Monday, July 13, 2009

Richard Hewitt
June 12, 2009
Bridging Divided Religions:
a comparative analysis of Kyrgyz Jakyb and Biblical Jacob

Jacob and Jakyb are two different characters in two different epic masterpieces.  According to the Torah, Prophet Jacob is Isaac’s son and Abraham’s grandson.[1]  Kyrgyzstan’s famous epic hero “Manas” is fathered by wealthy Jakyb, called bai Jakyb.  In this treatise the prophet Jacob will be spelled “Jacob” to distinguish him from the Kyrgyz father, Jakyb, also spelled Jakyp.

Jewish, Christian, and Islamic scripture indicate Prophet Jacob was father of twelve tribes.  Around the 17th century BCE these tribes formed a confederation in Egypt that lasted until the 10th century BCE, when ten northern tribes split from two southern tribes, leaving Judah and Benjamin, forbearers of modern Jews.  Within two centuries Assyria captured Jacob’s ten northern tribes (8th century BCE).  Today controversy surrounds the eventual disappearance of those northern tribes, often referred to as Joseph.  Unsubstantiated reports of Israel’s lost or scattered tribes have aroused religious fantasies for centuries.[2]  A recent surge of interest in this topic gives every indication “Lost Tribe” legends will be around for many years. 

Biblical Jacob probably lived about 3700 years ago.  The Kyrgyz father Jakyb, however, is a legendary figure from the misty past, but much of his life has been preserved in the Manas Epic.  Jacob and Jakyb were both nomadic leaders who moved their small clans from place to place.  Amazingly, Jacob’s ten captured tribes fade from history in the vicinity that Jakyb’s decimated and scattered clans start their amazing story.[3] 

Murderous Sons
Our first analysis will focus on Jacob and Jakyb’s personalities.  The essence of Jacob’s unstable nature seems to mirror Jakyb’s wavering character.   The Torah’s version of Jacob reveals a man often consumed with self-pity.  Father Jakyb from the Manas Epic is not much different.  They both get upset and fear for their own lives when their sons kill “pagans” living near them.  Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, avenged a Hivite city by deceiving and killing all the men.  Jacob scolds his sons with the following rebuke:
“You have troubled me by making me obnoxious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and since I am few in number, they will gather themselves together against me and kill me.  I shall be destroyed, my household and I.”[4]

Jacob’s rebuke is mirrored by Jakyb’s admonishment in Saiakbai Karalaev’s version of the Manas Epic when Jakyb reprimands his son for killing “pagan” neighbors:
“…You've ruined us with your action!
The Kitai and the Manchu people will be outraged
And take over our ordo,
They will indeed cause our ruin.
You really caused a disaster,
We were one with the Kalmyks,
Altay had been a homeland for us."
Thus bay[5] Jakyp stood lamenting,
Filled with rage and anger.…[6]

Jakyb’s lament also contains the following lines:
By attacking the rulers of the kingdom,
You will strip me of my coat,
With your misbehavior, my foal,
You will bring great trouble onto my head
The likes of which has not been seen.
When they hear about it, my foal,
The Kara Kalmyks, the Manchu people
Will dig a grave for me,
Saying that my son is a hooligan,
They will squeeze the essence of my life...”[7]

Jakyb and Jacob both bemoan themselves while fearing the repercussion of their sons’ deeds.[8]  Both narratives also present their perspective Jakybs (Jacobs) as cunning, stingy, and unstable characters.

The Bible indicates “Jacob” means deceiver:
there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau.  Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob.[9]

Jacob means “to supplant” which means to take somebody’s place or position by force or intrigue.  Another biblical text about Jacob’s name follows:
  ...For I knew that you would deal very treacherously,
  And were called a transgressor from the womb.[10]

Kyrgyz Jakyb also has a similar reputation.  His cunning nature came to a head when he tried to deceive his grandson, Semetey, and keep him from becoming king.[11]  Jakyb worked to supplant Semetey’s rightful position. In the biblical version Jacob deceived his father and supplanted his older brother:

When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me—me also, O my father!”
But he (Isaac, Jacob’s father) said, “Your brother came with deceit and has taken away your blessing.”
And Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!”[12]

The supplanter got what he wanted, the special blessing (kerez) given before an elder dies.  This kerez custom is still commonly practiced among Kyrgyz.  

Brother, Where Art Thou?
Not only are these Jakyb-Jacob characters similar, but both men also have biographies that may be based on a common story-line.  We will analyze their biographies, starting with their exile from home - both were estranged from their brothers for years after they fled their fatherland.  

From the Manas Epic, Orozdu’s sons, including Jakyb were scattered, “Alooke chased and scattered Orozdu’s ten sons in ten directions.”[13]  Jacob also gets separated from his brother, Esau:
“… she sent and called Jacob her younger son and said to him, “Behold, your brother Esau comforts himself about you by planning to kill you. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Arise, flee to Laban my brother in Haran and stay with him a while, until your brother’s fury turns away...”[14]

The events in each narrative vary, but the fact that both Jakyb and Jacob were separated from brothers supports the theory that their stories may have cross pollinated at some point in their histories.  This theory is strengthened by the following parallels.

Wealthy Shepherd
Both Jakyb and Jacob were born into wealthy nomadic families, the sons of tribal leaders.  Then each fell into poverty.  Jacob and Jakyb both became hired labor.  These two poor shepherds eventually rose up to exceptional financial success.  The following are cuts describing Jakyb and Jacob’s accomplishments: 
He became known as rich Jakyp,
Brave Jakyp kept numerous cattle,
His four kinds of animals were countless.
The leader Jakyp became rich…[15]

And from the Torah:
Thus the man (Jacob) became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks, female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.[16]

Not only did both father figures have similar holdings, but their rags-to-riches stories also had similar beginnings.  As mentioned, they left their fatherland empty-handed, then acquired their wealth in a foreign land, and returned home heavily laden.  A Kyrgyz proverb gives similar advice, exhorting a traveler to: “Go light and come home loaded.”  When Jacob returned heavy laden, he prayed:
“O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps.[17]

Ancient Kyrgyz, like Jacob, also left with little and returned loaded.  Kyrgyz tribes had been destroyed, their homes burned, men killed, women raped, and livestock stolen.  Jakyb and a few families were taken captive to Altai (Altay) where many families had to share one kazan (pot).  In Altai Jakyb quickly gained wealth:
All the forty families,
Including Akbaltay and Jakyp
Who are elders of these destitute people,
Began working hard.
They dug for gold,
The gold which had been extracted
They hid in sacks
And exchanged it with Kalmyks
For the four kinds of livestock.
They prepared the yokes
Tied two oxen together,
Made furrows on the surface of the ground,
Planted handfuls of seeds.
They grew crops in summer.
The Kyrgyz thus became very wealthy.”[18]

Jakyb became the wealthiest of the Kyrgyz and was therefore called rich-Jakyp (bai-Jakyp) in a foreign land.

Hard Labor
Before the Kyrgyz united and became rich, Jakyb arrived roofless and poor to the home of a man named Chayan, where he spent many hard years working as a laborer.  Jakyb recalls those years in the following lines:
“Roofless and lonely I wandered on…
To Chayan’s home at last I came,
With him I earned a workman’s name.
Many a year I served him well…”[19]

The biblical Jacob also arrived roofless and poor at Laban’s place.  He also served as a workman for many difficult years.  In return Laban gave Jacob his two daughters and many flocks.  Jacob escaped back to his fatherland.  Notice Jacob’s response when bitter Laban caught him:
“… Jacob answered and said to Laban: “What is my trespass? What is my sin, that you have so hotly pursued me?  …these twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried…, and I have not eaten the rams of your flock. That which was torn by beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it. You required it from my hand, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. There I was!  In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep departed from my eyes. Thus I have been in your house twenty years...”[20]

To summarize again: Jakyb and Jacob fled with nothing to foreign lands where they worked hard for many years.  Both men knew the hardship of a shepherd’s life but eventually became “exceedingly wealthy.”  From the passage above we see that the biblical Jacob took his employer’s two daughters and married them.  Jakyb also had two wives, one was the daughter of his employer, Chayan, “He (Jakyb) also took a second wife, Bakdoolot, the daughter of Chayan.”[21]  So both Jacob and Jakyb found employment with a man who eventually became their father-in-law.

At one point Jacob and Jakyb each migrate with 70 units: one with 70 people, the other with 70 families.[22]  Some comparisons are so striking that one story could almost be a rewrite of the other – rewritten for another generation, in another cultural and geographic context.  This is a common practice in Hollywood where one or more movies are often made from the story plot of a previous success. The movies appear to be quite different, but structure and dialog regularly match.[23]  In our case, the primary characters’ full name is not even changed; “Jakyb’s son Manas” is a proper etymologic translation of the Torah’s “Jacob’s son Manasseh”.   

Fatherland and Faith
Even if deceitful Jacob and cunning Jakyb do not seem like holy men, they both rely on faith as they return to their fatherland.  In the Torah Jacob receives a divine message, “Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.”[24]  Jacob had to trust in God to return from Syria to Canaan.  Jakyb also needed faith to lead his tribe back to their fatherland, Naaman:
“Jakyp bay led the migration,[25]
Akbaltay rode behind,
They left everything they had
And relied on their faith [in God]…”[26]

Despite their reputation as deceivers, both retained a faith that was sincere enough to be rewarded in both narratives.

Sacrificing to God
The Torah contains biographies of many ancient prophets, who are respected in all three monotheistic religions.  These patriarchs are portrayed in the Torah making sacrifices to God, a practice mirrored by modern Kyrgyz:
“Jacob offered a sacrifice in the hill country and called his kinsmen to eat bread. They ate bread and spent the night in the hill country.”[27]

Remarkably, Kyrgyz usually feast through the night, often on a mountain, like biblical Jacob.  Jakyb also offered sacrifices to God:
              “Pleading with God he began to pray,
              Promised a year-old camel to slay…”[28]

Kyrgyz spirituality and worldview seems consistent with the Torah’s spiritual presentation.  This is not uncommon among ancient nations who practice blood sacrifices or animal offerings.  Additionally, the prophets and Kyrgyz were both nomads.  Nonetheless, such parallels are worth adding to the growing body of evidence linking Jakyb and Jacob.

Crippled Jake
Both Jacob and Jakyb were also crippled.  The biblical text points out:
“The sun rose above him (Jacob) as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.”[29]

The Manas Epic also reveals Jakyb’s handicap:
He (Jakyb) himself, the white-bearded there,
Bowed, and hobbled, half-lame, you see...”[30]

Jacob was crippled because a divine being, similar to Central Asia’s mythological Kojo Kydyr or Khizr, touched Jacob’s hip and dislocated the joint.
Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”
But he (Jacob) said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”
So He said to him, “What is your name?”
He said, “Jacob.”
And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”  …so Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Just as he crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip. Therefore to this day the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the muscle that shrank.[31]

Comparing the biblical passage above with the epic’s passage below is comical, because the Kyrgyz Jakyp seems to be the biblical Jacob who remembers the previous painful and crippling interaction with the Divine: 
… Wailing, as both hands upwards, sweep
Old Jakyp, like a bleating sheep,
Prayed to Allah upon his throne,
In the name of good souls alone,
In the name of those grey-beards there,
And those brethren, with heads all bare:[32]
“Our Creator, our one God still,
Hear my prayer, and fulfill my will!
When my right hand high I raise,
Do not break, o my shoulder-blades
Pain, do not my old heart grip…”[33]

Why would Jakyb ask God not to break his should-blades?  If the Kyrgyz Jakyb is a later version of the biblical Jacob, then we might expect such a prayer.  Jacob’s legs were crippled from his interaction with God, now Jakyb asks God to spare his arms.  Some suggest Jakyb’s reference to “my right hand” refers to his son, Manas.
Such a reference could be a recent change made by manaschis (epic tellers) unfamiliar with the other Jacob.
Jacob’s hip has another interesting connection to modern Kyrgyz.  Again the biblical passage says:
Therefore to this day the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the muscle that shrank.

Like the children of Israel, Kyrgyz will not eat the lamb’s hip tendon.  It is tough, so throwing it out makes sense; but Kyrgyz are adamant  - making sure it is not served to anyone.  Kyrgyz serve many cuts with cartilage, ligaments, tendons, fat, and innards that seem indigestible to foreigners, but they will never serve this hip tendon.  Additionally, a knife can be a bad symbol in Kyrgyz culture.  When Kyrgyz pray they usually remove vodka and knives from the dostorkon (tablecloth).  Kyrgyz will not give knives as gifts, and never point a knife at someone.  When removing the sheep’s hip tendon, Kyrgyz often put their knife down and remove this tendon with their teeth as if keeping the offensive knife away from the holy hip, which God touched.   

Twelve Sons & Twelve Nephews
Biblical Jacob had ten sons before his favorite wife, Rachel, finally gave him his last two sons, Joseph and Benjamin.  These youngest two seem to be Jacob’s favorites.  The Bible portrays Jacob’s ten older sons as deceitful, jealous troublemakers.  Orozbakov’s version of the epic also has ten characters similar to the Bible’s ten troublemakers.  Jakyb’s two brothers[34], not two wives, living in a distant land had 12 sons between them.  One brother, Orozdu, had 10 sons, the disgraceful troublemakers.  Orozdu and his ten sons live beside Bai, a brother who was particularly fond of Jakyb.  Bai’s two sons, Bakai and Tailak, were “younger, good sons.”  These diligent young men helped their father with flocks and crops, but were unable to succeed because Orozdu’s ten hooligans continually devoured Bai’s profits:
These two sons of their father Bai
Gathered much cattle, and no small fry!
But those (ten) sons of Orozdu
Never let them grow rich, it’s true –
Took their goods, and their cattle seized.
What way out?  No pastures save these!
How to oppose them – two against ten?”[35]

The biblical account points out that Jacob’s ten older sons hate Joseph so intensely that they eventually decide to kill him.  At the last moment they decide to sell Joseph, to get rid of him and make money at the same time.  The following biblical passage shows the “two against ten” dynamic between these half-brothers: 
“… Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.
They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him. They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits.  Then we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, and we will see what will become of his dreams…  So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore. And they took him and cast him into a pit... And looking up they saw a caravan …  Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him.”[36]

When Jacob was told his son had been killed, he mourned his son’s “death” and did all he could to protect Benjamin, the youngest son from a similar fate: 
So Joseph’s ten brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he said, “Lest some calamity befall him.”[37]

This two-against-ten principle is another mystifying bond linking Jacob and Jakyb.

Both Jakyb and Jacob pray to “the God of heaven”, and both are sanctified by the Kojo-Kydyr character mentioned earlier.  Sayakbai Karalaev’s version starts with the following introduction:
              Түп атасы түгөл кан
Башкы атасы баары кан
Башынан кыдыр дааыган
Түнөп өткөн жерине
Түптүү мазар орногон...

His forefather was Tygol khan,
His other fathers were all khans,
From the beginning, by Kydyr sanctified
The place where they slept
Was established as an original holy site (mazar)...

Not only does a Kydyr character sanctify forefathers in both narratives, but both establish mazars where they sleep: 
Then Jacob rose early in the morning (from his dream/vision), and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it...[38]  Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house...”[39]

The place where Jacob slept became a mazar called Bethel.  Noticing the role a stone or mazar plays to incite Jakyb’s prayer is also important:
When Jakyb saw a graveyard stone,
Then he prayed with resounding groan;
“What can I do if God leaves me alone?”[40]

Both Jakyb and Jacob feared being left alone.  Not only are their prayers to a supreme God relevant in these epics, but a certain stone or mazar plays a role in both prayers.  The Manas Encyclopedia’s балбан таш “balban stone” insert states that these stone pillars are a “very ancient form” of Kyrgyz belief.[41] 

Both men were desperate, and both seemed unsure about their God.  Both promised an offering if their prayers were granted.  Neither wanted to be left alone.  In time, both Jakyb and Jacob saw their desires fulfilled.  But the divine character in each narrative did not ease their lives or deliver them from a life of suffering.  Nonetheless heaven did communicate with these men.  Notice how similar the divine messengers are:
Bay Jakyp stood crying:
"I was dreaming when I woke up,
This is indeed God's blessing!"
It was still nighttime when he jumped up,
At that moment for Jakyp,
It was the Holy Night.
That man who spoke to him
Was Kydyr, indeed.”[42]

In this dream the Kydyr-man had prophesied to Jakyb about his descendant.  A similar standing-Lord character prophesies to Jacob about his descendants:
“… he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”

Let’s compare this with a condensed version of Jakyb’s dream:
Jakyp came to summer pasture, prayed to God, put his head on his trusty saddle, covered himself with his felt robe, and fell asleep.  Then a white bearded, holy man came in his dream saying, “Hey Jakyp, stand up!  Today you will have a son and give him the name, Manas.  Your Manas will be a brave leopard and carefree.  The hero-angel will support him and forty angels will help him.  Today your grey mare will bare a colt, and your leopard son will ride this magical steed in battle.  Don’t tell anyone the name of my son Manas before your son becomes twelve,[43] before he reaches wisdom, before he becomes head of the Kyrgyz nation.  Manas’ name was chiseled seven years ago in the Kakan’s record of famous people.[44]  He said this, then the holy man was gone.  Jakyp woke up startled just as dawn’s light...[45]

The epic’s God character is using a human form, the Kydyr, to communicate with Jakyb just like the divine character in the biblical wrestling scene discussed earlier.  Both God-men communicate with their perspective Jakybs (Jacobs) about promising descendants.[46] 

Mamre & Mamir
Both nomadic leaders make a temporary home in a place called Mamre, or Mamir.  From the Manas Epic:
They returned to those near and dear,
To Sari-Chel (Yellow-Desert), which is by Mamir,
To the shores of lake Aidin,
To the place where Jakib lived…[47]

From the Bible:
Then Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre… where Abraham and Isaac had dwelt.[48]

Could both narratives be referencing the same dwelling: Mamre and Mamir? 

Special Coat
Giving a robe (chapan) communicates honor much more in nomadic cultures than it does in a Western context.  Both Jacob and Jakyb treated their special son with a special coat.
“Now Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors.”[49]

The Kyrgyz epic also says old Jakyb gave his son Manas a special tunic:
“This child, whom we had in our waning years.
I made a coat from silk and had him wear it.”[50] 

Both of these “favorite sons” were born in Jakyb and Jacob’s waning years. 

Grandson Adoption
Kyrgyz grandparents often adopt a grandchild just as biblical Jacob adopted his grandson Manasseh.[51]  Amazingly, the boy who became “Jacob’s son Manasseh” sounds remarkably similar to the Kyrgyz hero “Jakyb’s son Manas.”  The impact of this “coincidence” multiplies as one remembers that the history of Manasseh’s tribe ended on the Silk Road,[52] the same place where Manas’ epic starts.

Such similarities would be startling on their own, but in the context of present discoveries these persistent parallels are unveiling an astounding labyrinth deep in the psyche of a nation hostile to the very book that mirrors their own history.  There still is not enough information to determine if Jacob and Jakyb were the same man or if the two men originated from a common source, but considering the evidence discussed, disavowing a relationship between Jakyb and Jacob might not be an option.  If the two men do originate from a common source we should find more characters in the epic with biblical names, story lines, and characters… 

Ah, it is time to meet the beauties, Rabiga and Rebekah…

(to be continued)

[1] Genesis 28:13, Qur’an 2:132,133
[2] Numerous biblical prophecies proclaiming a return of Jacob’s tribes feed the religious zeal surrounding this topic.
[3] For more information on this topic read the chapter about Lake Issyk Kol.
[4] Genesis 34:30 
[5] “bay” or “bai” is a title meaning wealthy.
[6] Karalaev, Saiakbai, Manas; Translated by Elmira Kochumkulkizi, Ph.D. Candidate in Near and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Washington (Seattle) lines 8084-8097 (Book I, p. 84)
[7] Karalaev, Saiakbai, Manas; Translated by Elmira Kochumkulkizi, Ph.D. Candidate in Near and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Washington (Seattle) lines 6945-6955 (Book 1, p. 76)
[8] Genesis 37:34-36 & 42:36
[9] Genesis 25:24-26 (New King James Version)
[10] Isaiah 48:8 (New King James Version)
[11] Mamai, Jusup “The Kyrgyz People’s Historical Epic - MANAS, told by Jusup Mamai” (XingJian People’s Publisher, China, 1995) p. 436, 437
[12] Genesis 27:1-36 (New King James Version).  Author’s insert added for comprehension.
[13] Jakypbek, Ashim; Tengiri Manas (“Kyrgyzstan” Bishkek, 1995) p. 23
[14] Genesis 27:42-45 (English Standard Version)
[15] Karalaev, Saiakbai, Manas; Translated by Elmira Kochumkulkizi, Ph.D. Candidate in Near and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Washington (Seattle) lines 2048-2051  (Book 1, p.37)
[16] Genesis 30:43
[17] Genesis 32:9,10 (New King James Version)
[18] Karalaev, Saiakbai, Manas; Translated by Elmira Kochumkulkizi, Ph.D. Candidate in Near and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Washington (Seattle) lines 2019-2033.  (Book 1, p. 37)
[19] Orozbakov, Sagymbai, Manas: Translated by Walter May (Bishkek, Rarity, 2004) Vol. I, 6250-6253.
[20] Genesis 31:36-42
[21] Orozbakov, Sagymbai; Manas; Translated by Walter May (Bishkek, Rarity, 2004) Vol. I, introduction.
[22] Orozbakov Sagymbai; Manas: Translation by Walter May (Rarity, Bishkek, 2004) Book I, 1276-1282. Genesis 46:27
[23] The movie “Chocolate” (2005) is quite different from Bryan Singer's “The Usual Suspects” (1995), but close analysis reveals that “Chocolate” is a shot-by-shot, scene-by-scene remake.
[24] Genesis 31:3
[25] The title bay or bey means “rich” or “wealthy,” so Jakyb bay means, Jakyb the Wealthy.  Bey Jakyb means Wealthy Jakyb.
[26] Karalaev, Saiakbai, Manas; Translated by Elmira Kochumkulkizi, Ph.D. Candidate in Near and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Washington (Seattle) lines 8185-8192. 
[27] Genesis 31:54.  Emphasis added by author.
[28] Orozbakov Sagymbai, Manas: Translated by Walter May (Bishkek, Rarity, 2004) Vol. I, verse19, 20.
[29] Genesis 32: 31, 32
[30] Orozbakov, Sagymbai, Manas: Translated by Walter May (Bishkek, Rarity, 2004) Vol. II, 571-573
[31] Genesis 32:24-32 (New King James).  Those who know Kyrgyz culture and legends will notice that this Torah passage is loaded with fascinating ethnographic material. 
[32] Acts 21:24
[33] Orozbakov, Sagymbai; Manas: Translated by Walter May (Bishkek, Rarity, 2004)   Vol. II, 585-595
[34] In Ashim Jakypbek’s version these are Jakyb’s two uncles, not brothers.
[35] Orozbakov, Sagymbai; Manas; Translated by Walter May (Bishkek, Rarity, 2004) Vol. I, 5809-5819.  Emphasis added by author.
[36] Genesis 37:17-28
[37] Genesis 42:3-5 (New King James Version)
[38] Kyrgyz still anoint objects, such as a new car, with butter.
[39] Genesis 28:18-22 (New King James Version)
[40] Orozbakov, Sagymbai, Manas:. Translated by Walter May (Bishkek, Rarity, 2004). Vol. I, 22-24.  This use of the word “grave stone” is actually translated from the Kyrgyz word “mazar” which means holy-site.  There are many holy sites that do not have grave or memorial stones called “balban tash”, so May’s translation may not be correct here.  I nonetheless use May’s translation because Kyrgyz do often pray at graves and balban stones as well as mazars.  Note the following footnote.
[41] Manas Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 136
[42] Karalaev, Saiakbai, Manas; Translated by Elmira Kochumkulkizi, Ph.D. Candidate in Near and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Washington (Seattle) lines 3846-3853. 
[43] Some readers will make theological notes from the line: “Don’t tell anyone the name of my son Manas before your son becomes twelve…”  Manas is both the angel’s son and Jakyb’s son, just as Jesus was called “son of the Most High” and Joseph’s son.  For this reason each narrative addresses it’s perspective hero, Manas and Jesus, with the title Tengiruul or “Son of God”.
[44] I’m not sure about my translation of this “record of famous people.”
[45] Mambetakunov, Kadyrbay; Aikol Manas, (“Kyrgyzstan” Bishkek, 1995) p. 13  Author’s translation.  Also found in Karalaev’s Manas, Book I, p. 51, 52.
[46] Hewitt, R. “Alisher Navoi’s Kydyr-Messiah” 2009
[47] Orozbakov, Sagymbai: Manas: Vol. I, 9089-9092
[48] Genesis 35:27 (author’s emphasis added)
[49] Genesis 37:2-3 (New King James Version)
[50] Karalaev, Saiakbai, Manas; Translated by Elmira Kochumkulkizi, Ph.D. Candidate in Near and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Washington (Seattle) lines 5442, 5443.  (Book 1, p. 64).  I would have translated line 5443 as “I made a woven coat and put it on him.”
[51] Genesis 48:1-6
[52] 1 Chronicles 5:23-26
[53] Some Soviet scholars translate Tengir as “heaven.”  The Soviet Union held to Edward Tylor’s 19th century “development of religion” theory.  Proponents of this theory believe ancient cultures could not be monotheistic until their society had progressed or developed to the stage of monarchy, so they insist Tengir means “heaven,” not “God.” I do not want to inflame an old debate between Western and Soviet scholars, but I believe this theory suited the Soviet Union’s atheistic worldview.  Tylor’s theory was proven false in the early 20th century by Wilhelm Schmidt’s thorough research of “native monotheism” published in his 12 volume “The Origin of the Concept of God.”  The proponents of communism did not seem willing to introduce Schmidt’s research.  Today many scholars from the former USSR still insist ancient Kyrgyz could not possibly have believed in one Creator God.  These scholars have no alternative but to insist Tengir means heaven, not God. 
[54] Note the biblical books of First and Second Kings
[55] Qur’an 3:3,4 Pickthal
[56] Aitmatov, Chingis; Чыњыз Айтматов, A 5 Volume Сollection of his Works, (Bishkek, Sham, 1999) vol. 4, p. 350; introduction to Tengiri Manas by Jakypbek, Ashim (Bishkek “Kyrgyzstan” 1995)
[57] Exodus 3:6
[58] Qur’an 2:132 “Meanings of the Holy Qur’an” by Marmaduke Pickthall.  Emphasis added by author.
[59] Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived hundreds of years before Moses implemented Mosaic law.  Christian creeds came at least a thousand years later.  And Islam’s Shariat came centuries after that.  Religions did develop or evolve, but Kyrgyz still maintain a faith similar to that found in the Torah’s opening chapters.

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