Zecharia Sitchin (1920-2010) studied Economics at the University of London and was best known for his fringe theories on the origins of Earth and man-kinds celestial ancestry (alien ancestry). According to his official website, www.sitchin.com, he is “one of few scholars able to read and interpret ancient Sumerian and Akkadian clay tablets.” His interpretations and theories were compiled into his seven books known as The Earth Chronicles. In his first novel, The 12th Planet and its sequels Sitchin claims there is a 12th planet beyond Neptune known as Nibiru that reaches our inner solar system once every 3,600 years. According to Sitchin, an advanced race of human-like extraterrestrials called the Anunnaki live on Nibiru and are the missing link in Homo sapiens evolution. There have been no new postings on Sitchins official webpage since 2017 but some 4,126 people follow the Zecharia Sitchin Facebook page which continues to make posts to this day. Additionally, Sitchin’s books have sold millions of copies worldwide and have been translated into almost 20 languages so his influence is certainly noteworthy. The belief in Zecharia Sitchin and what he professed is important because it attempts to provide an answer to some of humanities timeless questions, namely, “Why are we here?” and “How did we come to be here?” However, his explanations provide an extraordinary answer because they contradict our current knowledge regarding our solar system and the celestial bodies found therein and cannot be scientifically proven nor disproven as the only evidence is based upon subjective interpretations.
The Annunaki arrived on Earth 450,000 years ago looking for minerals, namely gold which they began mining in Africa. When Anunnaki miners became displeased with working conditions it was decided that Anunnaki genes and Homo erectus genes would be engineered to create slaves to replace the miners, thus resulting in Homo sapiens, or man-kind as we know it. The evidence sited in support of this belief can be found through a link on the Facebook page which takes you to a website called, enkispeaks.com. There we see evidence quoted from his first book which included varies statements pertaining to Sumerian space maps which showed planets which would have been beyond their ability to detect. “Sumerians lacked telescopes and couldn’t see Uranus’ and Neptune’s orbits the route maps (from Nibiru to Earth) show. Nibirandictated maps prove they had astronomical info Sumerians, on their own, didn’t. The maps accurately detail the entire Earth from space, a perspective impossible for ancient Sumerians on their own.” (Sitchin 275) This map was discovered on a clay tablet in the ruins of the Royal Library at Nineva. Additionally, on Sitchin’s official website there is an article pertaining to an article published in Science magazine by Mathieu Ossendrijver in January 2016 which discusses a 350-50 BCE Babylonian cuneiform tablet that accurately details the position of Jupiter based on geometrical calculations. This article is offered as evidence for the planetary knowledge of ancient civilizations that they were not expected to have, so it therefore is assumed to have come from the Anunnaki. In opposition to these beliefs we see experts such as Dr. Michael S. Heiser who holds a Ph.D in the Hebrew Bible and Semetic Languages posing critical questions to Sitchin regarding his interpretations of the Sumerian texts. Heiser asserts that while Anunnaki is indeed found in Sumerian Literature (182 times, according to Heiser) there is no mention of a connection between them and Nibiru, or a 12th planet. Heiser also questions Sitchin’s reasoning for interpreting Sumerian words such as “naphal” to mean fire, or rockets which leads to an interpretation of the word “Nephilim” to mean “people of the fiery rockets.” Heiser asserts that his interpretation of this word is without accurate explanation nor is there a single, ancient text where naphal has that meaning.
Zecharia Sitchin’s lack of a formal education in Semitic Studies likely led to an inaccurate and therefore misinformed reading of the Sumerian texts. One could argue he suffered from confirmation bias as he moved through the literature distorting the meaning of certain words in an ignorant effort to fit his beliefs. Furthermore, we see a section on Sitchin’s official website discussing a Washington Post article from November 2017 wherein the senior scientist of NASA, David Morrison, PH.D states that Nibiru is not real and that there is no 10th planet. The author of the website responds with a red herring stating that, “he [Morrison] just wants to get on with his real work and not worry about answering questions.” This in no way addresses Morrison’s statement nor does it provide evidence that argues against it.
My first introduction to Zecharia Sitchin and his books was through my parents who are both dis-fellowshipped Jehovah’s Witnesses. After leaving “the truth” my parents were in search of a new truth that answered the big questions that their previous faith no longer did. However anecdotal I imagine many previously religious people who are no longer sure of their belief in a traditional God could find themselves drawn to the appearance of science in Sitchin’s books. As more secular voices are made heard through the internet there is an increasing availability for confirmation bias among belief communities, as well as increased access to “bad science” with no guide posts for truth. Sitchin’s theories are appealing to those who now seek a more “scientific” answer to questions that were previously answered by religion. Moreso, Sitchin relies on texts such as the Bible (Genesis) which may be an added comfort to new believers as it is already familiar. Furthermore, Sitchin’s books being translated into over 20 languages bridges communication gaps and widens the base of believers to extend beyond a single region or language.
Even after Sitchin’s death in 2010 “scientific evidence” for his books was still being shared on his website up until 2017 and many other scholars have written about his work and have added their own supportive evidence as seen through the Zecharia Sitchin Facebook page. This ongoing dialogue could provide believers with comfort and assurance that what they’ve put stock in is continually “proven” and discussed by those seen as experts, even to this day.
E. (2013). Evidence Validates Sumerian Tales of “Gods” from Nibiru. Enkispeaks.com.
Retrieved from: http://enkispeaks.com/evidence-validates-sumerian-story-of-gods-from-nibiru/
Sitchin, J. & Sitchin, Z. (n.d). The Official Website of Zecharia Sitchin.
Retrieved from: http://www.sitchin.com/
Sitchin, Z. (2007). The 12th Planet. New York, New York. HarperCollins.
Smith, J. (2010). The 12th Planet and Zecharia Sitchin. Rationalskepticism.org.