In my intro I listed the main points in his original paper. One was that Assyrians were inordinantly cruel and mean to the Israelites. The other was that Modern Assyrians who should be pleased as punch that they became Christians, should not want to associate with those terrible people of old. The last was the ridiculous notion that anything in Christianity was influenced by Assyrian and Babylonian sources...that Christianity derived exclusively from them Hebrews.
I have to confess I got bored with the whole, "in the past" thing. I wanted to address out current status and needs. Whether Ashurnasirpal blinded people in one eye or two, or blinded any at all, was only of marginal importance...but we were stuck in that mode.
I read a few passages from recent research which states the obvious, that Assyrians were no more cruel than anyone else, and were in fact pretty humane in their treatment of prisoners. I contrasted the fact that Assyrians reserved their severest punishments for those who rebelled against the King, breaking their word and in the process usually killing his governors and officers. Compare that to the Israelites who killed every single Amalekite JUST because they were who they were...every man woman and child. Assyrians went on the premise that prisoners had a RIGHT to live, unless they had committed specific acts of treachery, whereas the Jews killed every prisoner on principle.
Deportations seemed to bother Ross a lot too. Well, given the choice of having your entire family wiped out, or moving to the greatest cities of that day, not as slaves, but as valued craftsmen etc, was a fate I certainly would have preferred, one the Amalekites and Midianites would have prefered too I'm sure. There are also several instances of Israelis and others willingly moving to Babylon and Assyria to join the army as mercenaries and serve in other capacities. And captured kings along with their families were removed to lessen the chances of rebellion, which was a costly and destructive thing. Those were not democracies in those days...the king and his m inisters could decide to rebel all on their own causing their people untold grief...therefore it made perfect sense to visit dire retribution on the leaders and not the entire populace. Some captured kings were even allowed to return and rule once again after having been cared for at the royal court and there is an inscription in which an Assyrian king warns his officer in charge of prisoners, to see that they all have shoes, are offered wives and treated well...for should any of them die from neglect, it will cost the officer, the Assyrian officer, his life. The Jews killed people for racial reasons, the Assyrians never did that.
I was so pleased that when Ross said the Assyrians had it in for the Jews, a WHITE MAN there, our own dear Viking Hell's Angel, Robert Griffith went to the mike to state that the German Nazis and Hitler, to whom Ross once again compared us, killed Jews BECAUSE they were Jews, whereas we fought against them and anyone else for policy reasons, not because of racial hatred, as both the Israelites AND the Nazis did.
He also went on about the lost ten tribes. I mentioned Cyrus Gordon as only one who says there were no lost ten tribes. It was just that many Jews chose not to return to Judea after Cyrus freed them...for obvious reasons...they'd been well treated, had established themselves and had no desire to give up life in such a gorgeous metropolis where they obviously hadn't been mistreated and where their synagogues and religion were welcome and respected. Ross clung to the few facts he's found which suited his bias anyway, including the bible, and you know what I think of THAT book. I challenged him to read some more and newer books.
he also said he'd received all sorts of mail refuting many of our claims but that he wouldn't reveal names because the people feared harassment. That was one of the few times i got pissed off, saying that this cast an unfair slander against us and shouldn't have been brought up at all. he meant of course that Aramaen from hell Johnny what's his name and John Joseph. Now I've seen both of them write freely, in fact i was told that we'd extended an invitation to John Joseph to write on our forum...so I didn't think it was necessary to imply that we were going to go cut their throats. Our behavior there that night gave the lie to that slander anyway.
As to the influence of Assyrian and Babylonian beliefs on Christianity, there is the obvious fact that "Catholic" means Universal...which our god Ashur was...whereas Yahweh, the father of Jesus, was a tribal god, ONLY for his chosen people. In fact for the 70 or so years that Christology remained a Jewish sect, you HAD to be a Jew to be a follower. It was only later that Christianity became established as a religion welcoming all people, and that was thanks to influences OTHER than the strictly Jewish ones...something they would have learned from the Assyrians and Babylonians, who welcomed many foreign gods and encouraged people to learn about Ashur and respect and worship him. A willingness to accept strangers into their religion is NOT a hallmark of Judaism...but Ashurism. Never mind the "halo" or the fact that Jesus is the old Tammuz vegetation god told all over again.
I tried to resist taking pot shots at the guy. I definitely think he was offended at the idea of being complelled to defend or explain himself...and Dr. Wieder had added the indignity of telling him, in front of me, that she did not appreciate his comments about Black people in that paper of his.
I must say Mr. Marzillier was most friendly. He shook hands warmly and kept me company until he had to go see about details. The guy who was running the camera even ventured to say he couldn't figure out WHAT Ross was saying...his manner was so artificial...he's one of those "bloodless' philosophy people who think by draining life of all emotion and feeling, you know those nasty things that can overwhelm us sometimes...that he's achieved "cool, calm REASON", when he's just deader than a doornail. These dead white guys have always impressed us darkies ...we mistake their hollowness and lack of depth or understanding, the "grease" that makes us slip and slide through life...we mistake their coldness for "cool". BIG mistake!
As we left, I shook hands with Mr. Marzillier and went over to Ross to extend my hand before he could get off the stage.
As Tony said to me when he surprised me there..."you don't seem "angry" at all". Anger, like ignorance just plays into the hands of those you find yourself opposed to...never refuse to know your opponent, to understand him or her.
I know Jackie well...she's first.
Post a Followup