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David Bokovoy

The Forgotten Goddess Of Eden Pt. Ii

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All human beingsâ??male and femaleâ??are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents

I would like to add onâ??and in fact revampâ??a few ideas expressed in a recent thread.

As was noted, following the formation of woman in Genesis 2, the biblical text provides an intriguing note:

â??Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one fleshâ? (Gen 2:24).

The story of Eden is a story in which man will â??leaveâ? God in the garden and instead â??cleaveâ? to his wife. God presents the man with a command to not partake of the tree of knowledge (Gen 2:16-17). Man, however, rejects Godâ??s counsel, and instead chooses to eat the fruit given to him by the woman (Gen 3: 7).

As a result, God forces man to leave the garden and cling only to his wife. From this point on, the biblical accountâ??unlike the Book of Mosesâ?? does not feature any hint whatsoever that the man will once again interact with his creator. The man has quite literally left his father behind and instead, immediately following the expulsion â??clingsâ? to his wife who then conceives and bares a son (Gen 4:1).

This reading suggests that rather than a mere editorial insertion that proves somewhat unrelated to the story itself, Genesis 2:24 serves as an integral summary that reveals the actual meaning of the biblical story: Since God created a â??fitting helperâ? for man who was quite literally bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh, the man left his father and mother behind only to know his wife in such a way that the two became once again â??one flesh.â?

This reading would explain the use of the divine plural: â??Now the man has become like one of us, knowingâ?¦â? (Gen. 3:22).

In my initial assessment, I believe I was wrong to suggest that we should adopt Michael Cooganâ??s explanation for the absence of the divine mother in the Eden account; see Michael D. Coogan, The Goddess Wisdom â??Where Can She Be Found?â??: Literary Reflexes of Popular Religion (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1999): 208.

In reality, I think the divine mother is there. I just missed her.

In biblical thought, the earth itself could provide a representation of the divine mother whom God impregnates with his â??rainâ? (Gen 2:5). The book of Job, for example, features an important textual allusion to mother earth to whom man will eventually return:

â??Naked came I out of my motherâ??s womb, and naked shall I return thereâ? (Job 1:21).

A similar view regarding earth as the mother of man appears in Psalm 139:15:

â??My frame was not concealed from you when I was shaped in a hidden place, knit together in the recesses of the earth.â?

Therefore, given these biblical references to earth as a mother in whose womb man was created, we should certainly take seriously the possibility that the biblical story features an allusion to the divine mother with whom God formed the man.

If interpreted as an allusion to a divine mother, the ground to which the man will eventually â??returnâ? by necessity requires first a â??leavingâ? on the part of the child (Gen 319).

Thus Godâ??s promise that man will â??return to the groundâ? from which he was â??takenâ? may in fact provide a strong correlation with the summation featured in Genesis 2:24: â??Therefore, a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and they become one flesh.â?

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In the prologue to Gilgamesh is tale often called "Gilgamesh and the Huluppu Tree". The tale includes both the goddess Inanna and Lillith in the garden shortly after creation. A goddess brings the huluppu tree to Inanna at the request of Anu and Enlil. This single tale of Sumerian mythology has multiple women in a garden narrative shortly after creation.

Inanna was probably the most important goddess of the Sumerian pantheon often called the queen of heaven. Is Innana's garden an allusion to the Garden of Eden? Is the tree an image of the Tree of Knowledge and Lillith the serpent in the tree?

Phaedrus

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Is Innana's garden an allusion to the Garden of Eden? Is the tree an image of the Tree of Knowledge and Lillith the serpent in the tree?

I suspect that the Epic of Gilgamesh has had a strong influence upon the biblical story of Eden. The epic contains a series of stories devoted to an exploration of kingship, mortality, and the meaning of human existence.

As Tzvi Abusch seems to correctly explain, through the course of the epic, â??Gilgamesh the god learns what Gilgamesh the man already knows: Gilgamesh must reconcile himself to and live with his basic humanity in order to be a man in this world and a god in the nextâ?; Tzvi Abusch, â??Ishtarâ??s Proposal and Gilgameshâ??s Refusal: An Interpretation of the Gilgamesh Epic, Tablet 6, Lines 1-79,â? History of Religions 26/2 (1986): 187.

If Abuschâ??s reading is correct, then the sexual encounter between Gilgamesh and Ishtar would reflect the heiros gamos or â??sacred marriageâ? from the Ur III period. Through sexual intercourse, Gilgamesh would, like the kings of Ur III, receive divinity, however, the consequence of deification would ultimately incur the exact opposite effect that it had for Shulgi and his successors.

In an important administrative text concerning royal affairs following Shulgiâ??s death, the Ur III monarch clearly had participated in a celestial ascent:

19 full-fledged female workers [and] 2 female workers with a two-thirds (daily) work capacity were released for 7 days on the day [divine] Shulgi ascended to heaven. [These, being the equivalent of ] 142 one-third female workers for 1 day, were expended from [the work unit] of Anana. Month of the Mekigal Festival [=eleventh month]. The year Kharshi and Kimash were destroyed [= Shulgiâ??s forty-eight year] (emphasis added).

Whereas Shulgi in Mesopotamian tradition ascended to heaven as a result of the heiros gamos, Gilgamesh would have experienced a different sort of journey. This reading seems to relate to the basic use of intercourse throughout the Epic of Gilgamesh as a basic rite of passage.

Throughout the Epic of Gilgamesh, sex serves as a rite of passage that transforms individuals to a new status. This thematic element appears with Gilgamesh and the young men/women of Uruk; Enkidu and Shamhat; and Gilgamesh and Ishtar.

In each of these episodes, the new role assumed through sexuality seemly necessitates the abandonment of previous spheres. Thus just as sex with Inanna allowed for the Ur III monarch to move from king to god, so sex with Ishtar would have allowed Gilgamesh to change from earthly monarch to underworld deity, etc.

Recognizing the sexual imagery associated with the tree of â??knowledge,â? it seems clear to me that much like the Epic of Gilgamesh, the story of Eden depicts sexuality as an act that leads towards a type of deification: â??Now that the man has become like one of us, knowingâ?¦â? (Gen. 3:22).

Interesting that in the Epic of Gilgamesh, it is Ishtar, the female goddess, who invites Gilgamesh to partake of her â??fruit.â? An act that will lead to both deification and death.

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No one need assume that the idea of God and goddess creating humanity was a foreign concept to the biblical authors. Victor Hurowitz has identified a parallel between the Hebrew expression naâ??aseh â??adam be-şalmeinu (â??let us make man in our imageâ?) and the Akkadian phrase nibnima şalam ţiţţi (â??let us create an image of clayâ?) spoken by the goddess Belet-ili to the Mesopotamian deity Ea. see Victor Hurowitz, â??Book Review of R. J. Clifford, Creation Accounts in the Ancient Near East and in the Bibleâ? in Jewish Quarterly Review 87 (1997): 414.

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In another segment from the myth, Ea and Belet-ili appear creating the king as a being separate from the general human population:

â??Ea begins to speak, he directed his word to Belet-ili, â??Belet-ili, Mistress of the great gods, are you. You have created the common people, now construct the king, distinctively superior persons. With goodness envelope his entire being. Form his features harmoniously; make his body beautiful!â?? Thus did Belet-ili construct the king, distinctively superior persons. The great gods gave the king the task of warfare. Anu gave him the crown; Enlil gave him the throne. Nergal gave him weapons; Ninurta gave him glistening splendor. Belet-ili gave him a beautiful appearance. Nusku gave him instruction and counsel and stands at his service; as cited in W.R. Mayer, â??Ein Mythos von der Erschaffung des Menschen und des Konigs,â? Orientalia 56 (1987): 55-68.

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I suspect that the Epic of Gilgamesh has had a strong influence upon the biblical story of Eden.

I agree. At the very least I see influence on both creation mythology and the flood.

Recognizing the sexual imagery associated with the tree of â??knowledge,â? it seems clear to me that much like the Epic of Gilgamesh, the story of Eden depicts sexuality as an act that leads towards a type of deification: â??Now that the man has become like one of us, knowingâ?¦â? (Gen. 3:22).

Interesting that in the Epic of Gilgamesh, it is Ishtar, the female goddess, who invites Gilgamesh to partake of her â??fruit.â? An act that will lead to both deification and death.

So rather than an apple in a tree it's a pear/pair on the ground?

Phaedrus

/BTW. After reading your posts here I've come to the conclusion that you really suck!

// Ok you don't really suck but I'm openly jealous of your opportunities for academic pursuit.

/// I've been waiting 6 years + to use that stupid fruit pun.

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OHMIHECK David, yer becomin a Kabbalist!GRIN!

Best,

Kerry

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Very interesting stuff, David. I don't always agree with your posts, but they are always food for thought. You certainly operate at a higher level than most of us dunces here on this forum.

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Hello Kerry,

I hope all is well!

I knew you would like this verse: "And they have brought forth children; yea, even the family of all the earth" (2 Nephi 2:20).

OHMIHECK David, yer becomin a Kabbalist!GRIN!

I know, these observations must come across as quite Kabalistic (especially for one as well-verse in the subject as Lord Kerry). I can assure you, however, that I know very little about Jewish mysticism.

My PhD is in Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East, which means that I try to read the Bible in reverse. I really donâ??t know much at all about Midrashic, Rabbinic, Kabalistic, and/or Targumic interpretations. These later traditions are certainly of value, theyâ??re just not what I do.

My reading has been influenced by the role of Earth as Mother goddess in Near Eastern traditions that surrounded the biblical authors. The following example from the Song of Kumarbiâ??part of the most important group of myths preserved in Hittiteâ??seems especially relevant:

â??â??Ea, [lord of the source of] wisdom, knows what to do.â?? He (Ea?) counts (the months): The first, the second passed. [The seventh], the eighth, the ninth month passed. And the tenth month [arrived]. In the tenth month the Earth Goddess [began to] cry out in labor pains. When the Earth cried out in labor pains, [â?¦] she bore sonsâ? The Song of Kumarbi

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Lemme get this straight. Gilgamesh/Adam enjoys the fruit of the goddess/tree. Mary/the G-ddess is the tree per Herrn Professor Doktor Peterson. Eve/the goddess is the tree as well . . . maybe. Or maybe Eve is the fruit of the goddess/tree. The king/the Master/mankind/maybe Eve is the fruit of the goddess/tree/Mary/Eve.

But death enters the world along with life.

Am I getting warm?

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Wow, am I ever getting swamped on this discussion... :P

So since Eve partook of the fruit first, the fruit offered by the serpent... (really bad imagery here)

and then Eve offered the fruit to Adam... :unsure::ph34r:

So then it's no wonder Cain (her first recorded born) is so bad, the father was the serpent????!! :angry::blink:

Totally messed up (Me that is) <_<

-SlackTime

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Just to clarify.

I believe that the story depicts a literal fruit and a literal tree. I believe that the story assumes that when the man and the woman ate from the fruit that they became like the gods, gaining a sexual knowledge. Hence, the fruit gave the man and woman the ability to "know" (Gen 4:1).

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Just to clarify.

I believe that the story depicts a literal fruit and a literal tree. I believe that the story assumes that when the man and the woman ate from the fruit that they became like the gods, gaining a sexual knowledge. Hence, the fruit gave the man and woman the ability to "know" (Gen 4:1).

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, THANK YOU!!! :P<_<:unsure:

I was beginning to get very confused, and a bit alarmed...

<Groucho Marx> And when this guy gets confused, he really goes off the deep end </Groucho Marx>

-SlackTime

(Now I really need a Groucho Marx emoticon)

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Therefore, given these biblical references to earth as a mother in whose womb man was created, we should certainly take seriously the possibility that the biblical story features an allusion to the divine mother with whom God formed the man.

Then wouldn't Adam being made from the dust of the earth mean he was made in the womb of the earth mother?

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Then wouldn't Adam being made from the dust of the earth mean he was made in the womb of the earth mother?

Or possibly a Heavenly Mother. Who knows

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Or possibly a Heavenly Mother. Who knows

It means the same thing.

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(Now I really need a Groucho Marx emoticon)

groucho-marx.gif

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Then wouldn't Adam being made from the dust of the earth mean he was made in the womb of the earth mother?

It would certainly seem so. The link between earth and womb clearly provides the motivation for the allusion to the mother goddess in Job 1:21 and Psalm 139:15. If , however, I am correct that the earth provides an allusion to the mother goddess in Genesis 2-3, then she also plays an important role in the production of animal life: "And the Lord God formed out of the earth all the wild beasts and all the birds of the sky" (Gen. 2:19).

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What about plants? Wouldn't they be considered to have come from "earth"? Doesnt' that bring us full circle back to the Tree of Life?

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