Guess who’s back again: That’s, right, it’s time for more Nephilim! Today’s Nephilim discussion comes to us courtesy of “medical intuitive” Dr. Rita Louise, a fringe radio personality who claims to be a naturopathic physician but describes herself in her official biography as spending most of her time appearing in various fringe outlets, ranging from Coast to Coast to Scotty Roberts’s Paradigm Symposium. She apparently believes that she is psychic, and she teaches distance learning courses in naturopathy for Westbrook University, an exclusively online college. She makes much of her money selling psychic consultations that she never quite says but heavily implies are designed to heal.
Louise has no background or expertise in ancient history or mythology, or even religious studies, but that hasn’t stopped her from offering a sideline in Nephilim studies. This past week she published her latest article asking who the Nephilim of Genesis 6:4 really are. It’s as much of a train wreck as you’d expect, beginning with her bizarre claims about the derivation of Nephilim from a Hebrew word meaning to fall: “In biblical circles this definition has quickly put the Nephilim into the role of the children of the fallen angels.” To this, the answer is no, and no: The Nephilim were identified as the children of Fallen Angels no later than 320 BCE or so, when the Book of the Watchers was composed, later to be inserted into to the Book of Enoch as its first third. In “biblical circles,” though, the Nephilim were identified as the offspring of miscegenation between the children of Seth and the children of Cain from the first century BCE straight through to today, where it remains the dominant religious interpretation of Genesis 6:4.
“Over the years,” Louise writes, “a mythos has developed around the concept of the nephilim. (sic) It alleges that these giants were the offspring of the ‘Sons of God’ and the ‘Daughters of Man.’” While biblical experts debate whether grammatically the Nephilim are implied to be the same as the product of the union of human women and the Sons of God, Louise claims that the entire notion is a “mythos” developed later, despite the appearance of all these characters in the very text she quoted earlier in the piece! She seems aware that Genesis 6:4 does not explicitly identify the Nephilim as the mighty children of the Sons of God (though she never makes the argument), and she attributes the identification to the Book of Jubilees (5:1), written around 150 BCE. An earlier source, apparently unknown to her, is 1 Enoch 9:8-9, which makes the claim in a section derived from the earlier Book of the Watchers. But 1 Enoch and Jubilees did not make up the story; it reflects the most common interpretation of Genesis 6:4.
Louise goes on to ask whether world mythology can prove that the Nephilim really existed, and again her weakness in consulting or understanding primary sources shows. She discusses the myth that Uranus’ blood fathered the Giants of Greek myth, though she cites no primary source. She then discusses the Aztec myth that humanity was created by gods who fell from the sky in a flint knife, but she knows the story only from Padraic Colum’s retelling of it. The original appears in Gerónimo de Mendieta, Historia eclesiástica Indiana 2.1-2 (reproduced in translation in my Foundations of Atlantis), and it is quite clear that the story has been somewhat Christianized, if only unintentionally. The Spanish author even announces his belief that the myth was a corrupt version of the Fallen Angels story, but because Louise doesn’t know that, she declares the gods who came down from heaven to have been “earth born” from the flint knife and thus Nephilim.
Louise uses this to argue that the Nephilim are… well, you’ll see:
Are the nephelim the offspring of the sons of god and the daughters of man? No. They were the race of earth-born giants who lived before the creation of man. They are the group who revolted against the gods in antiquity. They are also the ones responsible for the creation of mankind.
Just think of the convoluted thought process behind that statement: For starters, we need to assume that Genesis 6:4 is literally true and that its several parts are independent of one another, but also that no other parts of Genesis are as literally true. We must also assume that Genesis’s account of the creation of humanity is false but that an Aztec one recorded 2,000 years later (in 1596) is a better memory of events anywhere from 4,000 to 4 million years prior.
Weirdly enough, in so doing Louise accidentally reproduced a big chunk of Islamic folklore about the time before the Flood, when God created monstrous giants, the djinn, to live on the earth before the creation of man. The djinn revolted against God and the angels, and their revolt prompted God to create man in their stead.
I know this because I’ve read the story in the Akhbar al-zaman, of which I’ve translated around 15% or so of the text and posted it in my Library. While Louise is using secondary sources and superficial comparisons to construct a fake history of the world, I’ve been trying to determine if the king appointed among the rebellious djinn in the Akhbar, Shāma’īl, is the same as Samyaza (Shemhazai, Shemyazaz, Semjaza, etc.), the leader of the rebellious fallen angels in 1 Enoch.
It would be nice if some of these fringe types might put in even a little more effort.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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