Why an article on the ancient city of Ebla in the Watchtower

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    Gill posted Thu, 09 Nov 2006 11:16:00 GMT(11/9/2006)

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    I was curious as to why the WTBTS would publish an article on the ancient city of EBLA.

    But, to begin a little research on the internet on EBLA could well be a surprise to any current JW as it could lead to all kinds of fascinating finds as to the origins of the name YHWH when a search is done, and even lead some to the discovery of the God EL, the original lead or head god of the Sumerians. The Jews had Baal as their God of fertility and also YHWH as their storm/desert/ mountain/ supreme God (depending on which article you are reading but not surprising considering how many thousands of years back we need to go for this).

    Then, there arises the information on the Cult of YHWH and even more fascinating information that the averge JW will never have come across. Only the most information seeking curious JW will come across the real origins of the God they worship and may well be in for a shock.

    The Watchtower tries to put a stop to this with a sub article:

    'Ebla and the Bible'

    'An article published in 1976 in the Biblical Archeologist magazine aroused the curiosity of Bible scholars. The decipherere of the Ebla tables raised the possibility that, among other things, the tables cited names of people and places mentioned centuries later in the Bible. Perhaps going beyond what the article actually said, soem began to write that Ebla had yielded archeological proof of the trutworthiness of the Genesis account. Jesuit Mitchell Dahood claimed tha the clay tablets from Ebla are illuminating the obscurities of the Bible.' He believed, for example, that they could shed light on the 'problem of the antiquity of the name of the God of Israel.'

    Now these texts are being examined with greater objectivity. Given the fact that both Hebrew and Eblaite are Semitic languages, it cannot be ruled out that some names of cities or indicviduals may be similar or identical to those in the Bible. Yet, this does not prove that they refer to the same locations or people. How far discoveries at Eble will influence biblical studies remains to be seen. As to the divine name, the writer of the Biblical Archeologist article has denied that he ever said that 'Yahweh' was mentioned in the Ebla texts. For some, the cuneiform sign interpreted as 'ja' indicates just one of the many deities in the Eblaite pantheon, while a number of other specialist explain it as no more than a grammatical sign. In either cae, it does not refer to the only true God, Jehovah.'

    The problem is, for the Watchtower, that should the real early origins of the name Jehovah, Jah, JHWH, Yahweh, be widely discovered, the whole WTBTS may well become a laughing stock as their 'Only True God Jehovah' may not be what they think, or portray him to have been and to be.

    Was it wise to publish this article in the Watchtower. Should any curious JW get hunting the internet, they may well stumble into a surprise as to the real origins of their only true god.

    Gill posted Thu, 09 Nov 2006 15:57:00 GMT(11/9/2006)

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    As a Witness in the past, would you have been shocked to discover the truth of the identity of you one and only True God and the origins of his name?

    Would it have made you think about what you had been taught by the WTBTS and realise how impossible it would be for it to be true?

    Would it have set your little grey cells of on over time?

    F candidlynuts posted Thu, 09 Nov 2006 16:02:00 GMT(11/9/2006)

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    what watchtower is the story in?

    i was shocked when i heard the origins of EL and Yahweh. still dont know what to think

    Gill posted Thu, 09 Nov 2006 16:06:00 GMT(11/9/2006)

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    Hi Candidlynuts!

    It's in the December 15, 2006 Watchtower.

    I thought it an unusual article when I first saw it. I wondered what it might be trying to cover up and so that got me looking on the net.

    Surprise, surprise!

    I wonder how many earnestly researching JWs will also find a surprise waiting for them?

    F candidlynuts posted Thu, 09 Nov 2006 16:09:00 GMT(11/9/2006)

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    thanks gill.. i'll try to find that article next time i'm around my jw family.

    i'm like you..i wonder why they'd write and publish it.. why in a watchtower and not awake.is it a study article?

    Gill posted Thu, 09 Nov 2006 16:13:00 GMT(11/9/2006)

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    Candidlynuts - No, it's not a study article. It just 'appears' in the Watchtower as one of those weird articles. But with these articles, the WTBTS always seems to be saying 'something else'. Something with the average 'dumb dub' doesn't understand is an issue anyway, and also I suspect, in an attempt to appear scholarly.

    'The Cult of Yahweh' whether it turns out to be an issue for the ancient city of Ebla, it sure is an issue in its own right.

    Where does the name Jehovah originate? That's something every JW SHOULD look into!

    Leolaia posted Thu, 09 Nov 2006 20:05:00 GMT(11/9/2006)

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    Interestingly, in the late '70s, the Society hyped the Ebla tablets themselves, as attesting the existence of Sodom and Gomorrah and names of certain patriarchs....now they seem to recognize, as scholarship has done for decades, that much of the initial hype was unwarrented.

    BTW, El was the chief god of the Canaanite pantheon (not the Sumerian), and Pettinato's initial readings of -ya as a theophoric element have been widely disputed.

    Gill posted Thu, 09 Nov 2006 20:10:00 GMT(11/9/2006)

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    Leolaia - Is it true that some believe that the ancient Israelites were in fact Canaanite in origin?

    It's interesting that the Watchtower would come back to this subject especially as it is so disputed as to what actually has been discovered at Ebla. But even just looking into the subject a little bit on the internet soon leads a person to the origin of the supposed name of God.

    In essense, they are opening a large can of worms here.

    M DannyHaszard posted Thu, 09 Nov 2006 22:13:00 GMT(11/9/2006)

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    JWs and Occultic Activity

    Jehovah is a Jinn

    M DannyHaszard posted Thu, 09 Nov 2006 22:21:00 GMT(11/9/2006)

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    Have you ever thought that the name Jehovah means I shall prove to be? Anyone who worships Jehovah needs God to prove Himself. Strongs Concord . tells us this name is made up. The Catholic Encyclopedia and Judiaism 101 (on line) both agree that a German copiest was putting YHWH in his mms and then Adonai underneath the letters. He asked the Pope if he could place the vowels within the consonants to make a name. The Pope said fine! Thus the invention of His new name. His self given name is found at Exodus 3:14, and is not Jehovah! (see the Hebrew translation). The Greatest trick the devil ever pulled,was to convince the world he didn't exist OR that his name is Jehovah.
    Jehovah is a Jinn

    Leolaia posted Thu, 09 Nov 2006 23:04:00 GMT(11/9/2006)

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    Yes, it is generally believed that the Iron Age kingdoms of Israel and Judah were directly descended from Bronze Age Canaanite populations. The OT stories of military conquest and the ethnic legend of the twelve tribes being descended from a single non-Canaanite ancestor are sociologically implausible political propaganda, and the countless references to Canaanite practices, beliefs, and legends in the OT (e.g. the necromancy of Saul, the raising of standing stones, the concepts of a divine warrior and divine assembly, the Rephaim, the hero Danel, etc.), sometimes criticized by the Deuteronomistic school (to the extent that they contrast with ideal Yahwism), also bear witness to the nation's Canaanite roots. The prophet Ezekiel with good reason criticized the Jews of Jerusalem for falling back to their ancestral (i.e. non-Yahwistic) ways: "By origin and birth you are of the land of Canaan; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite" (Ezekiel 16:3).

    M OnTheWayOut posted Thu, 09 Nov 2006 23:20:00 GMT(11/9/2006)

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    WTS wants to ensure continued information control for JW's. IF something big ever comes out of EBLA, there's no need to research beyond your established WTLibrary. "We covered Ebla before," they will say. Just read the 12/15/06 WT.

    The article does well to discredit (toward JW's) any scholarly information that comes from Ebla. The article says "Like elsewhere in the ancient East, Ebla had a pantheon of gods. Some of them were Baal, Hadad (a name apperaring as part of the names of certain Syrian kings), and Dagan. The Eblaites feared them all. They even honored the gods of other peoples."
    The box, EBLA AND THE BIBLE says "Jesuit Mitchell Dahood claimed that the 'clay tablets [from Ebla] are illuminating the obscurities of the Bible.' He believed, for example, that they could shed light on 'the problems of the antiquity of the name of the God of Israel.'"
    The article never names that god, so they are not going to be in opposition to anyone unless they feel the need later on.
    They are ready to counter any good finds there about any worship with these statements. Either the finds are from people who worshipped many gods, including foreign ones, or the place harmonizes with the Bible. WTS is ready, now.

    M Narkissos posted Thu, 09 Nov 2006 23:20:00 GMT(11/9/2006)

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    "some have said"?

    Watchtower 1976 9/1 p. 953:

    The tablets contain many contemporary Biblical names and locations, including "Urusalima" (Jerusalem), which are said to predate other references to Jerusalem by hundreds of years. Investigators are amazed at the tablet’s similarities to ancient Hebrew.

    Awake! 1977 1/8 p. 29:

    Translation work continues on thousands of clay tablets from the ancient kingdom of Ebla found in what is now northern Syria. A surprising number of Bible names never before found in non-Biblical writings have appeared. Recently, an Eblaite business document was translated that records goods sold to Sodom and Gomorrah. Reference also is made to Ur and Haran, locations associated with Abraham. Scholars caution that there is no proof that these are the same places mentioned in the Bible, but the fact that such names are used during the Biblical period is significant.

    Awake! 1977 7/22 p. 29:

    The 20,000 clay tablets from the archaeological site of ancient Ebla in northern Syria continue to produce information that lends support to Biblical history. Dr. David Noel Freedman of the Albright Institute for Archaeological Research in Jerusalem says that among the tablets, which are basically business documents, there is one that mentions the cities of Sodom, Gommorah, Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar, together with their kings. These cities are named in the same order in the Bible at Genesis 14:2. Freedman also asserts: "In the Ebla tablets—I happen to know—the name of the king of one of the five cities was given. These are not household names. These are so extraordinary, unique names that the correlation either means that we have the same person or somebody within a generation or two."

    Watchtower 1980 10/1 p. 8:

    As recently as 1976, Italian and Syrian archaeologists identified, in northern Syria, the ancient city-state of Ebla. Like Mari, Ebla is not mentioned in the Bible, but both names appear in ancient texts dating back to the patriarchal period. So what did the digger’s spade uncover on this new site? In the library of the royal palace, thousands of clay tablets were found, dating from the late third or early second millennium before the Common Era. Reporting on this discovery in its March 19, 1979, issue, the French newsweekly LePoint stated: "The proper names are amazingly similar [to those in the Scriptures]. In the Bible we find ‘Abraham;’ in the Ebla tablets, ‘Ab-ra-um;’ Esau—E-sa-um; Michael—Mi-ki-ilu; David—Da-u-dum; Ishmael—Ish-ma-ilum; Israel—Ish-ra-ilu. The archives of Ebla also contain the names of Sodom and Gomorrah, cities mentioned in the Bible, but whose historicity was long challenged by scholars. . . . What is more, the tablets list cities in exactly the same order in which they are mentioned in the Old Testament: Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Bela [Gen. 14:2]." According to Boyce Rensberger, writing in the New York Times, "some biblical scholars believe [the Ebla tablets] rival the Dead Sea Scrolls in authenticating and adding to knowledge of life in biblical . . . times."

    Awake! 1981 3/22 p. 30:

    Some 20,000 clay tablets were discovered a few years ago at the archaeological site of ancient Ebla in Syria. A number of Bible names never before found in non-Biblical writings reportedly appeared. Dr. G. Pettinato was formerly the chief translator of these tablets. Recently Dr. Pettinato was interviewed by the BiblicalArchaeologyReview and asked if he has changed his mind on his readings of the clay tablets since his successor has disagreed on relating some of the tablets to the Bible. "I haven’t retracted anything," Pettinato replied. Asked about the names of Sodom and Gomorrah, he said: "The names of Sodom and Gomorrah are already published in the catalog. You can check." He also mentioned the city of Zoar as being in the catalog.

    The professor was also asked if he has changed his mind about whether the God "Ya" appears in the tablets. He explained that "in the God list," they found the "God YA." And he added: "Also in an economic tablet from Mesopotamia . . . we have an offering to the God Ya. So . . . the existence of this God is sure, and I cannot understand why some of my colleagues don’t want to accept reality. Really I cannot understand it."—Sept./- Oct. 1980, pp. 46, 48, 51.

    In 1983 Awake! 7/8 the tune begins to change:

    Whether this library at Ebla will cast light on Bible events and places remains to be seen. However, the point is made that life was not so primitive over four thousand years ago as some would have us believe.
    Leolaia posted Thu, 09 Nov 2006 23:47:00 GMT(11/9/2006)

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    Thanks, Narkissos, those were the articles I was thinking of.

    Gill posted Fri, 10 Nov 2006 20:09:00 GMT(11/10/2006)

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    Thanks Leolaia, Narkissos and Onthewayout!

    That's a great scripture Leolaia!

    Isn't amazing that the Watchtower never does any 'work', research or archaeology on its own back.

    It always quotes whatever suits it at whatever time from some scholar who has worked very hard to discover the real truth about the past.

    They're like a big religious leech!

    M RevFrank posted Sat, 11 Nov 2006 15:25:00 GMT(11/11/2006)

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    fact 1.....a monk in the 14 century century came up with it.

    Gill posted Sat, 11 Nov 2006 15:29:00 GMT(11/11/2006)

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    RevFrank - Absolutely BUT it seems you can go back furthur into the mists of time and come up with the origins of what is to believed to be the supreme beings name!

    Will Power posted Sat, 11 Nov 2006 15:41:00 GMT(11/11/2006)

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    Here is Strong's concordance definition of word 1943 hovah as in Jah(God) hovah Result of search for "1943": 1943 hovah ho-vaw' another form for 1942; ruin:--mischief.

    Will Power posted Sat, 11 Nov 2006 15:44:00 GMT(11/11/2006)

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    p.s. that is the Hebrew translation which is the language of the OT.

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