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Thread: What happened to the Ark of the Covenant?

  1. Top | #31
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    Thanks, Swami, for indulging my ignorance on the topic.

    The reason I brought up translation is because as we know we can make translations into what we want them to say, which changes the context. That's an unfortunate fact we all have to live with.

    Is it possible the Ark story has been borrowed from another culture? There is a lot of convincing scholarship out there about how Jewish religion has borrowed heavily from other cultures. I know you mentioned this as a possibility earlier in the thread.

    And thank you for allowing me to understand the recent historical connection between the grail legend and the ark story. It makes sense from a religious and a whodunnit points of view. I love a good tale that is woven into historical fact, thank-you for another good thread.

  2. Top | #32
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    I am most definitely NOT an expert on any of these matters. I did read Hancock's The Sign and the Seal with much interest.

    I'm not sure what to make of Hancock's wild conjectures, but the book introduced me to the Qemant and Falasha people whose existences pose intriguing questions about the origin of the Jewish religion.

    Wikipedia and commentators at another message-board seem to think the history of the Jews BEGINS with their Captivity in Babylon; that they may have adopted monotheism from their contact with Persian Zoroastrianism. This strikes me as absurd!

    I've also browsed a very small portion of Donald B. Redford's Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times, viewable on-line for free. That's where I learned that, for example, Egyptian inscriptions like "Yahweh in the Land of the Shasu" can be dated to about 1420 BC. (Wikipedia dates it to the reign of Amenhotep III, but Redford has a footnote making it a century earlier.) The Shasu may or may not have been identical to the 'Apiru/Hebrew; their "Land" was in northern Edom, or possibly a bit farther South near the Petra site.

    In addition to the possible match between Debra Sehel (Mount of Forgiveness), where monks told Hancock the Ark had resided for 800 years, and Parzival's Munsalväsche (Mount of Salvation), there are several other linkages between the Parzival story and the Ethiopian legend of the Ark. Hancock claims that some Templar Knights accompanied Lalibela to Ethiopia, and later provided information to Parzival's authors, making it a sort of treasure map telling the Ark's story. Most of this is too farfetched even for me, but his book is still an interesting read.

  3. Top | #33
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    Scholars, including Jewish scholars, seem uninterested in pursuing some of the topics of early Jewish history. A Jewish Temple is built specifically to house the Ark, and is the only place where Jews perform animal sacrifice. The (relatively recently discovered) Temple at Elephantine is the ONLY Temple ever built by Jews outside Jerusalem, yet it seems to be almost ignored by scholars. I see on the 'Net that that Temple was allegedly associated with a garrison of Jewish soldiers sent by King Manasses — what is the evidence for this?

    The (non-Biblical) history of Judaism goes back much earlier than generally acknowledged, e.g. "Yahweh in the Land of the Shasu" 1420 BC. (Yahweh was then probably an ordinary god, pre-monotheism.) The Bible itself gives plenty of evidence that the Israelites were originally pastoralists associated with Edom. (And the mountains near Petra may have been a special site meaningful to early religions including the early Israelites. There are strong circumstantial connections between those mountains and the mountains key to the Exodus story.) I think 'Shasu' was an ethnonym, and 'Apiru/Hebrew' began as a pejorative perhaps meaning "bandit." (I hope I'm not accused of bigotry for this suggestion about the fore-bearers of Israel 3300 years ago.)

    The stories of Joseph and Moses in Egypt are closely paralleled with the Egyptian practice of taking the sons of their vassals hostage, and giving them princely Egyptian educations.

    And chronologies point strongly to contemporaneity between Akhenaton's monotheism and that of the Jews. (The close resemblance between the Biblical Ark and an Ark found in King Tut's tomb is just one hint.) Did the Jews adopt their monotheism from Akhenaton? Or vice versa? (There is a record of adherents to Atenism fleeing Egypt upon Akhenaton's death — Could that be the "Exodus"?)

    When first hearing about a connection between Israel and Ethiopia, it's tempting to think these locations, on different continents, are too distant from each other. Yet the Nile River serves as a highway from Lower Egypt straight to Lake Tana. The religions of Qemant and Falasha have undeniable connections to Judaism. The Falasha celebrate Passover but not any Jewish holidays instituted AFTER the Fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar. Occam's Razor fills in the gaps to give a simple compelling story. Are parts of this story much too uncomfortable for Jewish scholars?


    Ethiopia was one of the very first nations to convert to Christianity (it converted at almost the same time as Armenia and Caucasian Albania) so for almost 17 centuries the 'Ark' — whatever it is — is possessed and valued by Christians, not the Falasha. Every Orthodox Christian church in Ethiopia has a 'tabot', said to be a replica of the "Ark" but actually a stone tablet, presumably intended as a replica of one of the Tablets inscribed by the Finger of Yahweh and deposited in the Ark.

    One witness, arguing against Ethiopia's possession of the Ark, claims to have been shown, as the True Ark, a 'tabot' with no containing box. Another witness claims to have been shown a wooden box with no tablets inside. (Since such 'tabotat' are plentiful in Ethiopia, why weren't one or two placed in the box before showing the 'Ark' to this foreigner?)

    I think the original Tablets may have been lost or stolen. I think the wooden box may have become rotten or damaged over the centuries and been replaced. Like the Tin Woodman, does the Ark remain the Ark when its pieces are all replaced? For me, the interesting questions are NOT whether the Ark at Axum is the very same Ark that "brought down the walls of Jericho," but what light the Elephantine Temple and other puzzles might shed on ancient history.

  4. Top | #34
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    https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/do...10.1086/474061

    I just stumbled on an article which tells much about the Elephantine Temple. Contents include (an Eglish translation of) a long parchment letter from the Temple to the Governer of Judaea, after the Temple had been razed by Egyptians. Honesty requires that I divulge it at once.

    [Yeb is an old name for Elephantine. The Assuan Fortress is sited at present-day Aswan, just north of the First Cataract. Yahu (or Ya'u) is 'Yahweh.']
    Quote Originally Posted by https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdf/10.1086/474061
    [discussion of Elephantine papyrus who are clearly non-Egyptian because ...]
    [First, the letter writers] differentiate themselves sharply in their conduct from the Egyptians. Second, they are Semites, for the inscription is written in Aramaic. Third, when they speak of Chnub the god of Elephantine, they do not honor him by prefixing to his name the title "god," as any ordinary Semite would have undoubtedly done....

    Interesting and valuable as such a group of texts is, it is surpassed in both particulars by a later discovery. In the Berlin Museum is a collection of papyri found by Dr. O. Rubensohn, director of the German Society's excavations at Elephantine in the winter of 1907. Three of these papyri have been copied and translated by Professor Sachau of Berlin. They are the copy of a letter sent by the Jews of Elephantine to Bagoas, the governor of Judah; together with a duplicate of it and a memorandum of the reply received. The original letter reads as follows:
    To our Master Bagoas, Governor of Judah: Thy servants Jedoniah and his companions, priests in the fortress Yeb. May our Lord the God of Heaven greatly increase prosperity for thee at all times and grant thee grace in the sight of King Darius and the members of his household, a thousand fold more than thou hast now; and may he grant thee long life. Mayst thou be happy and enjoy good health continually. Now thy servants, Jedoniah and his companions, speak as follows: in the month Tammuz in the fourteenth year of King Darius, when Arsam had departed and gone to the King, the priests of the god Chnub, who were in the fortress Yeb, conspired with Widrang who was Governor (?) and said, "the temple of the God Yahu which is in Yeb the fortress, let it be removed thence." Thereupon this Widrang, the Commandant (?), sent a letter to his son Nephayan who was captain of the garrison in Assuan the fortress, saying, "the temple which is in the fortress Yeb is to be destroyed." Thereupon Nephayan led forth Eygptians together with other troops. They came to the fortress Yeb with their pick-axes (?). They went up into this temple. They razed it to the ground and the pillars of stone which were there they broke in pieces; moreover, the seven stone gates, built of hewn stone, which were in that temple, they destroyed and turned them upside down (?). The hinges of the bronze doors and the roof which was all of cedar, together with the plaster of the wall and other articles which were there, all of them they burned with fire. And the sacrificial bowls of gold and silver, and whatever else was in this temple, all of it they took and used for themselves. Now from the day of the King(s) of Egypt our fathers had built this temple in the fortress Yeb. And when Cambyses came to Egypt he found this temple built; and although the temples of the gods of Egypt were all destroyed, no one harmed anything in this temple. And ever since they did this, we with our wives and children have clothed ourselves in sack cloth and have been fasting and praying to Yahu the Lord of the Heavens, who has given us vengeance upon this Widrang, the Commandant (?). The anklet of office was removed from his feet and all the goods which he had acquired perished; and all who wished evil against this temple have been slain and we have seen our desire upon them. Even before this, at the time when this harm was done to us, we sent a letter to our master and to Johanan, the High Priest and his companions the priests in Jerusalem, and to Ostan the brother of Anani. But the nobles of the Jews sent us no reply. Moreover, from the Tammuz day of the fourteenth year of Darius the King even up to this very day, we have clothed ourselves in sack cloth and fasted. Our wives are become like widows. We have not anointed ourselves with oil, nor drunk wine. Moreover, from that time even unto this day of the seventeenth year of Darius the King, meal-offerings, incense-offerings and burnt-offerings have not been presented in the temple. Now thy servant Jedoniah and his companions and the Jews, all the citizens of Yeb, say as follows: If it seem good to our master, let him bethink himself upon this temple that it may be built; for we are not permitted to build it. Look upon the recipients of thy goodness and of thy favor who are here in Eygpt. Let a letter be sent from thee to them concerning the temple of the God Yahu, that it may be built in Yeb the fortress just as it was built in former times. And they will offer meal-offerings and incense-offerings and burnt-offerings upon the altar of the God Yahu in thy name, and we will pray for thee continually; we and our wives and our children and all the Jews that are here. If thou doest thus, so that this temple may be rebuilt, then there shall be righteousness to thee in the sight of Yahu, God of the Heavens, more than that of the man who offers to him burnt-offerings and sacrifices to the value of a thousand talents of silver. Concerning the gold, concerning this we have sent, we have given directions. Moreover, we have sent all about the matters in a letter in our name to Delaiah and Shelemaiah, the sons of Sanaballat, the Governor of Samaria. Moreover, Arsam knew nothing of all this that has been done to us. On the twentieth day of Marcheswan, in the seventeenth year of Darius the King.
    A favorable reply to this letter was evidently received as appears from the accompanying memorandum of its contents:
    Memorandum of what Bagoas and Delaiah said to me. Memorandum as follows: Thou shalt say, in Egypt before Arsam concerning the house of the altar of the God of Heavens which was built in Yeb the fortress before our time, prior to the time of Cambyses, which Widrang this Commandant (?) destroyed in the fourteenth year of Darius the King, that it is to be rebuilt in its place just as it was before our time, and meal-offerings and incense-offerings shall be offered upon this altar as used to be done formerly ...
    There were two "King Darius" who reigned as both Shahanshah of Persia and Pharaoh of Egypt. The King Darius referred to must(?) be Darius II, great grandson of Darius I.

    Obviously this letter was written long after the Second Temple (the Zerubabel Temple) was built, but what about the "Ark" allegedly sent up-river, first to Meroe? Had the cautious guardians of the Ark acted earlier? The letter described a razed Temple which lost gold, silver and "all" but little hint of any Ark. I'm starting to think Mr. Moogly is probably right: The "true" Ark, if that term is even meaningful, was probably long gone. Imposters may have been put forth from time to time.

  5. Top | #35
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    box, big fucking deal

  6. Top | #36
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    Yes, but just don't touch the fucking thing, even if it's tipping over. The love god will whack you. He guards it like your perv uncle guards his porn.

  7. Top | #37
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    uncle? he is a law enforcement official.

  8. Top | #38
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    In that case, don't tell him I blew his cover.

  9. Top | #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideologyhunter View Post
    In that case, don't tell him I blew his cover.
    he's embedded

  10. Top | #40
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    You first have to assume the myth is reality.

    If the Ark assuming it exists and is located in Ethiopia or anywhere else, the Israelis would not tolerate anyone else possessing it.

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