2006-04-11

The Last Words of our Savior

Eli, Eli!

by Dr Dan Waniek, MD
Copyright © 2006 danwaniek.org
The Aramaeans : their Ancient History, Culture, Religion (Hardcover) by Edward Lipinski, 2000
Aramaean is the language of our Savior, for popular Aramaean is the form in which His last words on the Holy Cross were uttered. The Aramaeans were a little known people spreading throughout Syria, the Bekaa valley, the Euphrates, Aram per se, inside the Northern Arab territories and so on. Aramean was once the lingua franca, used viva voce and in tablets, papyri and other inscriptions from the Persian Gulf to the Lower and Upper Egypt. Dr Edward Lipinski wrote a scholarly, well documented, synthetic work of great value concerning this dusty, arid and still mysterious knowledgeable field. Patiently and tactfully, the author takes us into the deep and arcane history of the Fertile Crescent around 1500 BC and through 700 BC when the Arameans seem to have vanished together with the former masters of Niniveh. The sophisticate, complex and incredibly "modern" Aramaean culture in the Assyrian and Hurrian context, and especially its religious life are investigated. The weight of Aramaean impact into the Western Civilization is taken into consideration.
Great care and balance are needed for such a sensitive area for anyone who touches the Holy Land and the history of Israel and Judah. Being highly specialized and savvy, the author navigates through semitic studies, archaeology, assyrology and - using a historian's view, in the line of Thucydides - he manages to unearth the first Aramaeans starting with the first attested inscriptions of the name ARAM and AHLAMUU. He particularly and especially pushes his etymological analysis for the word Aram and the A-ru-mu towards the Wild Bull of the Sun under God Hadad - not far from Nicolae Densuşianu's now famous work on the " Arimi ". Even Dumézil's crticized accounts of Hurrians and Vedic warriors entering the Holy Land in advance of the "Sons of Heth" now find a better context, if not downright vindication. Dr Lipinski takes us through the times of troubles where the geopolitical map was redrawn in the Fertile Crescent, at the sudden implosion of the Hittite Empire, with the advent of the Sea Peoples during the Great Mycenian Migration. Toynbee would have liked that vision of chariots along the Gaza Strip... There is a very useful abbreviated list of sources at the beginning. Maps are exquisitely drawn. There are remarkably few typos, even in the realm of previously spotty and badly translated Aramean inscriptions. Even the paper of this volume is great. I would have liked a more assertive attempt to write even a partial conclusion, and the index, with 50 pages, is a bit too much for me. This feast of a book is serious and inspiring. It is highly recommended, even for neophytes, and being myself one of these, I have a word of excuse for Dr Edward Lipinsky, for Amazon does not seem to find useful to add the accent on the "n" in the second syllable of his family name!

ISBN : 9042908599, BOBE-5230-REFS-0001, RANK : #1,672,526, 665 pages, unique edition.

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