A month ago I wrote asking if Yahweh was once known by another name prior to the Exodus and in what way did he appear to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob if he was not known as Yahweh. I think that a logical place to start is with the cult of Nanna/Suen (who was also occasionally called Asimbabbar). Nanna/Suen the moon god of Mesopotamia. For the sake of simplicity I will just use the name Nanna. In my post "Who is YHVH
", I laid out the theory; now I am investigating the similarities and differences between the characteristics, cults and symbologies of them both.
Currently I am reading "A Study of the Sumerian Moon-God, Nanna/Suen" by Mark Glenn Hall. You won't find this book on Amazon.com; it is Dr. Hall's dissertation for his doctorate degree. I was quite excited to find that the nearby university had it in their library.
Listed below are the ways in which some people between 2700BC and 1600BC described Nanna/Suen as found in the book by Dr. Hall. (peeking ahead in the book, it appears there will be more epiteths listed later, probably as found in a different class of texts)
2700BC - 2350BC Pre-Sargonic
"Frisky calf of Enlil"
2350BC - 2112BC Sargonic (Akkadian)
"The light of the land"
"True lord of the shining heart"
"Ornament of heaven"
"Crown of heaven"
"The one whose name no-one can interpret"
2112BC - 2004BC Ur-III
"Chief son of Enlil"
"Frisky calf of An (or heaven)"
"The canal inspector" (I suspect this one was written to scare off those who might damage the vital canal)
"He who spreads a sheen over the people"
"The lord who alone is the rising god"
"Great lion of heaven and earth"
"Great lion of the pure heaven(or of holy An)"
"Respected one of heaven"
"True crown of An/heaven"
2000BC - 1600BC Isin-Larsa/Old-Babylonian
"He whose head is raised high among the Anunna gods"
"Revered in Heaven and Earth"
"The true princely son of Enlil"
"The Lord who alone in heaven and earth surpasses all the gods"
"The greatest chief of the Anunna gods"
"He whose powers cannot be dispersed"
"Lord who alone is the rising god"
"He who restores the ways of old"
"Chief son of Enlil"
"Ornament of the Ekur"
"Princely son endowed with respect by great An, in whose power is power over all things"
"Holy god who resides in the pure heavens"
"The true lofty reverenced one of the land who has set up a residence of splendor in the temple"
"He of great renown"
"The wise one on high who reaches the decisions"
"The pride of the father who sired him... born to Ninlil"
"Crown of heaven and earth, with visage arrayed in grace, chief son of Enlil"
"The lofty king, my king"
"Lord of Ur"
"The lord who is treated with honor, who makes the universe bright"
"Princely son who appears in the pure heavens who listens to requests and petitions"
"God who rises in the clear heavens"
"The great lord, light who fills the pure heavens, the princely crown whose head is raised, true god who brings forth day and night and determines the month, who completes the year... who just decisions from the father who sired him... who hears prayers and petitions"
"He who renders judgement"
"Great lord whose head in radiance is lifted, who arises over heaven and earth, light, wide radiance, the rays of which are ever renewing, who places his light on the multitudes, migthy prince whose power is worthy of praise, every pure in all of his attributes, the princely son of the great mountain Enlil, prince beloved in the Ekur"
"The god who created me"
"Eldest brother among the gods"
Most of the above epiteths are fairly specific to Nanna. There are however some that can be found applied to other gods. For example, both Nanna and Yahweh are called "lord," but that does not make them the same god. There needs to be correlation in how the two gods were viewed, celebrated and symbolized.
One strong argument against Nanna as Yahweh is the symbology of the calf. When the Israelites made a molten calf to represent Yahweh while Moses was receiving the covenant on the mountain, Yahweh was very angry about it. But, why did they make a calf? Why not any other animal? Did they believe that Yahweh was Nanna? Had they previously worshipped Nanna? Later, the king of the northern kingdom of Israel makes two gold calfs and two temples which N. Israel seems to accept without hesitation. Why calfs again? Why calfs especially if their sacred teachings taught them what terrible consequences followed such an act? Why are twelve calfs/bulls in the temple Solomon built(Jer 52:20)? And, why does part of that northern territory become known as "Samaria"? Is the word "Samaria" related to the word "Sumeria"?
An interesting observation of the above epiteths is the similarity between many of them and those of Yahshua. This is especially true in the Gospel of John where, among other epiteths, Yahshua is described as the light of the world. There are very few references to anyone in the Bible being the light of the world (or of similar things), yet it is a major theme in John's Gospel. Of special note also is the idea that Nanna is the "Chief son of Enlil." Enlil is one of the primordial gods, the god of the sky/air, and is the son of An who is at the very top of the pantheon. To say that Nanna is the son of Enlil is to say he is the son of God. Yahshua is described as the only begotten son of God. However its important to note that Isaac is called Abrahams only begotten son (Gen 22:2,Heb 11:17) even though he had previously begotten Ishmael, and Israel is also called God's son (Ex 4:22,Hos 11:1). The term "only begotten" does not mean he was the only one born, it means he is the son of the promise or the unique or prized son. The term "only begotten" is the same as saying that Yahshua is the chief son of God. Also to say that Nanna is the chosen one of An sounds a lot like the concept of the annointed one of Yahweh. The idea of the princely son who receives prayers and petitions sounds like the attribute of mediator which is also applied to Yahshua.
While there can be found some convincing arguments agaist any connection between Israel's God and Nanna, the cult of Nanna seems to play an important role in the drama of Israel. Will Nanna turn out to be one of the greatest enemies of Israel? Or, is Nanna an intimate aspect of Israelite culture whose name and association with the calf/bull changed over time? If Nanna is not Yahweh, is he the son of Yahweh? Was Yahshua Nanna? Did some scribes make Yahshua appear to be Nanna?
There is a lot more to read, and a lot more to consider. This is a puzzle that extends through both time and space. No wonder Babylon is called Mystery. But, who is a harlot? It appears that in today's world everyone is born into spiritual harlotry except perhaps those who have no religion at all. If harlotry is the worship of false dieties or corruption of the true one(s), then virginity might be the worship of no diety at all.