I just reached the halfway point of my tour in Iraq. Things are going pretty well; I'm in one of the safer spots (such as it may be) and am having a good time, more or less. Barring the highly unexpected, I should be back in the States some time in December.
I had a recent experience that I figured would spark some discussion here, and have spent the last month trying to make time to post it in a presentable manner. I was visiting Tallil Air Base, down near An-Nasiriyah, and was rather surprised to be presented with the purported birthplace of none other than the patriarch Abraham. In the no-man's-land that surrounds the base, one can visit a ziggurat and a collection of ruins claimed by the locals to be the city of Ur, where he was born and raised until he was called to leave. They even pointed out a labrynth of walls said to be the remains of his house.
I got a couple of pictures, which you can see here:
I had never heard, in all my years among the flock, that such a location could actually be seen in the present day. It seems that this kind of find, could it be verified, would be well-known among Biblical literalists and held forth as evidence for inerrancy. A couple of the guys on this trip got really excited, understandably I guess, but I couldn't help wondering how one could so easily accept the word of a mere fellow layman in an obscure historical matter. Confirmation bias, anyone?
I hope there will be some interested parties more informed than I, who can shed some light on this. My questions are as follows:
1. How widespread is the claim that this particular spot, just south of An-Nasiriyah, is Abraham's birthplace? 2. Is the city of Ur present in any historical records, and is its presence at this location a)not mentioned, b)the only one mentioned, or c)one of several? 3. Is there any evidence that the on-site curator is more than an opportunistic tour guide with a good story?
Wow, almost two years here and I think this is my first thread....
This message has been edited by Admin, 09-21-2004 02:37 PM
The location of Ur is Tall al Muqayyar in Iraq, according to this site. http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/archaeology/sites/middle_east/ur.html
Wikipedia says that it is near Nasiriyah
I can find no mention of any of the surviving buildings being Abraham's house. This page has some photos and might include the building you refer to: http://oi.uchicago.edu/OI/IS/SANDERS/PHOTOS/MESO/UR/ur1_1.html All the pictures on the page are "thumbnails" - click on them to see the full picture which should include identification.
Personally I see no reason to believe the tour guide. How could a building possibly be identified as having belonged to Abraham ?
Of course Ur is real - haven't you read Gilgamesh?
The Euphrates used to flow near the city walls. It was the center of Sumerian worship of Nanna, the moon God (replaced by Sin, the moon Goddess, in Babylonian tradition). While there is no archaeological evidence of Ur being the ancestral home of Abraham, Ur of the Chaldees is cited in Gen. 11:27-32 as being where Abraham was from. The Chaldeans, however, only settled in Ur around 900 BC, but lets not bother with biblical nitpicks here Ur itself is ancient - founded around 4000 BC - and was one of the most prosperous ancient city-states and heart of the Sumerian civilization (often viewed as the birthplace of modern civilization, although the Indus river civilization was equally ancient, as were several Chinese civilizations). It began its decline after falling under Persian control; by the 4th century BC, it was almost forgotten.
You are standing, in the picture, in front of the Ziggurat of Nanna. It was discovered and partially excavated in the mid 1800s by the British; they resumed and finished earlier this century (naturally, before the Iraqis kicked them out ).
I didn't know you were over in Iraq. Take care of yourself out there!
Yeah, that's the place. Their pics are a lot better than mine, the bastards.
The "house" was apart from the ziggurat and the main body of ruins - couple hundred yards away, though we drove back around half a mile or so to get there. It didn't look much like a dwelling to me - very well-preserved walls but no roof, and from above it looked like a lot of halls and almost no rooms. As far as the ownership of the building, well... how many true crosses are there? How many relics of every saint? As many as could be passed off on an unsuspecting believer at some point in history. Even among educated modern folk, the story gets passed on from one to the next without question, which is why I questioned it to begin with.
I wasn't too specific about place or time when I left, because we're careful about travel plans. Not that someone like me is a valuable target or anything.
Anyway... yeah, I've been in country since the end of June, but I'm in a pretty good place. We get some indirect fire, but their aim is piss-poor and their munitions suck. A lot of the rockets don't even explode. *sigh* Insurgents these days.
My "donut of misery" Excel calculator says my tour is 55% up!
Thanks for all the info... I expected (and hoped) you would be among the replies. Now, how do we turn this into another 7,000-post Gulf of Aqaba thread?
So are you planning to get out of the military when you get back? And if so, are you at risk of being put under a stop-loss order? They're really short of troops right now; they've even been getting ready to call up the ready reserve (there was a big issue about how the Pentagon has been using IRS records to locate ready reserve members, and has been threatening that if members don't come forward on their own, they'll send them straight to Afghanistan or Iraq; a number have even been threatened that if they don't reenlist, they'll get deployed as such).
What's your MOS, out of curiousity? I have a friend who's a 91k (medical lab tech). He joined expecting to be working stateside, but they're moving him to Fort Bragg, and he's worried they're going to put him in a unit that's going to Iraq. I haven't heard from him since he told me that.
This message has been edited by Rei, 09-22-2004 12:58 PM
Very interesing Zephyr! Thank you for posting. I just wanted to let you know that your questions Abraham and the City of Ur might be answered in the book "The Exodus Revealed" by Dr. Lennart Moller.
He reveal's the TRUE Ur of which Abraham was born at. The Ur of the Chaldees and the Ur of which Abraham was born at are "two" different Urs. According to Moller, the Ur of Abraham was actually "Urfa". It is in the area of Urfa that there are several villages, communites and ruins called "Serug" (Abram's great-grandfather), "Nahor" (Abram's grandfather), "Terah" (Abram's father) and "Haran" (Abram's brother). These names have changed down the years. Serug is most likely the same place as the one referred to as "Sarugi" in Assyrian documents from around 700 BC and called "Suruc" today. Around 900 BC Terah is referred to as "Til-Turahi", which means ruins of Terah. The place called Haran (Abram's brother's name) still exists today, situated in south-eastern Turkey, about 44 km from urfa by the roads of today. Some of these places are marked on a map in Moller's book, which shows Urfa's surroundings near the border between modern Turkey and Syria.
The cave town of Urfa's citadel , which according to popular tradition was Abram's birthplace, is still regarded as a holy place today. The city is named Sanliurfa (since 1983), but was earlier named Urfa. Urfa is related to the Hurranian state, and the city is at least from the second millenum BC. Moslems have erected a mosque over the cave, the Crusaders erected a fortress, and there are two columns from ancient Baal temple, called Nimrod's throne, on top of the mountain. King Abgar Ukkama (9-46 AD) was the founder of Christian traditions of this city.
Once you thoroughly examine all the data, Ur of the Chaldees cannot be the Ur the Bible refers to based on the route Abraham would have had to take.
You can purchase the book here, or elsewhere online:
In my highly superior branch of the armed services, we call them AFSCs (AF specialty codes). 33S3A - communications and information engineer. The A denotes a technical degree (EE) and a whole 4 weeks of confusing and inapplicable training beyond what they give a vanilla comm officer. It also means I'm in a minority highly desired by deployed units. Heh.
Oddly enough, in the last year, as my political leanings have turned more and more strongly against the *censored* *censored* *censored* in charge these days, I have somehow come to like my work more and more. I think I will voluntarily stay in for a while. Just hit 4 years, got a nice raise, decided I might stick it out until something better jumps out. I hope I have the option when the time comes... but then, there is always a way out if you have the imagination
Call this an outrageous cop-out, but the main reason I started this thread was to see what information others were able to share. Normally I'd just quietly do my homework, but it's just not an option right now. I might have a chance to check out the book someday, but not this year. I'm lucky to have time to post at all. Thanks, though. All I can really manage for now is to follow any future discussion & maybe throw a few words in here and there.
Ah, you're air force That makes a difference - I'm not too familiar with them. Ironically, my only familiarity with the acronym AFSC is the "American Friends Service Committee", a quaker organization whose main focus is antiwar
It's good you're in a nice part of the country. And yeah, I can imagine a couple creative ways to get out if you so chose. Of course, it's kinda odd that you're counting down the time 'till you're back stateside, but planning to stay in the service. Anyways, here's to hoping that your region stays calm.
Judging by the attempt to rewrite Egyptian history you aren't missing anything. The evidence presented is either insignificant or misrepresented (sometimes both !). Contrary evidence is easy to find - even in a book that is actually quoted (or rather quote-mined) for "evidence" (Joyce Tyldesley's Hatchepsut).
And Marcos/Lysimachus if you want to dispute that please go to the correct thread. I'm ready and waiting.
I just wanted to thank you for providing the pictures and natative. As an aside, my Dad servedin the PGC and one of the comments I remember from him was that the only time he felt armed and threatened was not uring combat but rather shopping and sightseeing.
When I was in Ahwaz, Iran I ran, because Abadan if I knew why I was in Ahwaz.