Readers of this website and other publications of mine will be aware that I regard the Abraham legend as referring to a remote epoch. The context of the story places it at the beginning of literate civilization and refers specifically to a cosmic catastrophe at the end of the Jamdat Nasr period; a catastrophe which was followed by a great culture-bearing migration out of Mesopotamia which touched all the lands of the fertile crescent and reached Egypt. Indeed, it was migrants from Mesopotamia, the 'Abraham tribe', which at that moment laid the foundations of Egyptian civilization. This epochal event was recalled by the Egyptians themselves, as well as by the Hebrews and the Phoenicians.
There are numerous clues to all of this in the character of Abraham as defined in the Book of Genesis, not least of which are his phallic associations: His very name means "father of many", whilst he initiates the custom of circumcision (with a flint knife, be it noted). The apparently ritual homosexuality of the city of Sodom is another clue.
In all of this Abraham is clearly cognate with the Egyptian phallic deity Min, whose prominence at the beginning of the First Dynasty was emphasized by Flinders Petrie. Very many representations of Min from this period have come to light. It would appear that Min was the initiator of circumcision in Egypt, a custom attested from the beginning of the First Dynasty; whilst Min also appears to be identical to the legendary first pharaoh Menes, or Mena.
Now Egyptian tradition also emphasized that the first ruler of Egypt was the god Osiris, and there exists a great deal of evidence to show that Min and Osiris were initially one and the same deity. Osiris too was a phallic god, whose erect penis impreganted Isis after his death - an occurrence which led to the birth of Horus. Osiris, as David Rohl proved in some detail, was, like many other Egyptian gods (such as Isis/Ishtar) originally a Mesopotamian deity; Asir. The Egyptians themselves were specific that Osiris and his cult originated in the east; in the Land of Punt. Indeed, Osiris was always closely connected to Punt; a connection emphasized in very many ways. For example, the word "god", netjer, was a term peculiarly associated with Osiris, since Osiris, as the first mummy, was enveloped in natron salt; and the Egyptian word natron (natrin) is related to the word netjer, "god". Punt was known as Ta Netjer ("God's Land") and, as Siegfried Morenz noted, the term was used almost as a pun, implying that Punt was the "Land of Osiris".
Whilst there is a good deal of debate regarding the location of Punt, it is generally agreed that Ta Netjer, the Divine Land, is often - or usually - associated with the region of Syria/Palestine. In any case, other evidence entirely connects Osiris with the same territory. So, for example, Egyptian tradition told how, after being murdered by his brother Set, Osiris' body was placed in a casket which floated down the Nile and out to sea, after which it was washed ashore at Byblos - where it grew into the trunk of a tamarisk tree. The King of Byblos had this tree felled and carved into a wonderful pillar or column, which he placed in his palace. From this alone, it is very clear that Osiris had an especially close relationship to the Palestine/Phoenicia region.
A host of evidence indicates that Punt, and the Divine Land, the Land of Osiris, was one and the same as Jordan/Dead Sea Valley. It was here, in the extremely warm climate of the deepest depression on earth, that frankincense was anciently cultivated; a crop for which the region was famous. This territory was especially associated with Osiris and was regarded as sacred not only on account of the incense (used in temple ritual), but also because here was found two of the essential ingredients of mummification: Bitumen and natron salt. The latter in particular is of interest. The Egyptians, we know, associated Osiris with a sacred column or pillar (the one created by the King of Byblos) known as the Djed Pillar. This latter object was believed to represent the spine of Osiris, and was believed to be encased in a coating of natron salt. The Djed Pillar was, in effect, a Pillar of Salt.
At this stage we need to return briefly to the Book of Genesis. Around the shores of the Dead Sea stand strange-looking salt pillars; natural features that are believed to have been the inspiration for the incident in Genesis, where the wife of Abraham's nephew Lot is transformed into a pillar of salt after looking back at the destruction of Sodom. It would appear that the Djed Pillar and Lot's wife are one and the same.
Extra-biblical Hebrew tradition, as mentioned in Ginzberg's Legends of the Jews, specifically states that it was Abraham who first brought the arts of civilization to Egypt, and this stands in agreement with Egyptian tradition, which states that Osiris was the founder of civilized life in the country. All this is further reinforced by Phoenician tradition, as recorded by Sanchoniathon, who states that it was Misor, a Phoenician prince, who first taught the Egyptians the arts of civilization. (Misor, or Wisor, was evidently one and the same as Osiris).
The evidence, taken together, would suggest the following:
(a) Abraham is mythically identical to the phallic god Min, who is also the same as Osiris.
(b) The migration of the "Abraham tribe" from Mesopotamia to Syria/Palestine and Egypt is a memory of the culture-bearing migration which brought Mesopotamian culture to Egypt at the start of the First Dynasty.
(c) This migration followed a cosmic catastrophe involving some form of "Tower" structure, and the whose epoch was punctuated by repeat cosmic upheavals.
In Genesis, the story of the Tower immediately precedes that of Abraham. As I have argued in detail in several places, this "Tower", which was apparently some kind of electro-magnetic feature emanating from the magnetic pole, occurs in mythology from all parts of the globe. Invariably, it is viewed as an attempt by the gods, or titans, or tyrant kings, to re-establish contact with heaven after it had been terminated by the Flood. The Tower seems to have generally appeared shining like a pillar of crystal. It also altered its shape, on occasion putting out large filaments which looked like branches of a tree. Occasionally it appeared in almost human form, with branches appearing like enormous arms. It also appeared like a very large phallus; and the entire phallic cult of this epoch was derived from this.
The artwork of the Early Dynastic epoch reflects all of this. Again and again we see images of a pillar or tower, often intertwined with serpents and long-necked beasts. Later this would be superseded by a simple pillar with two rampant felines. The magic wand of Hermes/Mercury, the caduceus, was modelled on this pillar.
The Tower or Pillar or Tree of Life was invariably placed at the North Pole. In Greek legend it was guarded by a dragon/serpent named Ladon, who was the same as Latona. This latter was identical to the Phoenician dragon Lotan (Leviathan of the Bible). Intriguingly however, in their ancient voyages to Britain in search of tin, the Phoenicians brought the name there. Thus in the Arthurian legend the tyrant king Vortigern's attempt to build a great Tower was associated with a dragon-deity named Loth or Ludd, which dwelt at the base of the tower. This creature lived in the far north and his name is preserved in the Scottish region of Lothian, though he was also associated with the tower-like features of the far northern Orkney islands.
The same habit of localizing cosmic events on the earth occurred at the Dead Sea, where Lot's or Lotan's tower was later associated with one of the crystal pillars on the Dead Sea's shores.