The 12th Planet is book one in the Earth Chronicles series. Originally published in 1977, it is the original and most well known. The premise of his work, simply, is that life originated outside planet earth. It was transplanted to and genetically modified on here by an alien race of supermen-gods, know collectively as the Nefilim. If one can wrap his head around this concept, the research and work following is marginally easier to accept. Sitchin seeks to support a number of scientifically unpalatable and unpopular theories. Most of these challenge the prevailing paradigm of modern scientific thought.
Baffling questions regarding human origins, as well as those of agriculture, horticulture, animal development, and society in general, are ones that continuously haunt the hallowed halls of academia. Archeologists, anthropologists, and botanists alike are, at points, forced to throw their hands up in exasperated uncertainty when examining the origins of ancient man and his society. We are plagued with inconsistencies and apparent holes in our timeline of development. Prevailing intellectual theories seem little equipped to effectively answer these queries.
Sitchin strings together facts, figures, illustrations, and analyses from a most diverse range of disciplines and sources. An interesting explanation is created, at least fairly plausibly explaining man's ancient past. At first blush, his account is at once coherent and incredibly fanciful. It's generally easier to believe his facts and translations are wrong than to believe his conclusions.
An example of an inconsistency in man's development is shown immediately:
The first being considered to be truly manlike -- advanced Australopithecus -- existed in...Africa some 2,000,000 years ago. It took yet another million years to produce Homo erectus. Finally, after another 900,000 years, the first primitive Man appeared, his name Neanderthal
Accepted modern sciences agree evolution unfolds on a massive scale of years. However, it seems that where it relates to modern man, i.e. Homo sapiens, this scale is condensed. It is reduced by an order of 10 to 100 times.
The appearance of Modern Man a mere 700,000 years after Homo Erectus and some 200,000 years before Neanderthal Man is absolutely implausible. It is clear that Homo Sapiens represents such an extreme departure from the slow evolutionary process that many of our features, such as the ability to speak, are totally unrelated to other primates.
At task is the very origin of man. Or perhaps it is the standard, accepted origin that becomes questioned. Simple evolutionary theory is insufficient and too immature to explain man's premiere place on Earth. The Bible, literally taken, is also insufficient to competently explain man's origin. As Sitchin tells the reader, standard scientific explanations can't seem to explain why things happened. The Bible doesn't explain HOW. He discounts neither contemporary scientific discoveries, nor biblical accounts, however, the two seemingly opposed camps, combined with other mythological texts can be consulted to form a highly readable and somewhat credible theory of our beginnings on this planet. One such mythological text is Enuma Elish, the Sumerian Epic of Creation.
Although he mostly stays close, for obvious reasons, to the region of Mesopotamia, he delves into the issue of how many cultures, assumedly separated by impenetrable boundaries such as mountains and oceans have similarities. Examples include languages, symbols and signs (mostly zodiacal), creation myths, and pyramids. The prevailing theory holds that spontaneous development is responsible for cultures' development of tools and language. However, if cultures thousands of miles apart develop similar words, concepts and culturally-significant archeological buildings, does spontaneous development truly explain it? Sitchin would say no. There was a greater hand at work. This is the hand of the Nefilim.
Historically, various definitions of the Nefilim have been offered. The one accepted by Sitchin is "they who to Earth came." The standard translation most used by biblical scholars: "those who FELL to Earth"; makes them, essentially fallen angels. Obviously this is not a small point, according to Sitchin. If these are the gods, or the Divine Our, found in Our image of Genesis, then the Nefilim couldn't be fallen angels. This is relevant as he asserts that the Nefilim are our creators.
It is these Nefilim who lived, and still live, on the twelfth planet, called Nibiru. We'd been visited many times previously, but around 50,000 years ago they colonized Earth, starting with Mesopotamia. In the process Modern Man was invented. The process was genetic experimentation with many awful by-products resulting. It seemed that the Nefilim, also called Annunaki in Sumerian texts, were gods. Sitchin supports the theory that Man's development radically changed and advanced every 3,600 years. That is the span of time that Nibiru takes to orbit our sun. They are due to come back somewhat soon, although no return date has been offered.
My take on the work is that it is fascinating. Obviously I'm not being critical of his work. If anything, modern science needs the criticism. I'm not certain about some of his translations, however. They seem far-fetched. For example: the Sumerian KA.GIR translated literally is rocket's mouth (170). Conversely, when looking at the chart with the words KA.GIR, ESH, ZIK, and DIN.GIR; rocket's mouth, Divine Abode, ascend, and righteous ones of the bright pointed objects (169) respectively, they are a curio together. Their shapes are interesting, and in context, they could resemble rocket ships or command modules.
It would be a mistake to literally depend on any book, including some of the obvious ones. But I ask myself, "what if?" If we can accept that the ancient Sumerians know something about flying, then it makes sense why they had such extensive astrological lists and texts. What would a farming community need with advanced astrological texts, when a simple calendar would suffice? Additionally, if the kings and gods were one-in-the-same, coming down from heaven, then it is important to have terms for flying, coming down, landing, space craft, etc. as the Sumerian language has.
Of course, when we talk about myths, we've been told they're metaphorical. Perhaps even the pictures carved into stone and preserved on clay tablets are only metaphorical, also. At our point in time, the illustration of a female deity sitting in a room, with rows that look amazingly like test tubes, is only metaphorical. If it's not genetic testing, what is it then? It's obviously only decoration. (It seems that modern archaeologists and anthropologists promulgate that tired old rhetoric anytime confronted by facts that they can't neatly, conveniently rubric into an established pigeonhole.) But then when the dust clears from these arguments, we're still left wondering how so many new, previously non-existent varieties of foods evolved over such a tiny fraction of time. All of them, magically, capable of nourishment.
I don't think Sitchin has to be 100% right. I don't think he is 100% right. Suppose he's only 10% correct about what he says. That sure makes things interesting, as a plausible alternate explanation for why things are. There's tons of stuff on this planet that we just can't explain. I'm not even talking about hauntings and evil spirits and stomach stapling. I'm not talking about why we call the pyramid a tomb when there was no evidence anyone was ever buried in one, while actual burial chambers were found on a different location. I'm simply talking about the tablets and sculpture culled from the ground with the weird pictures and words, which strike amazingly resonant with our modern world.