Saturday, February 8, 2014

Cush as Hermes: John R. Salverda Responds to Robert Bowie Johnson

Re our post:
Prophet Elijah as Greek Myrtilus

Robert Bowie Johnson Jr., author of The Parthenon Code. Mankind's History in Marble, commented:

bob Says:

Hermes is Cush. See the books “The Parthenon Code: Mankind’s History in Marble,” “Noah in Ancient Greek Art,” and the DVD “The Serpent’s Side of Eden.” 

To which we responded:

amaic Says:

Dear Bob

Really appreciate your efforts to demonstrate Greek appropriation of biblical stories. Do not necessarily agree with all of it (e.g. Titan pushing heaven away, though it applies philosophically), but it is always most interesting and readable.
John R. Salverda is a past master of this sort of work. You can find his articles at our:

Anyway, I shall pass on your comments to John.

God bless

Damien Mackey

John then replied in turn:

Dear Damien (and Robert as well),

I am well familiar with the concept of Hermes as Cush. In my youth, I followed the writings of Alexander Hyslop ("The Two Babylons" a virulently anti-Papist exposition), who had deduced that the name "Hermes" was a form of the name "Chemosh" (the god of the Moabites), and was therefore derived from "Chem" ("Ham") and "Mose" ("delivered from," or "son of") thus "Ham's son." This supposition was further supported with a statement made by Hyginus; "Men for many centuries before lived without town or laws, speaking one tongue under the rule of Jove. But after Mercurius had explained the languages of men (whence he is called ermeneutes, ‘interpreter’, for Mercurius in Greek is called Ermes; he too, divided the nations), then discord arose among mortals, which was not pleasing to Jove." (Hyginus, Fabulae 143). This coupled with the idea that Cush (Ham's son) sounds like the name "Chaos" the Greek god of "confusion," and Nimrod (often identified as the leader of the tower builders at Babel) likely had received his Babylonian kingdom as an inheritance from his father Cush (figured, under this theory, to have been the actual tower builder), made an impressive argument in favor of identifying Ham's son, "Cush" with the Greek god "Hermes."
I bought this argument myself, for a long time. Eventually however, an alternate theory came up offering a more detailed comparison between Hermes and Moses. It could be, of course, that Moses had become identified with, and deified as, an earlier planetary (Mercury) god, who originated as Ham's son and was associated with the tower of Babel catastrophe. But, there is no doubt in my mind that the Greek Hermes, especially as he is associated with the deliverance of Io (Hermes Argeiphontes), is to be associated with Moses and his deliverance of the Jews. (Please see; ). The Orphic hymn to Hermes is another such apparent evidence for seeing Hermes as Moses; Here the "newly born" god leads away the "cattle" of Apollo Pieria (Baal Peor), receives the caduceus (serpent stick) and composes a song about the "origins of the gods" (Genesis). Hermes Psychopomps (literally meaning the "guide of souls") the god of wandering, is almost certainly an echo of the Hebrew Moses.
In my view the similarities between the names Hermes and Chemosh are tenuous at best (such name based associations can be quite tricky), I like Hermes and "Ormuzd" (Ahura Mazda, the god of the Persians, whose messenger was Mithra the Persian Moses), and "Hormuz" (the strait across the Persian gulf as a confused cognizant of the Red Sea crossing). Perhaps the original name of Moses was Ra-Moses, and thus a plausible origin for Her-mes. The quote by Hyginus is compelling (take note; "Men for many centuries before lived without town or laws" in relation to the fact that Babel was the first post-flood city), however Hyginus says nothing about building a city, or a tower for that matter, and Moses was leading nomads (people without a city) and did introduce the Law to them. Because Moses had invented the Alphabet (also attributed to Hermes), his involvement with the "languages of men," may have confused Hyginus or his sources to conflate his idea of "Hermes" with an earlier figure, who the ancients knew of, one who did cause the confusion of the tongues whereupon "discord arose among mortals," and the "nations were divided." 
I don't want to sound like a know-it-all because I don't, I'm not absolutely sure, but this is how I discount Hyslop's Hermes/Cush theory in favor of the older (Artapanus from the later half of the 3rd or 2nd century BCE.) Hermes/Moses alternative, for what it's worth. Perhaps I will have more to say about  the books “The Parthenon Code: Mankind’s History in Marble,” “Noah in Ancient Greek Art,” and “The Serpent’s Side of Eden" at some later date.

Keep up the quest, we'll figure it out someday. Our field of study is small enough to afford a few conflicts of opinions between the scholars, that's for sure!
-John R. Salverda

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