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- Published on Amazon.com
Rocco A. Errico has written on this specific subject for three decades. The first booklet "Genesis - chapter one" in 1978, the thin book The Mysteries of Creation : The Genesis Story in 1993 and the book at hand in 2007. There are only occasional minor overlaps between the latter two. The 1993 book focuses on general information of the creation part of Genesis, whereas this one explains section for section all parts of Genesis which harbor Aramaic idioms in need of getting deprived of former literal mistranslations. As usual for Errico's books (using the work of his passed on mentor George M. Lamsa), this one is worth the read, taking revealing looks at long-puzzling Bible/Torah sections, such as the concept of "evil", the tree of knowledge, Sodom and Gomorrah (with respective potentials for modern healing consequences) as well as cultural backgrounds such as the origin of circumcision.
In other words, with the future in mind, Errico looks back to overstand the past better, i.e. the origins of today's habits, translations and theologies. Curiously enough, for an October 2007 update, the author remains ignorant to the development of knowledge in the last years and decades. That might have to do a bit with his concept of remaining as neutral as possible as far as denominational theology is concerned - and recent controversies. Merely explaining ancient idioms. Still...:
As time progresses, it becomes ever more controversial wether the Euphrates region really was the origin of civilization. Not going into that, the following assertions in this book are ridiculous, no matter what: This region supposedly produced the first language and humans/population. Even the first calender isn't set in stone (no pun intended). Today, there isn't really any doubt that modern humans (or any humans for that matter) developed in the Ethiopian region.
Errico remains as ambivalent as in his previous books, though a little varying, about the issue: "only by recognizing that all humanity is one family can we save ourselves and refrain from destroying our world", but then averring the opposite construct of races. Which do not exist, as known by any geneticist. In a similar vein, his curiously too literal take (for himself) on the Ham-Shem descendency doesn't take into account today's knowledge that ANYBODY who lived at that ancient time and produced a surviving family line is an ancestor of EVERYONE living today. No exceptions. If in doubt, ask any geneticist. In other words: any potential ancient rivalries based on descent is biologically solved today (as it is in any period of less than two millennia for a complete re-mixing of all humans). Unfortunately that isn't widely and eagerly taught yet. (Nevertheless Errico is able to shed some Aramaic light on this story.)
More and more scientists have come to the conclusion that Abraham did not come from Ur of the Chaldees. The main, but not only reason is that at that time "the Chaldees" didn't exist yet. But also the geography is seriously questioned. Speaking of which: "Chaldean women were noted for being fair and beautiful, especially when compared with the dark-skinned Arab and Egyptian women." Usually I do not repeat by quoting any insults, but personal tastes of beauty concepts are downwrong silly and therefore irrelevant anyway. I have to say, I find that statement rather racist. Not unusual for other authors, it shocked me a little, coming from Errico.
He is also repeating himself that vowelless written "YHWH" getting pronounced as "Yahweh" would be uncertain to all. As far as the vowels are concerned, at least someone will not agree entirely: Nana Banchie Darkwah, author of The Africans Who Wrote the Bible, who revealed the linguistic and cultural roots of the group of peoples termed the Akan, still in use today.
Also the gender concept of Errico remains at his previous level, not having gotten elevated in the meanwhile. But then again, it is still more elevated than in the average population.
To sum it up: Great book - could be greater.
If you are not afraid of some absurdities, you may wanna compare this book to very unorthodox self-made linguist Ralph Ellis, who attempted to shed some ancient Egyptian light on Genesis in Eden In Egypt. However, he takes a literal approach by translating forth and back separated Genesis vocabulary into ancient Egyptian, replacing many words with alternative meanings and connotations. Read at your own risk.