KUTATÁS

Stephen I. Ternyik   

REREADING EZEKIEL: Bones !

2024.04.02.

The Hebrew word for bone is Etzem which became the Latin Osima as in ossification. The English word is Bone meaning Builder in Hebrew.

Science says all body cells are manufactured in the bone; this is the reason why the Bible states that God took a bone to re-manufacture Eve. The Hebrew word used does not say create, but YeYatzer, meaning remanufacture, rewrote her programming.

The events Ezekiel saw symbolize the resurrection of many people. As recorded in Ezekiel 37:11, the Lord explained that the dry bones represent the house of Israel. The bones receiving new life could also symbolize the house of Israel being restored to a new spiritual life. Ezekiel describes the state of the bones that he saw in the valley as very dry (37:2); the message makes it clear that any new life is God's doing (verses 4-6), Ezekiel prophesies, the bones come together with a great rattling and quaking as sinew, flesh, and skin come on to the bones. Bones are the last earthly traces of the dead, and seem to last forever: bones symbolize the indestructible life (it represents resurrection in Jewish tradition), yet also may represent mortality and the transitory.

Ezekiel was a priest, who was among the Jewish captives carried away to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar in approximately 597 B.C. (see Ezekiel 1:3); the prophet Ezekiel is the author of the book of Ezekiel. The Vision of Dry Bones is a prophecy in chapter 37 of the Book of Ezekiel. The chapter details a vision revealed to the prophet Ezekiel, conveying a dream-like realistic- naturalistic depiction of bones connect into human figures; then the bones become covered with tendon tissues, flesh and skin.The multiple meanings of this vision include a depiction of the resurrection of the dead as well as the restoration of the house of Israel.

The Luz bone which, according to the rabbis, is to be found at the base of the spine, an addition to the 18 vertebrae. Called the luz she-ba-shidrah, it is believed to be indestructible and is considered the source of the future resurrection of the body. The belief in the indestructibility of the luz was linked with Ps. 34:21, which was translated, "He keeps all his bones; one of them cannot be broken."

In the history of religion, the term eschatology refers to conceptions of the last things: immortality of the soul, rebirth, resurrection, migration of the soul, and the end of time. These concepts also have secular parallels—for example, in the turning points of one's life and in one's understanding of death.

New Scientific Insights

The point of all scientific articles is that DNA deteriorates rapidly. Even the hard femur and teeth eventually are infiltrated and adulterated, and after a few thousand years in the elements, no coherent genetic information can be prised from those bones. The one and only bone that retains its DNA for tens of thousands of years, even in warm and moist environments, is the Petrous bone. If, theoretically, you wanted to regenerate a particular human being from his DNA, your best chance would be to use the DNA from that bone

In addition to advances in genomic technology, another factor is driving the explosion of new discoveries—an inch-long section of the human skull. Found near our ears, this pyramid-shaped portion of the temporal bone is nicknamed the petrous bone. The bone is very hard, possibly because it needs to protect fragile structures such as the cochlea, which translates sound into brain signals, and the semicircular canals, which help us maintain our balance. Perhaps because the petrous bone is so dense, it also is the bone in the body that best preserves DNA after a person dies.

Bone powder taken from the petrous bone yields on average up to 100 times more DNA than powder from other, softer bones. Also, because it’s so dense, when the rest of a skeleton has crumbled into dust, the petrous bone often still remains. So, it’s been a real game changer for the field of ancient DNA.

Using the petrous bone as the source for ancient DNA has made it possible, for the first time, to begin to regularly extract DNA from older biological material, and from biological material that does not preserve very well, such as samples found in hot tropical environments.

ATMARAM, CREMATION and BONES

According to Hindu beliefs, the atmaram bone (which looks like a man sitting in a yogic position) is where the soul resides in the body. The bone usually does not burn during the cremation. Atmaram bone is usually handed over to the family of the deceased on the next day after cremation during the "Asthi sanchaya " commemoration. "Asthi visarajan" involves the practice of immersing the bones and ashes of the deceased in the Holy Ganges river as per Hindu beliefs. Atma means soul, Ram means Lord and Atmaram combined means the one who is Lord of his own soul. Worshiping of Lord Shiva (while living) and Asthi sanchaya-Asthi visarajan (of the departed) are two religious venerations in Hinduism. Cremation is also usually favored in Buddhism, but burial is also permitted. The burial or cremation usually takes place right after the funeral. Burned bones are a vexing problem for genetic archaeologists. Cremation burns away information: sex, age and other identifying features are wiped clean by fire. The immense heat of the cremation ovens breaks down the body's organic matter, leaving bone fragments and teeth behind as they don't disintegrate during the cremation process. The actual ashes are thus useless as they won't contain DNA. But the bones and teeth could potentially hold some DNA viable for analysis. Bones contain information about people’s lives such as where they came from, their age at death and which diseases they suffered from. Researchers can deduce a lot from them about a person’s life and about human evolution. This generates leads that could help solve present-day problems, such as how to treat disease and what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. The advances in genomics and paleogenomics and their respective applications in the medical, and bio-naturalistic fields (reconstruction of the archaic genomes), aroused new issues on the human remains and their role in medical, biological and naturalistic research. The "genomic revolution" provided access to the distinctive aspects of the biology of present and past man, revealing a history of migrations and mixtures between populations and confirming the role of the human body as a "biological archive", unique and un-repeatable (?), of humanity and history. Researchers, archaeologists, anthropologists, anatomists, clinical and forensic pathologists, jurists, bioethicists, curators, ethnographers are called to ask themselves on questions that are in part unpublished and require constant dialogue with the community. The ethical value of human remains is also a very recent and still, at least in part, unexplored question. Studying and showing death means not only knowing and making one of the most intimate aspects of humanity known, but also measuring oneself with social preconceptions and psychological obstacles, educating them to reflect on them. The remains tell us how those who preceded us have lived, worked and suffered over the years and how illness (and healing) have marked their body.

Conclusion

Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical reality. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth--penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words.

Joseph Campbell

 

 

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