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THE LECTERN
Wednesday, 13 January 2016
WATCHERS WATCHERS EVERYWHERE
Topic: Giants

Recently, I read a series of blog entries from the site Remnant of Giants containing analysis of another article on the mythology of the Watchers.  This article, "Turning to the Angels to save Jewish Mythology" is a summary of recent research by Dr. Jonathan Ben-Dov, senior lecturer in Bible at the University of Haifa.  The full article may be read by clicking here.  The general claim of the article and subject of subsequent blog entries is that the Jewish tradition of the Watchers drew on other mythologies of the ancient Near East.

On one level--for the sake of argument--this is possible.  The academic stance has long been at least a version of this thesis.  There is certainly a long-established body of evidence demonstrating the influences of cultures from Mesopotamia and Egypt on Hebrew culture.  However, most scholars contend that the idea of the Watcher angel (or at least the books that expound upon them) is a relatively late ideological construct (Second Temple Period), having been based on much older deities from the above-mentioned societies and their beliefs.

However, if we subscribe to a supernatural worldview--and moreso, a Biblical worldview--references and depictions of celestial beings such as the Watchers, giants, and indeed the flood, in ancient cultures are in actuality separate descriptions of the same events and personalities.  Yes there are definitely going to be similarities in these depictions, the authors and artists are working from the same source material.

What the apocryphal material, such as Enoch, Jubilees, Jasher, and the lke, represent is the record of memory much older than the Hebrew language as a written system.  Of course one will find similarities between Mesopotamian and Hebrew accounts.  Not only were they geographically proximate, but this situation allowed for diffusion.  These stories circulated.

Very interesting article with interesting points.


Posted by anthrojudd at 3:43 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 13 January 2016 3:44 AM EST

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