Not surprisingly, in the 'New Anthropology' edited by G. Gadamer and P. Vogler (1973,
in 6 volumes: 1, 2, biol., 3-6, Social, Cultural-, Psycholog.-, Philosophical A.)
an anthropology of religion is missing! In the volume 'Philosophical Anthropology'
only few contributions deal with the idea of man within different religions (Islam, India,
Both modern theology as well as the history of religions project evolved concepts
of space into the old texts and thus distort them considerably!
The primary cyclical and settlement-genetic concept of time is transformed into the
lineary interpretation of time.
A large part is related to animal cults. With their strong links to place and local
tradition they can be traced back to predynastic hunter-and collector cultures, likewise
to shepherds and cattle-breeders. In our context particularly of interest are the
many objective signs in the sacred domain. Several systems of deities (Atum, Ptah)
are closely associated with so-called 'world creation myths' (settlement foundation
legends) originally related to 'primordial heaps or hills', like in the case of Ptah
and Sokar with their "raised places". The God commanded "at the top of the raised place".
Of similar kind were the obelisk-like Benbenstone of Heliopolis, the pillar "Iunu",
which shared its name with the city Heliopolis, and, further, the Djed pillar of
Busiris, which likewise gave its name to its city, and ultimately the old sign of the 8th
(Thinitical) province of Upper Egypt, which had the name 'the large (oldest) country'.
"These signs once were independent deities, representing important local or provincial gods." "Similarly like in the case of the 'primordial hill', the idea of the beginning
of the world was related to the Benbenstone in Heliopolis and to the province named
'the large country' in Abydos. Such places were also called 'a holy place of the
first time'. The 'ceremony of the setting up' is described for the Inunupilllar, for
the Djedpillar, and also for obelisks, the latter being descendants of the Heliopolitan
Benbenstone. The Djedpillar was considered to be the essence of the lasting power
of the king. It was put up at royal cult festivals. The word Djed means 'being of long
duration'. Gods too were characterised by such signs. Ptah of Memphis holds the Djedpillar
as sceptre in his hand.
In the framework of the anthropology of space this is necessarily a late development.
It is closely related to the horizontal expansion of settlement clusters in the formation
phase of early empires. The increasing horizontal extensions imply also the vertical extension of conscious space perception and organisation. Echnaton would not
have been possible during the Old Kingdom.
Unfortunately the high importance of the concept of 'analogy' for pre-analytical thought
is greatly neglected. The perception of the environment and its objects in polar
harmonies allows to identify forms which are absolutely separated by analytical thought. Kees presents two examples of pyramidal texts (:142) of which particularly the
latter with its 'heavenly' reed bundles is an illustration how such texts become
very clear if read as constitutionally intended identifications of polar analogies.
If anthropology is taken methodologically in the sense of Wernhardt's structural history,
research of the Old Testament becomes a very interesting field for studies. It is
not only one of the most intensively researched and documented domains of the humanities, it is also interesting in regard to its pluricultural aspects. Ancient Near
Eastern tribal societies, migrating herds men, cattle-breeders and sedentary agrarian
populations are superseded intensively by a new type of political and economical
structure: early empires. So called 'primitive' religion is found historically side by
side with early steps towards 'higher religion', in addition paired with archaeological
documents (temple; early city developments). The scientifically problematic points
are the retroprojections of evolved concepts on the ancient texts, partly also their
intentional misinterpretation. To a great extent this is due to the fact that this
type of knowledge supports political power. It is evidently not defended with the
scientific ideal of truth. Its truth is: what endangers power is apriori untrue. The tenacity
of this principle within the humanities is surprising.
Moses as 'founder of a religion' is a very questionable survival of mediaeval scholastic
theology. It reconstructed the meaning of the Old Testament strictly historically
in the most narrow sense without clear references to Near Eastern and Egyptian cultural backgrounds. There was no archaeology then, no idea yet of prehistory. The Old
Testament was the oldest text known. Jerusalem was erroneously taken for the first
city of the world, Hebrew language for the first language, Hebrew script for the
first script. Consequently it was only natural that creation was interpreted as the absolute
'real' in the sense of Neoplatonism. Similarly the fact that God speaks as a subject
in these texts is fully coherent, the contents were the 'real' words of God. Thousand
years later, we know of course that Jerusalem had not been the first town, that the
first script was not the Hebrew script etc.. The world has become much older than
just 2-3000 years. The history of creation has branched itself into at least 8 different
'histories', which all report today with scientific methods about the 'creation' of
From the point of view of territorial aspects the temples represented a primary form
of territorial demarcation. Boundaries were not set up peripherally yet, but in the
nucleus of a settlement area. Its cyclic renewal in its pre-monumental non durable
stage survived into the cyclic structure of later cult festivals.
See Schaedel:Lists of the large Papyrus Harris
The 'double layer picture' is a very fruitful instrument, particularly in regard to
the Old Testament and its Egyptian background. Not only on the politico-social level
(nomadic tribal organisation, agrarian settlement clusters, centralised imperial
state) also on the level of material culture (nomadic tent, royal palace) and also in the
cultic domain (sacrifices of cattle breeders; cult festival having cult huts in
its centre ['sukkoth'], etc. and pharaonic imperial cults! ) There are numerous references
to two very different cultural levels, which mutually interact. The texts are also
very informative particularly, because Moses is an interactive figure. He is capable
to act socially and politically in both layers. The exodus too is composed in two
layers. The first part - characteristically up to the Sinai region - shows primitive traits
(day-night, with clouds-and fire column). At the beginning of the second part the
matter turns into patterns of an 'advanced civilisation: the 'Decalogue' (stone tablets
with legislation), the 'tent related to the foundation', the 'holy slab', document
of the holy association, the throne, the bread table and the candlesticks, the luxurious
cult dishes, all corresponding to very advanced civilisational industries (gold,
silver, jewels, precious wood, purple etc.). There are established priests, wearing luxurious
clothes. Highly differentiated arts and crafts are now mentioned. A special 'God-tax'
(half silverpiece for poor and rich peoples) is introduced. This is a real transitional threshold. The Hebrew herdsmen-nomads transform their culture into an advanced
centralised civilisation. The process is characteristically followed by an extensive
theocratical legislation, which again shows strong intermingling of both cultural
If one studies such bilevelled cultural conditions with modern methods of cultural
anthropology, that is to say ethno-(pre-) historically, then the relevant processes
reveal themselves quite clearly. They are essentially constitutional.
God's first revelation and his first order to Moses to found a new state appear in
close relation with the 'primitive' shepherd sanctuary of Jethro. This is plausible
in two regards. First in view of what we called the Egyptian 'synthesis' or 'lineages'
of gods (this was standard in those times) and second in view of countless archaeological
sources, both Egyptian, and in the culturo-geographically wider Near Eastern area.
The primary forms of Egyptian temples were simple reedhuts! They were transformed
into stone, but have preserved their structural traits of reed construction. As such
they often form the inner sanctum in monumentally developed temples. Consequently
we have also to consider the primordial 'heaps' or 'hills' mentioned in the lineages
of gods as artificially constructed primitive cult constructions of the fetish-type. The
deity Ishtar, which played an important role among the early Sumerian city states
already and which appears widespread later in the whole Near East was materially
represented by a bundle of reeds and as such appears also in the earliest Sumerian script. (Andrae
Some of the Old Testament's 'miracles' can also be described as traditional customs
related to territorial law. The texts do not describe processes on the natural level,
they relate to legal signs - including artificial ones - to combine them into rights,
statutes, decrees, claims, legitimations, seizures, etc.. In this sense modern myth
research is highly prejudiced. It translates early forms of law into religiously
Jahwe is controversial in regard to its derivation and meaning, is essentially part
of theophorical proper names. Elohim, in contrast, shows characteristics, which point
to deeper temporal roots. Evidently it disposes of a pre-mosaic diffusion. It is
also found in Ugaritian language, and shows a much wider meaning, being used also for non
Hebraic Gods like Kemos, Ishtar, Baal-Zebub etc.. Further the word is generally used
in the plural form and then implies both a multitude of Gods or is equivalent to
the singular. Monotheistically directed attempts to explain the plural use as 'pluralis
majestatis' are not convincing. The most important indicator for our two-layered
hypothesis is the following. Jethro, the shepherd and father in law of Moses uses
' Elohim' if he speaks of God. And finally, the sanctuary with the 'eternally burning thorn
bush' is in the direct environment of Jethro's home, it is sited on the territory
claimed by Jethro and is semantically the sign of this claim ('eternally burning'
means 'cyclic renewal').
The reasons for this assumption were given above already.
Ancient Babylonian creation myth:
The holy house, the Gods' house,
Was not created at sacred place,
Reed did not sprout, tree did not grow.
Bricks were not put, substructure not built,
House not made, settlement not constructed.
Settling not made, living together not made possible.
Nippur not created yet, Ekur not built
Uruk not created, Eanna not built,
Eridu not created yet, Eridu not built,
The place of the holy house, of the Gods' house not created.
The countries altogether were sea.
The floor of the island was flowing water;
Marduk(Ea) constructed a roadwork on the water,
He made earth, poured it on the roadwork,
To form a seat for the Gods to feel homely,
Humans he created ,
The tribe of Aruru peoples he created;
Animals of the field, alive, in the fields he created,
The green of the fields he created,
The lands, the meadows and the reed;
The game cow, its young, the calf,
The sheep, its young, the lamb of the hurdle,
Plantation of fruit trees and woods ..... (Winckler 1906)
Evidently it is rather naive, to interpret the history of creation literally. The
philosophy of those times was organised in categorically polar analogies. In addition,
in the constitutional domain, complex relations were implied. Fruits and tree, divine
knowledge, God, ancient creators or founders of territorial units and present sovereigns
over these units or 'the world'. Even the anthropomorphised polar relation of Adam
and Eve related to this strange anatomic context of a rib (related to the 'anatomy'
of a construction?) hints to other aspects which point to the same microcosmic foundation
complex described in regard to ancient Egypt.
For a long time the flood mentioned in the first book of the Old Testament was projected
on the whole world. Today theology accepts its localisation in the Near East. Moses
text uses it as a temporal and geographical reference. It is remarkable that the
Babylonian Gilgamesh epos describes the same event. However, it was written from the
standpoint of a still 'polytheistic' world.
Generally accepted today is: the two genealogies are too short for the connection
with what the modern world view considers as the 'origins of the world'! Billions
and Millions of years are involved.
Particularly under Aurelian, and Diocletian.
Later, the decisions oscillate between Arianism and Athanasianism. But finally the
church fixes its doctrine on Athanasius and this is established.
In connection with the recent affair around the bishop Haas who saw his 'investiture'
decided by Rome against the vehement protests of local catholic laics In Chur (Switzerland),
the faithfully devoted episcopal press speaker Christoph Casetti, in an interview brought it on the point: the 2000-years-old history of the church shows, that
the clerus can behave in extremely stupid ways, the church however does not sink."
(Vincenzo Capodini, WW13/ 27. 3. 1997:66)
This 'recklessness' in regard to laic populations, this ruthless insisting on church
law is a structural survival of ancient Near Eastern theocracies. The whole history
of empires into the history of modern democracies shows this structural element.
The person as physical inhabitant of the controlled territories does not count. What counts
for the ruler is the worldly or 'spiritually' absolutely legitimated political control
over a territory as large as possible. By its incoming 'sacrifices', tributes, services, taxes, etc. the centralistic existence of rulership and its hierarchical apparatus
is guaranteed - often as luxuriously as possible. Paradoxically this exhibited splendour
and glory often managed to convince the exploited of the legality of their being controlled.
Karlheinz Deschner's acribically researched historical works, in particular his three
volumes on 'The Criminal History of the Roman Church' have greatly sharpened the
laic consciousness for the history of church politics, at least in the German speaking
The intimate cooperation between the former American president Ronald Reagan and the
pope in support of the Polish resistance and particularly Solidarnosc, is documented
This implies new types of humanities and natural sciences which integrate intensive
critical discussions about their own evolution(s), necessarily - and urgently - also
in the supracultural anthropological context.
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