Talk:Sin (mythology)

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Sin plays no role in Judaism.

I am deleting this POV vandalism.


Critics of Islam point out that the Kaaba was an Arabian lunar temple to Sin prior to the Islamization of Arabia. They say that Sin is the Allah of the Koran.
Bible critics also say Biblical Jews prayed to Sin although this is rejected by believing Jews.
  1. While the Kaaba was a pre-Islamic pagan shrine, I am not aware of any evidence that it was exclusively, or even primarily, dedicated to a lunar deity.
  2. While the claim that Muslims worship a moon god is an old staple of polemics, mainly from Christians, it is unsupported by the evidence and is probably not worth mentioning here, though it should be discussed somewhere. (One of these days I'm going to write an article on Christian-Muslim controversialist literature, unless someone beats me to it.)
  3. Who claims that ancient Jews worshipped Sin? Joe Guretzki, according to the this old revision, but who is he? Not a reputable scholar of history, mythology, or archaeology.

Charles P. (Mirv) 14:11, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

Sin and ancient Judaism[edit]

Certainly I wouldn't challenge that there's no evidence of Sin playing a role in anything like historical Judaism. But there has been some scholarly speculation about the traditions regarding Abraham and his family and their possible connection to the worship of Sin.

Apparently this speculation is based around the connections to both Ur and Haran (both cult centers of Sin) and certain names (Laban, Terah). Try John Bright's "A History of Israel" for a brief mention of this.

Anyway, it's not much, and it doesn't say anything about Judaism per se. At most, it's a possible element in the religion of the patriarchs.

I would guess this is the link with Islam as well. Since the Kaaba was a site associated with Abraham (and there's evidence of the worship of the moon deity in ancient Arabia), one could make a very stretched claim that Islam is somehow distantly derived from the worship of the moon deity--but that would be a strange claim from a Christian, who would then have to admit the same of his own faith.--Thuloid 04:33, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Thuloid, your last comment doesn't make a lot of sense. The Kaaba is associated with Abraham (and Adam) according to Muslims, but of course Christians (or any other non-Muslims) would doubt that Abraham ever went anywhere near Mecca. Crust 18:56, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

You're right--Christians probably wouldn't say that (although who really knows what the range of an early 2nd milennium nomad was?). I don't think my claim depends on it, though. As someone else pointed out, there's no evidence the Kaaba itself was ever dedicated to a lunar deity. The only association with it would be that Abraham has been associated with lunar worship by way of place and family names, and that lunar deities were worshipped in ancient Arabia. But to connect that worship to the Kaaba specifically, one would have to either have independent evidence that it was a lunar shrine or admit an association of it with Abraham and claim the association with Abraham implies a focus on lunar worship. Since no independent evidence (so far as I know) exists about the Kaaba and lunar worship, a Christian making this claim would have to make the claim about Abraham himself (that association with Abraham really does imply lunar worship). In my opinion, that would be a little strange.

Perhaps a different claim is possible--that only Muslim traditions about Abraham are associated with lunar worship. I don't see how this would be reasonable.--Thuloid 04:19, 15 February 2006 (UTC)


was Lucifer inspired by Sin? the meaning of their name is similar, illuminator vs light-bearer/morning-star his symbols are the crescent moon, the bull, and a tripod (which may be a lamp-stand). the tripod looks seemingly like the triton, or the devil's pitchfork... and certainly lucifer was potray many times with horns...

Quick note- next time please sign your posts? It's going to be weird replying to an unsigned and undated one, heh. Anyway, I'm not completely able to recall/cite everything to support this (this is long enough without chasing that down) but trust me, I know just enough to know it would not have been, in ancient times, as close an association as you'd think. Or any association, actually.
Yes, "Lucifer" is the name of a "fallen angel", whose name means "light-bringer" - however, you are conflating Lucifer (ETA: which I had forgotten isn't even IN the Bible!) with Satan and Satan with the Devil, in order to connect with "the devil's pitchfork" and "portrayed with horns" etc. and further, your connection via only those symbols and the name is itself problematic.
Let's start with why it's not good to conflate Lucifer and the Devil. Technically, the original text of the Bible (or rather, what survives of it in either Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek etc) doesn't indicate that the entity we popularly conceive today as The Devil was like those figures; first, because while it's common to use the name "Satan" interchangeably with "the Devil" NOW, "devil" is simply a broader term for a certain kind of demon (and its description honestly later become Satyr-like to discredit pagan tropes), and it only came to be associated with the figure of "Satan" much later. The figure of Satan in say, Book of Job ("Satan" means something like "opponent" or "one who questions") was merely the entity that made a "bet" with God over how faithful Job would be if tested, and was never described in "devilish" physical terms, merely in being capable of skepticism, cynicism and maliciousness towards Job (and even then, he did all those "tests" with the permission of God, implying that he still acts subordinate to God's authority, as opposed to being a rebel against it - he questions God, but he does not try to actively rebel which is an important distinction).
Further, though, the figure of Satan was NOT originally named as Lucifer, either (ETA: person below me actually beat me to it and I didn't realize this, correction: Lucifer was a name and concept attached only much later but it was actually attached to Satan... but again, LATER, not ancient), meaning the only tenuous connection between "Lucifer" and "the Devil" is modern in origin, not ancient. Anyway, them being "portrayed with horns" as the Devil figure today is, that's very new. You're probably thinking of the depictions influenced by the poet Dante's portrayal of the center of Hell in Inferno, the first section of The Divine Comedy, which is NOT the Bible but rather is a poem that become extremely popular to the extent that many of its non-Bibilical concepts, such as Hell featuring different "circles" and ironic punishments for different sins, are widely accepted...but they're not in the Bible (which describes Hell unpleasantly but very very vaguely), and Dante was writing much later than the Bible's conception of figures such as Lucifer and Satan, so it's not good to rely on him for the depictions (Dante also described all his least favorite political figures as having gone to Hell, even though many of them had yet to even die, so really, he's hardly a reliable and unbiased source to begin with!)
Additionally, it's important to note that later "depictions with horns" aren't always evil even in Christian art nor are they exclusive to the Devil OR Satan OR Lucifer; Moses, thanks to a misunderstanding of a halo described as "horn-like", was often depicted during the Middle Ages in European art as having horn-like protrusions from his head as well. Moses can't possibly be connected as being the Mesopotamian god Nanna/Sin so there goes the "horn" connection right there.
Finally though, the symbols themselves are just...not unique to Judeo-Christian traditions. They're just not, and you're conflating similar but differing symbols, at that.
The horns given later to Devils and during medieval art to Moses, are not the horns of a bull, but of a goat, a completely different animal (and in the case of the Devil or devil-like depictions of Satan or Lucifer, the reason for the usage of the goat was to discredit pagan Greco-Roman figures such as the Satyr and their connected deities like Dionysus). Lucifer - nor even Satan in the Torah - is not associated with bulls, either in ancient or modern times. The bull does however have a LONG history throughout many disparate civilizations, and was of special importance to Mesopotamian cultures, showing up in things like the Epic of Gilgamesh (the Bull of Heaven, etc); as a beast that was physically imposing and definitively male (and capable of impregnating whole herds of cows, ahem) it was generally seen as a symbol of virility, vitality, fertility, and masculine strength, and the association with this god no doubt derives from those very general associations.
Leaving aside that I don't believe that the moon is really that closely associated with Lucifer/Satan (at least, not before modern paganist revivals and even then I think you might be confusing modern Satanism with Wicca?), the moon was UNIVERSALLY a popular symbol in the ancient world including cultures that had no contact, due to the fact that it's a fixture in the sky, just like the sun or stars are. It was also associated with the Titan Selene and the gods Apollo and Artemis/Diana in Greco-Roman pantheons (who have no connection whatsoever to Lucifer or Satan), it was associated with several figures such as Princess Kaguya in Japanese mythology (which had no CONTACT with Christianity, let alone connection), it was also connected with a number of fertility gods and heck, gods in general, because of the way the lunar cycle seems to roughly correlate/help track both the passing of seasons and the menstrual cycle length of human females, not to mention the breeding cycles of some animals, or the in and out of the tides. The moon controls tides, allows the tracking of time and date, illuminates the night sky...of course it's everywhere in human culture, because it's well, everywhere in human culture. The sun often has equal importance too, due to being needed for crops and the like, and you'll find everywhere from ancient Egypt to ancient Japan had some variant of a solar diety, too, often the head of the pantheon. It's not a "connection", other than the fact that it's another use of an independently-popular symbol.
And at last, this part - "a tripod (which may be a lamp-stand)" which you claim "the tripod looks seemingly like the triton, or the devil's pitchfork..." First, it's "trident" not "triton" (you're confusing a name of a sea god with the implement); second, it's not a trident! Tripod means three-FOOT; have you not seen a camera tripod before? It even outright says "may be a lamp stand" in the article, so I'm not sure how you're confusing it with a trident or pitchfork, which are poking or stabbing implements, not implements to support something the way a tripod would.
Also, for the record, it is inaccurate to call a pitchfork and trident the same thing; yes I realize people say the "devil has a pitchfork" and then go and draw it like a trident, but that's because people are bad at keeping similar objects mentally differentiated (or possibly they don't even know what a "trident" is and called it a "pitchfork" because it looks close enough to them). A pitchfork is for pitching hay - it has prongs, yes, but they're not even necessarily exactly three prongs, and the thing is meant to poke into hay to lift it up; a trident however is a very specific, and definitively three-pronged object meant to stab things with, as a weapon (often for fishing, actually, which is why it's associated with Poseidon/Neptune), and the prongs are often a different shape to enable that. "Pitchforks" are only "weapons" in the improvised sense, as they are intended as farming implements first. They're sometimes sharp but don't really need to be, whereas with a trident that's the whole point. Also, the only reason trident-type objects are associated with pictures of "the Devil" NOW, is likely because, again, they were trying to discredit pagan symbols and associations. It was extremely likely it was taken from depictions of Neptune to discredit pagans, not because of a genuine connection to some actual direct ancient precursor of "Satan".
As a side bar, there's at least one Saint named Lucifera, which means the same thing. Needless to say, she's unconnected to the fallen angel except in name meaning and the fact that they're both now figures in Christian (specifically Catholic) lore. Just because a name means a similar thing, doesn't mean it had any connection beyond "it means this thing". To put it in context - I can name my kid "Autumn", but that doesn't mean that she'll be related to some kid in Japan named "Aki" even though it "means the same thing". (talk) 21:34, 8 February 2017 (UTC) (Edited (talk) 21:39, 8 February 2017 (UTC) to reflect something I had forgotten that was pointed out below, namely that the entire name of "lucifer" is extra-Biblical to begin with)


The section entitled "Lucifer?" was poorly researched, if it was researched at all and I suggest that it be removed. Lucifer is a Latin word and it was the name the Romans gave to Satan (who are what was referred to by the word "satan" in the Torah and the Gospels is another whole debate - for this see _The Origins of Satan_, Elaine Pagel). Lucifer actually comes from Greco-Roman origins, as opposed to Mesopotamian ones and, prior to its use by Christians, was just a word that referred to the planet Venus. This word was later said by Christians, and only by extra-Biblical folklore, to refer to Satan. Much of so-called "Christian" conceptions of Lucifer and Satan are extra-Biblical anyway. The Bible only even mentions Satan explicitly in the Book of Job and the Gospels and the word may even have referred to a category of angels who do things that human beings don't like but that God needs to have done (like take peoples lives). (Again, see Pagel for this).

But, I digress. The author of the "Lucifer?" section is grasping at straws to find similar symbolism. Lucifer was only ever depicted with bull horns during a Middle Ages, Rennaissance and Early Modern periods. He was depicted as having purely human features earlier and later was depicted as having goat horns. "Illuminator" and "morning star" bear UNNOTEABLE resemblence if anybody bothers to think about it. What else would one call the Moon? "Illuminator" is a fairly obvious epithet for any mythological lunar character from any mythology. "Light bearer" refers to the planet Venus, not to the moon. I've never heard that the cresent moon IS symbol for Lucifer and the author never sites any sources for it. The Bible attributes the creation of the Moon to God (Genesis book 1) and Judeo-Christian mysticism has various angels (different traditions disagree) responsible for the moon. The crescent moon, however, IS a Muslim symbol and, since Islam also came out of Mesopotamia a connection there seems far more plausible. I won't even mention the absurd comparison between the tripod (a three legged stand used by people throughout that part of the world in ancient times, including the Greeks, and a relatively common item) and Lucifer's pitchfork. Not only is Lucifer's pitchfork depicted with various different numbers of prongs, but the only similarity between a three pronged pitchfork and a tripod is the number three, which is an EXTREMELY FLIMSY comparison. There are innumerable reasons (no pun intended) as to why 3 would be associated with some mythological figure. If the number three means anything with regard to Nanna, it would be something like the first crescent, the full moon and the last crescent or waxing, full and waning perhaps. But, even this would still be pure speculation.

The article "Lucifer?" isn't just POV, it's sophistry. I suggest that it be removed at once. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:58, 28 January 2007 (UTC).

Mount Sinai/Horeb[edit]

Isn't Mount Sinai, one of the names of God's mountain in Genesis, named for the god Sin?Jim Lacey 19:59, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

The God of the Israelites was in general associated with mountains, be it Horeb, Sinai, Moriah, Zion, Gerizim, Mt. of Olives, Carmel, and so on. In fact, this is implied in one of the epithets applied to God, 'El Shaddai', which etymologically has an association with mountains.
However, there is no evidence whatsoever that Israelite worship had any connection to worship of the moon. None of the Biblical names applied to God seems to imply moon worship, and there is no reference to the Hebrews worshipping in particular the moon god. They seem to have originally worshipped multiple deities. El and Asherah were originally deities associated with Canaanite religion, and the name 'Elohim' also represented the Ugaratic pantheon.
Furthermore, Sin and Nannar were originally two separate gods, associated with the moon, but worshipped by two distinct cultures. Only later were they equated (like the Romans equated their own gods to Greek gods).
—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:11, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Crescent remains in Islam[edit]

The moon crescent, the symbol of this god, remains in religious use, in Islam.Agre22 (talk) 19:57, 4 April 2009 (UTC)agre22

The "star and crescent" symbol is said by scholars to only have become associated with the religion of Islam by most authoritative accounts around the 15th century CE, specifically when the Ottomans adopted it. Star and crescent a scholar from Cambridge University notes the following on this issue [1]Historylover4 (talk) 18:04, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

I think it was a little before the 15th-century, but you're correct that it was not an early Islamic symbol, so that it's hard to see any connection with ancient Mesopotamian religion. Some would say that neither the crescent of Islam nor the six-pointed star of Judaism is a truly religious symbol, but rather they are cultural symbols commonly associated with the believers of certain religions... AnonMoos (talk) 02:20, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

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