@Acharya - you wrote:
Here is what looks like a very cool and fascinating book from the 19th century that you should be able to get for free on Google Books.
The Old Testament in Light of the Ancient East
The book discusses the astral religion of Babylon and elsewhere in depth, including Shamash the sun god and Sin the moon god.
AD: From "Identification with Saturn": Shamash was historically associated with the planet Saturn. Morris Jastrow, Jr. identifies Shamash with the planet Saturn. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamash#Identification_with_Saturn
Question: If Shamash represents the sun, how is it then, that he/it historically and scholarly is identified with the planet Saturn?
Thanks for the query.Shamash the Sun and Saturn
The Hebrew word שמש or shamash
means (Strong's H8121
b) sunrise, sun-rising, east, sun-setting, west (of direction)
c) sun (as object of illicit worship)
d) openly, publicly (in other phrases)
e) pinnacles, battlements, shields (as glittering or shining)
This word is used 134 times in the Old Testament, translated in the Authorized Version as the following, including as "sun" 119 times:
sun 119, sunrising + 04217 9, east side + 04217 2, windows 1, eastward + 04217 1, west + 03996 1, westward + 03996 1
The god Shamash as the Babylonian sun god is quite well known, but his role as Saturn is much less so. In antiquity, it is quite common for gods to take on attributes of other gods and goddesses, and many gods who were not originally sun gods adopted solar characteristics, as the solar cult became dominant.
As we also know, the moon, planets and many constellations were likewise part of this astral religion or astrotheology. Hence, many gods took on attributes of these various celestial entities as well. In this regard, the Jewish tribal god Yahweh possessed many solar and lunar attributes, while he was also said to be representative of Saturn or El in the Canaanite pantheon
, the "God of thy Father." (Genesis 46:3
) Hence, Jews worship on Saturn-day.
In turn, El possessed many solar attributes, so he could be considered both Saturn and the sun. Ditto with Shamash, apparently - you can see this development in the article that you referenced by Jastrow, who is the author of the book that is the subject of my previous post:
Sun and Saturn
by Morris Jastrow
Thompson in his Introduction to his collection of astrological reports has noticed that the planet Saturn was also designated as Šamaš, i.e. "sun" by the Babylonian-Assyrian astrologers and he quotes the statement of Hyginus to the effect that Saturn was called "the star of the sun". He has not, however, recognized quite a number of passages in his collection in which this usage occurs. The Reports Nos. 173-183B he has grouped under "Omens from the Sun",whereas it is clear that in Nos. 174, 174 A, 175, 176, and 180(3), Šamaš must refer to Saturn, just as in Nos. 89 rev. 6; 90 obv. 3; 99 obv. 6; 101A obv. 5; 102 obv. 5; 107 obv. 3 (to be restored); 114A obv. 3; 115C obv. 3; 144 rev. 1 -- many of which were correctly so regarded by Thompson(4); also in Nos.107 obv. 3 and 216B obv. 3. In almost all these cases the omen reads enuma(il)Šamaš ina tarbas Sin izziz (or ititiz), i.e. "when Šamaš stands in the halo of the moon". Since this phenomenon can only occur at night, Šamaš cannot of course be the sun. The proof that it is Saturn is furnished by the astrologers themselves...
In the Semitic culture, Saturn is considered the "sun of the night," so this "confusion" is understandable, especially when one realizes that we are dealing with significantly "night-sky people," the Semitic peoples to a one using mainly the lunar calendar. Hence, they put great emphasis on the night sky, and the description of Saturn in this manner is logical. Saturn has a solar color, and with the naked eye the rings cannot be discerned easily, so it appears to be fuzzy and projecting rays, like the sun. Saturn was represented by a pointed star, like the sun: The hexagram or "Star of David." As we know, the sun is also a star. In this way, by combining these two powerful celestial bodies, one the bright star of the day and the other of the night, the priesthood could double its hoodoo, so to speak.
Deemed the "central and everlasting sun" because it served as the "pole star," Saturn is considered the great judge, a role traditionally held also by the day star. In stelli-lunar cultures, such as the desert tribes, the night sky is of greater focus, because it is during the night when most travel occurs, avoiding the scalding sun of day.
It is interesting to note that Saturn is called Shabbatai or Sabatai in Hebrew, essentially the same word for "sabbath," shabbat
, which Jews celebrate on Saturn-day. As El, Saturn is mentioned many times in the Bible, but, again, El had other functions as well, including solar attributes. Shabbatai/Saturn possesses heavy juju in the system of Kabbalah
, revealing Judaism's Saturn-worshipping roots.
Saturn is mentioned overtly in the Bible at Amos 5:26:
You shall take up Sakkuth your king, and Kaiwan your star-god, your images, which you made for yourselves;
Here "Kaiwan your star-god" is Saturn, also transliterated Chiun and Kiyyun, written כיון or Kiyuwn
in Hebrew. Strong's H3594
defines Kiyuwn as:
Chiun = "an image" or "pillar"
1) probably a statue of the Assyrian-Babylonian god of the planet Saturn and used to symbolise Israelite apostasy
Regarding this passage, the Catholic Encyclopedia
Saturn is no less certainly represented by the star Kaiwan, adored by the reprobate Israelites in the desert (Amos 5:26). The same word (interpreted to mean "steadfast") frequently designates, in the Babylonian inscriptions, the slowest-moving planet; while Sakkuth, the divinity associated with the star by the prophet, is an alternative appellation for Ninib, who, as a Babylonian planet-god, was merged with Saturn. The ancient Syrians and Arabs, too, called Saturn Kaiwan, the corresponding terms in the Zoroastrian Bundahish being Kevan. The other planets are individualized in the Bible only by implication. The worship of gods connected with them is denounced, but without any manifest intention of refering to the heavenly bodies. Thus, Gad and Meni (Isaias, lxv, 11) are, no doubt, the "greater and the lesser Fortune" typified throughout the East by Jupiter and Venus; Neba, the tutelary deity of Borsippa (Isaias xlvi, 1), shone in the sky as Mercury, and Nergal, transplanted frorn Assyria to Kutha (2 Kings 17:30), as Mars.
Notice how, in discussing Sakkuth, a name for the Babylonian planet-god Ninib, the Catholic Encyclopedia points out that it was "merged with Saturn." Again, as we can see from this example alone, many gods and goddesses shared, traded and absorbed each other's attributes, which were often astrotheological.