In her latest blog post Diana Agorio has made several claims that are unfounded, Unfortunately, since she will erase anything I write there, I will respond to her here.

I'd like to begin by taking her suppositions a step further. In Akkadian, the word for merman is kalīlu. Now, I can't help but noticing the similarity between Kaliilu and Kal El, the Kryptonian name for Superman. A kaliilu was considered a divine figure and there was a feminine form, kaliltu. Kal El, as Superman, had godlike powers and there was a Supergirl too. It should be obvious to everyone that the origins of the Superman myth can be traced to ancient Akkad. In fact, if you look closely at the S on Superman's shirt, it seems to be a stylized fish.

Of similar, nonsensical etymology, the heir to Moses was Joshua son of Nun. Diana has already pointed out that Joshua is cognate with Jesus (it's a little more complicated than that, but she is almost right). What few people realize, however, is that Nun is the Aramaic term for fish. Fish live in water, Jesus was baptized in water, hence the story of Joshua obviously is a precursor to the Jesus story. Wow, I feel dirty doing that. In fact, if I did it on a blackboard, I'd be doing a spoof of Glenn Beck.

Unfortunately, Diana does exactly the same thing. In general, it is related to her failure to be competent in Semitic languages. She comments on the languages, but does not know them, so silly mistakes get made. For example, she writes, and I quote:

Berossos retold myths about the fishy healers in the character of Oannes. Oannes was fish-tailed prophet, who taught alongside waterways and did not eat
meat. Oannes showed up in the Levant, where he was conflated with the
Canaanite god, Dagan.

In fact, she is basing this on an obscure etymology, which is quite mistaken. What she is doing is basing her theory on the notion that the etymology of the god Dagon comes from the root DG, which indeed means fish in Hebrew. In fact, that's an ancient etymology and it is false. The root (all Semitic words have roots) is actually DGN, which means "grain." The fish etymology, while quite old, is incorrect.

Next,. she writes:

He also shows up in the Old Testament under a few guises, with Jonah being the most obvious. Oannes and Jonah are the same name and Jonah was a prophet with a fish tale. Oannes is also the same
name as John, who taught alongside the river and did not eat meat.

Note that she is very careful not to say that Jonah and John are the same, but simply implies it. "Oannes = Jonah" and "Oannes = John" (a = b and c = b) ergo Jonah = John (a = c). They even sound similar. Unfortunately, nothing could be farther from the truth. Because of roots, we know that Jonah and John are completely unrelated.

First the Jonah bit. The word Jonah (יונה) in Hebrew does not have any relationship with fish gods or kaliilu. It actually means a dove or a pigeon. In fact, if you want to connect it to water, its first appearance in the Bible is in Genesis 8:8, after the Ark has rested, וישלח את היונה, "And he [Noah] sent the dove ..." Fish, bird, I get 'em confused all the time.

In contrast, the name John is actually an anglicization of the Hebrew Yohanan (יוחנן), and the equivalent of Ivan (Russian), Sean (Irish), Johann (German), Evan (Welsh), Jean (French), Jan (Polish), Janos (Hungarian), Juan (Spanish), Giovanni (Italian), Yahya (Arabic), etc., in different languages. Its etymological root is H N N, which means grace or kindness. It has nothing to do with doves, birds, fish, etc. In fact, the closest name of female in the Bible is Hannah, which comes from the same root, and has evolved into the English Anne. It was simply a very common name at the time. Some examples are Hasmonean king John Hyrcanus who lived about 100 years before Jesus, John of Giscala (a major leader of the Jewish Revolt), Yohanan (John) Ben Zakkai (rabbi who reformed Judaism at the time of the Destruction of the Temple), Yohanan the Shoemaker (Jewish sage, died. c. 150), John son of Zebedee the Apostle, etc., etc.

As such, Diana's claim that:

There could have been a real person called John executed by Herod. But, the reason he was called John was because of his type of ministry. He was a
prophet of John, rather than being the John.

is pure nonsense.

Views: 32

Tags: John, Jonah, Oannes


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Comment by Al-KADIM on September 20, 2010 at 12:12am
By the way, if you look at the bottom of the Ben Zakkai page, you will find a list of Tannaim from that same period. Look in the third generation. See how many other Yochanans and Yohanans there are. Also, any name with Hanina or Hanania is using the same root--it's a question of tense Yochanan is future (He will show grace), Hanania is God has shown grace. Hanina is an Aramaic form. They are all variants of the same name, almost like Sean, Evan, Giovanni, and John.
Comment by Al-KADIM on September 20, 2010 at 12:07am
I apologize for that. I've worked with this stuff for so many decades now, it is just info taken for granted.
Comment by Jake Farr-Wharton on September 19, 2010 at 10:24pm
No, that's plenty of material to work through.

Any reason why you didn't put that up in the first place?
Comment by Al-KADIM on September 19, 2010 at 9:55pm
Etymology of Dagon/Dagan see second paragraph

a = b and c = b ergo a = c Irving M Copi, Introduction to Logic, 6th edition, Introduction. I can find the page number if you want, but haven't opened it in 20 years at least. Still, it's on the shelf.

Jonah as dove see verse 8 (note that the transliteration is awful and simply incorrect.)

John in other languages see

Anne etymology see and

Other Johns:

Anything else?

John in other languages:
Comment by Al-KADIM on September 19, 2010 at 9:32pm
Happily. What evidence would you like me to provide?
Comment by Jake Farr-Wharton on September 19, 2010 at 9:27pm
Thanks for your reply.

I'm sure that you'd agree that there is a distinct difference between claiming something is 'clearly fallicious' and something being clearly fallicious. If I take your claim on face value, then I compromise my intellectual integrity, something which I prize.

I am someone who arrived at the conclusion of atheism through study, having been given a particularly fundamentalist Christian upbringing.

If you want me (or anyone) to take your claim seriously, then provide the evidence rather than rhetoric. Otherwise, it just looks like (as I said earlier) a personal attack.


Comment by Al-KADIM on September 19, 2010 at 8:56pm
Comment by Al-KADIM on September 19, 2010 at 8:55pm
Link is here.

Jake, she made arguments that are clearly fallacious. Insinuating that Jonah and John are identical is nonsense. It's supposition. Making a big deal out of the name John, when it was a common name is foolish. In fact, I named five contemporaries with the same name. Her readings of astrology are faulty. Her content could be ripped apart by a precursory reading of Wikipedia, never mind the scholarly stuff.

But isn't that the tragedy. Someone can post gibberish with a veneer of scholarship can appeal to people who are unfamiliar with the material. So I ask you, how much of what Berossus actually wrote do we have? Not the fragments quotes third hand in Eusebius and Josephus (who obviously did not consider him a major source--I am sure you have read them both).

In this case, she made nonsensical statements and I refuted them using basic Hebrew grammar and etymologies.
Comment by Jake Farr-Wharton on September 19, 2010 at 8:39pm
Apart from sytematically attacking the original post and adding some ridiculous rhetoric about superman, what have you done here?

You've not added an ounce of evidence to your post, just, again, baseless rhetoric.

I'm half way through Diana's book, and while you shouldn't take this as directly defending her post, you most certainly shoul take this as directly attacking yours.

It's one thing to make a well researched (and referenced) claim that several ancient myths can be linked to one another, but it's another thing completely to blindly attack said well researched and referenced claim as a part of your own bias.

By all means, add to the discussion, but it's pretty clear (at least to me, and please feel free to correct me) that this is some form of vendetta or attempt to discredit Ms Agorio personally, which is contrary to all rational discourse.
Comment by James Beckerleg on September 19, 2010 at 8:17pm
Can we get a link to the post you are talking about?

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