Simo Parpola
Simo Parpola is a Finnish archaeologist, currently professor of Assyriology
Assyriology is the archaeological, historical, and linguistic study of ancient Mesopotamia and the related cultures that used cuneiform writing. The field covers the Akkadian sister-cultures of Assyria and Babylonia, together with their cultural predecessor; Sumer...

 at the University of Helsinki
University of Helsinki
The University of Helsinki is a university located in Helsinki, Finland since 1829, but was founded in the city of Turku in 1640 as The Royal Academy of Turku, at that time part of the Swedish Empire. It is the oldest and largest university in Finland with the widest range of disciplines available...

. He specialized in epigraphy
Epigraphy Epigraphy Epigraphy (from the , literally "on-writing", is the study of inscriptions or epigraphs as writing; that is, the science of identifying the graphemes and of classifying their use as to cultural context and date, elucidating their meaning and assessing what conclusions can be...

 of the Akkadian language
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

, and has been working on the Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project
Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project
-State archives of Assyria cuneiform texts:The following works are published in the series: State Archives of Assyria Cuneiform Texts:*1997–SAACT-Volume I..---The Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, by Simo Parpola, 1997....

 since 1987. He is also Honorary Member of the American Oriental Society
American Oriental Society
The American Oriental Society was chartered under the laws of Massachusetts on September 7, 1842. It is one of the oldest learned societies in America, and is the oldest devoted to a particular field of scholarship....

Simo Parpola has suggested that the oldest versions of the Sephirot extend from Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n theology and mysticism. Noting the general similarity between the Sephirot of the Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 and the tree of life of Assyrian mysticism, he reconstructed what an Assyrian antecedent to the Sephirot would look like. Matching the characteristics of Ein Sof
Ein Sof (Kabbalah)
Ein Sof , in Kabbalah, is understood as God prior to His self-manifestation in the production of any spiritual Realm, probably derived from Ibn Gabirol's term, "the Endless One"...

 on the nodes of the Sephirot to the gods of Assyria, he found textual parallels between these Assyrian gods and the characteristics of the Jewish God.

The Assyrians assigned specific numbers to their gods, similar to the way the Kabbalah assigns numbers to the nodes of the Sephirot. However, the Assyrians used a sexagesimal number system, whereas the Sephirot use a decimal
The decimal numeral system has ten as its base. It is the numerical base most widely used by modern civilizations....

 system. Using the Assyrian numbers, additional layers of meaning and mystical relevance appear in the Sephirot. Normally, floating above the Assyrian tree of life was the god Assur
Assur , was one of the capitals of ancient Assyria. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District .Assur is also...

—this corresponds to Ein Sof, which is also, via a series of transformations, supposedly derived from the Assyrian word Assur.

Parpola re-interpreted various Assyrian tablets in the terms of these primitive Sephirot, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh
Gilgamesh was the fifth king of Uruk, modern day Iraq , placing his reign ca. 2500 BC. According to the Sumerian king list he reigned for 126 years. In the Tummal Inscription, Gilgamesh, and his son Urlugal, rebuilt the sanctuary of the goddess Ninlil, in Tummal, a sacred quarter in her city of...

, and concluded that the scribes had been writing philosophical-mystical tracts rather than mere adventure stories. Traces of this Assyrian mode of thought and philosophy eventually reappeared in Greek Philosophy
Greek philosophy
Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BCE and continued through the Hellenistic period, at which point Ancient Greece was incorporated in the Roman Empire...

 and the Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...


Parpola is also the chairman of The Finland Assyria Association (Suomi-Assyria Yhdistys).

Parpola's Views on Modern Assyrians

Parpola is a strong advocate of Assyrianism
The term Assyrianism refers to Assyrian nationalism which increased in popularity in the late 19th century in a climate of increasing ethnic and religious persecution of the indigenous Assyrians of the Middle East....

, supporting the link between the modern Assyrians
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

 and their ancient ancestors. He is one of many Assyriologists and historians to have made a detailed study of the subject. He argues for a direct link between the ancient Assyrians and those who call themselves and their Aramaic language Assyrian today.

See also

  • Sefiroth, for Parpola's reconstruction of an Assyrian Kabbalistic Sefiroth
  • Asko Parpola, his brother, a specialist on the Indus script. pdf
  • Panbabylonism
    Panbabylonism is a school of thought within Assyriology and Religious Studies that considers the Hebrew Bible and Judaism as directly derived from Babylonian culture and mythology...

  • The Melammu Project
    The Melammu Project
    The Assyrian and Babylonian Intellectual Heritage Project investigates the continuity, transformation and diffusion of Mesopotamian culture throughout the ancient world from the second millennium BC until Islamic times...


  • Neo-Assyrian Treaties and Loyalty Oaths
  • The Correspondence of Sargon II
  • The Standard Babylonian, Epic of Gilgamesh - cited in the article Epic of Gilgamesh
    Epic of Gilgamesh
    Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from Mesopotamia and is among the earliest known works of literature. Scholars believe that it originated as a series of Sumerian legends and poems about the protagonist of the story, Gilgamesh king of Uruk, which were fashioned into a longer Akkadian epic much...

  • Letters from Assyrian and Babylonian Scholars
  • Assyrian Prophecies
  • "The murderer of Sennacherib" in Death in Mesopotamia: XXVI Rencontre assyriologique internationale
  • The Mesopotamian Soul of Western Culture

External links

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