Perfect metonymy between image and verb, David Crossing the Moon is the artistic gesture through which Pascal Marthine Tayou erases the triadic compartmentation of monotheism matured within the history of the sacred: the new symbol unveils the historic role of singular conception, the use of the neon reveals, like in the best advertisement campaigns, the strategy to manipulate the conscien- ce actuated by religion. The Star of David that intercepts the Islamic crescent and the Christian cross allows for a journey back in time, up to the pagan roots of the monotheistic ideology nad of the we- stern thought.
The sole god persuasive path of affirmation has an incubation of centuries: in the northwestern Semitic area, the Canaanaite agrarian god, Ēl’, is one of the numerous polytheistic divinities of the I millennia BCE. Nevertheless, it is within the Sinaitic desert that this deity becomes Yahweh. In order to get a doctrinary structure, this figure must await the contact with Babylon: the exile of the Judaic élite is the experience that will provide a theoretical frame to the Judaism. In the Babylonia of the I millennium BCE, the priests and the scribes supporting the god Marduk had in fact started a tran- sformation of its figure into an authoritarian god, ruling a wider pantheon. The centralization model of divine figures such as Marduk, Ēl’, Yahweh is the seed on which the monotheist god establishes its roots. This new protagonist sips from the sacred history of Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt and it shapes the monotheistic ideology including cosmogonic and theogonic myths from the sumero- akkadian heritage. Those specialists of the sacred who will give birth to the sole god carefully select (within polytheistic symbolism) the sign that more than any others had indicated for millennia thedivine. To the origin of the Star of David, there is the Mesopotamian dingir (“d”), the graphic Sume- rian determinative forerunning any divinities name: a little astral symbol alike an asterisk. Heaven and its celestial bodies inspire any kind of divinity, in particular the sun and the moon.
The latter, before being adopted as symbol of Muslim culture, is the Sumerian moon god Nanna/Sin (III-II millennia BCE). During the I millennium BCE, the constant presence of lunar cults manifest the importance of moon worship: at Ḫarran, an ancient town of Upper Mesopotamia, the Eḫulḫul, ‘temple of the joy’, dedicated to Nanna/Sin possibly hosted the Nanaia cult, as lunar goddess, as well. According to the Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus, in 36 CE the emperor Julian (better known as Julian the Apostate), preferred to make offering in a lunar goddess temple than “to pay homage to the Edessa Christian community”. Within the Doctrine of Addai (one of the 70 disciples of Christ), the Christian apologists complain about the pagan worship of sun and moon in Ḫarran: Jacob of Serugh mentions the cult of “Sîn, the Heaven Baal (Baalshamen) e the Luminous Son (Bar Nemre)”; Isaac of Antioch refers about a colony nearby Ḫarran, whose population venerated sun, moon and ‘Uzzai. With regards to the relation between Ḫarran (upper Mesopotamia) and Taymāʾ (northwestern Saudi-Arabian peninsula), it is not surprising to find ‘Uzzai one the main preislamic deity. In fact, both Ḫarran and Taymāʾ host the court of the neobabylonian king Nabonedus (555-539 BCE), a tenacious defensor of the lunar cult, a worship collecting a millenary tradition and itself an instrument of social cohesion. At the time Ḫarran will be conquered by Arabs, the lunar cult seems to find shelter outside the religious Islamic dogma and within the folk and popular traditions. Ibn al-Nadīm (X century) in hisFihrist (a collection of all the philosophical knowledge written by Arab thinkers) and al-Bīrūnī “Chronology of ancient nations” both report that the Sabaeans sect (considered with curiosity by the Muslim community, but less appreciated by the Christian from Edessa and Nasibina) it venerated “the Moon that is Sîn”. The Greek historian Herodothus underlines that Persians “they learned later to sacrifice to the heavenly Aphrodite from the Assyrians and Ara- bians. She is called by the Assyrians Mylitta, by the Arabians Alilat, by the Persians Mitra” (Hdt. I. 131.3). The goddess Herodothus calls Alilàt, she is a member of the preislamic triad composed by Manāt, al-‘Uzzà and al-Ilāt, the bnty ’l (daughters of god). In the Ḥawrān area, Allāt is worshipped as a form of Greek Athena, while in the Bosra coinage she is dressed as a Greek Tyche and in the Wādi Ramm her figure is decorated with a lunar crescent. The cross adopted by Christians as and emblem of their god martyrium has a long history. Ancient Egypt and Indo-Iranian influencesintertwines along with astral and geometric meanings. The Tau cross of Horus in ancient Egypt, the crux ansata or handle cross and the crux gammata in India, the Hebrew letter Taw, the crux commissa Greek and Latin letter t, crux immissa a Geerk t with longer arms, crux decussata like an x, in a few words there are several references alluding to cross. In reality, the origin of cross is linked to writing. During the centuries before Christianism, the use of abbreviations was very popular and it became even more popular later. The staurogram and Christograms (iota-chi, chi-rho, iota-eta) do not seem to have a shared origin, but they were considered pictographic marks to indicate crucified Christ. To write sacred names (nomina sacra) was a scribal practice and special names were emphasized in order to help readers to recognize them easily and quickly.
The sacred texts belonging to the three monotheistic religions share several ritualistic and prescrip- tive aspects, in addition to a series of divine and semi-divine figures (angels, archangels, prophets etc.). An exemplary case is that of the merging between Kitāb al-Mi ̦rāģ (‘The Book of the Ladder’), the biblical prophetism and the Dante Alighieri arrangement of the Christian afterworld.
Raffaella Frascarelli, Holy Feminine in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Iran, Central Asia : From the III Millen- nium BCE to the VI Century CE, forthcoming
The passionate force of social biotism, the collective social space. The huts in wood and straw of an African village take on the aspect of the planetary metabolism of the social body: the sound of existence shatters on the images, the vital energy expands in time devoted to human work, the sense of human is returned as journey possible and accessible to all. Installed in the ruins of time,Human Being tries the spell of returning to history its circularity; the African view of Tayou reminds us that the Olduvai Gorge is the belly to which we still belong, the interior space to deal with the fear of being supportive, tolerant, open, fragile.
Keyword: Brexit and the future of labor
Fiscal responsibility, stagnant economy, public finance, inequality, gender inequality, wage inequality, developing countries, job polarization and rapid technological advance, climate changes just a few of the factors affecting the future of global labor market. The recent Brexit case is inspiring. As John McDonnell underlined during a public lecture kept at London School of Economic and Political Science in London last February, “A large financial sector still imposes a high risk, the same standard that brought to systemic failure in 2008... What are the best ways for the Bank of England and the Treasury to oversee the economy? How should these relationships function? How can we democratize these institutions? How can our giant financial institution function for the good of the whole of society? Can they function viably at this scale? How can multinational corporations make a contribution to wider society via the tax system?”. In these very days, the Brexit medicine is showing its real poisoning face, bringing up social fears, fostering uncertainties about the future and preparing Britain to a shadowy future. No one can foresee what the labor market costs of Brexit are. The hope is a vs-Brexit resistance to be managed by all European countries, a cultural effort to continue to include the British citizens within the European project beyond any political and economic decision, inspired by a sense of shared history and social belonging.