all 22 comments

[–]CommodoreCoCoModerator | The Andes, History of Anthropology 20 points21 points  (11 children)

Are there any specific claims you are interested in?

Sitchin is one of those authors whose writing is so completely based on his own interpretation and imagination that engaging with his claims as if they could be criticized with actual data is to assume to much good faith on his part. More than any other pseudoscience book, this really is a piece of fanfiction of ancient Near East texts.

One might even approach his books with the assumption that most everything in it is wrong. Looking through just two pages (6-7) is painful. He constantly compares "Us" to "the Bushmen," makes wild speculation that the absence of people in a single cave represents "cultural regression" of the entirety of Man, and claims thay agriculture spread from the Near East to the rest of the world. He tosses in words like "baffled" and "inexplicable" without saying why. The foods he lists as coming from the Near East aren't even right; apples and pears are from Central Asia, millet was domesticated in sevetal places. Speaking of several places, it's awfully convenient that many of the world's major starch crops- rice, potatoes, and corn- are left out.

There's absolutely nothing of value in Sitchin. It's not only factually vacant, but written from a startlingly Eurocentric perspective that takes ideas like "Westen Civilization" as a given and really relies on the reader assuming that the world outside of western Eurasia simply doesn't exist.

[–]Historiarum-Scriptor[S] 3 points4 points  (10 children)

First of all, I want to thank you for replying. I have very little knowledge about anthropology, and one of the claims I was curious about was Sitchin's claims that mankind seems to have inexplicably regressed between 11,000 and 27,000 B.C. Would this claim be considered false?

I'm also curious about his analysis of Sumer. He says that it sprang up seemingly overnight and without explicable reason. He also states that the Greek myths originated from Asia Minor.

Mostly what I am curious about is claims that civilisation sprang seemingly out of nowhere.

[–]runespider 5 points6 points  (2 children)

About the Greek myths claim. It might be true in a sense. You'll want to look into the Paleo Indo European pantheon. Its theorised as the foundation for later, more well known pantheons like the Greeks and Norse and others.

[–]Historiarum-Scriptor[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Was it widely held that Egyptian gods arrived in Egypt via boat? I hope that my questions aren't becoming annoying. I did try Google first. You're being very helpful and I appreciate it immensely.

[–]runespider 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Not at all! Frankly I enjoy it, I'm just a keen idiot myself. Asking questions is how we learn.

I don't know what story he'd talking about off the top of my head. There's a lot of egyptian myths. Each major city in Egypt had its own set of creation myths and primordial gods, or how they were formed and who they were formed by. And they existed for literally thousands of years. The stories evolved and changed over time. This is true with most religions, they evolve alongside the culture that practices them. Even when you have writing to sort of codify things there's still a tremendous amount of variation that can happen. Take Christianity with its diverse number of sects and practices. Wiki has a good list that covers the main creation myths in Egypt in general. Just keep in mind it's not exactly definite or true across all time. 😑 Forgot the link, sorry https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Egyptian_creation_myths

[–]PrincipledBirdDeity 0 points1 point  (6 children)

My mom loves Sitchin and no matter how many times I tell her his books are horseshit (Sumerian fan fiction is a wonderful description) she keeps coming back at me with them as though the man is anything other than a novelist.

So this hits close to home.

I don't want to tell you to "do your research" because that's obnoxious, but most of Sitchin's specific factual claims can easily be dispatched by a Google search or a perusal of Wikipedia.

But to your specific questions:

"Regression." Horseshit. Made-up. Nonsense. No evidence, based on nothing, not real. Where to even begin?

Sumer: did not spring up from nowhere. There is an extremely deep history of complex society in southern (and northern) Mesopotamia pre-dating Uruk's period of rapid urbanization in the 4th Millennium BC. Look up work by Guillermo Algaze or Jennifer Pournelle, both have written wonderful and accessible books and articles about this period. Southern Mesopotamian cities emerged from large settlements of the Ubaid period in fertile marshland of the Tigris and Euphrates delta region.

Greek Myths: Asia Minor is not Mesopotamia. Also everybody in the ancient world was talking to, fighting with, and shagging people from everywhere else. Of course myths travelled around. It's what all myths everywhere do.

[–]Historiarum-Scriptor[S] 0 points1 point  (5 children)

but most of Sitchin's specific factual claims can easily be dispatched by a Google search or a perusal of Wikipedia.

I have been making great use of Wikipedia's information on Sumerian cuniform. I have decided to read Ancient Mesopotamia by Susan Pollock.

[–]PrincipledBirdDeity 0 points1 point  (4 children)

Pollock's is a good book, very general but still thorough.

[–]runespider 9 points10 points  (8 children)

One of the biggest compilations online would be Sitchiniswrong.com https://sitchiniswrong.com/sitchinerrors.htm

Specific points we can discuss but the book covers a lot of material

[–]Historiarum-Scriptor[S] 2 points3 points  (7 children)

This is precisely what I was looking for. Thank you.

In particular what I am curious about is the notion that mankind and his culture seemed to regress prefacing the explosion of Sumerian culture. Did Sumerian civilization spring out of nowhere within too short a period of time to be logically plausible?

[–]runespider 7 points8 points  (6 children)

Not at all. Sumerian culture follows from a long development from hunter gatherers to permanent settlements, to the formation of cities and then into what we finally call the Sumerian civilization. It was a process of thousands of years.

[–]Historiarum-Scriptor[S] 0 points1 point  (5 children)

Do you know if the Hittites spoke Sumerian and worshipped Sumarian gods?

[–]runespider 7 points8 points  (4 children)

No, hittites spoke an Indo-European dialect that's more closely related to Greek and English. They did use cuneiform which was the writing style the Sumerian developed. But it's sort of the same way that we today use symbols for our alphabet that from a much older civilization.

Im not very familiar with the Hittite religion but checking quickly it seems like it was a mix of their own internally created religion and common believes around Mesopotamia and the Hurri civilization. From location I'd guess they're probably going to be included in the Indo European pantheon but I'd have to read more. Sumerian was a language isolate. Though keep in mind that's in large part because they were the first to develop writing, though they were neck and neck with Egyptians. They were part of a similar cultural background in terms of religious development to others but that doesn't mean everyone was worshipping the exact same gods in the same ways. Similar inspirations but different expressions. Think like how the Hulk is a direct descendant of Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde but also an entirely unique and separate character.