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Genesis 6 Nephilim and mythology | True Freethinker

We continued, from part 1, considering the issue of the Nephilim via the 1879 AD book The Fallen Angels and the Heroes of Mythology, the Same with “The Sons Of God” And “The Mighty Men” of the Sixth Chapter of the First Book Of Moses (Dublin: Hodges, Foster, And Figgis, Publishers To The University, 1879 AD) by Rev. John Fleming, A.B. Incumbent of Ventry And Kildrum, Diocese of Ardfert; Rural Dean; and Irish Society’s Missionary.

George Stanley Faber is quoted to the effect that “Idolatry was a gradual corruption of Patriarchism” (P. 2). This is a rather interesting ideas as I recall listening to an interview with Ken Johnson wherein he noted that as lifespans decreased, since the beginning of humanity as per Genesis, the earlier generations would outlive the latter ones. This would mean that one could meet one’s ancestor that was born quite a few generations back and that the ancients would outlive you. From this may have come about the concept that the ancients were actually immortal and that would have generated tales which turned into myths and legends.

“They had symbolical representations by which these occurrences were commemorated, and the ancient hymns in their temples were to the same purpose. They all related to the history of the first ages, and to the same events which are recorded by Moses.” The patriarch Noah is the principal personage in the mythological system of [Jacob] Bryant. “The history of Noah,” he writes, “has been recorded by the ancients through their whole theology, but has been obscured by the many names and characters given him. He is Thoth, Hermes, Menes, Osiris, Atlas, Prometheus: his history is found in the mythology of Janus, Saturn, Poseidon. All the mysteries of the Gentile world seem to have been memorials of the Deluge, and of the events which immediately succeeded.” The same writer adds that, although the Deluge was the grand epocha to which the nations referred the highest point to which they were able to ascend—yet that, in the rites and mysteries of the Gentiles, traces may be discerned of the antediluvian system, although these are obscure and few. Accordingly, these mythologists recognise, in the deities of the Greek or other mythologies, some of those remarkable persons who appear in the Mosaic and some other sacred writings. In Adam, and again in Noah, they see Saturn; in Jubal, Apollo; in Tubal-Cain, Vulcan; and in his sister, Naamah, Venus or Minerva.

Ham is identified with Jupiter Ammon; Nimrod with Mars; Moses with Osiris and Bacchus; Joshua and Samson with Hercules. The visit of Jupiter; Neptune, and Mercury to Hyrieus, reminds them of the visit of JEHOVAH and two angels to Abraham; and that of Jupiter and Mercury to Philemon and Bauds, of the coming of the angels to Lot. They further discern, in the Hindu avalon, or descents of the Deity, the manifestations of JEHOVAH in human form. [PP. 2-3]

Indeed, as humanity dispersed as per language distinctions at the Tower of Babel event, they would have carried with them certain common knowledge of history up until that point and would have augmented them as time went on.
With further regards to Naamah, Henry Ainsworth (1571-1622 AD) “(Comment. Gen. iv. 22) says, ‘The Hebrew Doctors (in Midrash Ruth, and Zohar) say of this Naamah, that all the world wandered (in love) after her, yea, even the Sons of God, as in Gen. vi. 2 : and that of her there were born evil spirits into the world.’” (P. 187).

The Greek tradition of the division of the universe between the three sons of Saturn, evidently points to the division of the earth between the three sons of Noah… At the same time, it is very evident that, in many of the legends, not only of the Greek, but of the Hindu and other mythologies, the Gentile nations have embodied their remembrances of events, the true record of which is found in the Mosaic Scriptures… These traditions, preserved amongst some of the families of Noah’s descendants for a thousand years or more-subject, of course, to the various influences which more or less affect all tradition—at length assumed the forms in which they appear in some of the earliest Grecian poetry, relating the birth of the Titans and giants, and their wars with the gods, and in which the real facts which constituted the basis of these traditions are not only, in great measure, disguised and altered, but also….

The passage in Josephus (Ant. I. iii. I) is known to all who have handled our subject. We give it in the words of Whiston’s translation. “Many angels of God accompanied with women…and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good, on account of the confidence they had in their own strength. For, the tradition is, that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants….

JUSTIN MARTYR.—This Father, who died A.D. 167, says, in his Second Apology for the Christians, chap. v.—”God, when he had made the whole world, and subjected things earthly to man, and arranged the heavenly elements for the increase of fruits and rotation of the seasons, and appointed this divine law—for these things also He evidently made for man—committed the care of men and of all things under heaven to angels whom He appointed over them. But the angels transgressed this appointment, and were captivated by love of women, and begat children, who are those that are called demons, and besides, they afterwards subdued the human race to themselves, partly by magical writings and partly by fears and the punishments they occasioned, and partly by teaching them to offer sacrifices, and incense and libations, of which things they stood in need after they were enslaved by lustful passions ; and among men they sowed murders, wars, adulteries, intemperate deeds, and all wickedness.

Whence also the poets and mythologists, not knowing that it was the angels and those demons who had been begotten by them that did these things to men, and women, and cities, and nations, which they related, ascribed them to God Himself [i.e. Jupiter], and to those who were accounted to be His very offspring, and to the offspring of those who were called His brothers, Neptune and Pluto, and to the children again of these their offspring. For whatever name each of the angels had given to himself and his children, by that name they called them.”- Writings of Justin Martyr and Athenagoras. Transl. Clark’s Ante-Nic. Lib. Vol. ii., PP· 75, 76.)….

GIANTS, TITANS…See Hesiod, Theog., vv. 125 sqq. for the origin of the Titans (Hyperion, Japetus, etc.) sons of Coelus or Uranus and Terra: and (vv. 154·186) of the [Greek font not available]. Also, v. 820, of Typhon, sprung from Tartarus and Terra.
It may be remarked that, while Hesiod represents the giants as sprung from earth impregnated with the blood which fell from Coelus, when wounded by his son Saturn, another mythologist, Hyginus, makes them to be sons of Tartarus and Terra. Is there in these traditions, which thus respectively ascribe the origin of the giants to Heaven and Tartarus, any reference to the original condition and subsequent fall of the real progenitors of these beings—the Bne-Elohim of Gen. vi.? [PP. 4-5, 142, 147-148, 179]

More statements along these lines follow:

Do they not rather remind us of the Persian myths, which relate that Ahriman and his evil spirits entered the creation, mixed with it, and corrupted its purity : that they defiled nature, deformed its beauty, and debased its morality, till the whole earth was filled with black crime, and venomous reptiles?
Greek mythology, also, sings of the loves between the gods and the beautiful daughters of the earth : and the Hindus mention marriages between nymphs and Divine heroes. But why has this heathen element been retained in the Mosaic narrative?…

“But we may add, that, according to the belief of the Persians, the holy Djemshid married the sister of a dev, and their offspring were monsters, black and impious men : and that, in the laws of the Hindus, the children of illegitimate marriages are declared to be invariably false and wicked. (Manu iii. 41, 42)”— Comm. On the O. T. with Transl. by M. M. Kalisch, 1858, pp. 170-5…

An American writer, Dr. William T. Hamilton, author of “The Pentateuch and its Assailants” (T. and T. Clark, 1852, 8vo.), referring, in Lecture viii., to the notion that the narrative in Gen. vi. 1-4 was borrowed from the Oriental mythologies, remarks that “the ancient Indian mythology cannot be traced, with certainty, beyond an era very long posterior to that of Moses. If there be borrowing in the case, the Gentoos must have borrowed from the Hebrews. As it respects Egyptian mythology, it was, toto coelo, different from the teachings of the Mosaic legends”…

That the Tubal-Cain and Naamah of Moses appear in the heathen mythology, as Vulcan and Venus, is highly probable [PP. 183-184, 186]


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