The Bible, Babylon, Nebuchadrezzar, Bagapa and Alexander the Great

 

Contd.

 

          For writers such as E. Badian, P. Green, the fact that Alexander the Great wanted to make Babylon his world capital was related to his knotty character. That he greatly respected Nebuchadrezzar and died at his Palace was also attributed to similar factors but this is reckless history writing. Scholars have reckoned that Babylon was the largest city in the world from about 1770 to 1670 BC, and again between 612 to and 320 BC. It was perhaps the first city to reach a population above 200,000.

           

Babylon is associated with the memory of Nebuchadrezzar and Alexander the Great

 

            Babylon was once regarded as the holiest city in the world but the real dimensions of this holiness for which even Koldewey the German excavator was reluctant to excavate, as it meant destruction of the holy shrines, has remained unclear. It is curious that the Bible, comprising only the Pentateuch, was first put together at Babylon, not Jerusalem. This must be related to the fact that even the Babylonian Talmud had greater authenticity. An oft-quoted passage in the Old Testament expresses how the Jews hated their captivity in Babylon but as H. G. Wells noted, it was here that the Jews came in contact with a higher civilization.

            The name Bible has remained some kind of an enigma. It is said to have originated from the Greek word Byblion (book) or from Byblos which meant the rind of a stem of the papyrus plant which was used for writing in the ancient era. However this sense of the term has not been traced to a date earlier than the 4th century AD and as such can only be a late meaning. The word is also thought to be linked to the name of the Phoenician port Byblos through which papyrus was usually imported into Judaea but there is another name that resembles Bible and also had a very sacred connotation – Babylon.

 

King Assurbanipal carrying Earth for the reconstruction of the Esangila

 

 

 

Joan Oates, one of the finest writers on Babylon, writes that Babylon was initially a city of no consequence but became sacred only after about Sargo

The noted American linguist I. J. Gelb, has suggested that the name Babil which became the Babylon of the Greeks, does not stand for the 'the gate of God' but is an echo of an earlier city name Babil.

The effigy of Diodotus Soter in a Coin of Agathocles
 

The various problems in the interpretation of Genesis-14 of the Old Testament are well known. The eminent biblical scholar S. H. Hooke termed this as the ‘erratic block’ in the Pentateuch.
Asoka/Diodotus was inspired by Nebuchadrezzar and Alexander

The location of Kapilavastu in Seistan throws new light on the origin of Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity. E. Herzfeld wrote that the three Magi went from Kuh-e Khwaja. Abraham's homeland appears to be Ur Kashdim near Shahr-i Shokhta in Seistan which was a larger city than contemporary Ur. This reveals new links between the Indo-Iranians and Jews. The Yadus of the early Indian texts appear to be related to the early Yahdus. The study seems to indicate that Shinar of the Old Testament of the Bible was not Sumer but Seistan. The land of Sineru mentioned in the Buddhist texts may be Seistan. Sineru may be the same as Shinar. The Buddhist sources speak of the primeval king Maha Sammata. This genealogical allusion agrees with the Old Testament where the Elamites are described as the offsprings of 'Elam, eldest son of Shem' and shows the essential unity of the Indians, Elamites and the Judaic people.
A careful study of the Abraham Saga reveals not only Hammu-rabi but also Rama (Kudur Laghumar) as key figures of the era.