The following is not my typical style of writing because it amounts to little more than appeals to authority. Citing sources is essential in scholarly writing because the author must give credit for the source of information. However, simply citing authorities to back up one’s own claim reflects a dogmatic frame of mind. Decorating one’s writing with citations and bragging about one’s vast knowledge on the topic is just smoke in mirrors and typical of theological writing. Modern preachers use this style to wow their audience all the time. They quote a few Bible verses, impress the crowd with their knowledge of ancient languages, and select the most pleasing quotes from secular scholars to fool the audience. But, a critical mind recognizes a fish tale. A very old fish tale is the story of Jonah and the whale. It is a story that is not discussed very often anymore in scholarly journals because it is so obviously fiction. It is still examined to look for descriptions of the ancient environment to see if the author knew very much about Nineveh and for other similar reasons. Or, it is discussed as folklore. But, treatments of Jonah as a real person are the work of religious apologists. The connection between Jonah and the mythical merman, Oannes, was made more the 100 years ago. Here are the appeals to authority:
Is the Book of Jonah Historical? William R. Harper The Old Testament Student, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Oct., 1883), pp. 33-39
“That the story of Jonah is connected with, and indeed derived from, the Assyrico-Babylonian myth of the sea-monster Oannes, was maintained by F. v. Baur.5 Oannes was a fish-god, or fish-man. The sculpture of it appears upon monuments of every size. Berosus, a Babylonian priest of the fourth century B. C., describes it as the body of a fish; while "under the head of the fish is the head of a man, and added to its tail were the feet of a woman." According to the tradi-tion he was sent to that country by the gods to give instruction of various kinds to the inhabitants. He always came from the sea, teach-ing in the day time and returning in the evening to the sea.”
Jonah in Nineveh, H. Clay Trumbull Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 11, No. 1 (1892), pp. 53-60
This name, Oannes, as it stands in the Greek of Berosus, appears in the Septuagint and in the New Testament, with the addition of I before it - loannes. In the Septuagint this Greek word loannes is used to represent both the Hebrew name Yo/zanan, and the Hebrew name Yona. (Compare 2 Kings xxv. 23 [Iona] and I Chronicles iii. 24 [loanan], where the Hebrew in both passages has Yohanan.) Similarly, in the New Testament, the name 7onah is rendered both lonas and Joannes. (Compare John i. 42 and xxi. 15, with Matthew xvi. 17.) Professor Dr. Hermann V. Hilprecht, the eminent Assyriologist, informs me that in the Assyrian inscriptions the r7of foreign words becomes I, or disappears alto-gether; hence 7oannes, as the Greek representative of 7ona, would appear in Assyrian either as loannes or as Oannes. Therefore, in his opinion, Oannes would be a regular Greco-Babylonian writing for Yonah.
That Oannes is the same name as John is so well established that one need to look no further than Wikipedia:
“It is worth noting that John baptising by water and his successor by fire has parallels with Sumerian mythology. Enki, who the Babylonians later knew as Ea, had become known as Oannes by the time of John, and Oannes is almost identical to Ioannes, which is how the name of John the Baptist is spelt in the original Greek of the New Testament. Enki/Oannes was the god of (pure) water, and although the first god, the god of creation, over time he lost significance, while the sun god grew more important. Hence in folklore of the period in the surrounding region, Oannes, god of water, was superseeded by the god of the sun, the god of fire. That this folklore surrounding Oannes may have influenced a narrative built around a historic figure named Ioannes, is of course somewhat tenuous, though the connection is frequently made by those who question the Historicity of Jesus.”
Here is some of what the resident theologian on Atheist Nexus used to obfuscate and divert the audience:
"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."
That is true, I was careful not say they were the same because they are not the same name in Hebrew. Definitions of Hebrew names in the Bible are based on religious concepts. Some of the names still reflect the ancient pagan religious concepts, as our theologian explains in the definition of Jonah:
"The word Jonah (יונה) in Hebrew does not have any relationship with fish gods or kaliilu. It actually means a dove or a pigeon."
The Hebrew definition of Jonah’s name provides the link to Anunitum and her dove in the Pisces constellation, that I mentioned in my blog post: “There is something fishy about John.”
Again, he tried to distract the audience with the etymology of Dagan. He knows etymologies; but, does not seem to know much about the evolution of pagan cults in West Asia. The Canaanite grain god, Dagan, was conflated with Oannes, probably when the Levant came under the political control of Mesopotamian Empires. Although Dagan originally had nothing to do with fish, the choice to conflate him with the Mesopotamian Oannes was probably due to "dag" composing part of his name. "Dag" means "fish." Anyway, that is the best guess of scholars.
I am also very well aware of the fishy nature of Nun, who I describe in detail in my book.
I try not to decorate my blog posts with etymologies from languages that most people do not understand. It strikes me as a condescending style of writing. Also, etymology is only part of the story. A firm understanding of West Asian religions is necessary for describing the origins of the character of John.
The blog post made by another AN member entitled “There is nothing fishy about John” claimed to refute my blog post. Yet, his argument boiled down to: “believe me, not her, because I know more about Hebrew than she. I am not completely ignorant of Hebrew. I did study Hebrew and can speak some Hebrew; but, I am far, far from being an expert in the language, and he seems to be very fluent in Hebrew. However, knowing Hebrew only seems to cloud his ability to recognize a fish tale.
Please pardon the sloppy style of this blog post. It is simply an answer to another sloppy blog post that doesn’t deserve a great deal of my attention.