprising or significant?
Jesus: "Ask and you will receive." Mohammed: "Take and give me 20%"

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Takeiteasynow
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Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

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I assume you refer my latest post.

It is significant for multiple reasons:

Theophoric names Moses and Aron are found, as expected, in Midian (modern northwestern Hijaz) but not in the Hebrew and Aramaic speaking territories of the Levant.

It implies that when Flavius Josephus writes about Mount Aron (circa 60 AD) pilgrimage (attested as hgg to ms[d], the 'big red mountain') to this mountain is well established among Samaritan tribes from the Galilee to Dadanite tribes deep in the Hijaz (and likely all the way down to Yemen if R'N transliterates to HRN).

It implies that the supreme god of Petra (DSR) is the one of MDRS - the Midrash tradition.

It implies that the area of Petra, not necessarily the city itself, is the ancient religious center for multiple competing Yahwist branches.

And yes - it does make books from the Pentateuch - their kernel - much more authentic and credible. Yet I think their final versions date from the Intertestamental Period.
Abraham= H'ammu'rab(b)i, Historical Muhammad=Benjamin of Tiberias. Islam: Syncretic Israelite Yahwishm Deity: nameless, epithets Dsr, El Qutbay, ʼAlâhâ, Allāh. Ka'ba: Kutha => Samaria => Petra=> Makkah. Hijrah 622: Petra => Kerak

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Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

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The four previous posts were removed by request as they contained two grave errors: there is no link between 'Old Negev Script' and Nabataean Aramaic; Old Negev HWY has no match in Nabataean as the latter relates to Siniatic Aramaic where theophoric element -Hwy means Elohi.
Abraham= H'ammu'rab(b)i, Historical Muhammad=Benjamin of Tiberias. Islam: Syncretic Israelite Yahwishm Deity: nameless, epithets Dsr, El Qutbay, ʼAlâhâ, Allāh. Ka'ba: Kutha => Samaria => Petra=> Makkah. Hijrah 622: Petra => Kerak

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Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

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The nameless God of Petra.

So who is the Nabataean supreme deity? It's not that difficult to determine if you take a different approach - and the records of North Arabian Scripts (University of Oxford - Ociana - ANA) offer everything you need when linked to the conclusion of J. Haley (2001) that all Nabataean divine names are epithets. The question: epithets for who? Let's start with eliminating a few options first.

Is the supreme deity Yahweh? Highly unlikely as the oldest theophoric names use Samarian -yaw (compare with Jerusalem's -yahu) in names such as bd'yw but are dropped in an early stage.
Is it Allah? This name only occurs from the second and third century AD in the North Arabian scripts surrounding Petra.

Then what do we now? The supreme Nabataean deity was referred to as 'l, 'lh, 'lhy, 'ly and 'lly and b'l meaning god, the god, elohi, high (god), most high (god) and Lord (god). So the supreme god of the Nabataeans is nameless - something that can be attested in the scripts surrounding Petra. The nameless god appears in a later stage as 'lh in Hismaic Script, 'l lh in Dananitic script, as allāh in Safaitic and Hismaic script, as a nameless deity in Palmyra and Rawwafa.

The supreme deity of Petra is a nameless god, linked to Yah and Allāh. How? That's a different question and opens another Pandora's Box.
Abraham= H'ammu'rab(b)i, Historical Muhammad=Benjamin of Tiberias. Islam: Syncretic Israelite Yahwishm Deity: nameless, epithets Dsr, El Qutbay, ʼAlâhâ, Allāh. Ka'ba: Kutha => Samaria => Petra=> Makkah. Hijrah 622: Petra => Kerak

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Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

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The Nabataean Religion

Part I: The Supreme deity of Nabataea

According to most scholars Dushara was a pre-islamic Arabian god worshiped by Nabataeans at Petra and Madain Saleh. Dushara was seen as the supreme god of the Arabs in the Roman literary tradition (Tertullian, circa 1660-225 AD) and was known in the Roman Empire. Roman historians must have known of the association with Petra as this city was the metropolis of the Levant between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD. Historian Josephus Flavius refers to Petra as the capital of Arabia en echoed Philo's belief that Mount Sinai was the highest of the mountains in the region of Petra – the place were Moses received a part of the law (Torah). Josephus assumes that prophet Aaron died at Petra which causus other scholars to assume that Mount Hor is near Petra.
... Now when this purification, which their leader made upon the mourning for his sister, as it has been now described, was over, he caused the army to remove and to march through the wilderness and through Arabia; and when he came to a place which the Arabians esteem their metropolis, which was formerly called Arce, but has now the name of Petra, at this place, which was encompassed with high mountains, Aaron went up one of them in the sight of the whole army, Moses having before told him that he was to die, for this place was over against them." (Josephus, Antiquities 4.82-83)
Image
Dushara betyl from Petra

Divine name or epithet?
The original meaning of Dushara is disputed – early Muslim historian Ibn al-Kalbi offers in his 'Book of Idols' the explanation that Dhū l-Šarā means 'The One from Shara', a mountain range south-east of the Dead Sea. Unfortunately there is no epigraphical or archaeological evidence to support the theory of Ibn al-Kalbi but if true, Dushara would be more of a title or perhaps an epithet.

Actually there's a way to determine if the name Dushara is an epithet. In the Nabataean realm thousands of theophoric compound names have been found – a personal name with a divine element. Most common elements used in Nabataean Aramaic are god, the god, elohi, high (god), most high (god) and Lord (god). (JF Haley - 2001)

The most glaring oddity with Nabataean theophoric names is that the name Dushara – as theophoric element – only appears twice (Abddushara, Taymdushara). This pattern is common for other deities in the cosmopolitan area of Nabataea as for instance compound names with elements Qos or Allāt are only attested four or five times (Negev – 1999) – and this is amazing as the usage of the divine name as theophoric element are commonplace in Ancient Near Eastern religion.

There are considerable difficulties in understanding the Nabataean religion – but that a concept such as that of a supreme deity existed among the Nabataeans is clear as all available evidence suggests that when the Nabataeans venerated Dushara they were directing their worship to a supreme god, above all others. (JF Haley, 2001, 85). And even other divine names probably refer to the same supreme deity. The name Dushara is in origin an epithet so many scholars have been much concerned with trying to find the true name of this supreme god. (JF Haley, 2001, 85-86).

The epithet Dushara is always named first in any pairing of listing and in many inscriptions associated with a particular place. Scholar Starcky (1966, col 987) was the first to took the view that the general absence of Dushara from personal names indicated that this was not an original divine names as such titles are commonplace in Ancient Near Eastern religion. On the contrary, Dushara is mostly associated with localities such as Gaia (modern Wadi Musa or El-Ji, near the entrance of Petra). The 'God of Gaia' appears even in a Greek votive inscription as the God of Gaia and his angel Idaruma (The Raised Hand of God). The raised hand of god is found as a marble hand in the adyton of the Qasr el-Bint (main temple) at Petra and is of course an important theme in the Old Testament where god raises his hand to display his anger and readiness to strike.

So who is the God behind Dushara? Scholars have compared Dushara with deities such as Dionysos, Zeus and Helios. Others hypothesized that ancient deity Ruda is the god behind the epithet of Dushara but this name is never mentioned in the Nabataean corpus. But conclusive evidence has never been provided so these comparisons are merely associations made by outsiders to indicate the status of the supreme Nabataean deity.

So to discover the god behind the epithet we have to consider a new hypothesis: Dushara is the epithet of a nameless god and his title indicates a role.
Abraham= H'ammu'rab(b)i, Historical Muhammad=Benjamin of Tiberias. Islam: Syncretic Israelite Yahwishm Deity: nameless, epithets Dsr, El Qutbay, ʼAlâhâ, Allāh. Ka'ba: Kutha => Samaria => Petra=> Makkah. Hijrah 622: Petra => Kerak

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Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

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The Nabataean Religion:

Part II: Religious theophoric names


To understand the nature of the supreme Nabataean deity we have to know how this deity was addressed in theophoric names and which script or language was used.

Theophoric names
Compound names often end with elements such as 'l, 'lh, 'lhy, 'ly and 'lly where suffix y may reflect a fossilized ending from Arabic. Most Nabataeans, but not all, spoke a kind of Arabic but expressed their religious thoughts in Imperial Aramaic from the 2nd century BC So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Nabataean grammar was influenced by ancient Arabic.

The Nabataean principle of spelling proper theophoric names was with -w or -y at the end, a convention still used in Classical Arabic with for instance 'amr (amir) spelled as'mrw. The Nabataean grammar has masculine singular proper names end with -w and compound names with either suffix -y or -w such as bdmlkw (Abd Malik) or bd'lhy (Abd Allah). These endings occur independently from the syntactic context which is no surprise since these Arabic names are intrusive elements in Aramaic which has no case endings.(CHM Versteegh, 1997).

Nabataean compound names in their isolated form can be regarded as the pausal form, a suffix that indicates that the length of a vowel is changed. So in words like 'lhy the -y acts as a mater lectionis, consonants that are used to indicate a (long) vowel such as yod or waw in Hebrew and ʾalif, wāw وand yā in Arabic. As a result compound names as bd'lh(y) were pronounced as abd-allah or abd-allahi.

As (epithet) Dushara is factually never used in compound names we should look at the frequent occurrence of other epithets in common noun elements fulling the role of the divine name in the theophoric names to learn about the nature of this god. There are large numbers of names containing forms for god:
  • 'l (god)
  • 'lh (the god)
  • 'lhy (elohi/alahi)
  • 'ly (high)
  • 'lly (most high)
  • b'l-y (lord)
A portion of these compound names are post-Nabataean and from the Sinai. For instance 'servant of the lord' (Abdalba'ali) occurs 274 times in Siniatic descriptions (JF Haley, 2001, 85-86) and it is the Sinai where the earliest religious inscriptions of Nabataean origin appear.

Nabataeans and their languages
The first diplomatic contacts with the Nabataeans were established in the late 4th century BC as documented by Greek historian Diodorus Siculus. The Nabataeans were already in control of trade routes in the Near East when a Greek army under command of Athenaeus attacked the Nabataean stronghold of Selah (east of the Dead Sea). The Nabataeans sent a letter to the Antigonid dynasty in Syriac, requesting a truce which was granted. Further correspondence between Nabataea and the (Seleucid) Greeks in the following century was done in Koine Greek before they started using their version of Imperial Aramaic.

Now there is something really strange about all this. Some questions:
  1. 1) Why did they systematically use theophoric elements such as god, the god, high god, most high, elohi or lord? They are pagans right?
  • 2) Why did the Nabataeans suddenly decide in the 2nd century BC to express their religious culture and identity while they had been so secretive about it for so many centuries?
  • 3) Why did they express their religious thoughts in Imperial Aramaic while the entire Near East was switching to Middle-Aramaic?
  • Why do most inscriptions first occur in the Sinai when the core of their empire was located east of the Jordan?
  • 5) Why was the Nabataean script only used to express their religious culture and matters of the royal family?
The next post will center around the first question.
Abraham= H'ammu'rab(b)i, Historical Muhammad=Benjamin of Tiberias. Islam: Syncretic Israelite Yahwishm Deity: nameless, epithets Dsr, El Qutbay, ʼAlâhâ, Allāh. Ka'ba: Kutha => Samaria => Petra=> Makkah. Hijrah 622: Petra => Kerak

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Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

Post by Takeiteasynow »

The Nabataean Religion:

Part III: Finding theophoric patterns that match those of Nabataea


In the previous part we defined the question why Nabataean inscriptions contain theophoric names with elements such as god, the god, high god, most high, elohi or lord. Because the Nabataeans left us with only a few documents and papyri we have to search elsewhere for theophoric patterns that match those of the Nabataeans so we can learn more.

New sources, new insights
One of the major problems with understanding what happened in the Levant during the Hellenistic and Arcahemenid era is the lack of sources and when available – the large gaps in available sources. Too many scholars were relying on late polemical Biblical texts and the accounts of Flavius Josephus. But during the last decade publications about for instance coins, inscriptions and excavations have enhanced our knowledge and complicated older reconstructions of the religious history of this region. Actually, 'complicated' is an understatement – for instance Jerusalem had, during the first temple period, a giant competitor-temple within walking distance: only 3 miles northwest of the city. So much for centralization of worship.

Samaria
Some of these publications deal with inscriptions Samarian inscriptions from Mount Gerizim written in Lapidary Aramaic, Proto-Jewish script (also knows as post-Hasmonean script) and the so called neo-hebrew script from the Persian and Hellenistic period. And it's here were we find similar theophoric patterns in the epigraphical record. But here is something interesting: The so-called Proto-Jewish or Proto-Hasmonean script was one thought to be a distinctive local development from the standard Aramaic cursive of the late Persian empire but as this script appeared in both Jerusalem and Samaria the question has been raised whether this script is unique to Yehud and Samaria (Dusek 2007 and others). In other words: was there a third party that influenced the development of Jewish religion in this era?

We highlight the discovery of of a large number of inscriptions in the so called Proto-Jewish script of which most date from the third and second centuries BCE, have a votive or dedicatory character and either presuppose the existence of a Yahwistic temple or make explicit references to this shrine. (Knoppers, Aspects of Samaria's Regligious Culture, 161-162). The threefold occurence of personal name Miriam (sister of Moses) among these inscriptions is of interest as it's unattested on any Israelite or Juhadite inscription, seal or bullae until the latter part of the Second Temple period.

Avoidance of the use of the Tetra-grammaton
Notice that the use of the Tetragrammaton is seemingly restricted to paleo- or neo-Hebrew script and isn't found among the extant Proto-Jewish inscriptions. The common terms for God are in the third and second century BC Elaha/i (lly), god and lord. For example an inscriptions in Proto-Jewish script tells about an offer before the Lord in the temple.

Image
The Tetragrammaton

This may indicate a long term development: In studies of the epigraphic names from northen Israel it is observed that the percentage of Yahwistic names attested from the fifth and fourth century is much higher than in the third or second century BC. Samarian coins and papyri now contain a fair number of Persian and Babylonian names which is explained by some scholars as Samaria functioned as a capital in a larger imperial, diplomatic and commercial setting.

All in all the Mount Gerizim inscriptions provide evidence of continuity of the Yahwistic tradition in Samaria with the remark that the Samarian elite was populated largely by Yahwists and that the religious ties between Samaria and Judah was much stronger during the Hellenistic period than during the Persian period.

Preliminary conclusion
The avoidance of the use of the he Tetra-grammaton in the third-to-second century
BC Mount Gerizim dedicatory inscriptions, especially those written in the proto-Jewish script,
is striking. The preference for the use of God or the Lord over the use of the Tetragrammaton
is important, because the same preference as a religious phenomenon to protect the sanctity of the personal name of the God of Israel occurs in the development of early Judaism.

The avoidance of the Tetra-grammaton may also be part of another long term development that eventually results in a nameless god. What ever has happened, it's obvious that the Samarian Yahwist elite looses control over at least a significant portion of its population. A portion that may have influenced religious developments in other places.

It is also obvious that there are important similarities between Samarian Yahwishm and the Nabataean religion from the second century BC: both avoid using a proper name for God and tend to refer him with god, the god or lord. So what could link Samaria with Nabataea? Is it the 'third party' that may have influenced the development of Jewish religion and Proto-Jewish or post-Hasmonean script? And could this link have helped the 'creation' of a nameless god?
Abraham= H'ammu'rab(b)i, Historical Muhammad=Benjamin of Tiberias. Islam: Syncretic Israelite Yahwishm Deity: nameless, epithets Dsr, El Qutbay, ʼAlâhâ, Allāh. Ka'ba: Kutha => Samaria => Petra=> Makkah. Hijrah 622: Petra => Kerak

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Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

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for instance Jerusalem had, during the first temple period, a giant competitor-temple within walking distance: only 3 miles northwest of the city. So much for centralization of worship.
Unfortunately there is more to it. Excavations that brought to light remains of an exceptional temple complex at Tel Moza are redated to Iron IIA (10th BCE), originally in 2012 to 750 BC. It means that this temple complex is as old as Salomon's temple - although Rabbinical literature place construction in 832 BC.

Image
Temple complex at Tel Mosa just outside ancient Jerusalem.

Why does this matter? The complex was reconstructed in the high days of the Edomite Empire which suggests an Edomite origin. If we compare the results of surveys and excavations which includes
  • cultic vessels
  • figurines
  • temple architecture
  • temple ground plan
and then compare them with excavations of Edomite sites at Ain al-Husb, Hirbet Qirmit, Tell al-Milh and other recent publications then it becomes obvious that the temple at Tel Moza is of Edomite origin and coexisted with Salomon's Yehudite temple at Jerusalem for many centuries.

Our interest here is that if Yahwishm is of Edomite origin the relations between the 'gods' of Iron II and the early Bronze Age in the Levant would be much closer then expected. Perhaps 'identical' is the better word as the scripts are also 'identical'. And the fact that Yehudites and Edomites were actually buddies is a great takeaway too of course. :D
Abraham= H'ammu'rab(b)i, Historical Muhammad=Benjamin of Tiberias. Islam: Syncretic Israelite Yahwishm Deity: nameless, epithets Dsr, El Qutbay, ʼAlâhâ, Allāh. Ka'ba: Kutha => Samaria => Petra=> Makkah. Hijrah 622: Petra => Kerak

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Re: Is it Mekkah or Petra?

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Fellow researcher Mr B. has extended our data model which now involves the oases of Tayma and Dedan - these were once much larger then they are today - but the 'desertification' or loss of biological productivity some 2400 years ago caused many to migrate north, towards Jordan where they mixed with the Nabataeans.

Both oases had religions that seems to have influenced or forced religious changes in Jordan and Israel. The most prominent one seems to be the migration of the lw(y) priestly class 'those attached to god' from Dedan/Midian to Jordan or even Jerusalem. This migration probably explains why Judea switches to pure monotheism in the second century AD. It will take some time to include this layer (2 months or so).
Abraham= H'ammu'rab(b)i, Historical Muhammad=Benjamin of Tiberias. Islam: Syncretic Israelite Yahwishm Deity: nameless, epithets Dsr, El Qutbay, ʼAlâhâ, Allāh. Ka'ba: Kutha => Samaria => Petra=> Makkah. Hijrah 622: Petra => Kerak

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