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The Phoenician Solar Theology (Paperback)


An Investigation into the Phoenician Opinion of the Sun found in Julian's Hymn to King Helios


This book, the first study of its kind, contends that an authentic Phoenician solar theology existed, reaching back to at least the fifth or sixth century BCE. Through Azize’s examination, a portrait of a vibrant Phoenician tradition of spiritual thought emerges: a native tradition not dependent upon Hellenic thought, but related to other Semitic cultures of the ancient Near East, and, of course, to Egypt. In light of this analysis, it can be seen that Phoenician religion possessed a unique organizing power in which the sun, the sun god, life, death, and humanity, were linked in a profound system.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0269-9
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Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jun 4,2014
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 343
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0269-9
$112.00

This is the first examination of the fragments of the solar theology of the Phoenicians. Beginning from the Emperor Julian’s fourth-century statement, that, in the opinion of the Phoenicians, "the sunlight which is sent forth everywhere is the immaculate action of pure mind itself," this book contends that there existed an authentic and ancient Phoenician solar theology, similar to that described by Julian, reaching back to the sixth or fifth century BCE. Such a theology is described in Damaskios’ quotation from Mochos, the Sidonian philosopher. A passage from Philo of Byblos, preserved in John Lydus, and referring to “the noetic light,” strengthens this argument. Phoenician funerary inscriptions are examined, together with relevant artistic evidence and some surviving accounts of Phoenician thought. Altogether, a portrait of Phoenician spiritual thought emerges: a native tradition not dependent upon Hellenic thought, but related to other Semitic cultures of the ancient Near East, and, of course, to Egypt. Many themes and motifs from ancient Phoenician religion are discussed, such as the phoenix bird (the “Phoenician” bird) which was associated with the concept of immortality, and the possibility that there was a Phoenician cult of “Yhwh”. The book abstracts seven ideas from the extant material as axial concepts. In light of this analysis, it can be seen that Phoenician religion possessed a unique organizing power in which the sun, the sun god, life, death, and humanity, were linked in a profound system, which seems to have been common amongst the Phoenician city states.

This is the first examination of the fragments of the solar theology of the Phoenicians. Beginning from the Emperor Julian’s fourth-century statement, that, in the opinion of the Phoenicians, "the sunlight which is sent forth everywhere is the immaculate action of pure mind itself," this book contends that there existed an authentic and ancient Phoenician solar theology, similar to that described by Julian, reaching back to the sixth or fifth century BCE. Such a theology is described in Damaskios’ quotation from Mochos, the Sidonian philosopher. A passage from Philo of Byblos, preserved in John Lydus, and referring to “the noetic light,” strengthens this argument. Phoenician funerary inscriptions are examined, together with relevant artistic evidence and some surviving accounts of Phoenician thought. Altogether, a portrait of Phoenician spiritual thought emerges: a native tradition not dependent upon Hellenic thought, but related to other Semitic cultures of the ancient Near East, and, of course, to Egypt. Many themes and motifs from ancient Phoenician religion are discussed, such as the phoenix bird (the “Phoenician” bird) which was associated with the concept of immortality, and the possibility that there was a Phoenician cult of “Yhwh”. The book abstracts seven ideas from the extant material as axial concepts. In light of this analysis, it can be seen that Phoenician religion possessed a unique organizing power in which the sun, the sun god, life, death, and humanity, were linked in a profound system, which seems to have been common amongst the Phoenician city states.

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Contributor

Joseph Azize

  • CONTENTS (page 7)
  • ABBREVIATIONS (page 9)
  • FIGURES (page 11)
  • SUMMARY (page 13)
  • INTRODUCTION (page 15)
  • CHAPTER 1: THE QUESTION AND THE METHOD (page 19)
  • CHAPTER 2: JULIAN AND THE SOLAR PERICOPEŽ (page 29)
    • JULIAN (page 31)
    • THE GENRE OF THE HYMN TO KING HELIOS (page 32)
    • THE SOLAR PERICOPE (page 40)
  • CHAPTER 3: THE REMAINING PHOENICIAN PERICOPES (page 51)
    • THE APHRODITE PERICOPE (page 51)
    • THE EDESSA PERICOPE (page 55)
    • THE SEMELE PERICOPE (page 60)
    • THE ARITHMETIC PERICOPE (page 67)
    • JULIANS PHOENICIANSŽ (page 69)
  • CHAPTER 4: JULIAN AND HIS SOURCES (page 73)
    • JULIANS SOURCES FOR HYMN TO KING HELIOS (page 82)
    • PLATO (page 84)
    • ARISTOTLE (page 88)
    • OTHER WRITERS IN GREEK AND LATIN (page 91)
    • PYTHAGORAS AND OTHERS (page 97)
  • CHAPTER 5: JULIAN AND IAMBLICHOS (page 101)
    • IAMBLICHOS PHILOSOPHY (page 102)
    • IAMBLICHOS AND THE PHOENICIANS (page 107)
    • IAMBLICHOS AND JULIAN (page 110)
    • WHAT ACQUAINTANCE WITH SEMITIC CULTURE DID IAMBLICHOS AND PORPHYRY POSSESS? (page 113)
    • JULIANS OWN CONTRIBUTIONS (page 125)
  • CHAPTER 6: THE PHOENICIANS (page 129)
    • PHOENICIAŽ AS A DIVISION WITHIN THE GREEK MEDITERRANEAN (page 130)
    • PHOENICIA AND GREECE (page 133)
  • CHAPTER 7: THE SUN GODDESS OF UGARIT (page 141)
    • —AP—U (page 144)
    • UGARIT AND PHOENICIA (page 156)
  • CHAPTER 8: PHOENICIAN SOLAR RELIGION:THE FUNERARY INSCRIPTIONS (page 159)
    • THE SUN IN PHOENICIA (page 168)
      • (1) THE NAME (page 168)
      • (2) FUNERARY INSCRIPTIONS (page 170)
  • CHAPTER 9: PHOENICIAN SOLAR RELIGION: MISCELLANEOUS EVIDENCE (page 183)
    • (3) THE KARATEPE INSCRIPTIONS (page 183)
    • (4) ATHENIAN BILINGUAL INSCRIPTION (page 185)
    • (5) SUN DISKS (page 186)
    • (6) THE SIGN OF TANIT (page 189)
    • (7) THE MRZ? (MZR? ) (page 194)
    • (8) TEMPLES AND BETYLS (page 196)
    • (9) CITY NAMES (page 197)
    • (10) A MONTH NAMED AFTER THE SUN (page 197)
    • (11) COINS (page 201)
    • (12) THE SUN BARQUE (page 202)
    • (13) ONOMASTIC EVIDENCE (page 203)
    • (14) THE SOLARIZATION OF OTHER CULTS (page 207)
    • (15) A—TART AND DEITIES ASSOCIATED WITH VENUS (page 208)
    • (16) THE PHOENIX BIRD (page 211)
    • (17) THE ASTROLOGICAL BOWL (page 219)
    • THE SUN IN MESOPOTAMIA AND EGYPT (page 220)
  • CHAPTER 10: MOCHOS, EUDEMOS, AND PHILO OF BYBLOS (page 229)
    • MOCHOS AND EUDEMOS (page 229)
    • OULOMOS (page 235)
    • PHILO OF BYBLOS (page 239)
    • PHILO AND PHOENICIAN SOLAR THEOLOGY (page 248)
  • CHAPTER 11: OTHER LATE EVIDENCE (page 251)
    • PAUSANIAS (page 251)
    • LYDUS (page 257)
    • COULD IAO BE A PHOENICIAN SOLAR DEITY? (page 266)
  • CONCLUSION (page 273)
  • BIBLIOGRAPHY (page 281)
    • ANCIENT SOURCES (page 281)
    • MODERN AUTHORS (page 285)
  • INDEX (page 317)
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