Interview with Zecharia Sitchen: An Introduction
From Connecting Link (electronic magazine), Issue 17
Zecharia Sitchin was born in Russia and raised in Palestine, where he acquired a profound knowledge of modern and ancient Hebrew, other Semitic and European languages, the Old Testament, and the history and archeology of the Near East. He is one of the few scholars who is able to read and understand Sumerian. Sitchin attended and graduated from the University of London, majoring in economic history. A leading journalist and editor in Israel for many years, he now lives and writes in New York. His books have been widely translated, converted to Braille for the blind, and featured on radio and television. The Earth Chronicles series is based on the premise that mythology is not fanciful but the repository of ancient memories; that the Bible ought to be read literally as a historic/scientific document; and that ancient civilizations--older and greater than assumed--were the product of knowledge brought to Earth by the Anunnaki, "Those Who from Heaven to Earth Came." ...I trust that modern science will continue to confirm ancient knowledge.
CL: What are the Earth Chronicles about?
ZS: The first book, The Twelfth Planet, refers to the probability that there is one more planet in our solar system. That there are twelve members, counting sun, moon and ten planets, not the nine we know of. That people from that planet came to earth almost half a million years ago and did many of the things about which we read in the Bible, in the book of Genesis. But that was not my starting point at all. My starting point was, going back to my childhood and schooldays, the puzzle of who were the Nefilim, that are mentioned in Genesis, Chapter six, as the sons of the gods who married the daughters of Man in the days before the great flood, the Deluge. The word Nefilim is commonly, or used to be, translated "giants." And I am sure that you and your readers are familiar with quotes and Sunday preachings, etc., that those were the days when there were giants upon the earth. I questioned this interpretation as a child at school, and I was reprimanded for it because the teacher said "you don't question the Bible." But I did not question the Bible, I questioned an interpretation that seemed inaccurate, because the word, Nefilim, the name by which those extraordinary beings, "the sons of the gods" were known, means literally, "Those who have come down to earth from the heavens."
CL: From the Hebrew word Nafal, which means "fall"?
ZS: Right. Fall, come down, descend. So, what did it mean? This led me to biblical studies and then to mythology and archeology and all the other subjects, including the study of ancient languages, which became my education and avocation. So, my research and my decision to write about it started with a question, Who were the Nefilim? All the ancient scriptures, the Bible, the Greek myths, the Egyptian myth and texts, the pyramid texts, everything, led to the Sumerians, whose civilization was the first known one six thousand years ago. I focused on Sumer, the source of these legends and myths and texts and information. I learned to read the cuneiform Sumerian texts and came upon their persistent and repeated statements that those beings, whom the Sumerians called Anunnaki, came to earth from a planet called Nibiru. The planet was designated by the sign of the cross and Nibiru meant, "planet of crossing."
The question thus shifted in my research from who were the Nefilim and the Anunnaki, to, what planet is Nibiru? Forced to become proficient in astronomy, I had to learn enough about it to deal with the subject. I found out that the scholars were divided. Some said it (Nibiru) was Mars, which of course was described and known to the ancient people, and others said, no, it was Jupiter. Those who said it was Jupiter and not Mars, had very convincing arguments why it could not be Mars. And those who said it was Mars and not Jupiter had very convincing arguments also. Being able to go directly to those ancient sources, clay tablets and cuneiforn scripts, it seemed to me that neither was right, because the description of Nibiru and its position when it nears the Sun indicated that it could not be Mars, and it could not be Jupiter. And then one night I woke up with the answer: Of course, it is one more planet that comes periodically between Mars and Jupiter; it is sometimes nearer to Mars and sometimes nearer to Jupiter, but it isn't Mars or Jupiter.
Once I realized that this was the answer, that there is one more planet, everything else fell into place. The meaning of the Mesopotamian Epic of Creation on which the first chapters of Genesis are based and all details about the Anunnaki, who they were and who their leaders were and how they traveled from their planet to Earth and how they splashed down in the Persian Gulf and about their first settlement, their leaders and so on and so on, everything became clear! The Sumerians had immense knowledge. They knew about Uranus and Neptune and described them and they knew about Pluto. They were proficient in mathematics and, in many respects, their knowledge surpassed modem times. They said, "All that we know was told to us by the Anunnaki." The first book's innovation, its impact, was the realization that the ancient peoples, beginning with the Sumerians, knew of and described and spoke of one more planet in our solar system. It was not a discovery like that of Pluto in 1930 (of which the Sumerians knew six thousand years ago). Pluto was a very interesting astronomical discovery; textbooks had to be revised. But to the average person, the man on the street, it really made no difference. Nibiru, on the other hand was a different story. If Nibiru exists, (and this is the planet that astronomers nowadays call planet X) then the Anunnaki exist. So the existence of Nibiru is not a matter of just one more globe in our solar system. This is different, because if Nibiru exists, and the Anunnaki exist, then the Sumerian claim that they come back to our vicinity every 3,600 years, at which times in the past they gave us civilization, then we are not alone and there are more advanced people than us in our solar system.