© Ian Lawton 2000

The first of author Zecharia Sitchin's Earth Chronicles series of books, The Twelfth Planet, was published in 1976. Perhaps the most appropriae way of introducing him is to quote from the cover of the 1991 edition:[i]

Zecharia Sitchin was 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 archaeology of the Near East. He attended the London School of Economics and Political Science 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.

One of the few scholars able to read and understand Sumerian, Sitchin has based The Earth Chronicles, his recent series of books dealing with Earth’s and man’s prehistories, on the information and texts written down on clay tablets by the ancient civilisations of the Near East. His books have been widely translated, reprinted in paperback editions, converted to Braille for the blind, and featured on radio and television programmes.

Again quoting from the cover, we will let Sitchin speak for himself in introducing his books:[ii]

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 civilisations - older and greater than assumed - were the product of knowledge brought to Earth by the Anunnaki, 'Those Who from Heaven to Earth Came'.

The Twelfth Planet [1976], the first book of the series, presents ancient evidence for the existence of an additional planet in the Solar System: the home planet of the Anunnaki. In confirmation of this evidence, recent data from unmanned spacecraft has led astronomers to actively search for what is being called 'Planet X'.

The subsequent volume, The Stairway to Heaven [1980], traces man’s unending search for immortality to a spaceport in the Sinai Peninsula and to the Giza Pyramids, which had served as landing beacons for it - refuting the notion that these pyramids were built by human pharaohs. Recently, records by an eye witness to a forgery of an inscription by the pharaoh Khufu inside the Great Pyramid corroborated the book’s conclusions.

The Wars of Gods and Men [1985], recounting events closer to our times, concludes that the Sinai spaceport was destroyed 4,000 years ago with nuclear weapons. Photographs of Earth from space clearly show evidence of such an explosion.

Such gratifying corroboration of audacious conclusions has been even swifter for The Lost Realms [1990]. In the relatively short interval between the completion of the manuscript and its publication, archaeologists, linguists, and other scientists have offered a 'coastal theory' in lieu of the 'frozen trekking' one to account for man’s arrival in the Americas - in ships, as this volume has concluded; have 'suddenly discovered 2,000 years of missing civilisation', in the words of a Yale University scholar - confirming this book’s conclusion; and are now linking the beginnings of such civilisations to those of the Old World, as Sumerian texts and biblical verses suggest.

I trust that modern science will continue to confirm ancient knowledge.

In fact this description somewhat undersells certain key elements of Sitchin’s theories, especially in relation to the contents of The Twelfth Planet, his most widely-read and influential book. Not only does he suggest that a race of 'flesh and blood' gods who were capable of space flight visited Earth from their home planet, which the Ancients called 'Nibiru', nearly half a million years ago. He goes on to speculate that they came in order to mine precious minerals which were abundant on our planet; that they created modern Homo sapiens by genetic engineering, mixing their own genes with those of the primitive hominids they encountered ('in their own image'); that they did this in order to create a slave race to take over the mining and refining work; and that they lived for sometimes thousands of years, were capable of good, evil, compassion and brutality, and warred with each other and their human offspring.

Sitchin’s comments on how he first embarked on this unorthodox path of research many decades ago are illuminating:[iii]

My starting point was, going back to my childhood and schooldays, the puzzle of who were the 'Nefilim', that are mentioned in Genesis 6 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', from the Hebrew word nafal which means to fall, come down, descend.

This experience proved to be the prototype for one of the major cornerstones of Sitchin’s work: the re-interpretation of a number of key words which appear in ancient texts in various languages. It is this approach, combined with the re-evaluation of archaeological and scientific evidence to support his theories, which led him to such a startling series of conclusions.

There is no doubt that the publication of these books has lead to Sitchin being feted by many as a visionary and scholar, with a 'guru-rating' that is almost off the scale. Indeed his knowledge of ancient Near Eastern history and language at first sight appears so vast that few authors have even attempted to elaborate on his work, let alone dare to criticise it.

But is everything in the garden as rosy as it appears to his many followers? Let us find out by making a more detailed examination...

Source References

[i] Sitchin, The Twelfth Planet (Bear & Co, 1991; 1st Edition, Stein & Day, 1976).

[ii] For completeness it should be noted that there is a fifth book in the series, When Time Began, which was published in 1993 after this extract was written. It mainly examines precessional ages, and the ancient monuments such as Stonehenge and Machu Picchu which Sitchin argues were used to monitor them. Furthermore in 1990 he published a companion volume, Genesis Revisited, which essentially provided an update on his theories in the light of the latest scientific discoveries.

[iii] Extract from an interview conducted in 1993 by Connecting Link, and published in Issue 17.