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Review of 'The 12th Planet'

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 Things to beware of in 1997:
 New Russian civil strife. 
      The following file is courtesy of HUFON REPORT, the
            newsletter of the Houston UFO Network.
             THE 12th PLANET - by Zecharia Sitchin
                   Reviewed by Vince Johnson
 In his book "The 12th Planet," Zecharia Sitchin presents ev-
 idence  not only of contact by extraterrestrial beings thou-
 sands of years ago, but that these beings genetically engin-
 eered Homo Sapiens to serve them.
 Sitchin began his inquiry when he came across the term Nefi-
 lim  during Talmudic study as a boy.   His teacher explained
 that  the  word  meant "giants" when describing the "sons of
 the deities"  who married the daughters of Man, although the
 literal  Hebrew  translation  of Nefilim was "those who were
 cast down." Sitchin never accepted the "giants" explanation,
 and  his  curiosity  about  the  Nefilim was the impetus for
 "The 12th Planet."
 The book begins with a short anthropological history of Man,
 starting  with  Australopithecus some two million years ago.
 Six  hundred thousand years later came the Neanderthal, who,
 according to Sitchin, used the same tools as his more primi-
 tive  ancestors (although the latest findings indicate Nean-
 derthals  were  more  sophisticated than Sitchin describes).
 Then,  a  mere  35,000 years ago, Homo Sapiens appears.  The
 author quotes a Dr.T. Dobzhansk, "Modern Man has many fossil
 collateral  relatives, but no progenitors; the derivation of
 Homo Sapiens then becomes a puzzle."
 As  far  as current archaeological knowledge can reveal, the
 first true civilization arose in Mesopotamian Sumer, located
 in  present-day  Iraq, at least 6,000  years  ago.  Sumerian
 culture  exploded  onto  the  scene virtually overnight, the
 cradle of human civilization.
 A  description  of Sumer is a list of "firsts" for the human
 race. Among these "firsts" are: the first schools, the first
 historian,  the  first method of writing, the first library,
 the  first  doctors and pharmacopoeia, the first agriculture
 (and  first "farmers' almanac"), the first musical notation,
 the  first bicameral legislature, and the first taxes.   The
 Sumerian  legal  code (also a first) included protection for
 divorced  women  and  price controls on foodstuffs and wagon
 rentals.  Their religion influenced all that followed,  with
 elements  of the Sumerian creation epic filtered through the
 ages  into  the  Old Testament (the garden of Eden, the evil
 serpent, the great flood, etc.).   But Sitchin's analysis of
 Sumerian astronomy and cosmology is of most interest.  It is
 Sitchin's  belief  that  astronomical knowledge actually de-
 clined  from  the Sumerian period, with much of the Sumerian
 astronomical knowledge only rediscovered during the Coperni-
 can revolution.
 To  support this thesis, the author describes the astronomi-
 cal  knowledge  of  the  ancient  Greeks, who came more than
 3,000 years after the Sumerians.  It is historical fact that
 the  Greeks not only understood that the Earth was a sphere,
 but had calculated its size to amazing accuracy.  The Greek,
 Hipparchus,  knew  of the heliocentric (sun-centered) astro-
 nomical system.  Hipparchus was also aware of the phenomenon
 known  as  precession of the equinoxes, a cyclical wobble of
 Earth's axis that takes 2,160 years to complete.   To under-
 stand  this  phenomenon one would assume that Hipparchus had
 to  draw  upon astronomical data at least that old. Two hun-
 dred  years  before Hipparchus, Eudoxes of Cnidus designed a
 celestial  sphere representing the constellations and attri-
 buted their zodiacal designations to "men of yore."
 Sitchin writes,  "Were the early Greek astronomers living in
 Asia  Minor  better  informed  than their successors because
 they could draw on Mesopotamian sources?" Sumerian astronomy
 and  the  required  mathematics used to describe and predict
 celestial events were remarkably advanced.   They utilized a
 unit  of  measure  called  dub, which has been translated to
 mean both the 360 degree circumference of the Earth, and the
 "arch of the heavens."  Not only were the Sumerians aware of
 the spherical nature of the world, they used the concepts of
 the  equator,  poles,  and  lines of longitude and latitude.
 Also, the apparent retrograde motions of the planets (due to
 differences  in orbital radii) were understood  6,000  years
 before  renaissance-era astronomers would solved the puzzle.
 An accurate Sumerian calendar dating back to 4400bc acknowl-
 edged  the  precessional shift from 2,160 years before.  The
 Sumerians  used  a 12-based numbering system which still in-
 fluences numbering today; numbers 1-12 have individual names
 while subsequent numbers are contractions. The number 12 was
 very  significant  to the Sumerians, representing the number
 of their principle gods which were synonymous with the plan-
 ets  known  to  them  (they included the Moon and the Sun in
 their count).   Does this mean that the Sumerians were aware
 of  all  of  the  planets  known to us today, or was it just
 Sitchin  describes  numerous  cylinder seals showing what he
 interprets  to  be  schematic  diagrams of the solar system.
 These diagrams often show a planet larger than Earth between
 the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.   These diagrams, along with
 Sumerian,  Babylonian, and Akkadian creation epics lead Sit-
 chin  to  believe that a collision of planets occurred early
 in the history of the solar system. Certain aspects of these
 ancient  texts  can  support Sitchin's theory, for instance:
 the "gods" (planets) have "destinies" (orbits) and "cast out
 their nets" (gravitational attraction).
 According  to Sitchin, the 12th planet, Marduk, while making
 its  approach  to the sun (in a highly elliptical orbit) in-
 teracted  with the other planets of the solar system, fling-
 ing Pluto into its current peculiar orbit. Marduk, or one of
 its  satellites,  then collided with a planet called Tiamat,
 which occupied an orbit between Mars and Jupiter. The Sumer-
 ians described it like this:
      Tiamat and Marduk, the wisest of gods,
      Advanced against one another;
      They pressed on to single combat,
      They approached for battle.
      After he had slain Tiamat, the leader,
      Her band was broken, her host broken up,
      The gods, her helpers who marched at her side,
      Trembling with fear,
      Turned their backs about so as to save
      And preserve their lives.
 Sitchin  interprets  "the  host,  the helper gods" to be the
 moons  of Tiamat which "turned their backs" or changed orbi-
 tal motions.    He suggests that the "shattered band" became
 the comets and the asteroid belt.    But of most importance,
 the  bulk of Tiamat's debris fell into a new orbit and would
 become Earth.
 The Hebrew texts mirror the Sumerian in several respects. In
 Genesis,  the  Lord hovers over Tehom (the Hebrew version of
 Tiamat),  and  the lightning of the Lord (Marduk in Babylon-
 ian)  lit  the darkness as it hit and split Tiamat, creating
 the  Earth  and  the "hammered bracelet" Raika (the asteroid
 belt). In the Akkadian version, Marduk creates the "hammered
 bracelet"  by  stretching  out Tiamat's "lower  part" into a
 great circle.
 Such  is the Sumerian story of creation.  Since these events
 presumably  occurred  before the dawn of Man, how do the Su-
 merians come by this account?    Sitchin believes it was the
 Nefilim who told the story to the Sumerians.
 According  to  Sitchin's theory, the Nefilim were engaged in
 mining operations on the Earth. To support this, he presents
 evidence  of  mining  activity  in Africa (through carbon-14
 dating) 100,000 years ago.   To further support this notion,
 Sitchin  presents  a  Sumerian  carving  showing  the god of
 mining, Ea,  emerging from a mine pit.   Lightning-type rays
 are emitted by the god, servants are seen holding up shields
 between themselves and Ea.  Texts refer to "blue stones that
 cause  ill," which Sitchin interprets as radioactive cobalt.
 The  texts refer to the underworld as Kur.Nu.Gi.A, "the land
 where gods who work in deep tunnels pile up the ores." Ulti-
 mately,  the  Nefilim miners mutinied against their masters,
      Excessive toil has killed us,
      Our work is heavy, the distress much...
      While the Birth Goddess is present,
      Let her create a Primitive Worker,
      Let him bear the yoke...
      Let him carry the toil of the gods!
 Marduk responds:
      I will produce a lowly primitive;
      Man shall be his name,
      I shall create a Primitive Worker;
      He will be charged in the service of the gods
      that they might have their ease.
 It  is  Sitchin's theory that a mutiny of the Nefilim led to
 the creation of Mankind.   The Nefilim genetically altered a
 hominid  with  some of their own DNA, producing a useful hy-
 brid - Man. To support this, he quotes a Babylonian text:
      Let one god be bled..
      From his flesh and blood,
      Let Ninti mix the clay..
      The new-born's' fate thou shalt pronounce;
      Ninti would fix upon it the image of the gods;
      And what it will be is Man.
 The god chosen to provide the blood was named TE.E.MA, which
 translates  to  "that which houses that which binds the mem-
 ory," which could be interpreted as an allegorical pre-tech-
 nological  description of "genes." Furthermore, the Akkadian
 term for clay is tit in Hebrew, which is synonymous with bos
 (mud)  and  shares  a linguistic root with bisa (marsh) and,
 interestingly, besa (egg).
 To  further  support  the notion that Mankind was created to
 serve the Nefilim, Sitchin submits that the Hebrew term used
 to describe Man's relationship to the gods was not "worship"
 but avod (work). Ancient Man did not worship the Nefilim, he
 worked for them.
 Sitchin's  theory could explain the rapid rise and technical
 prowess  of  Sumerian civilization.   But what became of the
 Nefilim?   The author suggests that they either became aware
 of,  or  were  the cause of, the coming flood.   The Nefilim
 blasted  off, leaving the Earth to Man,  or at least the few
 that would survive the coming catastrophe.   All evidence of
 the Nefilim's existence was buried under tons of mud.
 While  The 12th Planet  does  present some interesting data,
 there are some weaknesses in Sitchin's theory. For instance,
 he  believes  the Nefilim came from Marduk, the 12th planet.
 One  would  have  to wonder how life could have evolved on a
 planet  with  an  orbit that took it far beyond the orbit of
 Sitchin also describes Nefilim space technology with a deci-
 dedly  Apollo-era  slant (the book was written in 1976).  He
 produces  evidence  for  the  idea that the Nefilim used LEM
 (Lunar  Excursion  Module) style landers, and that they also
 "splashed-down" in the Indian Ocean.  He even goes so far as
 to suggest that the reason the Nefilim chose Mesopotamia for
 their  colony was the availability of fossil fuels.   If the
 Nefilim  came  from  Marduk, a planet presumably locked in a
 permanent  deep-freeze,  they  would  probably have had much
 more efficient means of energy generation than burning oil.
 Sitchin  also  makes many unqualified declarations regarding
 the goings-on in ancient Sumer. To be objective when dealing
 with  subject  matter as speculative as this, he should have
 incorporated terms like "could, might" and "possibly" rather
 than making unqualified statements of fact.
 That  being  said, Sitchin does present a mystery; how could
 the  Sumerians have so rapidly achieved such a high level of
 civilization with no predecessors to draw on?  That they re-
 ceived  instruction from alien beings which they regarded as
 gods is no more implausible than any other explanation.  EOF
 This article originally appeared in the October 1991 edition
 ... "It's not the years, it's the mileage." - Indiana Jones

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