Yahweh: A Volcano Fire God Of War?: Chapter 3

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Notes:

As of 9-19-2014 –  All content on Exodus from chapter 4 as been moved here. I reorganized the flow of this chapter and I may be also shuffling chapters around so the plagues of Egypt chapter comes after this chapter. I will also be adding “Yahweh:The Rock Of Israel as another chapter along with another addressing the Book of Enoch. ..

Chapter Index:

Chapter 1: Wisdom In The Question
Chapter 2: God Of The Moon Mountain
Chapter 3: Exodus & The Voice Of God
Chapter 4: The Deuteronomy
Chapter 5: Plagues Of Egypt And The Nile Delta
Chapter 6: The Psalms
Chapter 7: Fire, Torment, And Human Sacrifice

— Chapter 3 —
Exodus & The Voice Of God

     Some of the more damning evidence for Freud’s hypothesis is the description of the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night with thundering and lightning upon a burning shaking mountain in which you dare not touch as you surely would have been put to death. This is pretty much explicit in the Exodus narrative noted below. But in following the Imagery we will also come to know the voice of GOD:

Exodus 13:21:
And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
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Exodus 19:16
:

And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
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Exodus 19:12
:

And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death.
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Exodus 19:18
:
And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.

      As we can see, here is a pretty good description of a Volcano. Others have tried to suggest otherwise, or suggest it describes a war tactic of using torches to obscure one’s movements. The major problem with this argument is that it does not fit the narrative to which is about the distant mountain rather than large band of Israelite trying to escape into the promise land. Especially when any such effort would have been in futility since it would have been impossible to cover up the trail of such a large group led by Moses. This distant mountain was pillar of fire by night, and a pillar of smoke by day. This description essentially why Exodus is typically the section of the bible in which many people often tend to infer that Yahweh could have been a volcano god. I agreeably find Exodus of particular interest by referencing Exodus 20:18. I find Exodus 20 interesting in that there is many facets to which really out-line why scholars attribute Mt. Sinai as a volcanic mountain of god. In particular, paying close attention to “Noise of the Trumpet”, and the “Thunderings and Lightnings” provides ample evidence Mt. Sinai is of volcanic origin:

Exodus 20:18:
And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.”

     The interesting part of the description is not necessarily the imagery of smoke and flashing lightning, it is rather  the noise of the trumpet according to the Cambridge University Scientist Calin Humphrey. Hence we can establish how they often referred to those thunderous noises as the sound of trumpets coming from the mountains as being considered the “Voice of GOD”. A particular of interest that can be further demonstrated in the following verse in Job 37,  and how that similarly relates to Moses’s description of GOD, or how GOD spake to him:

Job 37:1-4:
“At this my heart pounds  and leaps from its place.Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice,  to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven  and sends it to the ends of the earth.After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back.
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See also:
* Like the sound of many waters and roaring:  Ezekiel 43:2, Revelation 1:15, 14:2, 19:6
* Like the sound of very loud thunder: Job 40:9; Psalm 29:3; 77:18; 104:7, Revelation 14:2.
* Like the sound of harps: Isaiah30:31-32 , Revelation 14:2.
* Like the sound of trumpets: Exodus 19:16-19, Hebrews 12:19,  Revelation 1:104

     And as Calin Humphrey of the Cambridge University has pointed out, scholars are not scientists and that these details in anthropology and archaeology, or in religious scripture have gotten rather overlooked if not ignored entirely. This is where science can play a larger role in determining what the context of such scripture means. Calin was also noted in Chapter 2 regarding Mt Sinai, And I thus reference him here once more on the sound of the trumpet:

“The book of Exodus (19:16) says that the sound of a very loud trumpet blast came from the mountain. Is this poetic language or did the sound of a trumpet really come from Mount Sinai? I then found that the Roman historian Dio Cassius (Roman History, Book 66) described a loud trumpet blast coming from Mount Vesuvius when it erupted in AD 79 and covered Pompeii with lava and ash.”
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1. C.J. Humphreys,The Miracles of Exodus: A Scientist’s Discovery of the Extraordinary Natural Causes of the Biblical Stories (HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2003)
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2. C. Jarvis, Yesterday and Today in Sinai(W.Blackwood, Edinburgh, 1943)

      Furthermore, he’s not the only one that has realized the importance of the sounds Earth makes when it comes to religious texts, cultures, and oral traditions. Hence as such contention is duly noted in the journal of Anthropological Archaeology regarding Mesoamerica and the Mayan culture:

Artifacts that speak for themselves: Sounds underfoot in Mesoamerica
Journal of Anthropological Archaeology Volume 26, Issue 1
March 2007, Pages 47–64
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See also:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278416506000183
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Abstract:
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Previously overlooked in archaeological research, natural sounds emitted from the underground affect humans and culture. In this paper, it is suggested that noises generated by subterranean ground movement, water, wind, and wildlife are a reason why residents in Mesoamerica perceive caves, waterholes, limestone sinks, and mountains as sacred. Too, a mental grasp of the sounds, conceptualized as anthropomorphized voices and music, may have been employed as an ideological basis for authority in Maya society. “

      Such Primitive cultures, as brilliant as they were, essentially had no modern scientific understanding of these sounds, or the natural phenomenon associated to them. They had thus Anthropomorphized the sounds in which their world around them made. It is a fair argument to say sound descriptions within ancient scriptures, literature, and oral traditions should be considered and applied in modern Anthropology in concerns to religions and cultures of the Near East and Mesopotamia. As doing otherwise severely limits our understanding of these cultures.

Though despite the evidence above, there is still a great amount of dispute over the Exodus narrative to which ranges from there is no volcano in the Sinai Peninsula, no evidence of volcanic turmoil in Egypt, or even as far as to dispute it couldn’t be so simply because the word volcano is not present in the bible. I find the last dispute a bit irrelevant however, and so due to the fact that the term is not contemporary to the time in which Exodus was written.. As in there isn’t even Hebrew term for volcano, and nor did the term exist. Son on the surface that dispute seems like a good point, but in reality it is rather not since the term originates from the archaic period of the kings of Rome, and the Roman mythology surrounding Vulcan, the god of fire:

“The word volcano is derived from the name of Vulcano, a volcanic island in the Aeolian Islands of Italy whose name in turn originates from Vulcan, the name of a god of fire in Roman mythology.[2] “‘Roman god of blacksmiths and fire, Vulcan. When a volcano erupted in Roman times, the people explained it as Vulcan being angry, and hitting the anvil in his forgery (the volcano) with extra strength, sending up the sparks.”
.
Douglas Harper (November 2001). “Volcano”. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved June 11, 2009.

     The term “Volcano” is therefore expected not to be in the Bible. However, the Hebrew term “mountain” is, and that is more than sufficient when the descriptions are apparently describing an erupting volcano within the limits of the languages spoken at the time. So I am inclined to ignore this grievance to address the more notable dispute in how there is supposedly no such evidence of volcanic destruction in Egypt as well as that there are no volcanoes in Egypt, or the Sinai Peninsula. Well despite some of those being true, they are flawed arguments that ignore the geological evidence of a cataclysmic volcanic event, what evidence we do have of the impact The Thera eruption had on Egypt, The Exodus narrative,  and the fact that the Sinai Peninsula did not exist under that name during these time periods. The Peninsula in particular here was was called Mafkat or Country of Turquoise:

The Sinai peninsula has traditionally been considered Sinai’s location by Christians, although it should also be noted that the peninsula gained its name from this tradition, and was not called that in Josephus‘ time or earlier.[7] (The Sinai was earlier inhabited by the Monitu and was called Mafkat or Country of Turquoise.)
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7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Jewish Encyclopedia
http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Sinai_Peninsula

     Mafkat was inferred at the Country of Turquoise by the Egyptians due to the Turquoise mines in which provided much of the Turquoise for their jewelry. There is no indication of the existence of Sinai at the time in which Exodus had been written, and thus the original location of Sinai is unknown. The argument regarding the Sinai Peninsula is either disingenuous, discredited, or simply unfounded with any sort of historicity to the subject just to begin with here. This same problem deals with the current Mt Sinai as it too was named after the biblical Mt Sinai. Thus again the location of Mt Sinai is a matter of question, and may even be a fictional place card to represent volcanic mountains and events in the region throughout the history and evolution of Mesopotamian Pagan cultures. This of course being in that we already know that Exodus in itself is regarded by mainstream archaeology, Egyptology, and anthropology as mythical. The best case scenario for the historicity is therefore a mythical telling and expression of real events such as the Thera eruption, or the eviction of the Hyksos from Egypt in which would then had to have been greatly exaggerated. Hence a work of fiction based on true events or natural phenomenon as it has been done since the dawn of written language.  Thus with that in mind, I would argue there is evidence of such real world events that likely had inspired the largely fictional writing of Exodus, and perhaps even led to the eviction of the Hyksos from the lands of Egypt.  This evidence includes Exodus earliest writings being as early as 1523-15570 BC:

Biblical Archaeology: The Date of the Exodus According to Ancient Writers. References to the Shasu are found on pages 153, 203, 228f, 269-273, 275, 277-280, 318, 365, and 444, along with tons of references to other peer-reviewed archaeology.

This of course is consistent with the archaeological evidence concerning that of the Thera Eruption and the destruction of ancient Egyptian Cities.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1200/is_v128/ai_4016484/
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http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/04/070402-egypt-volcano.html
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http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/culture-places-news/atlantis-volcano-vin/
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Abstract:
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“Ancient Egypt Cities Leveled by Massive Volcano, Lava Find Suggests Dan Morrison in Cairofor National Geographic News April 2, 2007 Egyptian archaeologists today announced that they have unearthed traces of solidified lava on the northern coast of Sinai that date to around 1500 B.C.—supporting accounts that ancient Egyptian settlements were buried by a massive volcanic eruption in the Mediterranean, they say.”

And as noted, this is also consistent with Minoan Eruption:

“The Minoan eruption of Thera, also referred to as the Thera eruption or Santorini eruption, was a major catastrophic volcanic eruption with a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 6 or 7 and a Dense-rock equivalent (DRE) of 60 cubic kilometres (14 cu mi),[1] which is estimated to have occurred in the mid second millennium BCE.[2] The eruption was one of the largest volcanic events on Earth in recorded history.[3][4][5] The eruption devastated the island of Thera (also called Santorini), including the Minoan settlement at Akrotiri, as well as communities and agricultural areas on nearby islands and on the coast of Crete. There are no clear ancient records of the eruption; the eruption seems to have inspired certain Greek myths[6], may have caused turmoil in Egypt The radiocarbon dates have significant implications for the accepted chronology of Eastern Mediterranean cultures.[22][23] The Minoan eruption is a key marker for the Bronze Age archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean world. It provides a fixed point for aligning the entire chronology of the second millennium BCE in the Aegean, because evidence of the eruption is found throughout the region. Despite this evidence, the exact date of the eruption has been difficult to determine. For most of the twentieth century, archaeologists placed it at approximately between 1500 – 1627 BCE,[15]

This Eruption to which is considered the likely trigger to the downfall of the Bronze Age. An event that led to the likely fall of Babylon in put the region into economic chaos to which had a large impact on the ruling Hyksos in Egypt according to the paper linked.

Volcanic explosion larger than Krakatoa triggers collapse of Bronze age: William Ryan, Lamont-Doherty Earth
Observatory of Columbia University http://geologymuseum.rutgers.edu/downloads/newsletter_-_2005_spring.pdf , βλ. σελ. 26.  Note: link is now dead
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Abstract:

The fall of Babylon plunged Mesopotamia into economic chaos. The Hyksos, who governed Egypt at that time, depended on Babylonian support and were soon expelled.

     Furthermore, we can reference the Lecture on Babylon and Egyptian trade with the Minoans (http://www2.uncp.edu/home/rwb/lecture_ancient_civ.htm). The fall of the Minoan civilization also meant the economic stability of the Hyksos rule in which was compounded in a battle for resources as the Hittites attacked the regions largest grain stores of Babylon. As in the economic stability of Babylon was in disorder, and this would have been devastating to the Hyksos. Their eviction was eminent, and for the Minoans it was a civilization ending event that clearly had a very drastic impact on the region, cultures, oral traditions, beliefs, theology, and regional political climates. The Hyksos had lost their primary source of support. Furthermore, note the following contention concerning the aftermath of the Thera eruption and the fall of the hyksos:

Heavy rainstorms which devastated much of Egypt, and were described on the Tempest Stele of Ahmose I, have been attributed to short-term climatic changes caused by the Theran eruption.[7][8][51]While it has been argued that the damage from this storm may have been caused by an earthquake following the Thera Eruption, it has also been suggested that it was caused during a war with the Hyksos, and the storm reference is merely a metaphor for chaos, upon which the Pharaoh was attempting to impose order.[52]
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7. Foster, KP, Ritner, RK, and Foster, BR (1996). “Texts, Storms, and the Thera Eruption”. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 55 (1): 1–14. doi:10.1086/373781.
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8.EN, Davis (1990). “A Storm in Egypt during the Reign of Ahmose”Thera and the Aegean World III.
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51. Goedicke, Hans (1995). Studies about Kamose and Ahmose. Baltimore: David Brown Book Company. Chapter 3. ISBN0-9613805-8-6.
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52Wiener, MH; Allen, JP (1998). “Separate Lives: The Ahmose Tempest Stela and the Theran Eruption”. Journal of Near Eastern Studies (University of Chicago Press)57: 1–28. doi:10.1086/468596.
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Further References:
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http://web.archive.org/web/20111227182804/
http:/www.therafoundation.org/articles/chronololy/astorminegypt..
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Abstract:
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Fragments of the stele were found in the 3rd Pylon of the temple of Karnak at Thebes between 1947 and 1951 by the French Mission. A restoration of the stele and translation of the text was published by Claude Vandersleyen (1967). In the following year (1968), Vandersleyen added two more fragments, one from the top of the inscription and a small piece from line 10 of the restored text, which had been recovered by Egyptian archaeologists in the final cleaning of the foundations. Each of the two sides of the stele bore the same inscription, allowing Vandersleyen to produce a restored text by collating them. The upper portion, after giving the King’s titles and a recitation of religious ceremonies, describes the storm. It is unfortunately the most damaged part of the stele, with the result that there are many lacunae in the meteorological description. The description of the storm is followed by a virtually complete text that specifies the measures taken by the King to relieve the distress of the people and to repair the damages at Thebes.
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See also:
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Volcanic Winters By: Michael Rampino , Stephen Self, and Richard B. Stothers SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)
Page 73
Page 74
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Abstract:
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A substantial case has been made fore the connection of the Egyptian and biblical reports of darkness and ash rains as the time of the Exodus with the explosive eruption of Santorini (Thera) in the Aegean Sea in the second millennium BC. …. and had effects as far away as China (Pang & Chou 1985)

The metaphorical argument appears to be highly unlikely, and appears to be an apologetic rather than based on sound Anthropological or Archaeological evidence. It’s also refuted in this paper to which suggests there is no evidence of any such war causing such damage, or such having taken place due to war:

Dating the war of the Hyksos page 21-22  by: 

     It’s thus seen as more to do with a withdrawal from Egypt that was ultimately caused by this cataclysmic event than a full out war in Egypt. Giving the evidence, we can rule out any use of a metaphor as noted.   The further collapse of the Bronze age was likely compounded by other more recent volcanic activity like the eruption of Krakatoa to which would have further impacted the climate change, and impacted the collapse of the Canaanite civilization.. Though despite the impacts cited, one of the more interesting things to note about the Thera eruption is that it would have been visible from as far East as the Nile Delta, and even as far as Israel to which is well illustrated in “Egyptian Origin of the Book of Revelation P.274 – 280“:

levant

     Where Mt. Thera sits is the Island chain just off to the left of Cyprus in the above map of Levant according to Google maps. And depending on your vantage point in the Sinai dessert, you can range from a few feet to more than 2,000 ft above sea level, thus giving you a less obstructed view. The point however is that the eruption would clearly have been seen from the Levant Region, and would not have been some small localized event. Thera had a very wide regional impact spanning from the triggering of the downfall of the Bronze age, the eviction of Hyksos from Egypt, the plagues of Egypt, and even to the observed impacts on the Nile Delta. Evidence of such has been published in Nature where volcanic shards from Santorini were discovered in Nile Delta.:

Abstract:
We now report evidence for the presence of ash ejected from this explosion in sediment cores recovered in the eastern Nile Delta of Egypt. This discovery of Upper Minoan glass shards extends considerably the zone of confirmed ash fall to the southeast of Santorini, and serves as evidence of a major natural phenomenon affecting Egypt during the reign of Pharaohs in the Eighteenth Dynasty. It is quite possible that this ash-fall event may have given rise to texts pertaining to darkening of the sky and veiling of the Sun in early historic records.
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DANIEL JEAN STANLEY & HARRISON SHENG
Division of Sedimentology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560
Nature 320, 733 – 735 (24 April 1986); doi:10.1038/320733a0

     These impacts are much the foundation of the Exodus narrative in which I have found to be consistent to the aftermath of volcanic eruptions to where the ten plagues of Egypt and the imagery of the Nile Delta are yet equally important key pieces of evidence I will go over in chapter 5 as this cataclysmic event has seemed to traumatize and strike fear in what can best be described as shock and awe into the heart of the cultural mindset i in and around the Mediterranean.

And this clearly seems present in the Old and New Testament, and thus adding further empirical support to our hypothesis in question.  But let’s continue on and get more into the bible and it’s description of GOD. In Chapter 4, we will examine  face to face this described jealous talking, all consuming,  and smoking mountain of fire in the Deuteronomy:

<– Chapter 2 / Chapter 4: –>

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