Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why were Babylonians so sure Apsu and Tiamat were different substances?

On Philologica and New Blog on the kid : 1) Flat Earth theories - Common Sense or Solar Mythology?, 2) Why were Babylonians so sure Apsu and Tiamat were different substances?, 3) Genesis among Myths - were they meant to be understood literally? Yes

On Assorted Retorts : 1) ... on Historical Adam and Eve, 2) ... on Genre of Genesis

Tiamat in Babylonian mythology stands for salt water. Apsu for sweet water. There is no deity of brack water. Not as far as I know.

Apsu has reemerged in my map of Babylonian mythology in a new spelling Ab-zu. And it has been told me (inter alia by Trey Smith) that the word actually means Abyss.

I have gathered that Enki stands for "lord of the Abyss" and for "lord of sweet water".

So, is water sweeter, the further down we get into the abyss, as long as it is not the abyss of the Sea? No. Sea water is salt because water from lands brings salts with it. The water gets these salts from the land. And the water from the Sea evaporates totally salt free from the Sea (where salt remains) and gets up in the sky as clouds, and falls down as rain. Unless air is polluted with sulphuric gasses, or such, rain drops are the water the most free from salt you can imagine.

If water gets down so deep it can never more reach the sea, it will probably have been salted by passing through too much soil so it may be nearly as salty or maybe even saltier as or than sea water. The Abyss is NOT where sweet water emerges.

Nevertheless, Babylonians had this idea. It is very firmly rooted in their mythology. And rain was not even seen as a source for drinkable water. Possibly the horror of rain was a memory of the Flood of Noah.

But we look at the rain bow and know it will not destroy us. If we want water sweet, we look, reasonably, to the sky. And after that (if not in practical order, at least in order of desalination) to water that is deep as wells, but not as deep as the abyss.

In doing so, we do not contradict the Bible, whose authors, unlike the Babylonians, never called salt water and sweet water two opposed elements and never said water is better the deeper down in the abyss you get it from. But which however does include some kind of references to the water cycle, which if unprecise are at least not erroneous if taken strictly literally.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Pope St Damasus I

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