THE LAST TIME CAPSULE
Shumer (Shoo'-mer) is the ancient name of Southern Iraq. It was mistranslated long ago as "Sumer" and, due to this continuing conventional mispronunciation of the old name, is best referred to as "Sumer" even though it wasn't really. The people of Sumer, in about 4,000 BCE, consisted of Shemites (mistranslated as "Semites") in the north, Sumerians in the south (we have no other name for them), and some scattered people who were there before the others came.
Those whom we call the Old Sumerians lived along the shore of the Persian Gulf, north along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and on the island called "Dilmun" which was once one of their main bases. They seem to have been a seagoing race of "missionaries" and their language was rather unique. Similar to some widely scattered tongues only in a few ways, in most respects their language is unlike any other language known and certainly very different from any of the Semitic languages. The Old Sumerians are believed to be responsible for most of our early revolutionary developments in all fields, and yet we know very little about them. Among other things, they gave us the circle of 360 degrees, the base 60 system we use in our measures of smaller circular units and units of time, and the sub-base of 12 that we still use in inches within the foot and when we count our eggs. Some scholars say they arrived suddenly one day on the shores of the Persian Gulf in ships made of reeds. Others say they evolved in southern Iraq. They consisted of a variety of physical types just as we in the United States do today. The same was true of the other peoples of the area. So the only real distinction of the Sumerians of old was their language. We have recovered very little of their early wealth of knowledge and it is only by their distinct language in contrast to the other languages found in later writings that we can infer the magnitude of their contribution to the totality of information possessed by the later Sumerians or the early Babylonians.
The Semites are another linguistic group with a very old tradition. Supposedly descending from Shem, a son of Noah, they became many over the course of a few generations. Shem begat Ashur, Aram, and Heber. Ashur was the deified father of the Ashurians (called Assyrians by most people). Aram was the father of the Aramaeans who later spread their language, Aramaic, throughout the Middle East. Heber was the father of the Hebrews. Although the Semites spoke languages that were similar, each could be as different from the others as French is from Spanish or Spanish from Italian.
The two chief cultures, Sumerian and Semitic, differed in many ways and stayed separated from one another until increasing population made merging and petty quarrels almost unavoidable. The cultures merged and expanded and disagreed and divided until the New Sumer had elements of Old Sumer mixed with Semitic elements from a multitude of Semitic groups. Eventually, the Semitic elements dominated simply because there were many more Semites than Sumerians and the old language of Sumer became relegated to only religious use, much as Latin is used today.
As time passed, the land of this part of the world became divided into city-states in a loose confederation with the city of Babylon as its capitol. Babylon was the center for science, mathematics, the arts, and other great things of its day. Those who ruled this area known as Babylonia resided in Babylon much as the winning party in one of our elections resides in Washington DC for its term of office. However, the winners who lived in Babylon were not elected. Instead, they were the strongest, and established their superiority through might. Small wars were fought between city-states over many issues, and when the war was for rulership of Babylonia, Babylon was the prize of the winner.
But Babylon was not the field of battle, nor was it sacked and burned. In this city, the standards of weights and measures alone made burning unfeasible. So the physical city of Babylon with all its beauty and its repositories of knowledge and art was considered neutral and immune to violence. When the winners of a war for dominance approached her, Babylon's gates would be opened so that the new rulers might occupy her without needless destruction. In WWII, Paris was spared for many of the same reasons.
In 698 BCE, the Assyrians (a separate nation under a king called Sennacherib) destroyed Babylon and, although Sennacherib's youngest son rebuilt the city a few years later, the Assyrians were hated and despised more than ever from that time on. Generally speaking, by 698 BCE the various Semitic cultures in the Middle East, even though supposedly related, had been haggling, squabbling, and fighting some very dirty wars for over 2,000 years. They did not like one another, liked the people from outside their area even less, and committed atrocities up to and including genocide as a matter of course. The major crime of the Assyrians was that they were more efficient at this sort of thing than the others. They were also very efficient scientists and mathematicians, and they introduced their knowledge to the area so that it had become a part of the culture by the time they were ousted. Among other things, they introduced the flame alphabet and, probably, a number of refinements in the codes that go with such alphabets. They may have introduced some codes that were entirely new to Babylonia, and they certainly introduced some superior science and math into the codes.
Written language of the phonetic variety came very late in our evolution. It began as symbols for certain things which were written in picture form. As the pictures became more symbolic and less recognizable as pictures, the part of the human brain that works with written symbols began to evolve. The pictures that evolved into complex symbols are called ideograms. The Chinese, early on, began a heirarchy of ideograms which could work with any spoken language as there were no sounds assigned to them. But in the Middle East, someone came up with the idea of allowing the symbol to have a sound so that it could be used as part of a written word. The Phoenicians were among the first to develop and spread this type of language, so we call such an approach a "phonetic alphabet".
Today we use an alphabet that is strictly phonetic, one that has letters as symbols for only sounds. But several thousand years ago, when the alphabets were still partly ideograms, a letter could stand for an object or an act, a general classification of objects or acts, a more abstract concept, a sound, and a number. The flame alphabet was one of these except that it was a bit more. It was a key to a numerical system based upon the number ten, and it was a language designed to describe the cosmos, its early conception, and a number of other philosphical concepts. It was called the flame alphabet because it was based upon and looked like various arrangements of flame.
Noah begat Shem who begat all the Semites including Hebrews who were the begatted of Shem's son Heber. The Hebrews consisted of thirteen tribes, each of which was named after the Daddy who was the begatted of Heber - with the exceptions of those who were the grandsons of Heber. One such Daddy was Judah (more correctly called "Yehudah") who was the patriarch ultimately responsible for the kingdom of Judea which has recently been reinstated and called Israel.
Old Judea was a little place which paid protection money to various Mafia types who comprised the larger kingdoms around it. It was located at the fringes, essentially a part of the land bordering Babylonia, Tyre, Assyria - and not far from Persia and Egypt. When the Babylonians were stronger, Judea paid protection money to them. When Assyria was dominant in the area, Judea paid her. Sometimes it may have been politic to pay more than one at a time because living between two bullies is tough.
The Judeans were a stiffnecked group of ingrates who hated paying protection to anyone. They had the silly notion that they had the right to be left alone. Usually, they were too weak to be a threat to the larger kingdoms and they were so far into the rural regions that it just wasn't worthwhile to send an army over to collect the protection money that was due. But once, in 597 BCE, the Babylonian Mafia became very irate with the Judeans and sent a small army to commit various atrocities and bring back a lot of Judean slaves for use in Babylon. This was called "the captivity" in later times. It lasted for quite a spell and occurred when the Chaldeans were the rulers of Babylonia.
The Chaldeans had adopted the flame alphabet which was handed to them by the Assyrians earlier, and the Judeans in captivity found it rather interesting. When the captivity ended, the flame alphabet was one of the bits of knowledge which became part of the Judean culture (the Judeans rank among the prize-winning eclectics of the world).
The Pentateuch (Greek name) or Torah (Judean name) consists of the five books which a lot of modern-day Christians believe comprise the early part of the Old Testament. Actually, there is no translation today that really is anything like the Torah from which it was supposedly taken, and the English Old Testament is certainly not the same. The only way one can begin to understand the Torah properly is to get it straight from the flame alphabet in which it was written.
The Judeans were the self-appointed keepers of a large body of knowledge that had been collected and passed on by word-of-mouth for many generations. They spoke Aramaic, used Hebrew as a holy language, and did their holy writing in the flame alphabet that last had come from Assyria by means of the Chaldeans in Babylon. It was a mixed up time. Nobody seems to know where the Assyrians found the flame alphabet, although the Phoenicians probably had a hand in it. According to some, the flame alphabet originally came from the Eternal (the proper translation of the "Yod, Heh, Vav, Heh" that ignorant Christians call "Jehovah"). Very likely, it was not an Assyrian invention and very likely it came from an older culture.
In any case, the Torah was probably passed on by word-of-mouth for a while except for parts that were written in other languages. Chances are it was nearly in final form when it was written in Aramaic. The scholars among the Judeans put it in its final polished form in what we call Hebrew today (the flame alphabet). This language was standardized in its spelling and its concepts so that it became more than just a language. It became a repository for knowledge of a scientific/mathematical/philosophical nature. I believe that Hebrew in the flame alphabet is the best vehicle for this knowledge and that other languages cannot even begin to tell what is encapsulated in the Torah. However, I am not a good student of Sanskrit and there is much to be found in that language as well.
From time to time we have people who come to our door and wish to "discuss" religion with us. "Discuss" usually means to listen to them trying to convince us that theirs is the true and final word on the subject. "Do you translate Hebrew and Old Greek?" I ask them. "No," they reply. "Then how do you know what this book says?" I ask. "We have the best English translation ever done," they tell us. "Then you must know that in the first chapter of the book of Genesis the word usually translated as God is plural." "Oh no," they say, "There is only one God." "I am sorry," I tell them, "but I take my own belief system seriously enough that I make an effort to check things thoroughly and I don't have time to discuss them with someone who will not bother to attempt to find out what he is talking about."
Most scholars who translate from Hebrew have spent all their time with languages and none of it with math and science. This has been true for a long time. The Torah is largely concerned with math and science. Each word of it is also a number. The concepts found in the Torah were collected from a world which was wiser in many ways than we are today. During the Chaldean Renaissance, the libraries of Babylon were rich with information. The wise men and women of the time were available. Subsequently, the Persians took the city. This was followed by the conquest of Alexander the Great who placed books in another library in a city with his name on it. This new library was then burned several times by people who found information threatening. Then came the dark ages.
The Hebrew numerical equivalents are the basis of modern numerology. However, modern numerology is as deluded as the religions that were fostered by the Torah. The Torah is written in a poetic form that is truly beautiful and not meant to be taken in a literal sense. To understand its language, one must look to allegory and mythology. If one is not so inclined, he or she will not understand it. But more than that, it is a language of numbers and mathematics of a type not taught in modern schools.
Hebrew itself cannot be translated word for word because most of its words either mean more than a single word in English (or any other modern language) or mean something in between what can be conveyed by two or more English words. Indeed, some words in Hebrew are meant to convey a concept that might take several pages of English to describe and several books to actually cover the subject adequately enough to provide some understanding. Giving credit where it is due, the scholars of Hebrew have provided sufficient information as to word meanings for those of us who are versed in math and science to begin to comprehend what the Torah is trying to tell us. Even so, the Torah can best be understood by the person who is persistent rather than by a genius who is used to grasping things quickly but won't take the time to follow through.
Most people have many objections as to why they should not study the Torah firsthand, why they should always take another's word for what is in a book upon which their religion, their way of life, is supposedly based. For those who use another base for their religion, there is an excuse for ignoring the old book. To the "Christian" who says he cannot begin to learn such a scholarly subject on his own, I say when does he intend to take the responsibility for his own beliefs? When does one begin to take religion seriously? And to the "Pagan" who says it is not his religion, I say if he looks he will find that the Torah is the foundation of most religions. The people who wrote the Torah were Pagan as is evidenced by the plurality of the word Elohim (meaning the creative forces or gods) and numerous other examples. Monotheism came much later in the exoteric world as a misunderstanding. And so did Paganism. You see, the old reality involved neither what we think of as monotheism, nor what we think of as polytheism.
I do not believe that we are very bright today with all our gadgetry and our ability to destroy. The real height of wisdom on this planet during recorded history occurred during the Chaldean Renaissance before the bureaucrats ruined Babylon and left Babylonia open to Persian conquest. From that time on we have been in a dark age, filled with ignorance and pain. And our children are not taught the ancient secrets of mathematics that were once the key to unlocking real wisdom.
For the benefit of those who would like to learn, books are available in Hebrew. The Torah or Old Testament in Hebrew as well as Hebrew-English Lexicons can be found. Today's Christians do not realize that these books are the keys to their eventual evolution into something far better than what they now are.
Most of those books do not mention the numerical equivalents of the letters of the Hebrew (flame) alphabet. However, these can be found in other places. Briefly, the Hebrew "A", called "Aleph", is the number one. Beth is two, Gimel is three, and so on until we get to Yod which is ten. Yod is a single flame, the basis of the whole flame alphabet just as ten is the numerical base both in our system and in theirs. After Yod, we have Kaph which is twenty, Lamed which is thirty, and so on by tens until we get to Qoph which is 100. After that each letter goes up by a hundred until the last final which is 900. Aleph then becomes 1,000 by simply changing its position just as we do with our numbers today - and so on.
This translating and decoding can be as interesting as any game of chess, pinochle, poker, bridge, or puzzle solving. And it can teach one many things as well. As one works with the first phrase in Genesis, one will see how the phrase actually has multiple levels of meaning such as In a former state or time of creation [which implies that there must have been others], the gods (creative forces or laws) breathed or exhaled the high (heavens) and exhaled (sighed) the low (earth or the earth plane). You will see that the phrase totals 2701 which is the extension of 73 and the product of 37 and 73. As 37 and 73 are mirror images, this implies that that the high (73) and the low (37) are mirror images (as above, so below). And 2701 becomes a numerical way to express this first act of creation.
One will discover many similarities between the Torah and various Sanskrit verses or teachings of the Buddha. The physicists who study the Torah will see revelations as to the nature of the universe itself. The mathematicians will be astounded to see the individual and unique character of every number and will appreciate the "new" kind of math involved. The psychologists will marvel at the way the individual numbers and their personalities can affect dreams and realizations.
In ages past, the Persians probably did little or nothing to destroy the wisdom contained in the library of Babylon or in the temples. Alexander took pains to preserve knowledge and to collect it for his new library in Alexandria. But the most knowledgable of the people may not have survived the conquests. The pseudo-Christians who destroyed the library in Alexandria succeeded in taking advantage of Alexander's concentration of wisdom and now that wisdom is gone. The time capsule of the Torah is one of the few remaining places to find this old information. Here, it is disguised as five old books about the early history of the Jews.
Perhaps some of you will begin working or playing with the Torah, and perhaps the old encoded knowledge can benefit us all before the next wave of religious zealotry and bookburning destroys this one last rampart that prevents the total loss of what was once known.
Copyright (C) 1990