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February 22, 1963 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1963-02-22

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Prof. Cordon's Lectures on Ancient
Civilization, at W SU N ext Thursday

Two lectures by'Dt. Cyrus H. original languages (including
Gordon, head of the department cuneiform and hieroglyphs)
of Mediterranean studies at because of the revival of Bib-
Brandeis University, will mark lical studies. His students have
the resumption of the Borman come from all over the United
Near Eastern Lecture Series, at States, Europe, the Near East
Wayne State University, next and the Far East.
In an analysis of his theme
In the afternoon, Dr. Gordon "The Common Background of
will speak on the subject Hebrew and Greek Civilizations,"
"Canaan and the Origins of West- Prof. Gordon stated:
"It is commonly thought that
ern Culture." In the evening, at Western
Culture has been produced
the M'cGregor Meniorial 'Confer- through the blending of two totally
'secular' Greece
ence Center-, at a lecture to be
'spiritual' Israel. It is often said
free to the public, with Avern and
that these two cultures could not be

farther apart, even if they had come
from opposite parts of the globe.
Actually both cultures evolved in
contact with each other in the same
eastern half of the Mediterranean.
"Hebrew tradition as embodied in
the tenth chapter of Genesis in-
cludes Yawan (i.e., the Ionian
Greeks) in the same Near East order
as the Hebrews. Greek tradition re-
lates that king Minos was the son of
a Phoenician princess; that the
Phoenician Cadmus made Greece
literate; that the Greek heroes called
Danaoi in the Iliad sprang from the
Phoenician Danaos; and so forth.
The Phoenicians spoke virtually the
same language as the Hebrews—no
more different from each other than
the speech of rural England is from
the English of rural America."

Sheehein; after her recovery, two of
her brothers exacted a bloody re-
venge. What emerges from all this
is that the Patriarchal Narratives in
Genesis share with Ugaritic and
Homer the factor of royal epic, in
- the same -broad tradition.
"Ugarit has touched off a re-
valuation of the origins of Western
Culture.' To cite only. - one• more il-
lustration: The seven-day. week is
imbedded in Ugaritic literature,
where events often fill a time-span
of seven days. We find the same
phenomenon in the Creation account
of Genesis. and in Homeric Epic.
What has happened is. that the
seven-day week has reached us in
the -West through two parallel chan-
•nels, going back to the East Medi-
terranean of -the -second millennium
B.C. We .name our. days, such as
•Sunday, Monday, and Saturday,
after the pagan gods of the Grace-
Roman antiquity. (the Sun, Moon
and Saturn), because the week has
reached us through Hellenistic chan-
nels. Simultaneously, the week has
also reached us through the Bible,
with the institution of the Sabbath
as the significant contribution of
the Hebrews. This approach to
Western Culture—as the recipient of
the same East Mediterranean heri-
tage via. both Israel and Greece—
will remain the greatest challenge
in the study of ancient history for
the foreseeable future."

Mayor Asks Help
of Israel to Raise
Dr. Gordon has deciphered the Jerusalem Population


Cohn presiding, he will speak on
the subject "The Common Back-
ground of Hebrew and Greek
Some of the most interesting
aspects of Dr. Gordon's back-
ground are found in his
career as an archaeologist in
the Near East. He spent six
years in the Near East, four of
which were as an archaeologist
and two of which were for
military activities.
He was a memher Of the ex-
peditions that excavated the
Judean city of Tell Beit Mirsim,
and the Maccabean fortress of
Beth-Zur, as well as expeditions
that explored Edom and Moab;
and he participated in the first
discovery of King Solomon's
Mines. He helped excavate the
prehistoric mound of Tepe
Gawra- and the Assyrian city of
Shibaniba (now Tell Billa) in
the vicinity of Mosul, Iraq, and
assisted Sir C. Leonard Woolley
in unearthing the Royal Tombs
at Ur. Dr. Gordon was called to
Egypt to decipher the Tell el:
Amarna tablets excavated in
1933-34, and took part in various
archaeological activities in
Egypt, Sinai, Jordan, Israel,
Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran and
Turkey. In 1957, 1958 and 1961
he conducted his own explora-
tions in East Mediterranean
lands, including Israel, Cyprus,
Crete and Cythera.
During his archaeological
years Dr. Gordon was close to
the nomadic tribes and villagers,
whom he got to know through
working with them daily. He ob-
taMed firsthand knowledge of
the social levels among Muslim,
Christian and Jewish groups in
the Arab world and Iran. He also
spent three winters among the
Devil Worshippers who present-
ed him to their ruler in Kurdi-
stan and initiated him into one
of their tribes, the Sheikh Shems
tribe on Jebel Sinjar. He ob-
tained both historical and lingu-
istic background while dealing
with natives of the Near East.
Dr. Gordon considers his
specialty the focusing of new
discoveries on Biblical prob-
lems. He has trained many
graduate students who desire
to work on the sources in the

language of Minoan Crete and
has proved it to be close to
Phoenician and Hebrew, showing
that prior to 1500 B.C., the en-
tire East Mediterranean, includ-
ing Greece as well as Palestine,
was dominated by the same broad
group of Semitic sea-lords, whose
ships controlled the water trade
routes, leaving the inland routes
to other peoples. It turns out
that the Hebrew and Greek tra-
ditions are basically correct.
Thus Greek and Hebrew civiliza-
tions are to be regarded as
parallel structures built on the
same East Mediterranean foun-
dation. This will necessitate a
reappraisal of the cultural ori-
gins of the Hebrews, of the
Greek s, and accordingly of
Western Civilizaiton. -
Analyzing his theme "Canaan-
ite Literature and the Origins of
Western Culture," Dr. Gordon
pointed out:

"One of the most important,
archaeological discoveries of the
century is the collection of clay
tablets from Ugarit, on the north
coast of Syria. These documents in-
clude the literature of the pagan
Canaanites, who gave the Hebrew
settlers their language and literary
foundation. The distinctive contri-
bution of the Hebrews is the content
—not the language and. literary
forms—of the Bible.
"Much of the Bible is a conscious
reaction to the Canaanite atmos-
phere. Scripture tells us not to be
like, or do as, the Canaanites. The
extent of this reaction is just begin-
ning to become clear thanks to the
Ugaritic texts. For instance, the
Tenth Commandment (`rhou shalt
not covet—') cannot be enforced by
law. Coveting may be vulgar if it
means 'keeping up with the Joneses'
but unless it leads us to theft, there
is nothing illegal or grossly immoral
about it. In fact any person who
is not shiftless, is expected to covet
to the extent of bestirring himself
so as to raise his condition toward
the level of his more prosperous,
neighbors. The pagan god Baal ap-
pears in the Ugaritic tablets as a
coveting god. He wants a palace like
the other gods, and gets it. He also
covets fields and animals. The texts
describe his covetousness with the
same word (hamad) that appears in
the Tenth Commandment. Thus we
now know, for the first time, that
the Tenth Commandment was
evoked by Hebrew opposition to the
values of the Baal cult.
"The most , important Ugaritic text
is the Epic of King Cret, whose
name has Cretan affinities. It tells
of that king whose destined bride
is being withheld from him in the
palace of another monarch. Cret
marches with his army - and recap-
tures her. This is essentially the
Helen-of-Troy motif of the Iliad.
King Menelaus recovers his wife
Helen from the walled city of King
Priam. Before the discovery of the
Ugaritic tablets, it had never oc-
curred to scholars to detect royal
epic in the Genesis narratives.
Abraham and Sarah are not only
the ancestors of the Hebrews, they
are specifically the progenitors of:
kings (Genesis 17:6, 16). Abraham,
like Agamemnon, has his own army
and is the commander of a coalition
that vanquishes another coalition of
kings (Genesis 14). Twice Sarah was
taken away from Abraham by other
kings; and both times Abraham re-
covered her. Rebecca was nearly
taken away from Isaac by a king.
Dinah was abducted by a prince of

(Direct JTA Teletype Wire
to The Jewish News)

JERUSALEM — Jerusalem
has absorbed 100,000 immi-
grants since the establishment
of the State of Israel and the
city's population is now 180,-
000, compared with the 60,000
who remained in the capital
after the lifting of the siege in
1948 during the war, Mayor
Mordechai Ish Shalom reported
The mayor presented the fig-
ures at a luncheon reception
given by the municipality to the
parliament's Economic Commit-
tee, who also were told there
has been no unemployment in
Jerusalem for some time. He
called on the committee and the
government for aid to raise the
city's population to 250,000 in
the next few years.
He said two - thirds of the
city's population were newcom-
ers since most of the veterans
who left the besieged city did
not return. He reported also
that 46 per cent of the labor
force in Jerusalem was employ-
ed in secretarial and clerical
positions in government and in
such national institutions as the
Jewish Agency and the Keren
Seventeen per cent had jobs
in industry, 22 per cent in va-
rious services and the rest in
transport and public works, he

Israeli Masonic Officials to Attend
Perfection Lodge Degree Banquet

The Zion Lodge will be hosted
by Perfection Lodge, F. & A.M.,
'at the latter's Master Mason De-
gree Banquet 6:30 p.m. Wednes-
day in the Crystal Ballroom of
the Masonic Temple, it was an-
nounced by Abraham Waronoff,
Perfection Lodge worshipful
Max Silverstone, grand master,
and Shlomo Zarankin, grand sec-
retary, of Israel will be honored
guests at the event, according to
Past Master Harry Zausmer, in
charge of arrangements.
Michigan will be represented
by Grand Master of Masons
Glenn L. Alt. Representing the
Scottish Rite bodies Will be the
Sovereign Grand Commander of
the Northern Masonic Jurisdic-
tion, the Honorable George E.
Bushnell, 33rd degree, and a
former State Supreme Court jus-
tice. Past Master Milton M. Mad-
den, 33rd, will be toastmaster.

SS Lieutenant Jailed

KIEL (JTA) — The Schles-
wig - Holstein Justice Ministry
announced the arrest of Hans
Graalfs of Neumunster, a 55-
year-old former SS Lieutenant.
He is charged with taking part
in mass executions of Jews in
Nazi-held Soviet territory in
1941 and 1942.

Changes in Text
of `13abi Yar' Poem
Please Russians

LONDON, (JTA) — Dimitri
Shostakovitch's 13th symphony
which initially was greeted by
Soviet officialdom with disap-
proval, was lauded in Moscow
after its second performance
following the changes made in
the text of Babi Yar, the poem
against Russian anti-Semitism
which the composer incorpo-
rated in his symphony.
The poem by Yevgeny Yevtu-
shenko is sung by a chorus dur-
ing the symphony.
One of the changes adds
Ukrainians and other Russians
to the Jews "who lie in the ra-
vine" at Babi Yar, near Kiev,
where Nazi murder commandos
slaughtered tens of thousands
of Jewish men, women and chil-
dren during the wartime occu-
pation of the area. A second
change is the omission of the
ancient Czarist cry of the Rus-
sian anti-Semites — "Kill the
Jews and Save Russia."

Heartsill Wilson will deliver
the main address. For reserva-
tions, call Herman L. Raznick,
Perfection entertainment com-
mittee executive secretary, UN
4-61 647.


WITH . . .

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