If the ancients could predict how “smart” their descendants would have resulted, they would have written down many times that the gods were originally common men. Unfortunately they did it only once (although in many copies).
"Inuma ilu awilum" literally means “When gods men.”
Following is an excerpt from a book by Esther J. Hamori, entitled “When Gods were Men” (pg 138).
The Akkadian myth of Atrahasis opens with the words “When gods were men” (Inuma ilu awilum). This phrase has been analyzed and translated in numerous ways, but the essential meaning is clear from the context. The text goes on to describe how the lower gods (the Igigi) were initially required to do the labour necessary on earth, and then rebelled against the higher gods (the Anunnaki), eventually instigating the creation of humanity as a work force.
In other words the term “man” in the opening phrase defines a role, a function in the universe, rather than a separate species; when gods served that function, they too “were men.” For this reason the term “awilum,” literally “man”(sg), is perhaps best rendered in English as “men” (pl).
Lambert and Millard translate “When the gods like men” or “When the gods like man” understanding awilum as ending with the locative ..um with the same meaning as the comparative ..is. They note that this would be the first example of the comparative ..um. This grammatical analysis of the phrase renders the same meaning as discussed above, only through a simile, rather than a metaphor.
As Foster observes, “The line is a metaphor… meaning “When gods were (like) men (in that they had to work).”
Later in the myth, the terms are used in their more common sense, as when Ea prepares to create humanity and says “Let man bear the load of the gods.”
Common sense demands to translate “Inuma ilu awilum” as “When gods were human”; justifying thus the word awilum being in the singular.
To claim that the expression is a metaphor because… "gods were like men in that they had to work", the work they were doing should have been a god’s work; but it was not:
(5) The seven(?) great Anunna-gods were burdening
The Igigi-gods with forced labor.
[The gods] were digging watercourses,
[Canals they opened, the] life of the land.
[The Igigi-gods] were digging watercourses,
[Canals they opened, the] life of the land.
(25) [The Igigi-gods dug the Ti]gris river,
[And the Euphrates thereafter.
[Springs they opened up from] the depths,
[Wells ... ] they established.
[They heaped up] all the mountains.
The last verse, along with the one about digging up the rivers, signals the awakening of theological thought (later the gods were said to have been creating rivers and mountains and the whole universe by simply saying a word) but the fact that the men who took over did the same work with the same tools indicates that the heaping up of the mountains is just a poetic exaggeration.
When the Igigi gods rebelled they destroyed their tools.
They set fire to their tools:
(verse 65) They put fire to their spaces(spades),
And flame to their workbaskets.(2)
Gloss No. (2) reads: In effect, the first work stoppage in world history, or at least in world literature.
A story about gods is “world history” but yet he (Foster, the translator) refuses to acknowledge that gods were actually men.
Euhemerism is a theory named after Euhemerus, a Greek mythographer of the 4th century BCE, which holds that many mythological tales can be attributed to historical persons and events, the accounts of which have become altered and exaggerated over time.
There are no modern atheist scholars who support Euhemerism. The theories in vogue concerning the origin of religion are based mostly on theories by psychologists who teach that men are psychologically primed for religion.
What is going on here is that modern theories cannot harm religion because they present religion as an unavoidable stage in the development of the human intellect. The ancients are portrayed as savage idiots who could not decipher properly the information implanted by God in their brains and thus they described the gods as rapists and killers. Modern philosophers and theologians were equipped with the proper receptors and therefore they got the message correctly!!
Thomson and Dawkins, who support such a theory, I consider as the traitors of atheism (not that the rest of the “New Atheists” are any better).
If, on the other hand, Euhemerism prevailed it would have been obvious that the concept of the G-god of monotheism is an entirely idiotic concept that only by chance or as an accident could have entered the human intellect.
The detailed study of the history of the development of the story of the gods shows that the God idea is not even an accident; it is a plain joke. An archaic joke that some clever rulers managed to make use of.
Up to 4500 BCE “god” meant “lord” and was an epithet mostly used for the kings. Unfortunately, modern people, theists and atheists alike, cannot bring themselves to think but of an immaterial heavenly being when reference is made to the term “god”.
For this situation responsible is the academy, which is an accomplice of the church, with the result that the new atheists are completely uneducated in religious matters (true atheists, i.e. Euhemerists, are very scarce, as Dawkins rightfully observed).
Choosing to subscribe to this topic will automatically register you for email notifications for comments and updates on this thread.
Email notifications will be sent out daily by default unless specified otherwise on your account which you can edit by going to your userpage here and clicking on the subscriptions tab.