Were the Elohim the Anunnaki’s?
Many people try to claim that the Jews borrowed their idea about Jehovah from the neighboring peoples: especially from the religions in Mesopotamia. This is certainly not a new claim. I will admit that there is at least some marginal parallel between some of the concepts the Jewish concept of the monotheistic Jehovah and the polytheistic gods in religions in Mesopotamia in the 2nd millennium BC. This is natural for two reasons.
1. Because, up to a point, there is at least a bit of truth in all religions. All religions have the idea of morality, all have the idea of a higher power–a Creator, to which we can appeal for help. Many other parallels can be drawn between the true religion Christianity and human-created religion. People have an innate sense that God exists and they have at least some sense of the nature of God because we are made in God’s image.
2. It is not inconceivable that Jewish religion had an effect on the other religions in the Near East. We know for a fact that this occurred later–most strikingly after the time of Jesus Christ. Parallels between the Gilgamesh Epic and the Biblical flood story may reflect influence from nascent Judaism on Mesopotamian religion.
In any case, all you have to do is look at the Akkadian idea of Anunnaki and compare it to the concept of Elohim in Genesis and you will realize instantaneously that the parallel is extremely thin. The idea the the writer of Genesis began with Akkadian Anunnaki and created the Elohim of Genesis 2 is downright silly. Those who make this proposal have not looked carefully at the evidence.
I am copying and pasting some material on the Anunnaki.
Most likely the reason a person will point to in order to justify saying the Jews borrowed their idea about God from the surrounding Mesopotamian people is that Genesis, and especially Genesis chapter 2 uses the Hebrew word Elohim for God. Elohim is a plural word. To those unfamiliar with the Jewish religion, to the Hebrew language and to Near Eastern usage, it will be a shock at first to learn that the Jews used a plural word to represent their one God. The plural used to represent God’s majesty makes sense in the cultural context of the Jews. Besides, we understand the one God to consist of a trinity of "persons" or aspects, especially from the New Testament. Linguists and theologians, as well as the context where the word was used in Genesis tell us that the use of the word Elohim does not imply that the Jews were polytheists. Even if it did (which it does not) if you look at the Akkadian idea of Anunnaku (see below) you will see that there is little if any connection between this polytheistic concept and any idea found in Jewish religious thought. You can put to rest the idea the the Jews borrowed their idea of Elohim from this Akkadian religious idea.
John Oakes, PhD
The Anunnaki (also transcribed as: Anunnaku, Ananaki and other variations) are a group of Sumerian, Akkadian and Babylonian deities. The name is variously written "da-nuna", "da-nuna-ke4-ne", or "da-nun-na", meaning something to the effect of ‘those of royal blood' or ‘princely offspring’.
Anunnaki was a collective term for deities in general, especially those who were not otherwise named. Dr. Jeremy Black and Dr. Anthony Green write that the word eventually suggested the deities of earth and the underworld after the term Igigi was used more to refer to the heavenly deities.
The Anunnaki appear in the Babylonian creation myth, Enuma Elish. In the late version magnifying Marduk, after the creation of mankind, Marduk divides the Anunnaki and assigns them to their proper stations, three hundred in heaven, three hundred on the earth. In gratitude, the Anunnaki, the "Great Gods", built Esagila, the splendid: "They raised high the head of Esagila equaling Apsu. Having built a stage-tower as high as Apsu, they set up in it an abode for Marduk, Enlil, Ea." Then they built their own shrines.
According to later Babylonian myth, the Anunnaki were the children of Anu and Ki, brother and sister gods, themselves the children of Anshar and Kishar (Skypivot and Earthpivot, the Celestial poles), who in turn were the children of Lahamu and Lahmu ("the muddy ones"), names given to the gatekeepers of the Abzu temple at Eridu, the site at which the creation was thought to have occurred. Finally, Lahamu and Lahmu were the children of Tiamat and Abzu.
The head of the Anunnaki council was the Great Anu of Uruk and the other members were his offspring. His place was taken by Enlil, (En=lord, lil=wind,air), who at some time was thought to have separated heaven and earth. This resulted in an ongoing dispute between Enlil of Nippur and his half brother Enki of Eridu regarding the legitimacy of Enlil’s assumption of leadership. Enki, (En=lord, Ki=Earth), in addition to being the God of fresh water, was also God of wisdom and magic, regarded by some as an alchemist. When the Igigi went on strike and refused to continue to work maintaining the universe, on the Shappatu (Hebrew: שבת, Eng: Shabbath) Enki created humankind to assume responsibility for the tasks the Gods no longer performed.