Ancient Mesopotamian Religion and Mythology
Selected Essays, Orientalische Religionen in der Antike 15
The late W.G. Lambert (1926–2011) was one of the foremost Assyriologists of the latter part of the twentieth century. His principle legacy is a large number of superb critical editions of Babylonian literary compositions. Many of the texts he edited were on religious and mythological subjects. He will always be remembered as the editor of the Babylonian Job ( Ludlul bel nemeqi, also known as the Poem of the Righteous Sufferer), the Babylonian Flood Story ( Atra-hasis) and the Babylonian Creation Epic ( Enuma elish). Decades of deep engagement with these and other ancient Mesopotamian texts gave direction to much of his research and led him to acquire a deep knowledge of ancient Mesopotamian religion and mythology. The present book is a collection of twenty-three essays published by the scholar between the years 1958 and 2004. These endure not only as the legacy of one of the greatest authorities in this specialist field, but also because each makes statements of considerable validity and importance. As such, many are milestones in the fields of Mesopotamian religion and mythology.
Survey of contents
Preface and Acknowledgements – Introduction by A.R. George
I: Introductory Considerations Morals in Mesopotamia – Ancient Mesopotamian Gods: Superstition, Philosophy, Theology
II: The Gods of Ancient Mesopotamia The Historical Development of the Mesopotamian Pantheon: A Study in Sophisticated Polytheism – Goddesses in the Pantheon: A Reflection of Women in Society? – The Mesopotamian Background of the Hurrian Pantheon – The Pantheon of Mari – The God Assur – Ishtar of Nineveh
III: The Mythology of Ancient Mesopotamia Der Mythos im Alten Mesopotamien, sein Werden und Vergehen – The Cosmology of Sumer and Babylon – The Theology of Death – The Relationship of Sumerian and Babylonian Myth as Seen in Accounts of Creation – Ninurta Mythology in the Babylonian Epic of Creation – Myth and Ritual as Conceived by the Babylonians
IV: The Religion of Ancient Mesopotamia The Reign of Nebuchadnezzar I: A Turning Point in the History of Ancient Mesopotamian Religion – Syncretism and Religious Controversy in Babylonia – Donations of Food and Drink to the Gods in Ancient Mesopotamia – The Cult of Ishtar of Babylon – The Qualifications of Babylonian Diviners – Devotion: The Languages of Religion and Love
V: Ancient Mesopotamia and Israel Old Testament Mythology in its Ancient Near Eastern Context – Destiny and Divine Intervention in Babylon and Israel – The Flood in Sumerian, Babylonian and Biblical Sources
W.G. Lambert (1926–2011): 1959–64 Associate Professor and Chair of Oriental Seminary, Johns Hopkins University; 1970–93 Professor of Assyriology, University of Birmingham; 1971 Fellow of the British Academy; 2010 identification of pieces from a cuneiform tablet that was inscribed with the same text as the Cyrus Cylinder with Irving Finkel; also noted for his new discoveries in relation to the Gilgamesh text.
A.R. George Born 1955; 1985 PhD in Assyriology under the supervision of Wilfred G. Lambert; since 1983 he has taught Akkadian and Sumerian language and literature at SOAS, University of London, where he is now Professor of Babylonian; 2006 Fellow of the British Academy; 2012 Honorary Member of the American Oriental Society.
T.M. Oshima Born 1967; PhD in Assyriology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel; 2008–10 Alexander-von-Humboldt fellow at the University of Leipzig in Germany; 2010–13 research fellow at the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena (project of the German Research Foundation (DFG); since 2015 another DFG project at the University of Leipzig.
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