Zecharia Sitchin and the Extraterrestrial Origins of Humanity
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”.