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No longer take comments. Post's 'labels' are unreliable for linking or searching. Use the INDEX OF POSTS instead. A fairly accurate, but incomplete INDEX of Posts & good overview and understanding of this blog READ SOME REASONS TO REJECT ORTHODOX JUDAISM my April 2014 post or click link above. Born into an Orthodox Jewish family (1950's) and went to Orthodox Yeshiva from kindergarten thru High School plus some Beis Medrash.Became an agnostic in my 20's and an atheist later on. My blog will discuss the arguments for god and Orthodox Judaism and will provide counter arguments. I no longer take comments. My blog uses academic sources, the Torah, Talmud and commentators to justify my assertions. The posts get updated. IF YOU GET A MESSAGE THAT THE POST IS MISSING - LOOK FOR IT IN THE INDEX or search or the date is found in the address.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Science of God - Schroeder Part 5

UPDATED THRU 11/20/2014

Final installment of my non exhaustive discussion of Schroeder’s chapter the Origin of Humankind. This post read concurrently with  Part 1, Part 2 , Part 3,  Part 4   provide ample reason to seriously question the intellectual honesty of the chapter. 

A) Page 126 Schroeder “However, in line with ancient main stream interpretation of the Hebrew text, it may be (and I emphasize the word may) that Adams had an ancestor”. My previous posts have revealed the tenuousness of the assertion.

B) Page 131 he writes the fossil record “confirm”  the biblical account as per biblical commentaries, [presumably the ones he cites.]. This is a not so subtle change from page 126 cited above where the words “may be” are used. Perhaps he no longer doubts.  An argument can be made that the leap from “may be” to “confirm” is not compelling. 

C) Page 138 - Schroeder interprets the Genesis sequence as: Plant Life,  Aquatic Life, Land animals, Humans and claims this is consistent with paleontology. (My post Genesis and Evolution  strongly suggests the Torah sequence and evolution are incompatible. Earlier chapters of Schroeder’s book try to reconcile evolutionary sequence and the Torah, and will require further posts to discuss). 

Not that it would prove anything if the Torah or any ancient story had some major landmarks in the same sequence as evolution theory. It may occur by chance and or with common sense observation. For example:  Agricultural humans rule, eat, work and otherwise utilize cattle, so it makes more sense for cattle to come before people. How else would the people survive ?  Also, cattle eat grass, so it makes sense the grass had to come before cattle. But grass needs water, so water came before grass. No divine knowledge would remotely be required to get some or all of the sequence correct. 

Moreover, if the uncertainty of Tanach's hebrew words/verses plus cherry picked Jewish commentary citations are thrown into the cauldron, just about anything can be cooked up. Consider, Rambam himself claims he can argue the Torah means Ex-Nihilo creation or the Universe is Eternal {eta 2/19/2014 or at least some forms of 'Eternal' }(page 199 The Guide to the Perplexed translated by M. Friedlander second edition revised throughout). 

D) Page 140 - Schroeder writes when dead the soul leaves the body. That is supportable from some bible commentary. However he goes on to imply that Talmud Keliim 8:5 says there is no way to distinguish a dead human from the beast discussed in Keliim. However, Keliim says nothing about distinguishing a dead human and the dead beast of Keliim 8:5. They  probably are distinguishable when dead or alive. {ETA 12/18/2014 No doubt, that in Talmudic times certain animal bones would have been difficult or impossible to distinguish from human bones.)

E) Page 140 thru 142 are also discussed  in my prior posts on this chapter.

F) Page 143 Schroeder says “Science has also confirmed the biblical assertion that less-than-human creatures with human like bodies and brains existed before Adam”.  There are several things wrong with the statement. The Torah never says directly anything of the sort and even contradicts such an assertion in Genesis 2:7 Then the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Even the commentaries never say anything of the sort (i.e that Schroeder pre-adamite-soul-less humans, i.e cro-magnon, neaderthal  were wandering around thousands of years before Adam.). With a big stretch, looking for nuance,  and adding words such an assertion can perhaps be shoe horned into one lone commentator’s speculation, Ramban. Ramban never says his speculation is based on an oral tradition. Rather its based on Ramban reading things into the words and letters of the Torah. What we are left is Schroeder’s  speculation on a Ramban speculation.

Even if the Torah/commentators did say such a thing it would not be unusual since many cultures talk about human like beings existing.

G) Page 143-145 Schroeder informs us writing began about 5000-6000 years ago around the same time of the rise of large cities. Schroeder explains a "key element", "the missing factor" that explains the transition; it  was the neshama (soul) given by god around 6000 years ago.  Really ? Are there no other natural explanations. Perhaps people acquired skills over time that allowed more efficient  agriculture and on a grander scale. Perhaps people gathered in larger cities because of economy of scale. Perhaps bigger was better i.e for warfare and or division of labor. This could have led to the necessity of recording information as we do in writing. Perhaps an  increasing sophistication of all forms of communication allowed the coordination and construction of larger cities. Consultation with an expert would likely provide other reasons as well.

Moreover, simple numeric recording existed over 6000 years ago: 

“Tallies by carving notches in wood, bone, and stone were used for at least forty thousand years” History_of_writing_ancient_numbers

And simpler systems of recording information have been found:

“The best known picture writing system of ideographic and/or early mnemonic symbols are:
Jiahu symbols, carved on tortoise shells in Jiahu, ca. 6600 BC
Vinca signs (Tartaria tablets), ca. 5300 BC
Early Indus script, ca. 3200 BC” History_of_writing

And language was already in our ability over 6,000 years ago:

“The time range for the evolution of language and/or its anatomical prerequisites extends, at least in principle, from the phylogenetic divergence of Homo (2.3 to 2.4 million years ago) from Pan (5 to 6 million years ago) to the emergence of full behavioral modernity some 150,000 - 50,000 years ago." History_of_language

Schroeder’s claim  resembles an appeal to ignorance argument. The soul of the gaps.

{ETA 11/20/2014 Page 6 The Story of Human Language (course I) by Professor John Mcwoter 2004

“It is highly likely that human language emerged in Africa, with the emergence of Homo Sapiens or possibly earlier species of Homo. Supporting this is the fact that there is a gene called Foxp2 that is connected with the ability to use language, and it traces back 100,000 year, long before the 50,000 - year mark that big bang theorists designate as the birth of language.” The same book provides the following figures:

150,000 - 80,000 BCE Estimated time human language arose
4,000 BC - Probable origin Proto European
3,500 BC - First attested writing
3,000 BC - Probable origin of Semetic 

[Orthodox Jews should note European Language probably arose before Hebrew per this source.] }

H ) Additional information with a different emphasis than mine is found at: graham review and perak review

I have since written 5 more Posts on Schroeder's book Start with Chapter 1

“We are living in the material world, and We are material girls. Material,  boys” (My modification of a pop song by Madonna)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Science of God Schroeder Part 4

Continued from Part One 

Schroeder, forgive me if  I am wrong, but my impression is Schroeder accepts the scientifically based theory of the sequence of humanity. Paraphrasing Schroeder around  7 million years ago an early tree dwelling primate led to a common ancestor of chimps and Cro-Magnon. About 1-2 million years ago a creature that walks upright appears. Cro-Magnon look alike appeared 50-100 thousand years ago; Neanderthal appeared  about 150,000 years ago and disappeared 40,000 years ago.  Schroeder then believes about 6,000 years ago God infuses a soul into a Cro-Magnon type being turning him into Adam. (I have used Schroeder’s time line and description which may not be currently accurate, but suffices for this post).

Before getting to the main topic of this post consider this:

"Homo sapiens originated in Africa, where it reached anatomical modernity about 200,000 years ago and began to exhibit full behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago. McHenry, H.M (2009). "Human Evolution". In Michael Ruse & Joseph Travis. Evolution: The First Four Billion Years. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 265. ISBN 978-0-674-03175-3." cited from Wikipedia - Homo Sapians

In other words, 200,000 years ago our ancestors are essentially no different than us. So why does Schroeder say god infuses a soul into a Cro Magnon type creature about 6000 years ago to make Adam ? For all practical purposes including behavioral modernity  “Adam” was extant about  200,000 years ago.

Schroeder does not provide any logistics. For example: Was it one Cro-Magnon type male or many that got a soul ? How does Schroeder provide for Eve ? How would his Eve theory reconcile the making of Eve as per the Bible genesis 2:22 where Eve is formed out a body part taken from Adam ?  

My prior posts Part 1, Part 2  and  Part 3, have discussed Schroeder specious use of Jewish texts.

This post will discuss the last of the  remaining Jewish texts cited by Schroeder,  Ramban (Nahmanides born. 1194) commentary on Genesis 2:7 and 6:4. My copy of Ramban is (Ramban translated by Rabbi Chavel 1971-1976).

Before doing that lets see what Ramban says about Genesis 1:26: [And God said: 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.] [The word  “us”  implies some other being is around and therefore problematic in strict monotheism].  Ramban provides an explanation.  It is referring to the earth, to bring forth the body from it’s elements as it did with cattle and beasts.

In other words, it seems according to Ramban there is a separate making of Adam (by God and with the earth),  and Adam did not evolve from prior beasts nor was he ever such a beast (i.e a Cro-Magnon type). Rather, Adam was a separate making from the earth. Where can  Schroeder’s Pre Adam Soul-less humans enter this scenario ?

Perhaps God made Cro-Magnon 50,000-150,000 years ago from the earth. But this would have to a plurality of Cro-Magnons since many existed, and thus it would not be consistent with the Torah, that a single man Adam was made. Also, it would not be consistent with evolution that says Cro-Magnon was derived from prior primates.

Perhaps God guided earlier primates to evolve into Cro-Magnons. But that would not be consistent with Ramban saying God makes Adam from the earth and also Adam as a separate making.

So neither of those two possibilities seem to be internally consistent with the Torah, Ramban commentary on Genesis 1:26, evolution  and Schroeder’s own theory.


We now pursue one of the  texts Schroeder does cite, Genesis 6:4 [The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown]. Schroeder implies  on page 142 the Nephilim are Cro - Magnon and since Cro-Magnon  lacked a soul,  Adam would find them inferior in spirit if not in body. His support  is reference #15 which  is  Ramban’s commentary  on Genesis 6:4. Lets see what Ramban actually says.

Ramban summarizes Rashi that the Nephilim fell and caused the downfall of men.  Others say the heart of man fell from fear of them. However,  Ramban provides a different explanation. Since God was the father of Adam and his wife, they are God’s  direct handiwork and therefore had great perfection in height and strength.  They begot sons and daughters and these men were also of great perfection of  height and strength. But then Idol worship began and this weakened men. Meanwhile, the great perfection men begot by force with the beautiful tall and healthy women. Later on these great perfection men begot with inferior women and this resulted in shorter weaker people - the Nephilim. Moreover,  Ramban also cites Midrash Rabbah Genesis (which cites Talmud Yoma 67b)  that angles fell from their place of holiness in heaven and Ramban explains this fits the Genesis verse best.

So according to Ramban the best explanation is the Nephilim are fallen angels. Even Ramban’s other explanation would have the Nephilim coming after Adam as opposed to Schroeder’s claim they are Cro-Magnon type and thus predate Adam. It seems Schroeder has misread Ramban.  

{ETA 2/1/2014 Nephilim refer to some sort of male creatures from the divine realm, a common myth of mixed divine-human breeding producing bigger and stronger than humans.  (Commentary on the Torah with a New English Translation 2001 by Richard E, Friedman Page 33)}

{ETA 2/26/2014 " Numbers the Nephilim are thought of as giants who are offspring of miscegenation between gods and women - again touches on common ground with Greek and other mythologies." Page 27 Genesis - Translation by Robert Alter 1996}


On page 140 reference #10 Schroeder also cites Ramban’s commentary on Genesis 2:7 [Then the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.]   This is to support Schroeder's  notion that before the soul there was something like a man that was not quite human, i.e Schroeder’s Soul-less Humans (Cro-Magnon, Neanderthal types).

Before discussing this Ramban commentary I remind the reader what has been said above regarding Ramban’s commentary on Genesis 1:26 which refutes Schroeder’s’s interpretation of Ramban commentary of Genesis 2:7.

Lets see what Ramban actually says on Genesis 2:7. 

Ramban says the plain meaning of Gen 2:7 is God formed man of  dust and man lay like a stone. Then God breathed life into him, [nothing about pre-Adam soul-less humans]. Ramban also discusses the nature of souls and how many a person has. 

Some say there are 3 souls. First the souls of growth that even a plant may have -a force of growth. Second the soul of movement as animals may have. Third the rational soul.

He cites Ibn Ezra that the soul is of 3 parts. 

(The notes say according to Rambam in Shmunah Prakim Chapt 1  there is only one soul in man). [Presumably Rambam would not agree with the following 2 soul theory which is  the basis of Schroeder’s comment].

The Ramban then discusses a 2 soul theory. First the Nesahma - the moving spirit. Second the Nefesh - the rational soul, the speaking soul.  After God forms man as a creature capable of movement and perception [presumably with the moving spirit soul], he breathed into him a living soul from God. This living soul provides speech and understanding. [But it is virtually certain  mankind had speech and understanding over 6000 years ago and so Schroeder’s hypothesis falls apart again here]. Ramban goes on to say : “Or, it may be that the verse is stating that man wholly became a living soul and was transformed into another man, as all his formations were from now on, directed towards this soul”.

First note that when Schroeder quotes (on his page 125 and 140) Ramban he leaves out the important  theological portion “.... , as all his formations were from now on, directed towards this soul.” In this latter paragraph Ramban has been speculating on a possible interpretation of  the making of Adam. First Adam is made capable of movement and perception through one soul. Then another soul is provided for speech and understanding. Ramban’s last sentence “Or, it may mean...” seems to be providing a theological lesson that the second soul was to direct Adam’s existence towards speech and understanding. Ramban does not say there was a man like creature that was transformed. He says man himself had one soul and was then provided with a second soul that redirects him. Seems more like theology than biology.

Schroeder’s Hypothesis  would have you believe that Ramban is speculating that God brought forth Cro-Magnon/Neanderthal from beasts (or perhaps Schroeder believes they were a separate making by God ?)  150,000 - 50,000 years ago, waited 150,000-50,000  years and then gave one (or perhaps many ?) a second soul making the Adam of Genesis.

Besides all the logistical questions, some of which have been alluded to in this and prior posts on this topic, Schroeder’s  hypothesis itself seems quite inconsistent with Ramban’s commentary and the Torah. However, Ramban’s actual commentary on Genesis 2:7 does seem consistent with the Torah and with Ramban’s interpretation of Genesis 1:26.

Continued here The Science of God - Schroeder Part 5

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Science of God - Schroeder Part 3

Updated Thru 1/14/2015

This post continues the discussion of  The Science of God - Schroeder 1997 Part 1 ,  The Science of God Schroeder - Part 2  which refuted Schroeder's use of  Rambam’s chapter 7 and Talmud Keliim 8:5 to support Schroeder’s  hypothesis that Pre-Adam Soul-less Humans (Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon) are found in the Torah/Bible and Jewish texts.

Schroeder also cites "Talmud Eruvim 18A", "Rashi's commentary on Genesis 3:6", "Jerusalem Talmud Pea 1:1", and Ramban to support his hypothesis. This post will refute Schroeder use of the first three, saving the last for a future post. 

A) Between the dashed lines is the portion of Talmud - Mas. Erivan 18a-18b. The inter spaced numbers refer to notes on the Talmud text. The Talmud is here discussing  Genesis 5:3 When Adam had lived to 130 years, he begot a son in his likeness after his image and he named him Seth. Schroeder suggests Adam begot with pre Adam Soul-less humans prior to Seth’s birth and cites this Talmudic section as support  (his Page 141 reference #13). 

R. Jeremiah b. Eleazar further stated: In all those years 25 during which Adam26 was under the ban he begot ghosts and male demons and female demons,27 for it is said in Scripture: And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years and begot a son in his own likeness, after his own image,28 from which it follows that until that time he did not beget after his own image. An objection was raised: R. Meir
said: Adam was a great saint. When he saw that through him death was ordained as a punishment he spent a hundred and thirty years in fasting, severed connection with his wife for a hundred and thirty
years, and wore clothes of fig [leaves] on his body for a hundred and thirty years.29 — That statement30 was made in reference to the semen which he emitted accidentally.

(25) Hundred and thirty years after his expulsion from the Garden of Eden (v. infra).
(26) Lit., ‘the first man’.
(27) Or ‘night demons’.
(28) Gen. V, 3.
(29) How in view of this statement could R. Jeremiah b. Eleazar maintain his?
(30) Of R. Jeremiah


So is it saying that according to R. Meir - Adam had nocturnal emissions and these gave rise to ghosts and demons ?  Or perhaps it is saying that according to R. Meir no ghosts or demons arose and there was only nocturnal emissions ? 

 Even R. Jeremiah b. Eleazar only says Adam begot ghosts and demons,  not that he had a sexual partner. 

No place in the text does it say Adams had sex with any other beings,  nor Schroeder’s Soul-less Humans,  nor  Souled Humans. Recall Schroeder was using Eruvin to imply Adam had sex with Soul-less Humans, in other words they existed according to the holy texts Schroeder has been citing.

[However there is a midrash  basically  saying  Adam  begot with female demons and Eve begot with male demons. Midrash Rabbah Genesis 20:11]

The Eruvin text only discusses Adam begetting ghost and demons, not Schroeder’s Soul-less Humans (Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal) nor souled and soul-less human hybrids.

Schroeder has claimed Soul-less Human beings are essentially corporeal  human beings but for being soul-less. 

But do ghosts and demons have a human body  ?

Midrash Rabbah Genesis 7:5 Demons may have no body:

R. Hoshaya the Elder said: This means the serpent.
R. tlama b. R. Hoshaya said: In speaking of souls it
enumerates four, but in speaking of bodies only three! 
Rabbi said: This [extra soul] refers to the demons whose
soul the Holy One, blessed be He, created, but when
He came to create their bodies the sanctity of the Sabbath
commenced and He could not create them.

Also Lilith a she demon has wings:


Talmud - Mas. Nidah 24b

Rab Judah citing Samuel ruled: If an abortion had the likeness of Lilith26 its mother is unclean by reason of the birth, for it is a child, but it has wings. So it was also taught: R. Jose stated, It once
happened at Simoni27 that a woman aborted the likeness of Lilith, and when the case came up for a decision before the Sages they ruled that it was a child but that it also had wings.

(26) A female demon of the night, reputed to have wings and a human face.
(27) Semunige in Lower Galilee.
(28) So MS.M. Cur. edd. omit.


Here is more information about Lilith and her dangers:


Talmud - Mas. Shabbath 151b

R. Hanina said: One may not sleep in a house alone,14 and whoever sleeps in a house alone is seized by Lilith.15 

(14) Aliter: He who sleeps in a lonely (situated) house.
(15) The night demon. V.J.E. art. Lilith,


[Speculation: Seized in as in having relations with ?  Could Lilith have been a possible cause of nocturnal emissions ?]

And on Page 531 The Wisdom of the Zohar Volume II (1991  Lachower, Tishby, Goldstein) Some demons  appear in the world in corporeal form and their intention is to cause havoc and injury especially during the moon eclipse. They approach to break down doors but flee when the see the name Shaddai on the mezuzah. On the eve of Shabbath they depart the world and hide in the crevices of the great deep. When Shabbath is over they reappear.

And Ramban (1974 edition, translated by Rabbi Chavel) discusses demons in Leviticus 17:7. Sheidim are demons. Unlike man who is created from 4 elements fire, water, earth, air the Sheidim are created from 2 elements fire and air. This provides a body that can not be felt and they can fly thru fire and air.

{ETA 1/14/2105  From Talmud Chagigah 16a 

Our Rabbis taught: Six things are said
concerning demons: in regard to three, they
are like the ministering angels; and in regard
to three, like human beings. ‘In regard to
three they are like the ministering angels’:
they have wings like the ministering angels;
and they fly from one end of the world to the
other like the ministering angels; and they
know what will happen like the ministering

angels...And in regard to
three, they are like human beings: they eat
and drink like human beings; they propagate
like human beings; and they die like human

Modern people may scoff at the Talmud and other Jewish texts referring to ghosts and demons. These have not been understood to be Cro-Magnon, Neanderthals or even other primates. In ancient times(and even today all around the world in primitive and developed societies)  people believed in angels, demons and ghosts and other assorted supernatural beings and things. Many ancient Jews were most likely no different. (Even today many Orthodox Jews believe in them.)

It appears Eruvin is not discussing Cro-Magnon/Neanderthals but some sort of supernatural beings.

B) Schroeder also cites Jerusalem Talmud Peah 1:1 as one of his sources. However, there is nothing in that section, nor in the entire Peah related to the matter and so can be easily dismissed.

C) On page 142 through reference #16 Schroeder also cites Rashi's commentary on Genesis 3:6. [After Eve eats the forbidden fruit she is supposed to die. She then gives Adam the fruit to eat in order  to prevent Adam from remarrying].  Schroeder asks where are the other women, as if to support his own theory that Eve was concerned about pre Adam Soul-less Human females.

If Schroeder had researched Rashi’s commentary a bit more he would have found this.  Rashi’s commentary's  source is Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer chapter XIII. And the Pirke says Eve was afraid God would make another women. Neither Rashi nor the Pirke discuss  Soul-less Humans.  

 Here is a related Midrash:

Midrash Rabbah GENESIS XIX 5

"R. Simlai said: She came upon him with her answers all
ready, saying to him: 'What think you: that I will die
and another Eve will be created for you? There is nothing
new under the sun (Eccl. I, 9). Or do you think that I will
die while you remain alone ?  He created it not a waste, He
formed it to be inhabited' (Isa. XLV, 18)".

Even without the Midrash or Pirke’s comment there are possible answers to Schroeder’s  question without invoking Cro-Magnon as pre Adam Soul-less humans.

1) Adam could have begot children with Eve prior to the serpent coming along and then marry them or their offspring; (Bible may not have mentioned all the genealogical details. In Jewish holy texts we read about genealogic details that are not always provided in the Torah. ETA 12/25/2013 Midrash Rabbah Genesis 24:7 says  on the day Adam and Eve were created they cohabited and by miracle had offspring.)

2) Maybe Eve was concerned that Adam would begot with Lilith. According to some myths Lilith was created when Adam was.

In summary, it has been demonstrated Schroeder has speciously used the 3 Jewish texts to support his hypotheses.  Moreover, even if the Torah or Jewish texts had mentioned human like creatures it would prove nothing as previously  in prior posts,

Continued here The Science of God Schroeder Part 4

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Science of God Schroeder - Part 2

This post will continue the discussion of Schroeder Chapter 9 The Origin of Human Kind begun  The Science of God - Schroeder 1997 Part 1

Later the post will discuss Schroeder's use of the Babylonian Talmud Keliim (8:5) to support his hypothesis of pre Adam Soul-Less humans ( page 117 & 140 references). Keliim is predominantly discussing the biblical prohibition of sowing seeds of different types and plowing with different kinds of animals. I will also refer to Jerusalem Talmud Keliim (section 8)   with its similar passages.  It will be shown that Schroeder is shoe horning his Soul-less humans into Jewish texts that are almost certainly referring to non human creatures.

The Torah was allegedly given to the Israelites around 1200 BC. It's laws to make any sense must refer to things existing temporally fairly close to that period or thereafter. This is especially true with regard to the Talmud because it was dealing with extant practical problems as well. It would make no sense to tell people do not plow with Arsinoitherium and Toxodon (both long extinct mammals) or do not plow with two different types of long extinct dinosaurs.

If the Talmud was discussing Soul-less humans as a distinct category then the Talmud should have explained how the laws of murder, theft, sexual relations etc: involving soul-less humans are to be implemented, yet nothing of the sort is found in the Talmud. As far as the Talmud is concerned Schroeder has created a fictitious non-existent category of Soul-less humans.

Moreover there are logistical problems with Schroeder theory, that Neanderthals and Cro-Magon man (Soul-less humans) predate Adam, the souled human. Did god create one each of souled  Adam and Eve or many. How did they interact and specifically breed with the Soul-less humans ? Are there hybrid beings ? Did the Soul-less human beings become extinct ? Some scientist say Neanderthal genes are still found within some modern humans. So we have semi-souled humans. What about stone age tribes that have essentially been cut off from human development in remote parts of the world. Are they soul-less humans ? Do they have equal protection under the law ? Shroeders Soul-less humans create all types of legal problems, none discussed in the Talmud.

About 9,000 BC mankind had already began cultivation of various grains, and domestication of dogs and sheep. 20,000 BC Terra Cotta figurines. 7000 BC farming villages. These are Schroeder Soul-less humans indistinguishable from modern humans. Are they to be considered non-human and hooked up to the plow or worse ?

No god was required to infuse these humans with a soul to develop. Rather, as man developed knowledge and rudimentary science the small agricultural villages grew into towns and this led to the necessity to record (written language) and the rest is history.

We know there are stories around the world of  human like creatures. For example: { “The Yeti or Abominable Snowman (Nepali . "mountain man")  is an ape-like cryptid taller than an average human that is said to inhabit the Himalayan region of Nepal and Tibet. The names Yeti and Meh are commonly used by the people indigenous to the region, and are part of their history and mythology”. - wikipedia yeti}. If  Jewish texts have such stories it would be nothing surprising and proves nothing.

Cultures from around  the world use the term human to describe the more human looking primates. The Indonesian’s  Oranghutan  means person of the forest. (“The word "gorilla" comes from the history of Hanno the Navigator, ©. 500 BC a Carthaginian explorer on an expedition on the west African coast. They encountered "a savage people”, the greater part of whom were women, whose bodies were hairy, and who our interpreters called Gorillae"  - see wikipedia on Gorilla). It would not be surprising to find  Jewish texts referring to various human looking primates as human in some ways. This would in no way imply they are Schroeder’s Pre Adam Soul-less Humans.

From the above comments alone Shroeders Soul-less humans does not appear consistent with the Talmud (or the Torah).

We now look at the Kiliim text Schroeder cites to support Soul-less Humans:
Babylonian Talmud Kelayim 8:5


What is clear the Talmud Keliim itself is unclear see note (23) above. First as the commentaries explain
there is uncertainty of the word spelled Alef-Dalet-Nun-Yod. Is it spelled with Nun or a Mem ?. Or is it Dalet or a Bet ? . And these changes completely change the meaning of the word. {ETA- for more discussion on the mountain man of note (23) see below}. The commentary suggests some kind of great ape and not Schroeder Soul-less Humans. And that would be consistent with the intent of the Talmud to explain the application of mixtures or impurity.

Schroeder does not cite The Jerusalem Talmud Kilaim. The H. Guggenheimer edition 2001 provides additional commentary related to this discussion.  It gets complicated and I will not get into it except to mention:

Miamonides suggests an ape/orangutun/ perhaps some other fabled animal.

The Talmud of the Land of Israel - Kilayim (Translated by I. Mandelbaum 1990) provides an excellent
discussion of this topic.
It has :

[Note the different letter bet for dalet and this changes the meaning to stones of the field. It get complicated but boils down to the possibility of a fabled mountain man that lives from his umbilical  attached to the ground and if cut he dies, or a human dead body or human bone or a grave. Feliks provides an interpretation as chimpanzee and cites Ecclesiastes Rabbah 6:12 as an animal commonly kept as pets. I would argue Schroeder has failed to make a convincing case the Talmud is discussing Soul-less humans i.e Cro-Magnon man. The very letters of text of the Talmud itself are not known with certainty see note (23) above.]

Continued here  The Science of God - Schroeder Part 3

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Science of God - Schroeder 1997 Part 1

Updated thru 3/23/2016

Prelude and some background. The Torah/Bible is often unclear. This has given rise to thousands of pages of commentaries often contradictory to each other. Then  there are thousands of Midrashim, stories, myths, legends and folklore to be found in Jewish holy texts which themselves are often unclear and contradictory. People can selectively quote, partially quote out of context or interpret holy texts to support virtually any hypothesis.

{Update 2/16/2014 To give the reader a sense of the importance,  consider this simple example which can be multiplied thousands of  times. Regarding the Genesis creation story - Beth (meaning the school of) Shammai says the Heaven was created before the Earth. Beth Hillel - the earth was created before the heavens, Rav Simeon says they were created simultaneously. (Midrash Rabbah Genesis 1:15) }

{Update 2/6/2014 Attempts  to "reconcile this 7 day creation story with evolution, geological and cosmological evidence  of the age of the universe are absurd, requiring a twisting of the words of the text in ways they never remotely meant". "Of course the Biblical picture is not a factual, literal account of the universe's  origin. The evidence to this effect is overwhelming". (Commentary on the Torah with a New English Translation 2001 by Richard E, Friedman Page 14)}

{{ETA 3/23/2016 Understanding Genesis by Nahum Sarna 1966

He translates Gen 1:1 “ When God began to create the Heaven and Earth..”

Beginning Page 2 Regarding Genesis Creation stories:

“It is obvious” none of the stories are based on human memory, nor are they modern science accounts of the physical world’s origin or nature. The stories are Non Scientific. It is a naive and futile exercise to attempt to reconcile Bible creation stories and modern science.  Any “correspondences” discovered or ingeniously established are nothing more than coincidence.  

The book also provide many points of contact with ancient near east mythology with Genesis creation. stories. Beginning page 39 The  Flood story - The Torah used very ancient traditions adapted for it’s own purpose. }

To keep this post limited in scope and length it will only discuss a small portion of Schroeder’s  Chapter 9 The Origins of Humankind. It will only focus on Schroeder's use (or in my opinion misuse) of Rambam (Miamonidies born 1135) to support Schroeder’s  hypothesis that over 6000 years ago (roughly) there were creatures looking human but were not really human. According to Schroeder Adam was different than these creatures because Adam had a God given neshama (soul). For brevity call the creatures Soul-less Humans. (I hope to write future posts that will strongly suggest Schroeder has misused the Talmud and at least misleads intentionally or not with Rashi's and Ramban's commentary.)

{eta - I have subsequently written  Chapter 4 , Chapter 3 and Chapter 2 and Chapter 1 discussing those chapters of the Science of God book. }

Schroeder cites Rambam’s  Guide to the Perplexed Part one Chapter 7 to support his hypothesis. (My copy is  translated from the original arabic text M. Friedlander,second edition, revised throughout.)

Before providing Rambams complete Chapter 7 text, (that Schroeder very selectively quotes for his own purposes), recall a popular saying regarding evil misbehaving people: They are not human, or they are like animals. It appears to me this is what Rambam was referring to - evil misbehaving human beings, not the  pre Adam Soul-less Humans of  Schroeder.

Chapter 7 refers to Chapter 1 that discusses the word zelem in Genesis 1:27: In the zelem (image/form/shape..) of God he created him. Rambam holds God incorporeal and so is faced with the challenge of explaining the text. Rambam's solution is:

Page 13 "The term zelem, on the other hand, signifies the specific form, viz., that which constitutes the
essence of a thing, whereby the thing is what it is ; the reality of a thing in so far as it is that particular being. In man the " form " is that constituent which gives him human perception : and on account of this intellectual perception the term zelem is employed in the sentences"

Page 14 "As man's distinction consists in a property which no other creature on earth possesses, viz., intellectual perception, in the exercise of which he does not employ his senses, nor move his hand or his foot, this perception has been compared though only apparently, not in truth to the Divine perception, which requires no corporeal organ. On this account, i.e., on account of the
Divine intellect with which man has been endowed, he is said to have been made in the form and likeness of the Almighty, but far from it be the notion that the Supreme Being is corporeal, having a material form."

In short, intellectual perception is what distinguishes a human being from other creatures.

On page 56 Rambam says the noun nefesh (soul) has various meanings: Vitality common to all living beings, blood, reason, the part of man remaining after death, and will.
"Another signification of the term [nefesh] is "reason," that is, the distinguishing characteristic of man, as in " As the Lord liveth that made us this soul " (Jer. xxxviii. 16)."

(Schroeder uses the term neshama, but Rambam is equating nefesh with the essence of man, not the neshama. There is also the issue of zelem versus nefesh. Without getting bogged down in theological discussions and Rambam’s meaning, Schroeder can reasonably interpret Rambam  that the "soul" is what distinguishes man from other creatures.)

Here between the dashed lines is the entire Chapter 7 in which  Rambam, explains the verb Yalad..
It is well known that the verb yalad means " to bear," "they have born (ve-yaledu) him children "
(Deut. xxi. 15). The word was next used in a figurative sense with reference to various objects in nature, meaning, "to create," e.g." before the mountains were created"  (yulladu) (Ps. xc. 2) ;
also,"to produce," in reference to that which the earth causes to come forth as if by birth, e.g.,
" He will cause her to bear (holidab) and bring forth " (Isa. Iv. 10). The verb further denotes, " to bring forth," said of changes in the process of time, as though they were things which were born, e.g., "for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth" (yeled) (Prov. xxvii. I). Another figurative use of the word is its application to the formation of thoughts and ideas, or of opinions resulting from them ; comp. " and brought forth (ve-yalad) falsehood " (Ps. vii. 14) ; also,
" and they please themselves in the children (yalde) of strangers" (Isa. ii. 6), i.e., "they delight in the opinions of strangers." Jonathan the son of Uzziel paraphrases this passage, "they walk in the customs of other nations."

A man who has instructed another in any subject, and has improved his knowledge, may in like manner be regarded as the parent of the person taught, because he is the author of that knowledge ; and thus the pupils of the prophets are called "sons of the prophets," as I shall explain when treating of the homonymity of ben (son). In this figurative sense, the verb yalad (to bear) is employed when it is said of Adam, " And Adam lived an hundred and
thirty years, and begat (va-yoled) a son in his own likeness, in his form " (Gen. v. 3). As regards the words," the form of Adam, and his likeness," we have already stated (ch. I.) their meaning. Those sons of Adam who were born before that time were not human in the true sense of the word, they had not "the form of man." With reference to Seth who had been instructed, enlightened and brought to human perfection, it could rightly be said, "he (Adam) begat a son in his likeness, in his form." It is acknowledged that a
man who does not possess this " form " (the nature of which has just been explained) is not human, but a mere animal in human shape and form. Yet such a creature has the power of causing harm and injury : a power which does not belong to other creatures. For those gifts of intelligence and judgment with which he has been endowed for the purpose of acquiring perfection, but which he has failed to apply to their proper aim, are used by him for wicked and mischievous ends ; he begets evil things, as though he merely
resembled man, or simulated his outward appearance. Such was the condition of those sons of Adam who preceded Seth. In reference to this subject the Midrash says :" During the 130 years when Adam was under rebuke he begat spirits, i.e., demons ; when, however, he was again restored to divine favour " he begat in his likeness, in his form." This is the sense of the passage, " Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and he begat in his likeness, in his form " (Gen. v. 3).


Pay particular attention beginning with Rambams words "A man who has instructed another in any subject...." is like the father of the taught man. Rambam then explains the meaning of Genesis "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son [Seth] in his own likeness, in his form ". Unlike Seth who was INSTRUCTED and brought to human perfection, Adams prior sons were not.

Rambam goes on to say - "For those gifts of intelligence and judgment with which he has been endowed for the purpose of acquiring perfection, but which he has failed to apply to their proper aim, are used by him for wicked and mischievous ends ; he begets evil things, as though he merely resembled man, or simulated his outward appearance."

Rambam has just said of Schroeder's alleged Soul-less humans that they have intelligence, except they use their intelligence for wicked ends. But if they have intelligence that must mean they have souls and can not be Schroeder's Soul-less human beings.

Schroeder seems  to have taken Rambam out of context. Rambam is not saying there where human beings prior to Adam. Nor is Rambam saying there was a change in humanity from say a pre Adam type of human being to a post Adam human being. Nor is Rambam saying Adams prior children are in a literal sense non human beings or Soul-less.

Rather, Rambam is teaching a moral lesson.

{ETA 1/18/2015 In Chapter L from the same text :
"It is one of the fundamental principles of the Law that the Universe has been created ex nihilo, and that of the human race, one individual being, Adam, was created. As the time which elapsed from Adam to Moses was not more than about two thousand five hundred years, people would have doubted the truth of that statement if no other information had been added, seeing that the human race was spread over all parts of the earth in different families and with different languages, very unlike the one to the other."

In other words, according to Rambam - 'Adam' was CREATED about 6000 years ago. Not that Adam evolved from prior hominids. Only by an enormous speculation can Schroeder claim Rambam means Adam's creation was an infusion of a soul into a Neanderthal.}

Continued  here 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Passover Origins; & short note on Human Sacrifice

UPDATED THRU 9/28/2014

The Torah sometimes provides the reasons for it's festivals or rituals to alleged historical events.  Circumcision and Sabbath are two examples. Similarly, the Torah has seemingly combined  2 distinct festivals into a single one now called Pesah/Passover and linked them to an alleged historical event - the ten plagues of Egypt and the Exodus of the Israelites from Egyptian servitude. ( It is possible there is a kernel of truth to an Exodus. Perhaps a few hundred or even a few thousand people escaped from Egyptian servitude over some temporal period(s)  in ancient history and eventually settled in Canaan. But nothing on the order of the claim of 600,000 plus or several million people who then wandered in a desert for 40 years, which almost certainly did not occur; justification is left for a different post. )

{ETA 9/28/2014 Page 75 of the Oxford Bible Commentary 2001 - "All three festivals [passover, massot, censecration of first born] are widely believed to be very old rites of various origins which at some stage have been given an interpretation related to Exodus}

Let me be clear on my very brief comments regarding of human sacrifice in association with Passover or Judaism. Judaism forbids human sacrifice. Any claims otherwise arise out of mental illness/lies/antisemitism/ ignorance. Furthermore,  I celebrated Passover as an orthodox jew for over 20 years and know thousands of jews - human sacrifice was non existent, not rumored, not contemplated at anytime. However, this post is discussing a very ancient period where it is possible human sacrifice was practiced by the ancient Israelites. It requires a separate  post.

Like Yom Kippur (here), Passover has similarities to several ancient near east festivals (ANE) or rituals, and seemingly combines features from several of them. There are important notes at the end of this post.



The sacrifice which the Israelites offered at the command of God during the night before the Exodus from Egypt, and which they ate with special ceremonies according to divine direction. The blood of this sacrifice sprinkled on the door-posts of the Israelites was to be a sign to the angel of death, when passing through the land to slay the first-born of the Egyptians that night, that he should pass by the houses of the Israelites (Ex. xii. 1-23). This is called  the "Egyptian Passover sacrifice" . It was ordained, furthermore (Ex. xii. 24-27), that this observance should be repeated annually for all time. This so-called "Pesah Dorot," the Passover of succeeding generations, differs in many respects from the Pesah Mizrayim. 



The festival commemorates the deliverance of Israel's first-born from the judgment wrought on those of the Egyptian, and the liberation of the Hebrews from Egyptian bondage. As such, it is identical with the Mazzat festival, and was instituted for an everlasting statute. Lev. xxiii., however, seems to distinguish between Passover, which is set for the fourteenth day of the month, and the Festival of Unleavened Bread appointed for the fifteenth day. The festival occurred in Abib, where the New Moon is given as the memorial day of the Exodus. On one of the days new barley was brought to the Temple. 

On the tenth of the month—ever thereafter to be the first month of the year—the Hebrews were to take a lamb for each household, "without blemish, a male of the first year," "from the sheep or from the goats." Kept until the fourteenth day, this lamb was killed "at eve", the blood being sprinkled by means of a "bunch of hyssop"  on the two door-posts and on the lintels of the houses wherein the Hebrews assembled to eat the lamb during this night, denominated the  ("night of the vigils unto Yhwh"). Prepared for the impending journey, with loins girded, shoes on their feet, and staves in their hands, they were to eat "in haste." The lamb was to be roasted at the fire, not boiled in water, or left raw; its head, legs, and inwards were not to be removed, and it was to be eaten with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. Nothing was to be left until the morning; anything that remained was to be burned.
The details of this rite as observed in Egypt are summarized in "the ordinance of the Passover". No bone was to be broken; the meal was to be eaten in one house; no alien could participate; circumcision was a prerequisite in the case of servants bought for money and of the stranger desiring to participate (Ex. xii. 44-48). According to Num. ix. 6, Levitical purity was another prerequisite. To enable such as happened to be in an unclean state through contact with the dead, or were away from home at the appointed season, to "offer the oblation of Yhwh," a second Passover was instituted on the fourteenth day of the second month (Num. ix. 9 et seq.). In Deut. xvi. 2, 5 the slaughtering and eating of the lamb appear to be restricted to the central sanctuary.

The sacrifices ordained for Passover are as follows: "an offering made by fire, a burnt offering; two young bullocks, and one ram, and seven he-lambs of the first year, without blemish, and their meal-offering, fine flour mingled with oil; . . . and one he-goat for a sin-offering, beside the burnt offering of the morning."  These were to be offered daily for seven days.

Comparison of the successive strata of the Pentateuchal laws bearing on the festival makes it plain that the institution, as developed, is really of a composite character. Two festivals, originally distinct, have become merged, their underlying ideas reappearing both in the legend associated with the holy day as its assumed historical setting and occasion, and in the ritual. The name  must be taken to be derived from that meaning of the root which designates the "skipping," "dancing" motions of a young lamb (Toy, in "Jour. Bib. Lit." 1897), only secondarily connoting "passing over" in the sense of "sparing." Pesah, thus explained, is connected with pastoral life; it is the festival celebrated in early spring by the shepherds before setting out for the new pastures. In the ordinance of Ex. xii. the primitive manner of preparing the lamb for the family feast is still apparent. Such a family feast, naturally, was in the nature of a sacrifice, the gods of the clan being supposed to partake of it as well as the human members. There is a strong presumption that the skipping motions of the lamb were imitated by the participants, who in this wise "danced" around the sacrificial offering, and that this explains the designation of both the feast and the lamb.

Feast of First-Born.
There is good ground for the theory of Dozy ("Die Israeliten zu Mekka," Leyden, 1869) that the rites of the Arabian haj recall those of this old Israelitish "hag," though the inference drawn from this resemblance, that the Meccan celebration had been imported from Israel by the tribe of Simeon, must be rejected. The lamb served, however, the purpose of propitiating the gods and securing the prosperity of the flock about to depart for the pasture. Wellhausen's surmise that the lamb was a firstling, though not borne out by the Biblical data, seems to throw light on the connection, apparently very primitive, between the festival and the escape of the first-born and their subsequent devotion to Yhwh (Ex. xii., xiii.). The first-born of the flock (and even of men) was offered that the lives of those born later might be safe.

Hence the ceremony came naturally to be associated with the intention of "saving," and then with the fact of having "spared," from which secondary meaning of the root  came the tradition that the Hebrews' first-born had been "spared" in Egypt, God "passing over" their houses. The sprinkling of the blood points in the same direction. This was a feature accompanying every propitiatory slaughtering (see Samuel Ives Curtis, "Ursemitische Religion," p. 259, Leipsic, 1903). It is suggested that when later the tendency became dominant to give old festivals historical associations—a tendency clearly traceable in the evolution of the Biblical holy days—this very primitive practice was explained by a reference to the occurrence in Egypt during the "night of watching"—another expression which plainly refers to the night preceding the day of the flock's departure, and which, as such, was marked by a proper ritual. It has been urged that the term "night of watching" points to a custom similar to that which prevails in Germany, where the night before Easter is set apart for seeing the sun "jump" or "dance," as it is called; it is more likely, however, that the phrase has reference to the moon's phases.

Connected with Mazzot.
This pastoral Pesah was originally distinct from the Mazzot festival, but it merged all the more readily with it because both occurred in the spring, about the time of the vernal equinox. The Mazzot feast is distinctly agricultural, the mazzot cakes being both the natural offering from the newly gathered barley to the gods that had allowed the crop to ripen, and then the staple food of the harvesters. Offering and food are nearly always identical in the concepts and practices of primitive races. The difficulty of finding an adequate historical explanation for the mazzot is apparent even in the account of Ex. xii., which would make them emblematic of the hurry of the deliverance from Egypt, though it was the supposition that the mazzot had been used at the Passover meal before the Exodus.

The agricultural character of the Passover (or Mazzot) festival is evidenced by the fact that it is one of the three pilgrim, or season, festivals. Of course, when the pastoral Pesah and the agricultural Mazzot came to be merged can not be determined definitely, but one is safe in saying that it must have been shortly after the occupation of Palestine, the tradition about the Pesah observed by Joshua at Gilgal (see Biblical Data) suggesting and confirming this assumption.

The relation of circumcision to Pesah is explained when the original pastoral and propitiatory character of the latter is remembered. The pastoral clan would naturally exclude all that were not of the clan from the meal at which it trysted with its protecting god (that being the original significance of every solemn meal) and disarmed his jealousy. Circumcision itself was a rite of propitiation, like the lamb at Pesah, possibly a substitute for human sacrifice. (See the legend of Cain and Abel for the bearing of the lamb, and that of Zipporah's sons for the bearing of circumcision, on human sacrifice.) A good case may be made out in favor of the theory that, for this reason, Pesah was at one time the festival of the circumcision, all that had attained the proper age during the year being circumcised on one and the same day, namely, at Pesah; the puzzling question why the lamb had to be set aside on the tenth finds in this its explanation. Three to four days were required to heal the wound of circumcision (see Josh. v. 8; Gen. xxxiv. 25), and the designation of mazzot as the "bread of affliction" (Deut. xvi. 3) may possibly carry some allusion to this custom.

The law of the second Pesah (Num. ix. 6) reflects the unsettled relations which the pastoral Pesah originally bore to the agricultural harvest festival, the two, apparently, not being at first simultaneous.

{UPDATE 2/17/2014 Page 169 Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible - Kenton Sparks 2005 - He discusses the Ugaritic Festival of First Wine and one of it's  features is the use of  UNLEAVENED Bread in sacrifices.}.

In the book Ancient Israel by Roland de Vaux 1965 edition

Page 489 Passover was a shepherd's rite of offerings of the seminomads or nomads who like the ancient arabs sacrificed in the spring time to secure flock fecundity and prosperity. Blood on the door was to drive away evil powers. It was "...the old arab feast which fell in the month of Rajab, the first month of spring". Unleavened bread is still the normal bread of bedouins and the bitter herbs the bedouins pick to season their food. "It was the Israelite version of the springtime feast which all Semitic nomads kept....."

Page 490 Feast of Unleavened bread - marks the beginning of the barley harvest. An agricultural feast. "It is quite possible, then, that the Israelites adapted this feast from the Canaanites".

(Side note Pages 493-494  Regarding the Feast of Weeks - The feast of First Fruit

Exodus 23:16 and others. A Wheat harvest festival. "The feast of weeks was a feast  for farmers...Israel adopted it only after its entry into Palestine, and must have taken it from the Canaanites". The custom of presenting the first fruit of harvests is "very widespread".)


Page 15 in the book Hebrew Myths and the Book of Genesis by Graves and Patai 1964 

There was a Canaanite feast of unleavened bread.

Mythmaking in the Biblical Tradition Slaying the Dragon - Bernard Batto 1992

Page 136 -137 Gilgal was the site of a Canaanite Agricultural festival of unleavened bread.


Did God Have a Wife, William Dever

Page 108. Regarding Passover -

“This feast probably originated in the old Canaanite spring pastoral feast that featured the sacrifice of young lambs". It was combined with an old feast of unleavened bread, then historicized.


The Ancient Gods E.O.James 1960

Page 148 Regarding Passover "...commemorated at the spring festival,...,celebrated at the full moon nearest the vernal equinox when the firstlings of the lambing season were offered, no doubt originally to the fertility - god of the flocks in a lunar context". The moon god being a fertility deity. He continues, it was highly probable connected to the sacrifice of firstlings. sprinkling blood on door posts derived a protective device to repel demons. The feast of unleavened bread belongs to the tradition of first fruit offerings and in all probability taken over from the Canaanites. A sheaf of the new crop (omer) waved before Yahweh to promote fertility of crops in the forthcoming season. 


Beginning on page 114  of Israelite Religions by Richard S. Hess 2007

 "Emar's Zukru festival compares with the spring festivals of Passover and Unleavened Bread, as well as other ritual festivals in west Semitic religion of  the second millennium BC." He proceeds to make at least six comparisons with Zukru:

1) Both have the concept of remember/invoke/speak with the semitic root zkr. (see my note 1 below)
2) Both require roasting lamb.
3) Both have twilight as a critical time.
4) Both use 7 days as an important part of ritual. [Here is yet another example of 7 being important in ancient near east religions and myths.]
5) Both involve community coming out to participate in food and drink besides just royalty and the priests. (See my note 2 below)
6) Zukru seems to have involved the chief god [as well as other gods]. 

There are other elements in the Zukru festival that parallel the Bible. For example the Sikkanu stones that parallel Hittite and Hebrew (masseba) standing stones. The Sikkanu stones are anointed with oil and blood. (Hess states this is unrelated to Passover).

 Zukru involves Dagan the Lord of the First born.[Yaweh demands the first born. See my note 3 below]

Another similarity is from Emar 446 the ritual calender  - there is a  spring ritual for the storm god, and Hess provides reasons why that god is also a warrior, and a provider of fertility of the land. Passover also occurs in springtime. and " the roles Israels God with a warrior.... and who has given the harvest and blessings of the land to Israel". Hess lists 10 other similarities of Emar 446 to the Torah ritual calendar. For example both have a festival occurring in autumn, both have an interest in the half year points, both have feasts that emphasize grains.


From Page 96 in Exodus by Carol Myers 2005, there are listed some more similarities from ancient near east (ANE) practices to Passover:

1) Sacrifice in the evening in the middle of the first month as in Emar
2) Eating sacrifice until it is gone as in Ugaritic documents
3) Sacrifice in ANE typically involve an unblemished animal
4) Special treatment of head, legs, and inner organs was apparently an Egyptian practice

The symbol for the ancient Egyptian fertility god named Min was lettuce - it was tall, erect and oozing milky white on being cut. Many Jews eat romaine lettuce as a bitter herb (Maror) or as Karpas for Passover. This use of romaine lettuce would relate closely to Passover fertility cult aspects and of the Egypt tie in to Passover. On page 105  of C. Myers book - Karpas represents the new growth of springtime and the jews dip it in salt water as if to taste the tears of the Hebrew slaves.  


From the Golden Bough - The Dying God (by George Frazer, published by MacMillan Company 1935)

Beginning on page 176 including footnote 1-  The sea Dyaks of Borneo perform animal sacrifice and put blood on house posts and hang up food on the walls all to drive away evil spirits thirsting for human lives. The spirits seeing the blood and be satisfied and move on.  In west Africa when pestilence or attack by enemies is expected sacrifice goat/sheep and smear blood on the village gateway. Frazer provides other examples as well.

Beginning on Page 178 Thus Frazer suggests the original Passover celebration ritual involving blood put on lintel was an attempt to outwit a dangerous spirit and that originally Passover may have involved human sacrifice of the first born, the latter a practice found among some ancient Semites and other cultures. The ancient Israelites maintained the sacrifice of  first born cattle but let the children be redeemed. Frazer goes on to list examples such as on page 180:  In India it was common to sacrifice the first born to the Ganges. The Mairs their first born son to the small-pox goddess. The Boraws sacrifice their children and cattle to Wak. Circumcision appears to be an atoning to redeem some of the children from the spirit to which they belong. Frazier suggest similar to Exodus iv:24-26. [See note 3 below].


[Note 1 - Passover is an invocation/remembrance of Yaweh who (allegedly) freed the Israelite slaves in Egypt. And from page 124 Time at Emar by  Daniel Fleming 2000 -  "The Emar rite would have celebrated a spoken approach to Dagan, a prayer that renewed the link between the people and the god who was ultimately responsible for its survival as a community".  Page 86 Fleming cites George Frazer author of the Golden Bough that "Pre Islamic religion made the rubbing of blood on sacred stones a central feature of worship".]

[Note 2 - Wine and (unleavened) bread plays an important part in the Orthodox Jewish celebration of Passover. Similarly Zukru also uses wine and bread in it's festival].


[Note 3 - Dagan worship sometimes may have involved human sacrifice, at least among some people, but I have seen conflicting statements and need to research further.
(In  the book Ancient Israelite Religion by Susan Niditch 1997 page 77 "The Bible asserts that first born of human and animals is the Lord's a most valuable offering, a precious commodity (Ex 13:12-13, 34:19-20, Num 3:41,45). Usually there is a rejoinder to ransom the firstborn [human] but Exodus 22:29 does not. Seems to support the notion child sacrifice was indeed a thread in Ancient Israelite religion". And on page 115 [Many scholars suggest], that human sacrifice was a feature of the state religion in Israel until the 7th century B.C.E. reforms of King Josiah. To their credit, the Bible condemns the practice but the concept of the efficacy of human sacrifice and the notion of god's appreciation continue in the tradition in various forms".)
I have read other scholars who disagree and believe human sacrifice was not a feature of ancient Israelite religion. Regardless, sacrifice, remembrance of the death of human first borns, Yaweh's ownership of human  first borns, circumcision as a requirement for Passover participants (Ex. 12:48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land; but no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.),  and vestiges of fertility cults are integrated into Passover. A gods ownership of first borns and  first fruits is common in the ancient near east. And from  "Blood belonged to Yhwh; no man might eat it (I Sam. xiv. 32-34; Lev. xvii. 3 et seq.). The blood was the soul. When animals were substituted for human victims, blood still remained the portion of the Deity. No subtle theological construction of a philosophy of expiation is required to explain this prominent trait (see S. I. Curtiss, "Primitive Semitic Religion," passim). The blood on the lintel (the threshold covenant) at the Passover was proof that which the Destroyer was seeking—viz., life—had not been withheld. The rite of Circumcision (Ex. iii. 24) appears to have been originally instituted for the same purpose."]

{ETA I have written 3 posts relating to circumcision: Proof of God from Circumcision, Dangers of Circumcision as found in the Talmud ,  Circumcision and Maimonides and related is this post Human Sacrifice in the Bible }