RE: [asa] "Enoch = Uruk" question for Dick

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Tue Mar 27 2007 - 10:09:58 EDT

Hi Phil, you wrote:


I understand that you believe a literal individual named Cain built a
city and named it Unuk ("Enoch") after his son. I believe you are right
that "Enoch" is probably a variant of "Unuk", which in turn is the same
as the mesopotamian city "Uruk". However, I take Cain and his son Unuk
to be archetypes of early mankind rather than as literal individuals. I
believe they represent mankind's early efforts to develop civilization
("...Cain built a city...").


Well, then I'd have to ask, "Okay, so who do you think built the city
and how do you know more than the Bible writers"? I don't mean this as
a putdown, I just think it is too glib to write off what appear to be
real persons who had verbal conversations recorded in Scripture and
built real cities to say they were "archetypes." When does George
Washington relinquish his humanity and become an archetype of an
American president?


Theologically, observing the placement of this statement in the account,
this tells us that mankind was continuing to trust the works of his own
hands as he began building cities, just as Cain had earlier trusted the
works of his own hands when he brought the offering of grain that he had
gotten by working the fields; an offering that God rejected (the name
"Cain"="smith" being a reference to the act of forging things, working
with his own hands to make things). The next person in line after Unuk
is "Irad", whose name means "city of a fugitive," so we see that city
building did not bring salvation to the line of Cain, and after Irad
comes "Mehujael"="cursed of God," and then "Methushael"="Man of Sheol


Naming people after something that applied to them was common practice.
Does that make them more believable as real people or less believable?
I don't know.


In either case, whether Cain and Unuk are literal individuals or
archetypes representing mankind, what I am wondering is what's the
historical or theological significance of the city Uruk? You have
posted here that Uruk was not the first city in Mesopotamia. Was it the
first Akkadian city? Was it the first ruling city, or the first truly
major city? Was it the best known Mesopotamian city to the descendants
of Noah and Abraham? Did it have any significance to God's covenant
people beyond the statement that Cain built it and named it after his


Eridu was the first city and regarded as a sacred city archaeologically
dated to 4800 BC. At the bottom on virgin soil they found a small
altar. In my book I call this "Adam's altar" (with a question mark.)
Enoch, or "Unug" in Sumerian, was dated to 4200 BC, so the times match
up roughly with what we would expect if Adam resided at Eridu and Enoch
was king of his city. We don't know much added significance to any of
the pre-flood cities during the pre-flood period. There just is not a
lot of pre-flood history recorded.


According to the Sumerian king list after the flood kingship was
reestablished at Kish by the Sumerians. They recovered from the flood
more quickly than did Noah's kin who with fewer numbers needed more time
to reconstitute. Since Akkadian is a Semitic language and Hebrew
derives from Akkadian we can assume that Noah and his kin were Akkadian
and established Akkadian cities.


Uruk symbolized the beginning of a new era in civilization. It's called
the Uruk period and involved a complete system of laws and trade and a
significant advance in civilization. There are entire books written
about this period and I wouldn't do any of them justice in this brief
post. The Sumerian king list records 23 kings who ruled at Kish, all
Sumerian, then Enmeskiagasher resettled "E-Anna(k)," or Enoch/Unug which
forever after becomes Erech/Uruk. In the post-flood period Ur was
primarily a Sumerian city and so were Eridu and Uruk. The Akkadians
settled Babylon and were concentrated mostly west and north of the
Sumerians though there was constant interaction between the two


One significance of Cain naming the city "Enoch" after his son is to
demonstrate that some early cities were named for early kings. I live
near Washington, DC, for example. Thus the city of Asshur confirms the
founder who is unlikely to have been simply an archetype. As does Birs
Nimrud named after Nimrod.


Dick Fischer

Dick Fischer, Genesis Proclaimed Association

Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History


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Received on Tue Mar 27 10:11:21 2007

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