Phat raised the issue of eastern religions like Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, and their ancestor sources possibly having something to do with Biblical creation ideas.
The Hindu Rig Veda is interesting because it is of an undisputed pre-1000 BCE date.
Historians seem to see the Indian subcontinent beliefs/texts as being fairly far removed from the Middle East, for reasons I can't understand.
There seems to be a sluggishness among historians in recognizing the contributions India made to the Biblical belief system. It is a clear bias IMO. (perhaps the dearth of written records in the archaeological record might have something to do with it, plus the inability to read/decipher so much of what has been discovered)
I won't have much to say on this topic (honestly), but any thoughts?
I found something interesting.
A Zoroastrian scientific text from around 900 C.E.
quote: DÇNKARD (lit., “Acts of the religion”), written in Pahlavi, is a summary of 10th-century knowledge of the Mazdean religion; the editor, Âdurbâd Çmçdân, entitled the final version “The Dçnkard of one thousand chapters.” .... Book IV is the shortest, presented as a selection of sentences from the Âʾîn-nâma, a text dealing with customs, arts, and sciences. ...the function of created beings is defined, which provides an occasion for speculations on time, fate, and action, that is, on determination and free will, on music, and on the more abstract concepts of metaphysics. De Menasce thinks that this mixture of metaphysics and history resulted from dislocations occasioned by condensation of a more detailed work, such that the original can no longer be reconstructed.
Interesting and I wish we have more documents (for sure).
quote: After all, India and the West have some deep cultural affinities. Remember these lines? “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” That’s the opening of Genesis, King James version. Now consider this:
"Nor Aught nor Nought existed; yon bright sky Was not, nor heaven’s broad roof outstretched above. What covered all? What sheltered? What concealed? Was it the water’s fathomless abyss?
There was not death—yet there was nought immortal, There was no confine betwixt day and night; Who knows the secret? Who proclaimed it here, Whence, whence this manifold creation sprang?"
The 29th hymn of the tenth mandala—known as the creation hymn—from the Rigveda is a masterpiece of the English language. I’ve been told that this is because it is a masterpiece in the original Sanskrit. I wish I knew enough Sanskrit to be sure.Perhaps we just share an Anglophone heritage. But who knows?
I wish we all knew enough about India. We seem to have gotten much from the land and the people.
Lets hope that the economic growth happening, in what will be the world's largest nation in 10 or so years, will result in a worldwide awakening that hopefully can lead to some serious archaeological digs (funding and funding alone will bring it about) and textual research.
India will be about 18% of the world's population by around 2030. There are already 3.6 million people (as of May 2013) from India in this country, and it seems poised to be close to 4.5-5 million by 2020 (I think).
I have a strange feeling that Christians will learn a lot more about their religion from a revived India than they ever have been taught by their preachers. Light will come from the East just like the Magi (mistranslated "wise men" and popularly thought to be "THREE wise men" due to the 3 presents these - if correctly translated - "ZOROASTRIAN PRIESTS" brought) did 2000 years ago (Matthew 2), and Jesus valued light over darkness just as the Zoroastrian texts instructed.
Is there finally going to be renewed excavations (after so long)?
quote: Sumerian city of Lagash slowly emerging from desert sands
What distinguishes the site from many others is that it extends over a large area, some 15 square miles. The city of Lagash was the political capital of the Lagash city-state. The site is considered an archaeological treasure in the Middle East.
Amer Abdul Razzaq, director of the archaeology department of Dhi Qar province and lecturer in the faculty of archaeology at Baghdad University, told Al-Monitor, “Lagash is one the most important Sumerian cities in the Shinar plain in Iraq, where the first Sumerian cities emerged more than 4,000 years ago. Lagash was the most important one founded by King Ur in 1900 B.C., with its temples and palaces.”
He added, “The excavation works have revealed valuable artistic, literary, cultural and religious relics, most important, the mud paintings with cuneiform writings by the thinker and writer Dudu and other relics highlighting the beginning of writing and the invention of the pottery wheel and schools.”
Abdul Razzaq further explained, “Only 5% of the city had been excavated, as work came to a halt because of the Iraq-Iran War [1980-1988]. The last archaeological mission had been in the 1980s. At the moment, there is a French mission working in the religious center of Lagash, Girsu.” Indeed, a French archaeological mission resumed excavations at the site Nov. 5, 2015. In 2013, French Ambassador Deni Gauer visited Lagash and promised that his government would support further work at the location.
The cuneiform scholars are buzzing again. Something is in the air for some good discoveries over the next decade.
What does this have to do with India and Iran?
Well, Elamite (in Iran) texts from 5000 years ago can't be deciphered for one and early Indus scripts (in modern day Pakistan, which was historically "India") from 5000 years ago exist too. Can't be read.
The second issue is that the ancient Sumerians could very well have come from India over 5000 years ago, but not too long before.
"How do you know it wasn't the other way around ...?
The concept of heaven and hell with the multiple levels is perhaps the strongest clue. Hindu texts had concepts, that later were prominent in apocalyptic Judaism and Christianity, that were in the oldest Hindu texts from the start.
Consider the Yama Yima issue and the Hellhound.
Consider the multiple levels of hell
Consider the multiple heavens.
Historians say that the hellhound was a common Indo European concept, but I think the Hindus had it first then ( perhaps through the Hurrians ) took it to Greece.
Regardless, the concept ( from multiple points of entry ) made it into Judaism and especially the Book of Enoch.
Greek concepts (from India, Iran, Hurrians, etc. originally ), Iranian concepts, direct Hindu concepts made their way into 2nd Temple Judaism.
I don't see the initial Israelite beliefs having many later features such as the multiple heavens and multiple levels of hell. Infact not much evidence of the concept in a singular stage.
(just to clarify, the hellhound isn't in biblical beliefs, but the hound went to Greece along with all the other features of hell, plus hell itself, which the oldest Hindu texts have )