From my book THE REAL MOSES AND HIS GOD:
THE GODDESS EVE AND HER DIRTY CONSORT ADAM: A DIFFERENT TAKE ON CREATION AND THE LOCATION OF THE GARDEN EAST OF EDEN
“7 then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 Out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches. 11The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12and the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Cush. 14The name of the third river is Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.” Genesis, New Revised Standard Version
This one passage has given rise to endless speculation about the true location of the Garden, which is either east of Eden or in Eden, in the east (depending on how the eighth verse is translated). I do not think that this is such a mystery, and can demonstrate why I think the Garden is rather easy to find – once we start with an identification of Eve with the Hurrian goddess Hebat/Heba.
Readers who wish to research the etymological intri-cacies of the Eve/Hawwah = Hebat/Heba equivalency are welcome to do so. There has been a great deal written on the probable correspondence and it is not the aim of the present paper to go over these arguments. To best summarize a recent scholarly position on the issue, I am quoting Note 30 from I.M. Diakonoff’s “Evidence of the Ethnic Division of the Hurrians”, in Studies on the Civilization and the Culture of the Nuzi and the Hurrians by E. R. Lacheman, 1981:
“It is Heba in all PN (and therefore this form is the more archaic) but Hebat, Hebatu in Bogazkoy, in Ugaritic lists, in the Hieroglyphic Luwian texts and elsewhere. E.A. Speiser had pointed out that this t does not, contrary to the rules of Hurrian phonetics, develop to *d, and hence is (a) late, (b) Semitic. He compared West Semitic *Hawwatu, Hebr. Hawwa “Eve”. The name cannot be borrowed from West Se-mitic because, first, the form Heba is earlier than the Semitic addition –t- (this is, among other proffs, shown by the existence of Huba in Urartian), and se-cond, because intervocalic *b may develop to West Semitic b > /w(w)/, but Semitic *w cannot be reflect-ed as Hurrian b… Therefore, although there may have been an identification of Hurr. Heba > Hebatu with West Semitic Hawwa < Hawwatu, either the two mythological figures must have originally been quite separate, or it was Heba who was the original. The Semitic etymology of Hawwa is not above some sus-picions.”
Gary Beckman, Professor of Hittite and Mesopotami-an Studies, Department of Near Eastern Studies, at the University of Michigan, passed along this on the goddess Hebat, her name and other goddesses with whom she was identified:
It has recently been demonstrated that her name de-veloped through some complicated sound changes from *Halabat, “the (female) one of Aleppo.” She be-came the chief goddess of the western Hurrian pantheon and spouse of the Storm-God Teshshub. Among Hurrians in the east, this position was held by Shaushga, a goddess whose name was usually hidden under the word-sign Ishtar. [At Nippur, Innana/Ishtar was called nin edin "the Lady of Eden"]. Within the syncretistic late pantheon of the Hittite empire, when figures from the earlier Anatoli-an god world were assimilated to members of the newly-adopted Hurrian pantheon, Hebat was also identified with the Sun-goddess of Arinna. But this was simply because each was the partner of the Storm-god in the respective systems (Anatolian Tarhunt and Hurrian Teshshub). This is most fa-mously illustrated in a prayer of Queen Puduhepa in which she addresses the Sun-goddess, mentioning that “in the Land of Cedars (Syria) they call you Hebat.”
Dr. Mark Weeden of Oxford and other top Assyriologists agree on the derivation of Hebat’s name from the city-name Aleppo.
If we provisionally accept the equation of Eve with Heba (= Ishtar, who was primarily associated with the planet Venus), the Garden – and, incidentally, Adam himself – becomes quite knowable.
Some scholars (although to a degree considered “fringe”) have made a case for an identification of the four rivers of Eden. David Rohl (see The Jerusalem Report, February 1, 1999, “Paradise Found”), deriving his material primarily from the earlier independent scholar Reginald Walker, equated the Gihon with the Aras or Araks, and the Pishon with the Uizhon (and alternate spellings, the P showing a supposed Semitic shift; the river is now known as the Qezel Qwzan and is the upper half of the Sefid Rud ). Unfortunately, he is an archaeologist and not a linguist, and his analysis of the river-names and other place-names has been disputed. Such identifications rely on late Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian names and therefore cannot be trusted to be accurate forms.
If we “respect” the Biblical account (yes, I know – an exercise fraught with peril!), we need to fulfill some conditions. First, we cannot opt for a location for the garden that runs directly contrary to the account. One example of this would be the recent effort to find Eden at the head of the Persian Gulf by identifying the Pishon with the newly discovered dry ‘Kuwait’ river (see James A. Sauer, “The River Runs Dry,” Biblical Archaeology Review, Vol. 22, No. 4, Ju-ly/August 1996, pp. 52-54, 57, 64. Molly Dewsnap, “The Kuwait River,” Biblical Archaeology Review, Vol. 22, No. 4, July/August 1996, p. 55.). Second, the ac-tual river of the garden HAS to have four rivers branching out from it (or at the very least three; see below). Furthermore, we MUST have a verifiable as-sociation of the said river of the garden with Heba/Eve and Adam. Rohl neglected to fulfill the last two of these critical requirements.
The Tigris and Euphrates we know and they are not a problem. Gihon and the Pishon are quite the op-posite.
The Pishon is said to surround the land of Havilah (Hebrew Chaviylah). This land, mentioned only once in the Bible, is not otherwise known and researchers have sought it all over the place, primarily in south-west Arabia or even in Africa. However, there is an ancient city that can tentatively be located on the upper Khabur, the largest tributary of the Euphrates. The name of this place is Hawilum (Hawalum, Hawlum). A temple at the site was dedicated by the king of Urkesh (Tell Mozan) and Nawar (Tell Brak) – both on the headwaters of the Khabur. Thus these cities are in the region of the Turkish-Syrian border, pretty much exactly between the Euphrates to the west and the Tigris to the east. I would equate Hawilum with Havilah.
The inscription concerning Hawilum may be found here: http://www.urkesh.org/pages/571.htm.
While Hawilum has not be precisely located, the Syr-iac lexicographer Bar-Bahlũl (10th century) mentions the toponym HWYL´ (Hwilā, Huwaylā, and in one exemplar of his lexicon H/Kwilā or H/Kuwaylā), which he associates with the city of GWZN (vocalised Gawzan; Lexicon Syriacum ed. R.Duval [1888-1896] col. 426 and n .25). This GWZN is probably Guzana, which we now know to be Tell Halaf. Thus Hiwalum may have been in the vicinity of the latter ancient city.
I have confirmed the above with Professor Amir Harrak. He writes (personal communication):
“It is a 10th century AD Syriac source that says lit-erally: GWZN, according to Bar-Saroshway (ca. 900 AD) is a city which is HWYL’. The latter name is not consistent in all manuscripts. There are 2 issues here: whether or not Syriac GWZN is Guzana and I think it is since Syriac authors were native of the Khabur for centuries if not millennia , and whether or not HWYL’ is Hawilum. Because of the variant spellings of this name found in the Syriac sources I am not sure of the association HWYL’ Hawilum. An-cient names do appear in late Syriac sources and an important one is Edessa near the Upper Euphrates whose Syriac name is Urhay. The same 10th century source gives its ancient name (Adme) known since the 19th century BC in Assyrian sources; see my article on this in JNES 51 (1992) pp. 209-214.”
Other scholars now agree in placing Hawilum in the western part of the Khabur Triangle. The following, for example, is from G.Buccellati and M. Kelly-Buccellati’s “The Great TempleTerrace at Urkesh and the Lions of Tish-atal”, SCCNH (Owen Volume), De-cember, 2005:
“The fact that NERGAL is called ‘Lord of Hawalum” implies that his temple was in that locality, and the name Hawalum had no known link with Urkesh (its localization remains unknown, though it is assumed to be in the Khabur Triangle, west of Urkesh).”
Allowing for Hawilum = Havilah, “Cush” is pretty plainly a reference to Urkesh, i.e. the City (= Ur) of Kesh, itself at Tell Mozan on the Upper Khabur. The Gihon, however, cannot be another name for the Khabur (ancient Hubur or Habur), but must instead be the Wadi Darca, as Urkesh/Tell Mozan is near the headwaters of this stream. The Khabur’s name was known anciently (and will be discussed below), so equating it with Gihon is not something we can al-low.
The Pishon (Hebrew Pison), being associated with Hiwalum near/at Guzana/Tell Halaf, has to be the Wadi Djirjib. The name itself could be from Old Bab-ylonian pis, meaning “quay, port; bank, shore, rim; stream, wadi, gorge” (Pennsylvania Sumerian Dic-tionary). However, from Old Babylonian on, including Akkadian, there is pisannu, ‘drainage passage’ or ‘drainpipe’ (Chicago Assyrian Dictionary). The Djirjib is to the west of the Wadi Darca of Urkesh and both are within the Khabur Triangle.
So how does the identification of the four rivers help us? Well, we need to begin at Tell Ahmar, the site of ancient Aramaean Til Barsip (Hittite Masuwari) and the capital of the small kingdom of Bit-Adini, Biblical Beth-Eden (Amos 1:5).
Til Barsip is on the Euphrates a dozen miles to the southeast of Carchemish, and Carchemish is roughly 75 miles west of Abraham’s Haran. Bit-Adini/Beth-Eden stretched from the the Sajur River, a tributary of the Euphrates whose mouth was approximately opposite the capital to the west, to the Balikh River, another tributary of the Euphrates further south. Scholars now believe it embraced some territory to the west of the Euphrates as well. I hastily add that the name of the Balikh was also known anciently and cannot be associated with either a ‘Kush’ or a ‘Havilah’. While I have not found an ancient name for the Sajur it, too, cannot be associated with Kush or Havilah.
The following wonderful description of Til-Barsip is courtesy peeters-leuven.be/boekoverz_print.asp?nr=8841:
“Tell Ahmar, ancient Til Barsib, on the east bank of the Euphrates River, close to the confluence of the Sajur River, was ideally placed to function as a crossing point from upper Mesopotamia to northern Syria. To a large extent the prominent and strategic location of Tell Ahmar determined the Assyrian in-terest in the site and its apparent that Tell Ahmar reached its maximum size under the Assyrians.”
While the location of Eden in the Bible has been in-tentionally mystified, no verse better than 2 Kings 19:12-13 shows better where it is to be found:
“Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the na-tions that my predecessors destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar (Tell Assur, ‘Hill of the god Assur’ of the Assyrians)? Where is the King of Hamath, the king of Arpad, etc.”
All these places are known to be in northern Mesopo-tamia and Syria. 2 Kings 19:12-13 is repeated in Isaiah 37:12-13.
Now, let’s see if Til-Barsip and Bit-Adini/Beth-Eden fits into our river scheme. Remember the Bible pas-sage in question says “A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and be-comes four branches”. Let us start with the river that flows out of Eden.
This can only be the Euphrates. The kingdom of Bit-Adini lay to both sides of the Euphrates. Thus the mysterious river of Eden is actually one of the other four rivers listed in the Genesis account.
The Wadis Darca and Djirjib as headwater tributaries of the Khabur are important precisely because the latter itself was important. As the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary and other sources make clear, the Hubur/Habur was the river of the nether world, and the place of the river-ordeal – it was even a DESIGNATION for the nether world. It could also be the name of a deity (i.e. a deified river), and we find it used for Tiamat, called umma hu-bur, ‘mother Hubur’. This incredibly sacred river lies directly be-tween the Tigris and the Euphrates.
The Euphrates further downstream joins the Tigris (in this modern age, near Basra), so all these rivers are joined together, in a sense, and are thus “branches” of the Euphrates.
This is a very precise geographical fix for Eden. So, we can identify the four rivers of Paradise as follows:
Euphrates/river of Eden
Pishon – Wadi Djirjib of Hiwalum (Khabur)
Gihon – Wadi Darca of Urkesh (Khabur)
More exciting than the identification of the rivers is the presence at Til Barsip/Tell Ahmar of inscriptions bearing the name of the goddess Hebat/Hepat, as well as theophoric personal names containing her name. Hebat’s main cult center is believed to have been Aleppo some 50 miles to the SW. Also attested three times at Til Barsip is the goddess Kubaba, who became the patron goddess of Carchemish. The Syro-Canaanite goddess named Adamma, known principally from Ebla (35 miles SW of Aleppo), was borrowed into the Hurrian pantheon by being identi-fied with this very same Kubaba (= Cybele). Heba is often accompanied by Kubaba in lists of deities (see, for example, Tell Ahmar II: A New Luwian Stele and the Cult of the Storm-God at Til Barsib-Masuwari, Guy Bunnens, John David Hawkins, I. Leirens, 2006).
Francesco Domponio (in “Adamma Paredra Di Rasap”) gives as the various forms of Adamma’s name Adamma, Adama, Adamaum, Adammaum and Adamtum.
In E. Lipinski’s “Resheph. A Syro-Canaanite Deity. (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta, 181, Editions Peeters, Leuven 2009)”, the author rejects the asso-ciation of the name of the goddess Adamma with the similar looking word in Semitic languages for ‘earth’. More likely in his opinion is the relation to ‘blood’ (Hebrew dam). Adamma was the consort of Rasap (Resheph).
According to Alfonso Archi (“The Gods of Ebla”, NIT Annual Report, 2010):
“A common epithet of Rashap was “of-the-garden” [rsp gn, with gn being the Canaanite equivalent of Hebrew gn, the word used to describe the Garden of Eden], which does not seem to refer to “the cemetery”, neither at Ebla, nor at Ugarit. At Ebla the spouse of Rashap was Adamma – there is also an “Adamma-of-the-garden.” In the second millenium this goddess was no longer associated with Rashap, but was included in the Hurrian pantheon and associated with the goddess of Karkamish, Kubaba.”
[It will be admitted that some scholars do not read GN as 'garden', but as a place-name GUNUM. The following is from Mary Seeley, Subject Librarian (His-tory & Religions; Ancient Near East, Semitics & Judaica), Teaching and Research Support (Library), School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Uni-versity of London:
"SOAS Library has a copy of Lipinksi's book Resheph: a Syro-Canaanite deity (classmark QK929.4 / 738142).
I have had a quick look at the contents, and in Chapter 1 (Resheph in the Ebla Archives) Lipinski transcribes the GN epithet of both Resheph and Adamma as "Gunu". He states that this is possibly derived from the suffix - kunu, and may represent a derivative of the root kun (to be firm).
Lipinski states categorically that the gu-nu qualifier in the name of Resheph is not "garden" (gann in all the Semitic languages that provide a vocalization).
In Chapter 2 (Resheph and Adamma) he mentions the following places associated with the worship of Adamma - Emar, Boghazkoy, Ugarit and Alakh. The goddess frequently carries a topographical epithet. Adamma of Adani, Gunu, DU-anir, Du-lum and Tunip are among those noted in the original sources."]
Adamma’s primary cult center (according to Robert R. Stieglitz in “Divine Pairs in the Ebla Pantheon”, Eblaitica Volume 4 and Pelio Alfonso Archi in Semitic and Assyriological Studies, ed. by Pelio Fronzaroli, 2003) was Adani or Ataanni, thought to possibly be Tell ‘Asharneh on the Orontes not far from Hama.
The name Adam, of course, has been derived from various words in the languages of the region, in addi-tion to the Hebrew: Sumerian adama “a dark-colored bodily discharge”, e.g. blood, to which we may com-pare Akkadian adamu, “blood”, adamatu, “black blood”, [as plural only] “dark red earth (used as a dye)”. But a similarly spelled word in Akkadian also means “an important, noble person” (Chicago Assyr-ian Dictionary). Thus is it not difficult to see how the notion of a man made out of earth came to be a popular one.
If all this is so, what about the serpent in the Gar-den? To learn more about him, we need to go to the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh Epic. The best part of the Epic for our purposes is actually an added episode called “The Huluppu Tree [perhaps a willow or pop-lar]”:
“Once upon a time, a tree, a huluppu, a tree –
It had been planted on the bank of the Euphrates,
It was watered by the Euphrates –
The violence of the South Wind plucked up its roots,
Tore away its crown,
The Euphrates carried it off on its waters.
The woman, roving about in fear at the word of An,
Roving about in fear at the word of Enlil,
Took the tree in her hand, brought it to Erech:
‘I shall bring it to pure Inanna’s [Inanna/Ishtar = Venus] fruitful garden.’
The woman tended the tree with her hand, placed it by her foot,
Inanna tended the tree with her hand, placed it by her foot,
‘When will it be a fruitful throne for me to sit on,’ she said,
‘When will it be a fruitful bed for me to lie on,’ she said.
The tree grew big, its trunk bore no foliage,
In its roots the snake who knows no charm set up its nest,
In its crown the Imdugud-bird placed its young,
In its midst the maid Lilith built her house –
The always laughing, always rejoicing maid,
I, the maid Inanna, how I weep!”
Her brother, the hero Gilgamesh,
Stood by her in this matter,
He donned armor weighing fifty minas about his waist –
Fifty minas were handled by him like thirty shekels –
His “ax of the road” –
Seven talents and seven minas — he took in his hand,
At its roots he struck down the snake who knows no charm,
In its crown the Imdugud-bird took its young, climbed to the mountains,
In its midst the maid Lilith tore down her house, fled to the wastes.”
First, we have a “garden” at Uruk, and the Euphrates being mentioned as the origin point of the huluppu tree. We have seen how Inanna could be called ‘Lady of Eden’. The Imdugud bird (or Anzu, etc.) was a symbol for the stormcloud. It often battles the storm god in the mountains as his evil twin. Lilith or, ra-ther, Lilitu, was a goddess or demon whose name derives from the word for “wind”. According to The Dictionary of Deities and Demons of the Bible, she was especially associated with “stormy winds”.
And the serpent?
What we are seeing in this World Tree is a tripartite division of the cosmos. The stormcloud bird floats above the air, where the wind demoness lives. Be-neath the earth, at the roots of the tree, is the river, which rises out of the ground to flow over the earth. A meandering, sinuous stream, which can strike with deadly force, is very appropriately symbolized as a serpent.
If I’m right here, then we can reconstruct what the Creation story may have been like before it was adapted by the Hebrews for their own Bible.
Firstly, we need to bear in mind that Kubaba (= Adamma) was said to be a tavern-owner. She has, therefore, been compared with the Siduri of the Gil-gamesh Epic, also a tavern owner, whom the hero finds keeping an inn at a GARDEN with jeweled trees on the shore of the sea. We are reminded, of course, of the Greek Garden of the Hesperides with its golden sun-apples, the source of the golden light of sunset in the west. These apples were guarded by the hundred-headed Drakon. In the Gilgamesh Epic, we are told of a plant of eternal youth. The hero is bathing in a spring (doubtless the source of a river) when the plant is stolen BY A SNAKE, whose shedding is cited as proof that the animal has rid itself of old age. To this we may compare the Euphrates river in the above-quoted section of the Epic, carrying off the huluppu tree.
Adam, then, is made of the earth that is, quite liter-ally, the earth-goddess Adamma-Kubaba. The Assyro-Babylonian parallels assign the act of the creation of man primarily to various goddesses, alt-hough gods like Enlil the storm god can direct, advise or assist in the operation. The materials used are clay and, in some accounts, clay and blood. The blood can come from gods, e.g. Kingu, whose blood mixed with clay was used by Marduk to make man, and Geshtu-e, who plays the same role in the story of the goddess Aruru. The fact that Adamma’s name could mean both ‘earth’ and ‘blood’ (despite Lipinski’s reservation) probably indicates that she provided the first man with flesh as well as the life-liquid that flowed through his veins. The sacrificed Geshtu-e’s blood was the source of the intelligence in man (cf. the fruit of knowledge).
Prompted by the guardian river-serpent – in this case, the river of Til-Barsip or Bit-Adini, which is probably the Sajur (remember the river of Eden has to be a tributary of one of the other four rivers) – Heba/Ishtar/Inanna provides the first man with the fruit of the sacred World Tree, i.e. the solar fruit. After all, it was her tree. Adam thus obtains the wisdom and intelligence that allows him to differentiate himself from the lower animals and thereby become semi-divine. But the sun-fruit also bestows immor-tality. The Bible version, confused as always, seems to imply that the “tree of life” and the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” are two different trees. They are not. They are identical.
While we don’t know what the original fruit of the tree was, one of the main iconographic elements of the goddess Kubaba-Adamma was the pomegranate, although some scholars think what she holds in ex-tant images is a poppy capsule. In terms of a fruit that resembles the sun, the pomegranate is the logi-cal choice.
Both Kubaba (the latter as Cybele/Agdistis) and Inanna are associated with sacred trees and their fruit. Of the former, we are told the following:
Pausanias, Description of Greece 7. 17. 8 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
“The local [Phrygian] legend about him [Attis] being this. Zeus [equated here with the Phrygian sky-god], it is said, let fall in his sleep seed upon the ground, which in course of time sent up a Daimon, with two sexual organs, male and female. They call the daimon Agdistis. But the gods, fearing Agdistis, cut off the male organ. There grew up from it an almond-tree with its fruit rip [in some versions, this is a POMEGRANATE TREE], and a daughter of the river Sangarios, they say, took the fruit and laid it in her bosom, when it at once disappeared, but she was with child. A boy was born, and exposed, but wastended by a he-goat. As he grew up his beauty was more than human, and Agdistis fell in love with him. When he had grown up, Attis was sent by his relatives to Pessinos, that he might wed the king’s daughter. The marriage-song was being sung, when Agdistis appeared, and Attis went mad and cut off his genitals, as also did he who was giving him his daughter in marriage. But Agdistis repented of what she had done to Attis, and persuaded Zeus to grant the body of Attis should neither rot at all nor decay. These are the most popular forms of the legend of Attis.”
The Sumerian A shir-namshub to Utu (Utu F) has Inanna eating of pine nuts, etc., in order to acquire sexual knowledge. This was so she could properly attend to the god Dumuzi’s needs:
1-2317 lines fragmentary
Youthful Utu …, calf of the wild cow, calf of the wild cow, calf of the righteous son, Utu, royal brother of Inana! He who brings thirst to streets and paths (?), Utu, he of the tavern, provided beer, youthful Utu, he of the tavern, provided beer.
24-30 (Inana speaks:) “My brother, awe-inspiring lord, let me ride with you to the mountains! Lord of heaven, awe-inspiring lord, lord, let me ride with you to the mountains; to the mountains of herbs, to the mountains of cedars, to the mountains; to the moun-tains of cedars, the mountains of cypresses, to the mountains; to the mountains of silver, the mountains of lapis lazuli, to the mountains; to the mountains where the gakkul plants grow, to the mountains; to the distant source of the rolling rivers, to the mountains.
31-34 “My brother, come, let me… My brother, the midst of the sea… my eyes. My brother, women… Utu, women…
35-38 “I am unfamiliar with womanly matters, with ……. I am unfamiliar with womanly matters, with sexual intercourse! I am unfamiliar with womanly matters, with kissing! I am unfamiliar with sexual intercourse, I am unfamiliar with kissing!
39-43 “Whatever exists in the mountains, let us eat that. Whatever exists in the hills, let us eat that. In the mountains of herbs, in the mountains of cedars, in the mountains of cedars, the mountains of cy-presses, whatever exists in the mountains, let us eat that.
44-49 “After the herbs have been eaten, after the ce-dars have been eaten, put your hand in my hand and then escort me to my house. Escort me to my house, to my house in Zabalam. Escort me to my mother, to my mother Ningal. Escort me to my mother-in-law, to Ninsumun. Escort me to my sister-in-law, to Jectin-ana.”
50-56 For those who venture forth single-handed, who venture forth from a man’s house, for those who venture forth from a man’s house, who venture forth single-handed, Utu: you are their mother, Utu, you are their father. Utu, as for the orphans, Utu, as for the widows, Utu: the orphans look to you as their fa-ther, Utu, you succour the widows as their mother. With you…”
And what of the supposed creation of Heba the god-dess from the rib of the man Adam? What do we make of this motif?
“21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called Woman,
for out of Man this one was taken.”
24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh” Genesis, New Revised Standard Version
Obviously, we have here an iconographic misinter-pretation (or REINTERPRETATION!), or a different story that became hopelessly muddled over time. This method of the making of woman has always been seen as yet another usurpation of matriarchal privilege by the patriarchal. In the Hebrew account, there is no goddess in on the act of Creation. Yahweh does it all by himself. The idea of a mother goddess making the first man and first woman was not one the priestly authors wished to convey. Superficially, the account de-emphasizes the significance of woman by even denying her a non-masculine compositional material. Adam was made of earth – the flesh of the earth goddess herself. But Eve, a demoted goddess, had to be content with acknowledging that she owed her very existence to a ‘spare rib’ of the first man
My feeling is that the whole rib episode came about in this fashion: a rib is white and sickle-shaped and thus resembles the crescent moon, symbol of the Luwian (and Hittite-borrowed) moon god Arma, the Hittite moon god Kaska and the Hurrian moon god Kushukh. The crescent moon is common in the reli-gious iconography of the region, and Heba herself is shown depicted with the crescent-horned moon god.
But we must remember that Inanna/Ishtar was most often called the DAUGHTER of Nanna/Sin THE MOON GOD, whose symbol was THE CRESCENT MOON. Thus the ‘rib’ of Adam is actually Nanna/Sin the moon god father of Hebat/Inanna/Ishtar. Its being extracted from Adam, whose name could mean ‘earth’, is an error for it being taken out of the earth, i.e. this is a symbolic representation of the rising of the crescent moon.