Manuscript Recovery

Our attention is now turning to manuscript recovery. This blog starts the journey with an important review of history from Noah to Babylon. Our special focus is ultimately Jonah's Nineveh.

Shifting Work

We are finishing up a refresh of our apps and sites. The main build and run time changes are now finished. The tooling that Ryan uses for mapping out the Testimony and related apps is now being tuned.

As of this week all of our Bible related apps are back to being updated weekly. Life is finally returning to normal. The 3d printers have also been fired up again. I am exploring an issue with the lamp presented by a website dealing with the Aramaic language tradition. Pictures will be posted on Telegram as this blog goes out.

I am now turning my attention to phase 1 of the process of recovering the inspired manuscript. In particular, I am going back to first principles and reviewing our library of downloaded ancient manuscripts.

Most of those manuscript files have been in our collection for maybe 20 years. The Aramaic manuscript files in our collection were mostly downloaded in 2019. I have several immediate problems in this space, including picking a particular document as our reference for recovery.

In the past, before we understood the audit pattern, I looked at building what is called a critical edition. I now believe that was a mistake. Instead I am focused on picking a single reference text. I am also very focused on the best file format for the top of what will become the data pipeline that we will be using for this work. Establishing a well understood base document, and an app to display it, is my first working goal.

Reviewing Aramaic Heritage

When we realized we were finally turning to the problem of manuscript recovery, we both wanted to learn as much as we could about the Aramaic manuscript tradition. We wanted to do it now, and not get forced into this later.

Most of our struggle with editors has ultimately been a problem of understanding the motives, and ultimately world view, of the editors themselves. Editor motives is a common question we ask when discussing possible edits.

So the Aramaic texts need to be understood the same way. Who were the scribes who kept it? Where did they live? What is their history? What do they believe, even today? Our basic understanding is they fled Iraq because of civil war. That war was caused by Americans meddling in the Middle East. This is true, but not very detailed.

This group still exists and still holds church services. So this is partly a history lesson and partly a lesson in an otherwise strange Christian tradition.

Ryan was the first to find a good introduction in a video. Neither of us could watch that introduction without becoming mentally overloaded. We needed to stop and think about other precursor issues. Thus this blog. We will return to that introduction in a future blog.

Jonah's Nineveh

The modern keepers of the Aramaic texts and traditions point to the visit of Jonah to Nineveh as the point when they began. Jonah is the claimed origin of a Christian tradition. They still celebrate that event with a 3 day, no-water, fast on their annual liturgical calendar. This modern practice by a Christian group is going back about 800 years before the NT was written.

They claim to have had 2 faith conversions. The first was from Paganism at Jonah's preaching. The second was a Christian conversion in the middle of the first century.

We have no other Christian group, aside from perhaps Messianic Jews, with a faith tradition pointing before the first century. This is strange, but this does not itself blow our minds. What blows our minds is Jonah.

Jonah was out of the community of the prophets who were keeping the inspired Paleo text as an underground activity. Solomon's edits were in play and Jezebel was near.

So this Aramaic group forks off from the main branch of the spiritual family tree very early in its history. Of course their Aramaic OT is not the same as the Hebrew, and this now makes formal sense.

They seem to have started with Jonah's unedited OT. Then someone does a conversion to Aramaic. Then, much later, through some process, they bring their manuscripts up into agreement with the still to be written edits of Ezra.

This is the same sort of Zionist takeover we postulate happened to the NT, but for their Aramaic copy of the OT.

There are a bunch of other questions. Which side of the Paleo to Aramaic conversion was Jonah himself on? Did Jonah do that work? Or Ninevites do that work later?

Our first lesson must be to understand Jonah's journey to Nineveh. We need to start with some theoretical understanding on the textual side. As we go forward we can either find support of a working theory, or we will find counter examples that cause us to modify that working theory.

Then, there is an even more fundamental question: What is known about Nineveh itself? I will return to Nineveh below.

Let me begin by backing up across what we know about Aramaic, especially its primary competitor, Hebrew.


Many years ago I read a random article on the Internet that suggested that Bible Codes were possible to find in the Aramaic version of the New Testament. We soon began using the Lamsa Bibles because that was the only readily available English translation of Aramaic. One of the members of the fellowship where we were meeting went out and bought a box of them, so we all had copies.

So from that point forward we considered the Hebrew OT and the Aramaic NT to be the inspired texts. There is no Hebrew NT, and it can be easily shown that the Greek is a translation of the Aramaic. In regards to the OT we still had much to learn.

Our 3d work strongly supports the idea that Phoenician is the inspired letter form. Parables in the NT point at how that set of letters arrived in Phoenicia through the writing between Hiram and Solomon.

Archaeology in Canaan supports the idea that Phoenician is earlier than Hebrew. I have read much more since those early Aramaic days. It is very common to find linguists indicating that the Hebrew drawn forms are themselves based on the Aramaic drawn forms of letters. Hebrew is not based directly on the Phoenician letter forms, but on Aramaic.

So the Paleo to Aramaic conversion of drawn letter forms lands back at the time of Elijah, Elisha or perhaps even Jonah.

So the path that the inspired text went through can be understood as Paleo, like Moses' commandments, then Aramaic, then Hebrew then Greek, then English.

Of course this is like describing the course of a river. Over time that river course changed. Different parts of the text we know now went through different paths. An editor, like Ezra, writing in Hebrew, will see his work copied and translated into the older Aramaic manuscripts at some time future to Ezra.

This was not done well, by the way. Parts of the Aramaic OT manuscripts are missing verses found in Hebrew. Psalms headings and bits of Chronicles are the 2 most obvious places where Hebrew passages were translated into an older Aramaic tradition while writing in Hebrew was still going on. That full translation from Hebrew to Aramaic was never done. This is itself a pointer to the editors working in Hebrew.

Hebrew and Aramaic are not exactly the same. They are both Semitic languages. So their alphabets are the same. But they do not share the same vocabulary. Even important names are spelled differently. Take Reuben as an example. In Hebrew the spelling is based on the paleo ReBaNe. But in Aramaic, the name is based on the Paleo ReBaLu. So Reuben via Aramaic comes into English as Rubil.

Long time readers here know that when converting names between languages, that names are normally transliterated. That type of name conversion convention did not happen between Hebrew and Aramaic.

So once we have control of a reference manuscript we now have the first set of audit tests that need to be run. Which manuscript tradition will turn out to have preserved a complete set of audit-passing personal names? Anyway, I digress, but you can see where this is going.

Inspired Text To Nineveh?

Jonah was out of the community of prophets who had the inspired text. Jonah did not carry Solomon's edits. To be a writing prophet he had to have access to a set of tabernacle items. He had to have known how to use them. He must have carried a set with him to Nineveh. (Or returned later with a set once the Ninevites listened.)

Joshua's references to Nineveh in the NT may be making references to a community which for a time did not use the edited texts. This adds all sorts of back story to Joshua's own overall NT era mission.

That Aramaic tradition today does not now carry Paleo nor does it carry a short manuscript. So something happened to them along the way. This would be about like what happened in Rome after Paul had been there with the inspired text.

But, at least for a time, the people of Nineveh were a major independent community that was based on the inspired text. No large group in Canaan could make the same truth claim at the same time.

You should see that Jonah's trip to Nineveh is revealing a complex set of related questions. This is true for Jonah, but is also true for Nineveh itself. Where did Jonah actually travel? What do we know about ancient Nineveh itself?

Mosul (Google Maps)

The ruins of the ancient city of Nineveh are basically at the modern city of Mosul in Iraq. The link here is to Google Maps pinned on Mosul but zoomed out in order to get a better view of the entire region. This is the destination of Jonah's ancient journey.

I have zoomed this out so that you can get a feel for where this is in the world. Out to the northwest is the Black Sea, with Odessa and Crimea and the war in Ukraine. Out to the northeast is the Caspian Sea. This is the outlet of the Volga River that is Russia's version of the Mississippi. The Caspian Sea is salt, and below sea level, though not as far down as the Dead Sea.

Directly east is Tehran, the modern capital of Iran. To the southeast you can see the Persian Gulf, with Kuwait at the upper end of that body of water. You can also see Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and the Red Sea off to the southwest of Nineveh.

Closer in you can see that Turkey is not far to the north. Also to the north you can see Armenia and Azerbaijan. Armenia is a Christian nation and was the victim of the Armenian genocide. That genocide was the reason why the UN founding documents included prohibitions against genocide.

Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as their state religion. It remains about 97 percent Christian. It is part of the eastern branch of Christianity that includes the Aramaic tradition. We still need to explore how they relate to the Aramaic from Iraq.

Google Maps itself explains Mosul is the seat of government for the Nineveh Governorate. This is presumably like a state in the USA. Mosul is considered the second largest city in Iraq, though there are different ways to measure it.

Wars In Iraq (Wikipedia)

The link here is to the Wikipedia article listing wars in the territory of Iraq since 1900. You can see reasons for each war there, but let me list the years of war here so you can see this is a troubled place. If a year is listed more than 1 time, then there was more than 1 war in that year. 1914-1918, 1919-1924, 1920, 1927-1930, 1935, 1935-1936, 1941, 1941, 1943-1945, 1948, 1948-1949, 1958, 1961-1970, 1963, 1963, 1967, 1973, 1974-1975, 1974-1975, 1980-1988, 1990, 1990-1991, 1991, 1995-1996, 1998, 1999, 2003-2011, 2013-2017, 2017, 2017-2019 and finally 2017-present.

Most of the wars are over who would rule the country. Most of the others involve modern Israel in one way or another. I suspect these 2 categories are the same.

In previous blog series I have used tourist videos of locations in Canaan that we can then link back to Bible stories. The war history in Iraq means that there are fewer tourist videos. The few that exist are not that interesting.

The locations of interest are also very much older, having been overrun by different civilizations across the past 5000 or so years. Most of what is known about these places is only understood through the recovery and reading of Cuneiform tablets. Those tablets are often in western museums and guarded by their own strange modern priesthoods.

Modern Iraq does contain most of the key locations in the Bible from the days of Noah to the time of Nineveh. Nineveh itself is part of the post-flood narrative, so Jonah's trip to Nineveh has the post-flood narrative as the back story.

So to get our heads around Nineveh, we need to review the key stories from Noah to Nineveh. What follows here is a selection of videos and some commentary about those places.

Noah's Ark (Ron Wyatt, Youtube)

The link here is to an introductory video, originally a podcast, that explains Ron Wyatt's discovery of Noah's Ark. There is interesting personal testimony involved as well as lots of interesting photographic evidence of what became a national park in Turkey.

It is located in Turkey very near the Iran border. Some of the artifacts were even used as modern border markers. This was on the silk road and was a tourist destination in ancient times.

The video mentions a grave site of what was thought to be Noah's wife. He says they were giants, some bone fragments are shown in the video in support of this idea.

On the Google Map linked above, look for where Turkey, Iran and Armenia come together. Then look inside Turkey for the Agri Dagi national park. It is shown in green on the map not far from where those 3 countries come together.

So the Biblical narrative from Noah to Nineveh is measured on the ground in only a few hundred miles.

In reviewing this, I must note that Wyatt needed to use a Royal Egyptian cubit of 20.6 inches rather than the Hebrew cubit of 18 inches in order to match the ark remains to the text of Genesis. This is something I will need to consider for the Tabernacles Items.

Nations Spread

The story of Genesis after the flood lists off various names in what is called the "Table of Nations." These are the descendants of Noah and how they spread out after the flood.

The disputable point involves if this is all people of earth today, or just Noah's heirs after their arrival on earth after an event elsewhere. We take the latter side of this dispute. China, India, Africa, Australia and the Americas likely already had people here. It was war with some of those people and Noah's people on Mars that created the flood itself.

Tower of Babel

By timeline it is about 2000 years from Noah to the story of the Tower of Babel. This interval is not timed in Genesis, but it is timed in the Gospel of Matthew and timed to around 2000 years after Noah, or about 5000 years ago now.

The story of the Tower of Babel is normally understood by and translated as a process of building an actual tower to the sky. Our read of the story sees this as a story about baking clay bricks used to hold writing. Thus the meaning of Babel, related to speech, is still used in English. Their intent was to build an enduring, but false, story about their own history. Babel is of course false or otherwise useless speech.

That they built a false story is what caused Joshua himself to visit and confuse their language. Thus the problem was caused by language. It looks like this is what disburses Noah's heirs to the world.

The remains of those bricks are known today as Cuneiform tablets. Those tablets are found across the region in many different archaeological remains.

The Great Library at Nineveh

The link here is out of time order. About 2500 years after the tower of Babel, the local kings near Nineveh built a large library of Cuneiform texts. This is not really pointing at the Tower in terms of time, but it is pointing at the collection of writings that come from the Babel era. Pay attention, and the video above will cite back to the time about 5000 years ago when Cuneiform writing on clay tablets is said to have begun.

This library is a few centuries after Jonah's trip to Nineveh, and so we can see that his trip may not have impacted an enduring dynasty. But, this is an important example of yet another problem. Archaeologists tend not to be people of faith, coming instead out of other modern religious traditions that themselves derive from the Babel era. So they tend to venerate narratives that match their own need to validate their tradition.

8. The Sumerians (Fall of Civilizations, Youtube)

The link here is to to a very long documentary, 2.5+ hours, on the history of the region from the dawn of civilization to the fall of the Sumerians. The start of the video introduces the interesting geology of the area. It was well suited as a cradle for civilization. It is down stream from the rivers that begin up in Armenia.

The video is dated, but is inconsistent. The Tower of Babel is 5000 years ago. Jacob's trip to Laban is 4000 years ago. Abraham was born about 4200 years ago. You can see he would have lived at the end of the Sumerian civilization at Ur.

The video explains the general collapse of civilization appears to have been caused by salt in the soil. Evidence given includes the general loss of wheat production in favor of barley. Barley is salt tolerant while wheat is not.

The early civilization throughout this region is marked by the use of Cuneiform writing. Think tower of Babel. There was a late change in Cuneiform as the language systems were changing. This is an interesting detail about the language history from Noah to Abraham. If you know nothing about this part of the world, then this is a good place to start.

13. The Assyrians -- Empire of Iron (Fall of Civilizations, Youtube)

The link here is to an even longer documentary, just over 3 hours, that returns to the regions of the Sumerians and runs from there to the fall of the Assyrians. This documentary covers the regional back stories for most of the historical events in the Bible from Abraham's day to the Babylonian captivity.

In particular, their use of Cuneiform clay tablets means that we have a very detailed secular history of that entire time. This documentary ends with the rise of Nebuchadnezzar.

Together these 2 documentaries provide a long, and very detailed, history of the region.

Take your time. We will return to these topics again soon.

More Later,