British Tabloid Uses Year-Old Interview with Nephilim Theorist to Claim Atlantis Was Located in the Golan Heights
The British Express tabloid recently offered up yet another in the endless list of places where the lost continent of Atlantis is alleged to be. Discussing as though it were new a March 16, 2018 appearance on Coast to Coast AM by Ryan Pitterson, an evangelical Christian Nephilim theorist, the Express quoted Pitterson as saying that Atlantis was located in the Holy Land and that its people were identical with the antediluvian giants fathered by the Sons of God in the sixth chapter of Genesis.
Pitterson was promoting his book Judgment of the Nephilim, which he published last year. In the book and the interview, he claims that Plato’s description of the concentric rings of the Atlantean capital is identical with Biblical accounts of Rujm el-Hiri (“the wildcat’s stone pile”), a megalithic monument in the Israeli-occupied section of the Golan Heights composed of a series of concentric rings surrounding a central mound. Rujm el-Hiri is 520 feet across, and its outermost wall is 8 feet tall. It carries a modern Hebrew name of Gilgal Refā'īm, or “Wheel of Spirits,” which Pitterson takes to be ancient and related to the Refaim, a Biblical race of giants. The word “refaim” also refers to the spirits of the underworld, perhaps reflecting the ancient tradition that the giants killed in the Flood became the unclean spirits granted demonic powers. The connection between the two meanings of the word, especially as they relate to cognate terms used both ways in other Semitic languages, seems interesting, but I am not aware of a consensus explanation for it. The best supported seems to involve drawing a connection between the Hebrew word and the rpum of Ugaritic texts, which referred to semidivine ancestral spirits. Being from a different culture, they might have been seen as the foreign giants of Biblical lore.
Pitterson, however, asserts a simpler narrative: Plato said that the god Poseidon had children in Atlantis by a human woman, so this must be the same as the angels, or Sons of God, fathering the Nephilim giants by human women in Biblical lore:
“One example that really stood out for me is Plato’s description of Atlantis and so, it’s almost remarkable how similar the description of Ezekiel 31, which basically describes the rise of this falling angle spawning many children having a kingdom with an abundance of resources and rivers and also sort of military power and then having it crumble.
Ezekiel 31 is a symbolic description of Egypt’s pharaoh as a fallen cedar of Lebanon, part of a larger prophecy against Egypt warning of that country’s eventual deterioration for standing against God. It does not speak about a fallen angel.
However, Pitterson is hardly the first person to have tried to rope Atlantis in to a Biblical narrative. Around 550 CE, the flat-earth theorist and Christian extremist Cosmas Indicopleustes, writing in his Christian Topography 12, explicitly linked Atlantis to the antediluvian world. He noted that Plato’s account of the ten kings of Atlantis matches the ten kings of ancient Babylon and the ten patriarchs before the Flood. He also compared Plato’s destruction of Atlantis by drowning with the Babylonian myth of a world flood. “And in a word it is evident that all of them borrow from Moses, and publish his statements as their own,” Cosmas wrote (trans. J. W. McCrindle). Neither Pitterson nor Cosmas recognized that the reason for the connection is that all of these stories, the Genesis narrative included drew on the common heritage of the Near Eastern flood myth, which predated Genesis by millennia.
However, this Bible-centric view, later known as Arkism (after Noah’s Ark) before merging into Nephilim theory, was highly influential. (I’ll omit the complex debate in Christianity about whether the Nephilim were angelic hybrids or the descendants of Seth’s good sons and Cain’s evil daughters.) Dozens of important writers placed Noah’s Ark at the fountainhead of all mythology. The specific claim that Atlantis was the land of the Nephilim got a boost in the early 1800s, when Sardinia and Malta were put forward as major candidates for being the “real” Atlantis. The infamous hoax text of Eumalos of Cyrene, supposedly a testament of Atlantis, endorsed the idea that Atlantis and Noah’s Ark were intimately connected and folded in Babylonian material for good measure. In 1882, Ignatius Donnelly explicitly equated the Nephilim with the Atlanteans and made this plain with the title of his book, Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, which referenced in the Nephilim’s pre-Flood culture. In 1888, Helena Blavatsky concurred and canonized the equation of Atlanteans with Nephilim giants by introducing it into Theosophy.
The Express article was published on Feb. 22 and was picked up by the Daily Star and Russia’s Sputnik propaganda site three days later. It’s interesting, however, that the story did not spread beyond the clickbait iron triangle, unlike the trio’s earlier “reports” on old pseudo-documentaries being rerun on Amazon Prime, which recently generated coverage from Fox News and Newsweek with the same mixture of fringe conspiracy theories and controversial Biblical claims. That story, however, featured Jesus and Noah’s Ark, which speaks to the limits of religious interest in the mainstream media. Even Atlantis can’t make the Nephilim interesting if you aren’t already a religious conspiracy theory enthusiast.
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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