Assyria and Germany in Anglo-Israelism

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In Anglo-Israelism and some currents of U.S. Christian fundamentalism influenced thereby (Worldwide Church of God-Armstrongism), the idea has been advanced that modern Germans are partly descended from the ancient Assyrians, or, more metaphorically draw parallels between the militarism of the Nazi Germany and the Assyrian one.

Contents

British Israelism

The idea can be traced to Edward Hine, an early proponent of British Israelism, deriving the Anglo-Saxons from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.[1][2] John Wilson, the intellectual founder of British Israelism, had considered that not only the people of Great Britain, but all the Germanic peoples were descended from the Ten Lost Tribes. Hine took a more particularist view, deciding that only the British nation fulfilled the prophecy for Israel — he acknowledged an ethnic affiliation between Britons and Germans, but thought this reflected what he considered was a close relationship between the ancient Israelites and their neighbors the Assyrians (who had taken the Ten Lost Tribes into captivity in Assyria). Likewise, Britain and Germany's status as two great powers of the modern age he considered reflective of the ancient glories of the Kingdom of Israel and of Assyria. So there were two original competing views as to the relationship between the Germans and British-Israel; either the British people, alone, were identified with the Tribes of Israel (Edward Hine) or they included the Germans (John Wilson) and other European peoples (including the Dutch and Scandinavians).[3] Hine maintained that only the Ten Tribes of Israel were included within the British race and excluded the Continental Teutonic or German peoples, who he instead believed descended from Assyrians not Israelites.[4] Hine believed all the tribes of Israel settled in Britain only, with Manasseh who became the Americans (who mostly descended from British stock). Hine had identified the Ten Tribes as being together in Britain in that Ephraim were the drunkards and ritualists, Reuben the farmers, Dan the mariners, Zebulan the lawyers and writers, Asher the soldiers etc., or that these tribes were regional or local people in Britain.[5] Hine's particularist view was received with some hostility by other British Israelites, who maintained that other Europeans descended from the lost tribes of Israel, not solely Britain.[6]

Hine believed that all of the ancient peoples mentioned in the Bible must also be present in the modern world, in order for the prophecies concerning them to be fulfilled. If a people was "lost" to the ages, it meant simply that the people must have migrated to a new region, changed their ethnonym, and forgotten their history. Hine considered the Assyrians as such a "lost" people (unlike for example, the Egyptians), and he made no mention in his writings of the modern Assyrian community in the Middle East — a community that was largely unknown to Europe in his time. Although Assyria is portrayed as one of the great enemies of Israel in the Bible, Hine took pains to explain that he did not consider Germany to be an enemy of Britain, and his writings do not betray any anti-German feelings. In his Forty Seven Identifications, he did admit ‘The Germans are not our enemies, and there is evidence to show that they could not become our enemies’.[7] Later writers in his tradition, however, have often set Germany in the Biblical role of Assyria as an enemy to Britain.

British Israelism often compares the militarism of the German Empire with that of the Neo-Assyrian Empire as narrated in the Bible, by analogy establishing Britain, as the threatened party, with the Kingdom of Israel. After World War II, the comparison was also extended to the brutality towards the Jewish population.[8]

Precedents and early sources

The Assyria-Germany connection has an early precedent in Jerome, who compared the Germanic invaders of his day to the threats to the Kingdom of Israel described in the Bible, quoting Psalms 83:8, "Assur also is joined with them":[9]

The whole country between the Alps and the Pyrenees, between the Rhine and the Ocean, has been laid waste by hordes of Quadi, Vandals, Sarmatians, Alans, Gepids, Herules, Saxons, Burgundians, Allemanni and—alas! for the commonweal!—even Pannonians. For "Assur also is joined with them."

The idea has also some backing in German legend, for example the Gesta Treverorum (a 12th century German medieval chronicle) makes Trebeta son of Ninus the founder of Trier.[10] This legend of Trebeta as having founded Trier is also found in Godfrey of Viterbo's Pantheon (1185) and several other German chronicles of the 12th or 13th century, including the works of Sigebert of Gembloux.[11] The legend is also found cited in compendiums of historical sources from later periods, for example Gottfried Leibniz's Scriptures rerum Brunsvicensium (1710) and the Anthologia veterum latinorum epigrammatum et poematum (1835).[12]

Also of medieval date is the inscription at the facade of the Red House of Trier market,

ANTE ROMAM TREVIRIS STETIT ANNIS MILLE TRECENTIS.
PERSTET ET ÆTERNA PACE FRVATVR. AMEN.
("1,300 years before Rome, Trier stood / may it stand on and enjoy eternal peace, amen.") being mentioned in the Codex Udalrici of 1125. A 1559 painting of Trebeta as the founder of Trier was destroyed in a 1944 bombing raid.[2] Leonardy (1877)[13] provides an epitaph dedicated to Trebeta by his son Hero in German hexameters.

Revision of Assyrian extent of territory

Adherents of the Assyria-Germany connection often revise the extent of land the Assyrians controlled (see Neo-Assyrian Empire). British Israelites for example who equate Assyria to Germany claim that the Neo-Assyrian Empire extended to the Black Sea region and further north.[14] Mainstream historians, by contrast, believe land controlled by the Assyrians during the Neo-Assyrian Empire did not stretch that far, but only reached into southern, south western and north eastern Anatolia, bordering Armenia. There is no historical evidence that the Assyrians crossed the Caucasus into Europe in Assyrian records of the time, and the furthest extent of their conquests would have been the southern borders of the Caucasus and the south eastern edge of the Black sea.[15] However, the Persian Achaemenid Empire which took control over the Assyrians and Babylonians in the 6th century BC did extend its territory to the Black Sea and north-west into Thrace. British Israelites, however, maintain that this extended territory already existed before the Persians, often quoting as evidence the Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax, which lists Assyria as having already extended to the Black Sea region.[16] British Israelites also cite Pliny the Elder, who mentioned a tribe dwelling around the north-western regions of the Black Sea (Romania or Ukraine) in the 1st century AD called the Assyriani, who they believe were Assyrians.[17]

Taking the legends of Trebeta as having founded Trier in Germany in 2053 BC (1300 years before the establishment of Rome in 753 BC) as literal fact, and revising the extent of the Neo-Assyrian Empire into south-western parts of Europe, British Israelites believe that the ancient Assyrians had a vast territory.[18] To further corroborate this belief, British Israelites often quote from the Austrian Chronicle of 95 Seigneurs (see below).

Jews deported by Assyrians to Germany

British Israelites who adhere to the Assyria-German identification believe that a small portion of Jews were deported to Germany by the Assyrians.[19] They cite II Kings 18: 13 which notes that the Assyrian king Sennacherib sacked several cities of Judah and captured several Jewish inhabitants. This deportation has been verified by archeology, since an ancient Assyrian prism records Sennacherib deported a population of Judah (see Taylor and Sennacherib Prisms). This population of Judah was deported (with the House of Israel) to the Medes but British Israelites believe that the Jews and Israelites who were deported by the Assyrians to the Medes, did not stay there, but migrated over time into parts of Europe.[20]

The 14th century Austrian Chronicle of 95 Seigneurs is usually cited by British Israelites, as it purports to trace an early Jewish settlement in Germany or Austria. The Chronicle connects the Dukes of Austria with the Jews rather than the Assyrians but states that Central Europe became to accept the Jewish faith or Jewish customs from 708 - 704 BC. British Israelites provide an answer for this: they believe since the Assyrians had long controlled parts of Europe (especially Germany) that the Germans or Austrians became to accept Jewish customs and faith in the 8th century BC because Sennacherib (who captured several cities in Judah) had deported its Jewish inhabitants into Eastern Europe along the Danube River, eventually reaching Austria and Germany.[21] The Chronicle lists 'Jewish Kings' who began from 708 - 704 BC during which a duke called Gennan converted to Judaism. Consequently, this Jewish population intermarried with the local rulers in the regions of Austria and Hungary, the pagans were subdued and the whole country was Jewish until ca. 227 CE.[22]

Often cited to support these theories, is the legend of Judaesaptan.[23] According to the Jewish Virtual Library, this was a legendary Jewish kingdom, which several thousands of years ago sat in Austria or central Europe; it first appeared in writing in Gottfried Hagen's chronicle Reimchronik (1270).[24]

Wolfgang Lazius in the 16th century attempted to find the remains of the kingdom but was unsuccessful.[25]

Anglo-Saxons not Germans

British Israelites who are proponents of Hine's German-Assyria connection do not believe that the Anglo-Saxons were Germanic, but instead of Scythian heritage, who ultimately descended from the ancient Israelites.[26] Hine pointed out that the Anglo-Saxons only spoke a Germanic language, and that the term 'German' was an exonym and that the Saxons were distinct to the other continental Germanic tribes.[27][28] Hine believed that the Anglo-Saxons were only in Germany for a short time as part of their migration to the appointed 'Islands' (which he identified as Britain) as their final resting place, as told where the Israelites would be resettled in Isaiah 24: 15; 42: 4; 49: 1; 51: 5 and Jeremiah 31: 10.[29][30]

British Israelites often quote from Sharon Turner, William Camden and John Milton who all earlier connected the Anglo-Saxons to the Scythians.[31][32]

Worldwide Church of God

Herbert W. Armstrong in Chapter 5 of his Mystery of Ages (1985), "The Assyrians settled in central Europe, and the Germans, undoubtedly, are, in part, the descendents of the ancient Assyrians." (p. 183). In this, Armstrong draws upon the opinions of Herman L. Hoeh, published in his 1963 Compendium of World History.[33]

Such suggestions are informed by Jerome's simile with Psalms 83:8.[34]

Hoeh (1963) draws on Verstegan (1605) and Johannes Turmair (1526) to conclude that Deutsch really derives from Tuisto whom he in turn identifies with Shem:

Tuitsch or Tuisto: Chief of thirty-two dukes. Noah gave him all the land between the Don River and the Rhine or what was called Grossgermania. This is the beginning of the 'neolithic' settlement of Europe. Tuitsch is, according to all ancient German commentaries and chronicles, a son of Noah. But which son? Noah adopted Tuitsch's children as his own. The ancient Germans understood the name Tuitsch to be the title 'Teacher.' He was therefore the great patriarch of his family who taught the divine will to his children. Tuitsch is the father of Mannus (who is the Assyrian Ninus). The son of Mannus, Trebeta, is the same man who is called the son of Ninus in classical writers. The son of Mannus or Ninus — Trebeta — built Trier, the first town of Germany. Since the Bible calls this Ninus (who built Nineveh), Asshur, Tuitsch is therefore Shem! (Hoeh 1963 vol. 2 ch. 2)

Controversy

As with Anglo-Israelism itself, proposed German-Assyrian connections enjoy no empirical support and are not current among mainstream historians, anthropologists, archaeologists or historical linguists.

See also

References

  1. ^ Edward Hine. "The British Nation Identified with Lost Israel". http://www.animalfarm.org/lostisrael/index.shtml. "The last account we have of Israel was when they were in the land of Assyria; but they were not alone there, the Assyrian people were with them, who were purely Gentiles. Now both Israel and this Gentile people are lost, and yet both have to be found" 
  2. ^ Mattias Gardell (2003). Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism. Duke University Press. pp. 371f.. ISBN 0-8223-3071-7. http://books.google.com/books?id=FIwwWSSL5JIC&printsec=frontcover#PPA372,M1. 
  3. ^ The Standard of Israel, 1876, Vol II, p. 100.
  4. ^ Life From The Dead, 1874, Vol. I, pp. 327-328
  5. ^ Edward Hine, The English Nation Identified with the Lost House of Israel by Twenty-Seven Identifications, (Manchester: Heywood, 1870), p. v.
  6. ^ The Standard of Israel, 1876, Vol.II, p. 101.
  7. ^ Banner of Israel, 1917, p. 296
  8. ^ Julia M. O'Brien, Nahum and Atrocity, Continuum International Publishing Group (2002), ISBN 1-84127-300-7, p. 115, quoting Craigie (1958).
  9. ^ Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, letter 123, section 16
  10. ^ http://www.medievalcoinage.com/gallery/germany-trier.htm
  11. ^ Hammer, William, The Concept of the New or Second Rome in the Middle Ages, Speculum, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Jan., 1944)
  12. ^ Hammer, p. 58
  13. ^ Johann Leonardy, Geschichte des Trierischen Landes und Volkes, 2nd ed. 1877, p 21.
  14. ^ http://www.earth-history.com/Various/Compendium/hhc2ch01.htm
  15. ^ World History, Volume 1, William J. Duiker, Cengage Learning, 2009, p. 31
  16. ^ http://www.earth-history.com/Various/Compendium/hhc2ch01.htm
  17. ^ http://www.earth-history.com/Various/Compendium/hhc2toc.htm
  18. ^ http://www.earth-history.com/Various/Compendium/hhc2ch03.htm
  19. ^ http://www.earth-history.com/Various/Compendium/hhc2ch04.htm
  20. ^ http://www.animalfarm.org/lostisrael/index.shtml
  21. ^ http://www.earth-history.com/Various/Compendium/hhc2ch04.htm
  22. ^ Yair Davidiy, "Lost Israelite Identity" (1996)
  23. ^ http://britam.org/now/now21.html
  24. ^ http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0011_0_10396.html
  25. ^ H. Gold, Geschichte der Juden in Wien (1966).
  26. ^ Hine, Forty-seven Identifications, (1878), pp. 16-29.
  27. ^ Hine, pp. 20-22.
  28. ^ The term German, is an exonym of Deutsch and Deutschland (Germany).
  29. ^ Hine, pp. 20
  30. ^ The first-mentioned "Germans" were actually a Celtic tribe, which had formerly lived east of the Rhine River. The Encyclopædia Britannica says: "Of the Gaulish [Celtic] tribes west of the Rhine... the Treveri claimed to be of German origin, and the same claim was made by a number of tribes in Belgium.... The meaning of this claim is not quite clear, as there is some obscurity concerning the origin of the name Germani. It appears to be a Gaulish term, and there is no evidence that it was ever used by the Germans themselves. According to Tacitus it was first applied to the Tungri, whereas Caesar records that four Belgic tribes... were collectively known as Germani.
  31. ^ According to historian William Camden, the Saxons and the Getae (Goths) were related Scythian peoples. He writes, "But that [opinion] of the most learned German seems most probable and worthy to be embraced, which makes the Saxons descend from the Sacae, the most considerable people of Asia, and to be so called quasi Sacasones, or Sons of the Sacae, and to have gradually overspread Europe from Scythia or Sarmatia Asiatica, with the Getae, Suevi, Daci, and others. Nor is their opinion ill-founded, which brings the Saxons out of Asia" (Encyclopædia Britannica, vol. 1, p. 151).
  32. ^ The famous English poet and historian, John Milton--author of the classic work, Paradise Lost--wrote, "They [the Saxons] were a people thought by good writers to be descendants of the Sacae, a kind of Scythians in the north of Asia, who with a flood of other northern nations came into Europe, toward the declining of the Roman Empire [c. 400s A.D.]" (History of England, 1835, bk. 3, pp. 406-407).
  33. ^ vol. 2, ch. 1: "If the Germans admitted to themselves and the world who they really are, all the world would recognize in Imperial Germany the reconstituted Assyrian Empire — once the terror of all the civilized world!" [1]
  34. ^ Hoeh, "Germany in Prophecy!" (1962). Also in Hoeh (1963) vol.2 ch.1.: "Jerome, who lived at the time when the Indo-Germanic tribes were invading Europe, provides this startling answer ... Yes! Jerome said so! But how did he know? He saw them! He was an eyewitness to their migrations from Mesopotamia and the shores of the Black and Caspian seas!"

External links

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