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Simo Parpola is professor of Assyriology at the University of Helsinki located in Helsinki, Finland. He specialized in epigraphy of the Akkadian language, and has been working on the Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project since 1987. He is also Honorary Member of the American Oriental Society [1].

Fragment of a bronze helmet from Urartu, with the "Tree of Life" depicted.

Dr. Simo Parpola has suggested that the oldest versions of the Sephirot extend from Assyrian theology and mysticism. Noting the general similarity between the Sephirot of the Kabbalah and the tree of life of Assyrian mysticism, he reconstructed what an Assyrian antecedent to the Sephirot would look like[1]. Matching the characteristics of Ein Sof on the nodes of the Sephirot to the gods of Assyria, he found textual parallels between these Assyrian gods and the characteristics of the Jewish God.

The Assyrians assigned specific numbers to their gods, similar to the way the Kabbalah assigns numbers to the nodes of the Sephirot. However, the Assyrians used a sexagesimal number system, whereas the Sephirot use a decimal system. Using the Assyrian numbers, additional layers of meaning and mystical relevance appear in the Sephirot. Normally, floating above the Assyrian tree of life was the god Assur—this corresponds to Ein Sof, which is also, via a series of transformations, supposedly derived from the Assyrian word Assur.

Dr. Parpola re-interpreted various Assyrian tablets in the terms of these primitive Sephirot, such as the Epic Of Gilgamesh, and concluded that the scribes had been writing philosophical-mystical tracts rather than mere adventure stories. Traces of this Assyrian mode of thought and philosophy eventually reappeared in Greek Philosophy and the Kabbalah.

Parpola is also the chairman of The Finland Assyria Association (Suomi-Assyria Yhdistys).[2]


See also


  1. ^ Parpola, S. (1993). The Assyrian Tree of Life: Tracing the Origins of Jewish Monotheism and Greek Philosophy. Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 52 No. 3, pp. 161-208
  2. ^ Assyrian Association Founded in Finland


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