3,000 year old drawing of god found in Sinai could undermine our entire idea of Judaism

Is that a 3,000-year-old picture of god, his penis and his wife depicted by early Jews at Kuntillet Ajrud?

    

More than four decades after its excavation wound down, a small hill in the Sinai Desert continues to bedevil archaeologists. The extraordinary discoveries made at Kuntillet Ajrud, an otherwise nondescript slope in the northern Sinai, seem to undermine one of the foundations of Judaism as we know it.

Then, it seems, “the Lord our God” wasn’t “one God.” He may have even had a wife, going by the completely unique “portrait” of the Jewish deity that archaeologists found at the site, which may well be the only existing depiction of YHWH.

Kuntillet Ajrud got its name, meaning “the isolated hill of the water sources,” from wells at the foot of the hill. It is a remote spot in the heart of the desert, far from any town or or trade route. But for a short time around 3,000 years ago, it served as a small way station.

Dozens of drawings and inscriptions, resembling nothing whatever found anywhere else in our region, survived from that period, which seems to have lasted no longer than two or three decades. Egypt gained the artifacts with the peace treaty with Israel 25 years ago, but the release of the report on the excavation six years ago and a book about the site two years ago have kept the argument over the exceptional findings from the hill in Sinai alive.

Kuntillet Ajrud

    

The hill lies 50 kilometers south of Kadesh Barnea and 15 kilometers west of the ancient Darb el-Ghazza route, which led from Gaza to the Read Sea’s Gulf of Eilat. Its unique qualities were first noticed in 1870 by the British explorer Edward Palmer who discovered a fragment of a clay jar, a pithos, marked with the Hebrew letter aleph.

Kuntillet Ajrud.

    

Later, in 1902, a Czech orientalist and explorer, Alois Musil but was attacked by local Bedouins who claimed that he was defiling a holy site. Exploration would only resume in 1975, by the Tel Aviv University archaeologist Ze’ev Meshel, as a collaboration between the university and the Israel Exploration Society.

The excavation showed that Kuntillat Ajrud was what’s called a “single-layer site,” meaning, it had been occupied for just one period, which the excavators dated to the late ninth century or early eighth century B.C.E.

Meshel estimated that it had been occupied very briefly, 25 years at most. Structure-wise, the excavators only found two fairly simple, unimpressive structures. The wonder lay in the drawings and inscriptions.

Ancient Hebrew writing on the rim of a bowl found at Kuntillet Ajrud, dating to about 3,000 years ago

    

Clay from Jerusalem

At first the archaeologists thought that the place was a military fortress. Other fortresses from the First Temple period had been found in the Negev. But no evidence that there had been a military presence was found, and in the third excavation season, Meshel decided that the structures weren’t that sort.

Nor would Kuntillet Ajrud have been suitable as an inn for travelers: it was too small and was off the beaten track. Nor did it seem to match any of the criteria of a trade station.

Ancient Hebrew writing found at Kuntillet Ajrud

    

The first hint at the true character of Kuntillet Ajrud was the discovery of pottery fragments inscribed with ancient Hebrew letters: quf, quf resh, aleph and yud.

Analysis of the clay from which the pithos (pottery jars) was intriguing. The pots were made of hawar motza, clay only found by Jerusalem. In other words, the jars had been made in area of Jerusalem, which was certainly far away.

Among the inscriptions were a blessing and religious texts. That and the origin of the clay suggested to Meshel that the residents were priests and Levites, who were supported by tithes collected in the Temple in Jerusalem.

Animal images found at Kuntillet Ajrud

    

In line with the spirit of this interpretation, he also interpreted the letters on the dishes: quf as standing for kodesh (holy), quf-resh as the first two letters in the word korban (sacrifice), and aleph for a korban asham (guilt offering).

The letter yud, Meshel suggests, may represent a vessel that had been used to continued tithes, though he himself casts doubt on that theory: “In First Temple times, they used Egyptian numbers,” he points out.

Another inscription found there argues that the hill had been peopled by a literate elite and even hints at the presence of a school. One vessel contains the Hebrew alphabet twice – one in the crisp, competent handwriting of a well-trained scribe and another in what researchers suspect was the hesitant handwriting of a student.

If all this is true, what was a small group of priests and Levites doing in the middle of the desert?

When King Yoash conquered Judah

Depiction of god and his wife? Found at Kuntillet Ajrud

    

Meshel thinks the people dwelling at the site were providing an essential service: writing blessings. But from who, for who? The story gets even more complicated when one examines the site through the lens of geopolitics.

At the time the hill was occupied, the kingdom of Israel existed in the north, ruled from Samaria. The kingdom of Judah existed in the south and had its capital in Jerusalem.

However, the names and inscriptions found at Kuntillat Ajrud seem to be Israelite, not Judahite. It seems to have been an Israelite site – far, far to the south of Israel and even south of the Judah border.

Reconstruction of what may be the image of King Yoash, possibly the only known contemporary portrait of a Judahite king. Found at Kuntillet Ajrud v

    

Why would one kingdom maintain a religious site at the far end of another kingdom?

Meshel thinks the Israelite presence in or beyond the Judean kingdom, and the fact that Jerusalem (the capital of Judah) provisioned this way station of the rival kingdom, indicates that at the time the kingdom of Israel was, or was turning into, a regional power.

Judah was a vassal state subject to the more powerful northern kingdom, he thinks.

As for why Judahite Jerusalem would provision this Israelite-manned hilltop in the middle of nowhere, Meshel suspects it all comes down to Kuntillat Ajrud having been founded by none other than King Yoash of Israel.

“The bible says that war broke out between Amatzia, king of Judah, and Yoash, king of Israel,” he says. Thus the Israelite king Yoash gained control of Judah.

Kuntillet Ajrud

    

It would have been convenient for Yoash to provision Kuntillat Ajrud from the Temple in Judah. Why would he have sent up north to bring supplies for it from Israel, Meshel asks rhetorically.

If indeed Meshel is right and King Yoash founded the site, he may be the figure drawn on plaster at the entrance of the building.

The drawing, possibly of the king, was restored by Prof. Pirhiya Bar based on similar drawings from the ancient east, in which the royal figure holds a lotus flower. It is a reasonable possibility that the figure depicted at Kuntillet Ajrud was a ruler or king, and if so, then it is the only contemporary visual description we have of a king from biblical times.

“I told myself look at the luck I had, finding the only drawing of a king from the First Temple period,” says Meshel.

A picture of God, and is that his tail

Kuntillet Ajrud also brought images of animals, humans and what seems to be gods.

Kuntillet Ajrud jug

    

The one causing the controversy shows a man and a women, drawn naively, with crowned heads and holding hands. The man has either a tail or a large penis, and above him the blessing “Yahweh and his Asherah” is written.

Could the couple on the pithos be a rendering of God and his wife Asherah, the only one ever found?

Dr. Yigal Bin Nun, a researcher and author of “A Brief History of YHWH.” has no doubt. “If you want to step away from reality then you can say this or that, but if you look at it as it is you can’t ignore the truth,” he says.

Among the detractors are Prof. Tallay Ornan, who has studied the images at the site, and Prof. Shmuel Ahituv, an acclaimed ancient inscriptions researcher. Both contributed to a book on the topic together with Meshel and Esther Eshel, published last year.

They think these figures show the minor Egyptian deity Bes, not YHWH, the Jewish god.

“Bes is a dwarf who was the deity of witches,” Ahituv says, adding that in his view, the picture shown wouldn’t befit a major divinity.

Defending the picture as that of YHWH, Ben Nun an Israelite religious site on the border of Judah, under the political auspices of Assyria, would be unlikely to hail Bes, or any Egyptian god or symbol. Egypt was considered hostile. “The Bes explanation is completely illogical,” Ben Nun says.

Furthermore, it’s hard to make sense of the writing “YHWH and his Asherah” without suspecting that this god, at least according to the people on this hill, was married.

God of the south and god of the north

Other phrases found at the site also challenge the known pantheon of Israelite faith. “Yahweh of Teman and his Asherah” and “Yahweh of Samaria and his Asherah,” for example, were also found inscribed at the site.

These are doubly outrageous. If God is one, then how can there be god for the north (Shomron) and for the south (Yemen, still called Teman in Hebrew)?

To make matters worse, does the word “Asherah,” formulated as “his Asherah”, hint that the gods of Israel had a wife? If so, where has she gone?

For Meshel, the site’s main researcher, the issue remains unresolved.

He and Ben Nun suspect the site brings insight to the beliefs of the people living here 3,000 years ago. They did not worship a single al-powerful deity: they were devoted to a pantheon of gods.

It has also long been known that households with Jewish hallmarks, certainly in the First Temple era and later too, also had images of other gods, a.k.a, figurines.

If anything the discoveries at Kuntillet Ajrud indicate that in the late ninth century B.C.E. or the early eighth, the idea of a single deity had not yet consolidated, suggests Meshel. “In this religious reality YHWH is local, for the city, the village, for Shomron and for Teman (Yemen).”

Ashera the tree?

The sheer fact that Kuntillet Ajrud was so far-flung is what enabled it to survive, Meshel further claims – albeit not for long.

Come the seventh century B.C.E., Josiah King of Judah spearheaded a profound religious reformation, that included centralizing ritual sacrifice in Jerusalem and destroying competing sites.

By that time, Kuntillet Ajrud was long since abandoned. Meshel suspects the kingdom simply forgot about it.

Ahituv rejects this whole analysis and thinks that Ashera referred to a tree. Or maybe a thing or place. But not an independent female divinity.

“If you look at the Bible you can see that there is no sacrifice for Ashera – but rather the ashera is chopped down ahead of war,” he says. “It may be a tree but it was not an independent being.”

Regarding the varying names of Jehovah, Ahituv says these are different manifestations of the same god, “its like there are different manifestations of the Holy Mary in different places and everyone knows it’s the same Mary.”

Meshel does not agree: “If you read the phrase as is, clearly the meaning is that she is his partner.”

“The Bible reads: Ashera pesel (Ashera statue) – the statue had to represent someone. We can’t just say it was a log,” Ben Nun bolsters the point. Some also believe the early Jews worshipped trees.

This argument is bound to continue even though access to the actual findings is impossible. As part of the deal with Egypt, all archaeological findings were returned to Cairo in 1993. They have not been shown to the public since then. Meshel fears Kuntillet Ajrud will be forgotten again.

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/382252-3000-year-old-drawing-of-god-found-in-Sinai-could-undermine-our-entire-idea-of-Judaism

Satire: FBI Warns Republican Memo Could Undermine Faith In Massive, Unaccountable Government Secret Agencies






Satire: FBI Warns Republican Memo Could Undermine Faith In Massive, Unaccountable Government Secret Agencies


February 6th, 2018

Via: The Onion:

“If we take away the people’s faith in this shadowy monolith exempt from any consequences, all that’s left is an extensive network of rogue, unelected intelligence officers carrying out extrajudicial missions for a variety of subjective, and occasionally personal, reasons.� At press time, Wray confirmed the massive, unaccountable government secret agencies were unaware of any wrongdoing for violating constitutional rights.

Research Credit: Eileen















<!–

–>











<!– AD CAN GO HERE

Buy gold online - quickly, safely and at low prices

END: AD CAN GO HERE –>

Leave a Reply


You must be logged in to post a comment.







Source Article from http://www.cryptogon.com/?p=52303

Leaked Email: Here’s Lisa Bloom Teasing Stories That Undermine Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers

Last Thursday, after the New York Times reported on decades of sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, attorney Lisa Bloom emailed the Weinstein Company’s board of directors about her client. “This is the worst day,” she wrote in an email provided to HuffPost by a recipient.

Bloom, who criticized the “largely false and defamatory” story, is known for defending women against a number of high-profile alleged harassers, including Bill O’Reilly and Bill Cosby. Bloom was an adviser on Weinstein’s legal team when she sent the email, but resigned Saturday as sexual harassment allegations escalated.

She wrote:

“This is the worst day.

This is the day the New York Times came out with a largely false and defamatory piece, in a major violation of journalistic ethics, giving only two days to respond to dozens of allegations, and then refusing to include information about eyewitnesses and documents negating many of the claims.

Tomorrow there will be more and different reporting, highlighting inaccuracies, including photos of several of the accusers in very friendly poses with Harvey after his alleged misconduct.

On Monday Harvey’s defamation lawsuit will be filed where the New York Times will be forced to answer: what was the rush? Why was information favorable to Harvey not included? Why weren’t accusers’ inconsistencies not included? And much more.

In the coming days this thing will shake down in one direction or another.

This is not the time to make a decision about Harvey. It is the time for Harvey to take a break, get some help, and lay low. The board should make major decisions after full information, not based on one very flawed hit piece.” 

Lisa Bloom is shown during a press conference in California last November. (Frederick M. Brown via Getty Images)Lisa Bloom is shown during a press conference in California last November. (Frederick M. Brown via Getty Images)

But on Friday, the day after Bloom told the board that “different reporting” featuring “photos of several of the accusers in very friendly poses with Harvey” would be forthcoming, Bloom told HuffPost that her presence on Weinstein’s legal team could be good for his accusers.

If she weren’t working for Weinstein, she said, it’s possible his legal team might attack his accusers, undermine “their credibility and release negative stories about them to the press.” This would “scare other women from coming forward, which has always been the way it’s been done before,” she said. “Would they be doing that? I don’t know, but that is the way attorneys handle these things and that’s not the way this is being handled.”

Despite the email to the board, HuffPost is not aware of any such stories being published.

In an email on Monday, Bloom told HuffPost, “There was absolutely no plan to go after accusers. What I meant [in the email] was that there is going to be a lot more coming because every media outlet in the world was reaching out to us with information and yes, photos.”

She continued:

“It was a whirlwind. I felt strongly that it was not the time to make a decision. It was time for Harvey to take a break, get help. The company should do an independent investigation and then make a decision. Which is what I have advocated in every case, whichever side I’ve been on. Fairness.

I did know that there were photos that some news organizations were considering running (or perhaps had already run), along with much more material. I did not release any photos to anyone and I didn’t plan any kind of strategy of releasing photos.

It’s astonishing to me that advocating for an investigation to get to the bottom of everything would be controversial.

I said publicly we weren’t going after accusers. Harvey said that too. When asked in interviews, I said only that they deserved respect. If I had this nefarious plan, it would have been easy to execute ― just hit send. Please. This is an insult to me and my life’s work for 31 years.”

The Times reported on Saturday that Lance Maerov, a board member of Weinstein’s company, wrote in an email that “publishing pictures of victims in friendly poses with Harvey will backfire as it suggests they are exculpatory or negate any harm done to them through alleged actions.”

Bloom told HuffPost over the phone on Sunday, “I can’t be entirely sure why certain board members are choosing to publicly attack me. One theory is that everybody is going through a very stressful time and they have decided to choose me as their punching bag. Another theory would be that I have encouraged Harvey to apologize for [his actions] and they would have prefered I would not [have.]”

Bloom sent a second email to the board, which was obtained by HuffPost.

She wrote:

“Thank you and hello.

Agree: Harvey needs help and he has committed to getting it. He has apologized profusely and sincerely. He has asked to be judged by his actions going forward. He has hired me to smack him around, which I have been doing.

I have a great deal of experience in this field of both sexual harassment and crisis management and welcome the opportunity to give input in a calm, dispassionate manner. You are free to accept or reject my advice.

I do know what while Harvey clearly has a pattern of bad behavior, the New York Times refused to take into account eyewitness statements that disproved some of the more serious allegations, significant inconsistencies in some of the accusers’ stories, and documents that bear upon some of the stories. He was given only two days to respond to dozens of allegations spanning 30 years. I am sure his own company wants to approach this in a manner that is more fair. Bring in an outside investigator. Find out what really happened. Then decide appropriate consequences. And give this time to see whether he truly can get his anger under control.

There are no allegations in the last two years, and certainly none in the last year since I have been working with him.

I am available today in NYC if anyone wants to talk.”

After the initial New York Times article was published on Thursday, three of the Weinstein Company’s nine board members resigned.

The television journalist Lauren Sivan told HuffPost on Friday that in 2007, Weinstein trapped her in a restaurant hallway and masturbated in front of her into a potted plant.

On Sunday night, Weinstein was fired from the company he co-founded. In a statement, four of the remaining board members said they had made the decision “In light of new information about misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that has emerged in the past few days.”

Related:

For more news videos visit Yahoo View, available on iOS and Android.

 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/leaked-email-lisa-bloom-teasing-043214301.html

US seeks excuses to undermine Iran nuclear deal – Tehran

“Iran has no undisclosed nuclear activity in any geographical location in the country,” AFP cited the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkani, as saying Friday.

He added the republic “has merely acted within the framework of agreements and specific guidelines under the JCPOA (nuclear deal) and shall not accept any obligation beyond that.”

In late August, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is monitoring Iran’s nuclear commitments, to seek access to the nation’s military facilities to inspect whether it conceals any activities banned by the 2015 agreement. However, the watchdog’s director-general confirmed Iran’s compliance with the pact.

“Access to Iranian military sites is unnecessary,” Shamkani said, according to IRNA news agency.

The secretary went on to accuse the administration of US President Donald Trump of “unconstructive and excuse-seeking behavior… which is an active attempt to damage this international agreement.” He added that US officials “offer baseless assumption against the peaceful nuclear program of Iran,” Mehr News Agency reported.

On Thursday, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is “not (re)negotiable,” saying that “a ‘better’ deal is pure fantasy.”

“About time for US to stop spinning and begin complying, just like Iran,” the minister wrote.

In addition, Shamkani said that researchers in the military centers have been working on conventional weapons, particularly missiles, as part of Iran’s inactive defense policy, hidden from foreigners, according to Mehr News Agency.

READ MORE: Iran ‘needs just 5 days’ to return to uranium enrichment if US backs out of nuclear deal

Despite media reports suggesting the Iranian foreign minister is set to meet American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session next week, his spokesman, Bahram Qassemi, said there was no such plan.

The remarks made by the Iranian officials followed Trump blaming Iran for not fulfilling the deal’s “spirit.”

“They have violated so many different elements, but they’ve also violated the spirit of that deal. And you will see what we’ll be doing in October. It will be very evident,” the New York Times quoted the US president as saying aboard Air Force One.

Trump’s choice of words was nothing new. In April he said that “[the Iranians] are not living up to the spirit of the agreement.”

Struck by the previous administration under Barack Obama, the landmark deal has consistently come under fire from Trump, who labeled it “the worst deal ever.”

With the deadline for Trump to decide whether the deal is to be preserved looming in October, relief from some of the sanctions on Iran as part of the agreement was extended on Thursday.

In the meantime, Iranian Ambassador to the UN Gholamali Khoshroo urged Washington “to give up using sanctions as a tool in its foreign policy and instead deal with the world,” in an interview with IRNA.

On Thursday, the US Treasury Department imposed financial penalties against 11 individuals and companies accused of aiding Iran’s nuclear activities.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/news/403450-us-excuse-seeking-iran-deal/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Cryptocurrencies will undermine US hegemony – Telegram founder

“For the first time in 70 years, the global financial system has an opportunity to get rid of the US hegemony, which has imposed its national currency upon the whole world as a reserve currency,” Durov posted on his VK page.

“Since then the US had been collecting tribute from all the countries, paying its debts with incessantly printed dollars and using them to buy assets worldwide,” he added.

The post is in response to the Russian Finance Ministry plans to limit public access to bitcoin trading.

Earlier this week, the ministry said bitcoin looked like a pyramid scheme and could be a “very dangerous investment” for ordinary people, who are not professional traders.

Pavel Durov says cryptocurrencies and easy access to them will help balance the global financial system.

He added that Russia should join Japan and other Asian countries in recognizing digital currencies which are replacing the US dollar.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/business/401299-durov-russia-us-bitcoin-hegemony/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS