Zecharia Sitchin and the Ex­trater­res­trial Ori­gins of Hu­man­ity

Fortean Times - - Reviews/Books -

M J Evans Bear & Co 2016 Pb, 210pp, il­lus, notes, bib, ind, $18.00, ISBN 9781591432555

Sitchin is known to fans of the ‘an­cient as­tro­naut’ hy­poth­e­sis for his in­ter­pre­ta­tions of Sume­rian and Akka­dian cu­nei­form tablets; in­ter­pre­ta­tions which, it has to be said, are con­tested by more ortho­dox schol­ars of an­cient Semitic lan­guages. Since his first book, The 12th Planet (1976), he has main­tained that the tablets pro­vide an ac­count of an alien race, the An­nunaki, from Nibiru, a planet be­yond Nep­tune, hid­den and known only to the Sume­ri­ans. Like the randy Greek gods, the An­nunaki were sex­ual preda­tors as well as teach­ers of mankind, whom they cre­ated in their own im­age. When the over­pop­u­la­tion and vi­o­lence of their creation got too much, th­ese gods waged a dev­as­tat­ing war (with nu­clear rock­ets) among them­selves and on their creation, be­fore aban­don­ing this planet.

Sitchin’s many se­quels have sold mil­lions of copies and have come to dom­i­nate the an­cient as­tro­naut ‘in­dus­try’ far be­yond the ‘suc­cesses’ of von Däniken and Ve­likovsky. Are the aca­demi­cians sim­ply hot un­der the col­lar be­cause Sitchin – who stud­ied eco­nomics and worked in pub­lish­ing and ship­ping – is an out­sider in­trud­ing into the pre­serve of highly qual­i­fied archæol­o­gists, his­to­ri­ans and lin­guists? That prob­a­bly con­trib­utes to the ve­he­mence of the hos­til­ity be­tween those who sup­port Sitchin’s (mainly self-ref­er­enc­ing) ideas and those who ask for proofs more de­tailed than his (rel­a­tively) un­qual­i­fied state­ments, but it is not help­ful in un­der­stand­ing Sitchin or his ideas.

Dr Evans, a for­mer pro­fes­sor of ge­og­ra­phy at SUNY who has been an as­so­ci­ate of Sitchin’s for nearly 20 years, pro­vides a wel­come por­trait of the man and his genre. Even if you dis­agree with Sitchin, here is in­sight into the man his chief aca­demic critic, Dr Michael Heiser, ac­knowl­edges as “ar­guably the most im­por­tant pro­po­nent of the an­cient as­tro­naut hy­poth­e­sis”.

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