The Lost Book of Enki: Memoirs & Prophecies of an Extraterrestrial God by Zecharia Sitchin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a flawed work, but even so it happens to be one of the most accessible complete translations of the Sumerian mythos from the creation tale all the way through Gilgamesh. For that, I can easily give it a 5 star. It's very readable, which is something of an amazing thing, considering most of the academic articles or having to rely on google for the information.
This being said, however, a lot of the legends seem to missing out on all the alternative tellings, some of which are frankly enormously different, and it makes me seriously wonder whether a lot of the legends of Damuzid and Inanna were cribbed from Ishtar or whether it was the translations from Akkadian rather than Sumerian. I'm not a deep scholar, but I've been interested in this for quite some time and I was able to pick out something like over 20 major (not minor) differences.
And then there's also the OTHER side of this book, which rankles my insistence on scholarship, but completely delights my creative side.
ALIENS. I mean, come on. The author IS correct that this whole field reads like some amazing science-fiction epic. The fact that it actually holds together very well across the entire legend, including the colonizations of many of the planets in the solar system, the destruction of at least one, the seeding of our world with hybrid genetics between themselves and the natives, creating humanity... well, all of it is pretty sweet. :)
Too out there? Not really. It's just an interpretation based on a *mostly* real translation, a lot of which is extremely suspicious to begin with. The earth got its name from the god EA who took over, getting it ready for the ingress of the gods. Dilmun, the clean and well-lit place, is described as a sterile space-ship, and all the gods have flying boats that go right into space and they have access to deep-water traveling gear. And then there's the destructive weapons that spread an evil wind that sounds just like radiation sickness. The descriptions of genetic engineering are suspiciously close to what we already know in modern days. The genetic symbol for the double helix is the same that EA, or as he is also known, Enki, used to describe the means he used to make the new people to work for the gods and how they mixed their own code into us.
This isn't precisely news to me, I've been loving this stuff for ages, but this book revels in these facts and goes beyond just the descriptions to gleefully spout, "See! See!"
Fascinating! I don't even have to agree with it to see just how fun this is just from a creative angle.
And yet, the other side of my brain still wishes it was structured with a bit less commentary. :) I mean, gold? Wtf do gods need with gold? I almost put it down at the very beginning for that, all by itself. But I persevered, and gladly so.
It looks like I really want to find some really good scholarship now, but aside from specialty websites, I just don't know where to look. Am I going to have to learn Sumerian? Um... more Sumerian? lol
I totally recommend this book, though, despite its faults. It's pretty clear where the author is headed and underneath it all, it's pretty damn solid on the scholarship front. Maybe not ADVANCED scholarship, but definitely a lot more than just a glancing blow. :)
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