The Nephilim, Anunnaki and More: Four Common Mistakes Made When Interpreting Mythology
The 19th century gave us some of the best work on mythology, but much of it has been ignored over time. Since around the 1960s, when excitement was at its peak regarding space travel and the moon landing, a generation decided to look at mythology in a new light, giving way for the ancient astronaut theory. While a lot of good has come of it, many mistranslations have also plagued it. These are just a few prominent examples.
And it came to pass when men began to be numerous upon the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God having seen the daughters of men that they were beautiful, took to themselves wives of all whom they chose. And the Lord God said, My Spirit shall certainly not remain among these men for ever, because they are flesh, but their days shall be an hundred and twenty years. Now the giants were upon the earth in those days; and after that when the sons of God were wont to go in to the daughters of men, they bore children to them, whose were the giants of old, the men of renown.
The Sons of God Saw the Daughters of Men That They Were Fair, by Daniel Chester French, modeled by 1918, carved 1923 - Corcoran Gallery of Art. ( CC0)
The gibbōrīm, “mightie men,” (NT) the “men of renown,” termed gigantes in Greek and anglicized as giants in the Septuagint (LXX) are the transliterated Hebrew word nephīlīm. The term is related to the Hebrew naphal, meaning “to fall,” but is not the same word. Such mistaken interpretations have led to the assumption of many that the Nephilim were the fallen angels who allied alongside Lucifer during the rebellion. Other giants include Emim, Rephaim, Gibborim, Zamzummim, Anakim and Ivvim. These were all different tribes of giants, not fallen angels or gods.
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‘Norandino and Lucina Discovered by the Ogre’ (1624) by Giovanni Lanfranco. ( Public Domain )
The Anunnaki & Nibiru
Thanks to Zecharia Sitchin , most ancient astronaut theorists (and their fans) believe the Anunnaki are a mysterious race of beings who came from a planet called Nibiru. The term Anunnaki derives from an, “heaven,” and nuna-ke-ne, “princely offspring.” Thus, they are the offspring of Anu, father of Enki and Enlil. The first mention of Nibiru is in the Enûma Eliš , in Tablet V verse 6: “He founded the station of Nebiru to determine their (heavenly) bands”. The second mention is at the end of Tablet VII, verse 126: “Nebiru is the star which in the skies is brilliant.”
Image of the Sumerian god Enki. Modern reproduction of a detail of the Adda seal (c. 2300 BC). ( Public Domain )
In both, translator E. A. Speiser clearly states Nibiru is Jupiter and L. W. King states the same in his translation. Nibiru derives from eberu, “to cross,” from which Sitchin dubbed his Nibiru as the “planet of crossing.” But the cross is that of the zodiac, upon which is the celestial Sun. The alleged orbit of Sitchin’s planet is 3,600 years. The number is a sar, the Sumerian unit of time equal to 3,600 earth years, generated by multiplying 6 by 10 (pur), arriving at 60 (soss); 60 X 10 gave 600 (ner), and 600 X 6 = 3,600 (sar). Nowhere in the creation epic does it associate this figure with Nibiru and nowhere else in Sumerian mythic literature is Nebiru mentioned. Thus, Anunnaki is simply a Sumerian term for the gods , who did not come from another planet.
Early Babylonian Kudurru-reliefs of zodiacal symbols within the heavenly circle surrounding an undulating serpent representing the Milky Way. Shown are three classic planetary symbols of Sumero-Mesopotamian religious art: the Moon (crescent), Sun (estoile) and Venus (octactinal star). (Author provided)
The Forbidden Fruit
For millennia people have assumed the forbidden fruit of Eden to be an apple. Genesis states:
Now the serpent was the most crafty of all the brutes on the earth, which the Lord God made, and the serpent said to the woman, Wherefore has God said, Eat not of every tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. (Gen. 3:2-4, OT)
‘Eve Tempted by the Serpent’ (1799-1800) by William Blake. ( Public Domain )
The assumed consensus has always been the image of the serpent handing Eve an apple, but the Bible (or any other source for that matter) does not mention an apple at all, but uses the generic term “fruit,” which obviously could mean any fruit. The association was made in the early history of the Church using a paronomasia when preaching to the ignorant masses. In Latin, the word for “bad” is malus and the word for “apple” is malum.
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This simple yet specious pun spawned an apple in every piece of artwork concerning the event. But the fruit is not an apple at all, it is described as “like the appearance of a bunch of grapes of the vine” (ApAb. 23:6) and “its fruit is like a cluster of white grapes.” (Orig. World 110)
‘The Fall and Expulsion from Garden of Eden’ by Michelangelo Buonarroti on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, bay 4. ( Public Domain )
The Sumerian Tree of Life
Depictions of the Sumerian Tree of Life has befuddled ancient astronaut theorists, many of whom speculate every few months over what they call “ handbags.” The Assyrian bas-relief from the walls of the Northwest Palace of Ashurbanipal II (reigned 883-859 BC) at Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), c. 870 – 860 BC, shows two Apkallu gods flanked, each with a pinecone and a situla (water bucket), representing the food and water of immortality. This simple yet definitive answer was known to the mythologists of the 19th century, well established decades before the appearance of ancient astronaut theory.
Assyrian relief carving from Nimrud, 883–859 BC, depicting a so-called handbag. ( Metropolitan Museum of Art )
Top Image: Many stories from mythology are misinterpreted. ‘Norandino and Lucina Discovered by the Ogre’ (1624) by Giovanni Lanfranco. ( Public Domain ) Image of the Sumerian god Enki. Modern reproduction of a detail of the Adda seal (c. 2300 BC). ( Public Domain ) Assyrian relief carving from Nimrud, 883–859 BC, depicting a so-called handbag. ( Metropolitan Museum of Art ) ‘Eve Tempted by the Serpent’ (1799-1800) by William Blake. ( Public Domain )
Priscilla Vogelbacher is an independent, autodidact fine artist, writer and researcher. She is the author of ‘ Hallowed Be Thy Name: Lucifer, Origins & Revelation’ , available on Amazon and at the Harvard University Library. She has been on shows and podcasts including Midnight in the Desert, Beyond the Darkness, Late Night in the Midlands and The Sage of Quay Radio Hour. Her expertise is Mesopotamian mythology, though she studies the myths and legends of all cultures. For more information and to see her work, visit www.beautifulnightmarestudios.com.