Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions

Published by Brill Academic Publishers
Online ISSN: 1569-2124
Publications
Article
A new epigraphic examination of RS 15.039 has led to reversing the obverse-reverse orientation of the tablet as previously read. The new orientation gives a simple progression from distributions of wine to distributions of a second liquid commodity currently unidentifiable. The philological analysis has led to the conclusion that the recipients of these two commodities do not belong exclusively to the religious sphere.
 
Article
The focus of this article is a much debated passage of the Old Hittite magical ritual KBo 17.17+, for which the author proposes a new reading and interpretation. One of the results of this study is the isolation of a new lemma (LÚ) nt- "equal", which might be related to the Luvian hapax aiauala- in the Tawagalawa Letter. The lemma nt- also occurs in the substitute king rituals, thus raising the question whether KBo 17.17+ might belong to this type of rituals. If so, KBo 17.17+ would be the oldest Hittite example of the substitute king rituals.
 
Article
PGM XII.270-350, a text prescribing rituals for the creation and use of a magical ring, provides a particularly useful example through which to explore the phenomenon of miniaturized ritual in the magical papyri of late Graeco-Roman Egypt (as elucidated by Smith 1995). The ritual for creating and consecrating the ring's gemstone makes it clear that the stone is considered a miniature cult statue. The subsequent "Ouphor" invocation to be performed whenever the ring is used corresponds in name and function to the Egyptian wp. t-r or Opening the Mouth ritual as used in daily temple liturgy. The nature of these ritual miniatures reveals the sophisticated discursive and conceptual level at which the traditional forms of temple ritual were adapted and redeployed for use in other contexts by members of the Egyptian priestly class in late antiquity.
 
Article
This article suggests interpreting the word ùzb in the recently published Ugaritic incantation RS 92.2014 as "Syrian hyssop" (Origanum syriacum or Marjorana syriaca). The arguments advanced include epigraphic, etymological, and literary factors, as well as contextual analogies drawn from the mechanics of Ugaritian magic in theory and practice.
 
Article
A survey of Bronze Age Akkadian prayers and Hittite arkuwars, and Iron Age Anatolian, Greek and Latin curses shows a wide-spread conflation of prayer and forensic speech. The evidence is sufficiently abundant to allow us to trace an evolution in the conventions of prayer which keeps pace with changes in judicial procedure. Furthermore, the Hittite prayers in particular, with their detailed descriptions of the imagined court scenario, provide context to the trial scene in Aeschylus' Eumenides, allowing us to separate traditional elements from innovations.
 
Article
In the Coptic Martyrdom of St. Shenoufe and his Brethren there is an insertion of a short episode relating the faustic search for knowledge of a Pagan priest from Hermopolis. Being in danger of being tortured by demons the priest invoces Jesus Christ and is thus saved. In this paper the Coptic story is compared with religious and literary texts from the Pagan Egyptian tradition. Pagan Egyptian culture is usually regarded as encouraging the human pursuit of knowledge of the superhuman. Here to the contrary, it is argued that there are two different positions in the traditional literature: one advocates human endeavor to seek divine knowledge while the other is critical about just that endeavor. The divide between those two viewpoints coincides with the divide beetween religious texts and secular literature. Thus the Coptic episode can be demonstrated to stand in the tradition of Pagan Egyptian stories about magicians and their adventures. Though in its present form it clearly has a missionary intention, the story itself as well as its 'anti-faustian' tendency need not be a Christian invention.
 
Article
Many literary texts portray the Mesopotamian netherworld as unrelievedly bleak, yet the archaeological evidence of grave goods suggests that there may also have existed an alternative way of thinking about the afterlife. An analysis of the types of objects found in burials indicates that many people may have anticipated a less harsh form of existence after death. Furthermore, iconographic allusions to the goddess Inana/Ishtar in certain burials raise the possibility that this deity may have been associated with the descent of human dead to the netherworld. The occasional presence of her image and iconography in funerary contexts does not necessarily imply a belief that Inana/Ishtar would personally grant the deceased a happy afterlife, but it may provide an allusion to her own escape from the undesirable netherworld of literary narrative. Inana/Ishtar's status as a liminal figure and breaker of boundaries also may have encouraged Mesopotamians to associate her with the transition between life and death.
 
Article
Did the Israelites and Judahites of the Iron age visually represent their gods? In this article, established arguments are supplemented and some new ones advanced in support of a single, ancient composer's representation of the deities Yahweh and Asherah by means of the deliberate association of text and image on the two pithoi scenes from Iron age Kuntillet 'Ajrud. Not only were the ancient artist and scribe one and the same, but this individual employed a number of well known artistic techniques to convey both depth of field and perspective in such a way as to create a unified field of meaning for each of the two ritual scenes as well as for both scenes in their complementary function as two halves of a larger semiotic whole.
 
Article
The iconographic program of the sculptured friezes flanking the Sphinx Gate of Alacahöyük is analyzed based on numerous representations in Hittite art that may contribute to the understanding of the context and meaning of these carvings. It is argued that the cult and hunting scenes reflect the concept of the main triad of the Hittite state pantheon-Sun-goddess, Storm-god and Tutelary God, combining it with the new ideology of kingship of the later phase of the Empire period, which stresses the special ties between the king and the Tutelary God of the Countryside. Simultaneously, the lower frieze on the West Tower depicts the royal couple officiating at a cult ceremony presumably during a real local festival. Concerning the identification of Alacahöyük with one of Hittite holy towns, Arinna appears the best candidate. In fact, texts relating to the cult from Arinna enable us to interpret the Alacahöyük sculptures. These sculptures might represent the celebrations during the Great Festival in Arinna, which-as we know from the texts-was attended by the royal couple. There are historical and cultural arguments for dating the Sphinx Gate complex with its sculptures to the second half of the 13th century BC.
 
Article
This paper is ostensibly an investigation of whether royal women of the Amarna period in Egypt were perceived as figures who could be supplicated for divine assistance in matters of personal fertility. Concurrently, it forms an exercise in approaching the blurred horizon between state and private religion in an Amarna period context. It offers the inclusion of female royalty in private fertility cults as an illustration of the flexibility inherent in the Amarna royal cult, a result of its transposition onto, and interaction with, the private religious landscape of the Eighteenth Dynasty.
 
Article
In many regions of the ancient Near East, not least in Upper Mesopotamia, Syria and Anatolia where agriculture relied mainly on rainfall, storm-gods ranked among the most prominent gods in the local panthea or were even regarded as divine kings, ruling over the gods and bestowing kingship on the human ruler. While the Babylonian and Assyrian storm-god never held the highest position among the gods, he too belongs to the group of 'great gods' through most periods of Mesopotamian history. Given the many cultural contacts and the longevity of traditions in the ancient Near East only a study that takes into account all relevant periods, regions and text-groups can further our understanding of the different ancient Near Eastern storm-gods. The study Wettergottgestalten Mesopotamiens und Nordsyriens by the present author (2001) tried to tackle the problems involved, basing itself primarily on the textual record and excluding the genuinely Anatolian storm-gods from the study. Given the lack of handbooks, concordances and thesauri in our field, the book is necessarily heavily burdened with materials collected for the first time. Despite comprehensive indices, the long lists and footnotes as well as the lack of an overall synthesis make the study not easily accessible, especially outside the German-speaking community. In 2003 Alberto Green published a comprehensive monograph entitled The Storm-God in the Ancient Near East whose aims are more ambitious than those of Wettergottgestalten: All regions of the ancient Near East—including a chapter on Yahwe as a storm-god—are taken into account, and both textual and iconographic sources are given equal space. Unfortunately this book, which was apparently finished and submitted to the publisher before Wettergottgestalten came to its author's attention, suffers from some serious flaws with regard to methodology, philology and the interpretation of texts and images. In presenting the following succinct overview I take the opportunity to make up for the missing synthesis in Wettergottgestalten and to provide some additions and corrections where necessary. It is hoped that this synthesis can also serve as a response to the history of ancient Near Eastern storm-gods as outlined by A. Green.
 
Article
There is found in the ancient art of Mesopotamia an enigmatic bearded hero who appears in several attitudes, but often wrestling wild animals. An analysis of the art demonstrates that this figure is a guardian of the natural order. It is now known that the figure is not Gilgame, as was once thought, but a ''lahmu'' (singular), and that the lahm (plural) as a class, are the servants of the god Enki. The material considered here reveals a consistent outlook wherein the universe is viewed as being in a dynamic, but not invulnerable, equilibrium. Everything has a place, or better, a latitude, and when it lives and dies within its latitude, balance is maintained. Paradoxically, the appetite of creatures to dominate and prevail over other forms of life was admitted as a legitimate factor in the equation of the universe. Every striving has both a natural scope and a natural limit. The art work in question comprises, as it were, a prayer in pictures that the limits be maintained. From all this a concept of nature implicitly emerges: it is the field wherein gods, demi-gods, humans, animals and plants all struggle to sustain their existence. It is, among other things, where animals and human consume, and protect their own resources from being consumed. The wrestling motif is significant in these art works. With few exceptions, the bearded hero wrestles, rather than stabs, wild beasts attacking domestic animals. Implicitly, it propagates the view that struggle is necessary to maintain the natural balance. Wrestling (checking), not slaying, represents the appointed way to maintain order against the threat of the wild. The wrestling hero thus maintains a ''co-existence of contraries''. Wrestling an opponent allows for the opponent to be subdued without being destroyed. The topic is large, and naturally opens onto other questions. It is necessary to limit the paper, and I have done so in three ways: in time, geography and artistic material. In time, and geographically, I concentrate on Early Dynastic Sumer. I restrict my consideration of the artistic material to the art of cylinder seals, and even then discuss only a selection of the available seals.
 
Article
This essay compares Manichaean cosmogony with select ancient Mesopotamian myths with special emphasis on parallels between the Manichaean "First Creation" and the myth of the Descent of Inanna/Ishtar to the netherworld. It further compares the Manichaean "Second Creation" and "Third Creation" with aspects of the Babylonian Poem of Creation, Enuma Elish, and The Epic of Gilgamesh respectively. Unlike Gnostic myths, no overall semantic network seems to tie individual Mesopotamian myths together. However, close correspondence between both traditions not only helps one see certain Mesopotamian myths in a different light, but also reveals the indebtedness of Gnostic myths to Near Eastern antiquity.
 
Article
The gods of the Mesopotamian house appear to have been Gula, Ištar, Išum, and the Pleiades, as well as toilet demon 'Šulak, the gate-guarding Kusarikku, and the divine protectors of other, lesser, parts of the house.
 
Article
In many regions of the ancient Near East, not least in Upper Mesopotamia, Syria and Anatolia where agriculture relied mainly on rainfall, storm-gods ranked among the most prominent gods in the local panthea or were even regarded as divine kings, ruling over the gods and bestowing kingship on the human ruler. While the Babylonian and Assyrian storm-god never held the highest position among the gods, he too belongs to the group of 'great gods' through most periods of Mesopotamian history. Given the many cultural contacts and the longevity of traditions in the ancient Near East only a study that takes into account all relevant periods, regions and text-groups can further our understanding of the different ancient Near Eastern storm-gods. The study Wettergottgestalten Mesopotamiens und Nordsyriens by the present author (2001) tried to tackle the problems involved, basing itself primarily on the textual record and excluding the genuinely Anatolian storm-gods from the study. Given the lack of handbooks, concordances and thesauri in our field, the book is necessarily heavily burdened with materials collected for the first time. Despite comprehensive indices, the long lists and footnotes as well as the lack of an overall synthesis make the study not easily accessible, especially outside the German-speaking community. In 2003 Alberto Green published a comprehensive monograph entitled The Storm-God in the Ancient Near East whose aims are more ambitious than those of Wettergottgestalten: All regions of the ancient Near East—including a chapter on Yahwe as a storm-god—are taken into account, and both textual and iconographic sources are given equal space. Unfortunately this book, which was apparently finished and submitted to the publisher before Wettergottgestalten came to its author's attention, suffers from some serious flaws with regard to methodology, philology and the interpretation of texts and images. In presenting the following succinct overview I take the opportunity to make up for the missing synthesis in Wettergottgestalten and to provide some additions and corrections where necessary. It is hoped that this synthesis can also serve as a response to the history of ancient Near Eastern storm-gods as outlined by A. Green.
 
Article
The Epic of Gilgamesh has been interpreted by Th. Jacobsen and his followers primarily as the story of a hero who struggles beyond his capacity to find immortality, gets disappointed, and finally faces the truth, maturing and turning to 'normality' on the premise that it is his achievements and not himself that will last. The present paper challenges a literal reading of the plot of the Epic along these lines, and through select comparison with the ancient Egyptian, 'heterodox' Hebrew, Iranian, and Gnostic traditions, argues that the meaning system embedded in the Epic can be thought to point to notions of 'mysticism' and 'soteriology', expressed in a distinctively Mesopotamian idiom that suppresses an explicit display of such concepts.
 
Article
The Hattian-Hittite interlinear bilingual fragment KUB 28.1 and its newly joined duplicate KBo 37.9 (+) KBo 37.74 are treated here. The text edition and interpretation are based on a combination of the Hattian and Hittite versions. The narrative contains scenes of some odd behaviors of priests which are an interesting addition to what we know about the administrative and daily life of priests in Hittite Anatolia.
 
Article
The aim of this paper is to improve our understanding of a difficult Palaic invocation to the Sun-god, and to elucidate its implications for the study of Hittite religion. The first part of my account contains linguistic and philological discussion that concludes with a new translation of the scrutinized fragment. According to my interpretation, the Sun-god is requested to anoint the Hittite king and to exalt him. This is the only clear evidence that the gods were thought to be personally responsible for the anointment of Hittite kings. A counterpart to this nontrivial concept is well known from the Hebrew Bible and is inherited by the Christian tradition.The second part of this paper, which is meant to be accessible to all the historians of religion, discusses the anointment as a rite of passage among the Hittites, as well as the relevant parallels in other Ancient Near Eastern cultures. I am arguing that anointment with oil was extended to both Hittite priestly kings and certain other categories of Hittite priests, and that the underlying purpose of this act was ritual cleansing. The spread of this rite to those cultures where kings were not at the head of the religious hierarchy boosted the secondary association of divine anointment with empowerment rather that purification.
 
Article
In two recent studies, one by William M. Schniedewind, How the Bible Became a Book, the other by David M. Carr, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart, these scholars present their answers to the age old question of how the Hebrew Bible came into being as a special collection of edited and canonized books. Both scholars reject the older formula of a three stage process of Law (400 BCE), Prophets (ca. 200 BCE), and Writings (First Century CE). Schniedewind, on the one hand, proposes an editorial process of collection and arrangement of traditional material within the preexilic royal court and among the royal scribes in captivity in Babylon that gave rise to an authoritative corpus, which was then augmented with some later works in the Persian and Hellenistic periods. Carr, on the other hand, sees the collection and selection of biblical books within an educational process of enculturation that was continuous over an extended period from simple oral tradition in early Israel to the final stages of curricular consolidation, i.e., the canon, in which the priests play a major role. This study will examine a set of issues (e.g. orality and literacy; dating and composition of texts; editing and transmission of texts in antiquity; the role of texts in education) that are covered by these studies, and will offer some alternative suggestions for consideration.
 
Article
We shall argue that Burkert's etymology deriving the name Apollo from a Dorian word for 'assembly', απελλα, is linguistically and historically impossible. This means that the possibility of Anatolian origin is open again. It is argued that Apollo is a Pre-Greek-Anatolian name. The expected proto-form of this name is found in the name Appaliunas, a god of Wilusa/Ilios mentioned in a Hittite letter. This strongly suggests Anatolian origin of the name. This is confirmed by the Homeric epithet αυκηγενηζ, which has long been recognised as an archaic formation meaning 'born in Lycia'. This fits well with the strong Anatolian connections of Apollo as well as his mother Leto and his sister Artemis. French L'étymologie proposée par Burkert du mot Apollon comme dérivé du mot apella, 'assemblée', est impossible, pour des raisons linguistiques et historiques. Il est donc possible que le mot, et le dieu, est d'origine anatolienne. Le nom est pré-grecanatolien. La proto-forme expectée est trouveé dans le nom Appaliunas, dieu de Wilusa / Ilios mentionné dans une lettre hittite, ce qui est une belle confirmation d'une origine anatolienne. Ceci est confirmé par l'épithéte homérique Lukégenés, 'né en Lycie'. Une origine anatolienne est en accord avec les liens d'Apollon lui meme, sa mére Leto et sa soeur Artemis avec l'Anatolie.
 
Article
A brief and fragmentary newly reconstructed Sumerian literary passage contains a portion of a hymn to Nergal or a hymnic passage centered around Nergal. Most notably, it contains a rare reference to seven aurae (ni2 imin), which is attested elsewhere only in conjunction with Huwawa.
 
Article
That the Late Bronze Age cultural koine included a musical dimension is suggested by the Mesopotamian and Hurrian/Ugaritic musical tablets. This paper presents a selective survey and analysis of evidence for a parallel phenomenon, the deification of lyres/harps, which seemingly originated in late third millennium Mesopotamia and spread abroad in the second. Deified lyres are considered as both a ritual reality and an inducement to poetic elaboration by the same poetpriests who used them; much of the textual evidence thus represents remnants of a professional repertoire. At the same time, the motif also commonly centers on kingship, which is explained in terms of the dual office of priest-kingship; as such, there is some involvement of the deified lyre with the ritual of sacred marriage (hieros gamos). Relevant material comes from Ugarit and Cyprus, especially in the figure of Kinyras. In Greek evidence, 'lyre heroes' like Orpheus, Amphion, Cadmus and Linus are seen as late mythological derivatives of the pattern, Archaic survivals of Mycenaean ritual-poetics. Finally, Old Testament evidence for musical prophecy is considered in light of the foregoing.
 
Article
A gem in the Museum of Castelvecchio (Verona) depicts the god Sandas of Tarsos with his terrible animal: the lion-goat. On the reverse side there is the inscription YOYO. The epigraphical and archaeological evidence from Anatolia, from Hittite to Hellenistic times, proves that Sandas was a underworld god protecting tombs and sending pestilences when angry. He was appeased by offerings to his terrible ministers, who were usually seven. Similarly Nergal or Erra (similar to Sandas) in Mesopotamia, and Sekhmet in Egypt had seven animal-headed terrible ministers, who were able to bring pestilences and death. A Hittite inscription mentions Yaya as Sandas' female partner. Her name is very similar to the Yoyo on the Verona gem. Sandas was identified with Heracles because of his relations with the underworld realms and his warlike features. The lion-goat of Tarsus was the model of Greek Chimaera. In fact the myth of Bellerophon took its place in Lycia and Cilicia. In Hellenistic age the original form of this monster was better known and therefore we find its typical features in Hellenistic and Roman sculptures and reliefs.
 
Article
The consumption of pork in Hittite Anatolia is unlikely to have been a simple matter of geography or ethnicity, but was governed by a complex set of principles involving determiners like status, gender, and the level of cultic influence from religious sanctuaries. On the few occasions that the Hittite texts refer directly to eating pork, the context is highly ritualized, suggesting that special religious significance was sometimes attached to the eating of pig's flesh. Further, drawing on evidence from the societies surrounding the Mediterranean basin, a case can be made for the private nature of pig sacrifice in Hittite Anatolia. They were killed to ensure the wellbeing of the community and the fertility of humans and crops. A festival performed in Istanuwa to reaffirm the human-divine relationship may parallel the practice of sacrificing a pig at the ratification of treaties in the classical world. Finally, this animal's unique place among the domesticates extends to its role as a substitute for humans, a ritual motif that can be found throughout the Mediterranean in antiquity.
 
Article
This paper examines the oriental background of the so-called Orphic cosmogonies of ancient Greece. The first section explores the relationship between the motif of Zeus' swallowing the phallus of Uranos and a corresponding feature in the Hurrian-Hittite Song of Kumarbi. The second section examines the complex figure of Kronos, arguing all aspects of his personality can be understood better if we take account of the figure of El in Ugaritic mythology; in particular, the relationship between Kronos and the virtually homophonous and often related-figure of Khronos ("Time") can be better understood if we take account of West Semitic mythology.
 
Article
In W. Burkert's Orientalizing Revolution, itinerant craftsmen and other specialists moving from East to West are the primary vector for the movement of Near Eastern ideas and practices to the Greek world in the archaic period. In this model, the incentive for movement is a choice between western economic freedom and the despotism of eastern palace-centered economies. When set in the context of theoretical debates over the ancient economy, and particularly the important studies of C. Grottanelli and C. Zaccagnini on the mobility of specialists, Burkert's model appears to accept that modern divisions between eastern and western economies were also salient for ancient actors. This supposition is tested through a reexamination of Herodotus' story of the Greek doctor Democedes and the golden fetters awarded to him by Darius (Histories 3.125, 129-137). Though Herodotus uses the symbol of "golden fetters" as a focal point for the construction of cultural difference, parallel Greek and Egyptian evidence of specialists in royal service suggests that such gifts could also function as cross-cultural prestige items, and that the royal economies in which they circulated could facilitate and even stimulate the adoption and dissemination of notionally foreign ideas and practices.
 
Article
Recent epigraphic evidence from Cebel İres Dağı, Çineköy and Tell Šēh Hamad have provided further important additional documentation in Phoenician for a deity Kur(r)a. This article investigates the growing attestations for this deity in the first millennium sources, both cuneiform and alphabetic. In light of the growing occurrences of b'l kr, it proposes a reassessment of the enigmatic phrase b'l krntryš in the Phoenician text from Karatepe. The article also presents the limited second millennium data and evaluates the possible connections with the third millennium Eblaite deity Kura.L'évidence épigraphique récente de Cebel İres Dağı, Çineköy et Tell Šēh Hamad a fourni encore plus de documentation importante en phénicien pour une divinité nommée Kur(r)a. Cet article étudie les attestations croissantes pour cette divinité dans les sources cunéiformes et alphabétiques du premier millénaire av. J.-C. À la lumière des occurrences croissantes de b'l kr, cette étude propose une réévaluation de l'expression énigmatique b'l krntryš dans le texte phénicienne de Karatepe. L'article présente également les données limitées du deuxième millénaire et évalue les liens possibles avec la divinité éblaïte du troisième millénaire Kura.
 
Article
Wie es einem hethitischen Orakeltext zu entnehmen ist, galt im Fall mehrerer Kultbilder eines Gottes jedes von ihnen als gesonderte Gottheit. Auch hethitische historische Dokumente und ein Gebet beweisen den Glauben der Hethiter an eine unabhängige Existenz jedes infolge der Herstellung einer neuen Statue geschaffenen Gottes. Dank einem in hethitischer Sprache erhaltenen Ritual ist auch die Weise bekannt, in welcher eine göttliche Hypostase gebildet wurde.
 
Article
Until recently it has generally been taken for granted that cultural contacts between the Aegean and the Near East invariably proceeded in one direction, from East to West. It seems, however, that recent archaeological discoveries are about to change this picture. As these discoveries demonstrate, with the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization some Bronze Age populations of Greece migrated to the Levant and settled along the Mediterranean coast from Tarsos in the north to Ashkelon in the south, eventually to be assimilated into the native population. This fact suggests a much more complex network of relations between the Aegean and the Near East than the simple one-sided cultural dependence which has usually been postulated.
 
Article
The article re-examines the definition of the Egyptian mythical tradition as notably different from that of other cultures. In particular, the supposed late development of Egyptian (narrative) myths, which has traditionally been inferred from the variability in both content and form of mythical fragments/mythemes in different contexts, is re-evaluated. It is argued that the form a myth or mytheme takes is dependent on the function of the context in which it is used, with the (structural) relationships between actors (or actors and objects) taking precedence over their identity, which is variable. This apparent flexibility should be regarded as a positive, rather than a limiting feature of myths, since it allows them to be adapted to a variety of contexts and purposes.
 
Article
The Hittite magical ritual KUB 17.28 ii 33-61 iii 1-17 is part of a Sammeltafel in which rites of different character and content are collected. The aim of this paper is to show how the ritual under discussion was performed directly by the patient, without the guidance of any magician. The person acting out the ritual was a victim of a curse, expressed through the idiom lalan karp -, performed against him with malevolence. The ritual itself is characterized by actions mixed together with three oral rites: a magic analogy expressed through a simple simile, a short personal prayer, and a wish introduced by the verb mald -. In particular, the role of the second recitation in comparison with royal prayers like CTH 381 and CTH 385.10, both preceded by a ceremonial part, will be analysed. In conclusion, an attempt to reconstruct the possible method of composition of the whole Sammeltafel as well as to suggest how the scribe had most probably worked in bringing the rituals together will be undertaken.
 
Article
The Hittite text KUB 17.35 i 17'-37' (CTH 525) is part of a tablet belonging to the genre of cult-inventories. Cult inventories are among the numerous tablets regarding the cult, which were found mainly in Hattua, as well as in a few other sites outside the capital. Most of the tablets were brought together by Laroche in the CTH under numbers 501-530. KUB 17.35 is one of the inventory texts from the time of Tudhaliya IV, dating to the end of the 13th century. The texts record materials for the cult (such as offerings, and cult objects) and temple personnel, and include descriptions of temple functions, especially festivals. The inventory texts therefore include important information about the cult and its institutions. The aim of this paper is to offer an interpretation of the rite described in the Hittite text KUB 17.35 i 17'-37' under the name EZEN pula. By relating it to other Hittite texts and by comparing it with the installation text of a priestess in Emar, to which it reveals striking correspondences, it may be interpreted as the rites surrounding the appointment and installation of a new priest.
 
Article
This contribution analyses the Greek myth of the Golden Fleece with special attention to its (possible) Oriental components. The first part of the myth, which is situated in Greece, contains a number of relevant motifs in this respect: the 'desperate housewife' (cf. the Joseph story in Genesis); the king's responsibility of the land (cf. the stories around David in the OT); the scapegoat motif, and the sacrifice of one's own child (cf. Abraham and Isaac). The second part of the myth, which is situated in Colchis, concentrates on the Golden Fleece proper. Recent investigations have argued its connection with the Hittite kurša, and my contribution tries to strengthen this connection. In Greek myth and ritual we can see its development into the Golden Fleece of the Argonauts but also into Athena's aegis; the early history of the Golden Fleece still connects it with Anatolia. The killing of the dragon that guarded the Golden Fleece seems inspired by the defeat of Illuyankaš. Both the kurša and the myth of Illuyankaš played an important role at the Hittite Purulli festival, which may have promoted their combination. The routes of transmission of the Oriental parts of the myth probably were Cilicia, Cyprus and the later Royal Road.
 
Article
The article examines three biblical narratives in which the city of Gibeon and its inhabitants play a major role ( Joshua 9; II Sam 21:1-14; I Kgs 3:3-15a). It is suggested that Gibeon's sanctuary played—directly or by inference—a significant role in the plot of the three stories. The story of Joshua's treaty with the Gibeonites, ostensibly describing an event in the conquest of Canaan, in reality reflects a hidden Deuteronomistic satirical polemic whose background must be sought in the time of its Jerusalemite author of the late 7th to early 6th centuries BCE. The polemic's stimulus lies in a Gibeonite reaction to Josiah's cancellation of their sanctuary in the time of the author. Clarifying the relation of the Jerusalem and Gibeon temples is important for understanding the rise of the former, as well as the absence of the latter in the Dtr historiography.
 
Article
"The Wall of Uruk: Iconicities in Gilgamesh". This article examines the invitation in the SV prologue to Gilgamesh (I 1-28) as a device to engage the reader in a series of iconic acts that aim to preserve heroic glory. Since two artifacts in particular—the wall of Uruk and the inscribed tablet—mediate these acts, I investigate the nature of artifacts in general in the poem, and specifically focus on three: the corpse of Enkidu, his funeral statue, and the divine fruit in the garden at the end of Tablet IX. These three stand related to each other as a series of iconic representations of the emplacement of life within various bodies. In the context of these representations, the lapis lazuli tablet on which Gilgamesh allegedly inscribes his tale also figures as a kind of body: a relatively permanent one that appropriates the reader's voice through the act of recitation to grant Gilgamesh perpetually renewable life.
 
Article
Scholars of Greek religion, notably Walter Burkert and Jean-Pierre Vernant, have ignored the few but important examples of sacrifices that meet with rejection, and along with this oversight have minimalized the legal and moral aspect of sacrifice. The same error has led them to overlook the similarity between rejected sacrifice in Greek religion and rejected sacrifice in ancient Judaism, where the same infrequent but important phenomenon occurs. This paper proposes a typology for rejected sacrifice and attempts to balance similarities and differences to be found in Greek and Hebrew practice, notably with respect to sacrifices rejected as punishment for sacrilege.
 
Article
The Uruk List of Kings and Sages is best known for its genealogy connecting human scholars to antediluvian sages. Since its publication in 1962, however, questions pertaining to the text's specific purpose within the context of Hellenistic Uruk have been neglected. This study seeks to understand two such questions: why is the most explicit scholarly genealogy written in the Hellenistic period?; and who is the last named person in the text? Seeking answers to these questions sheds new light on the text's purpose: it is an attempt by scholars to gain support for themselves and their novel cultic agenda. French La réputation de la liste des Uruk de les rois et les sages est due à sa généalogie, qui crée un lien entre les savants humains et les sages antédiluviens. Par contre, depuis sa publication en 1962 on a négligé les questions qui ont affaire au but spécifique du texte dans le contexte de l'Uruk hellénistique. Cette étude cherche à comprendre deux questions dans ce domaine: pourquoi la généalogie la plus explicitement savante est-elle écrite pendant l'époque hellénistique?; et qui est la dernière personne nommée dans le texte? Chercher des réponses à ces questions illumine d'une nouvelle façon le but du texte; c'est une tentative par des savants de gagner du soutien pour leur programme original de culte ainsi que pour eux-mêmes.
 
Article
A single passage in Hesiod's Theogony describes Aphrodite's abduction of Phaethon. At first glance, this Phaethon appears to have little in common with his namesake, who famously rode the chariot of the sun god for a day. Accordingly, various reputable scholars have treated them as two unrelated characters. This article argues that the underlying theme of apotheosis through catasterism—reinforced through comparison with ancient Near Eastern traditions—forges a link that allows for the ultimate unity of these divergent traditions concerning Phaethon.
 
Article
Recent excavations in the Iron Age necropolis of Tyre (al-Bass district) allow a substantial reconstruction of the Phoenician ritual of cremation burial. Among the faunal remains from Tyre al-Bass Tomb 8 are two talons from a species of owl. The talons had been charred and perhaps boiled before placement with the grave goods. This paper examines ancient Near Eastern and biblical cultural interpretations of the owl and suggests a range of possible explanations for the presence of owl remains in this Phoenician burial.
 
Article
Le terme "incubation" désigne dans cette étude l'acte de dormir au cours d'un rituel, ce dernier étant accompagné ou de non de prières. L'incubation n'est pas toujours destinée à faire apparaître un rêve en particulier. Elle peut avoir deux rôles distincts : un rôle divinatoire, afin d'obtenir un rêve-message; et un rôle thérapeutique, pour obtenir un sommeil ayant le pouvoir de guérir le rêveur par le biais ou non d'un rêve.
 
Article
This study provides a reassessment of RS 1.004 (KTU 1.42), the longest known Hurrian text in the alphabetic cuneiform script, in light of its recurring formulae and overall structure. The key phrase in the text is ıdr hdr hdld DN, which stands at the beginning of each of its 17 sections; based on comparisons with the language of the bilingual Hittite-Hurrian itkalzi-ritual, it is likely that each of these instances refers to an act of anointing by oil of the DN in question. Other formulaic elements in the text, as well as the place of this ritual in the context of Ugarit and the broader ancient Near East, will also be discussed.
 
Article
Abstract This article treats KTU2 1.82: 1–7, an Ugaritic incantation. It deals, first, with matters of epigraphy, philology, morpho-syntax and lexicography. Thereafter, it discusses the contributions of this incantation to understanding Ugaritic mythology and religion. In particular, it assesses the relationship of KTU2 1.82: 1–7 to the Ugaritic Baʕlu Cycle.
 
Article
In the Akkadian anti-witchcraft ritual Maqlu, the incantation in I.73-121 exemplifies the theme of conducting adjudicatory proceedings against the witch in the divine courtroom. In particular, the patient's presentation of the witch in effigy and the demand for judgment accord well with similar features attested in Neo-Babylonian trial records. Study of the incantation in light of these court records reveals the incantation's attention to the details of legal procedure.
 
Article
The purpose of this article is to analyse Pharaoh Rhampsinitus’ descent to the Underworld, briefly reported by Herodotus (II, 122, 1) and included by the Greek writer in the legendary history of Egypt. This short episode can be connected to the demotic cycle of Setne Khamwas, to be precise when this literary hero seizes a book of magic from a tomb after playing dice—the Egyptian senet—with the dead. These two stories share a common origin, arising possibly from the same folkloric tradition from the second half of the First Millenium B.C. But even if the adventure of Rhampsinitus is one of the many underworld motifs which occur in folklore throughout the world, it is important to note that the descent to hell is not a recurrent theme in Egyptian imagery. Here we are dealing possibly with a foreign topic, even an interpretatio graeca of the katabasis of Rhampsinitus, Herodotus being influenced by the echoes of the doctrines of the Orphics and the Pythagoreans, and trying to support the supposedly Egyptian belief in the transmigration of the soul, a clearly dubious statement.
 
Article
As is the case with many ancient Near Eastern texts, biblical texts oftentimes betray a complex compositional history. In the case of Deuteronomy 13:2-3, philologically-driven analyses have concluded that the grammatical awkwardness of these verses results from an interpolation. This article attempts to test such analyses through recourse to historical evidence of ancient Near Eastern religious practice. It argues that positing an interpolation in these verses is unnecessary philologically. Moreover, the hypothetical Urtext that results when the purported interpolation is removed defies the conventions of both biblical and non-biblical ancient Near Eastern prophetic practice.
 
Article
The article discusses the date and cultural background of the Elisha and Naaman story (2 Kings 5). It first analyses the story and emphasizes the difference in its presentation of the prophet and the way he operates vis-à-vis all other stories in the Elisha story-cycle. It then analyses Naaman's request to carry soil from the Land of Israel in order to erect an altar for Yhwh in Damascus (5:17) and brings evidence that the transportation of earth from one sacred place to another was known in Mesopotamia from the late second millennium BCE onward. In light of all the available evidence, it suggests that the story is not part of Elisha's original story-cycle; rather, it illuminates the shift of ideas about the prophet, his prophecy, and the land of Israel in the transition from the monarchical to the early post-exilic period.
 
Succession of the gods and Kumarbi as descendant of Alalu
Reconstruction of the filiations and the succession according to Hoffner
Reconstruction of the filiations and the succession according to Haas
Reconstruction of filiation, succession, and stratification according to Zgoll
Article
The present paper deals with the controversially discussed relationships between the gods Alalu, Anu, Kumarbi, and Tarḫunnaš in the Hittite Song of Going Forth ( CTH 344). On the basis of a new philological analysis, of comparisons with theogonies or succession myths in other ancient cultures and on the background of considerations on the cross-cultural stratification of various mythical traditions in the surviving Hittite text, various proposals on the genealogical relationship of the deities in question are weighed against each other and reasons are presented for the plausibility of the proposed new translation and general reconstruction that the divine kingship always passes from father to son within a single genealogical line.
 
Article
Through a study of Babylonian priestly clothing, one can see the social role and attitudes of priests in Babylonian cities, not only when they worship deities, but also in their daily lives. Information on priests’ clothing is rare in cuneiform texts. A Hellenistic ritual from Uruk gives interesting insights that one can compare with the data from the daily records from the Neo-Babylonian period. It appears that outside the temple, the priests wore “civil” clothes. Religious garments were kept in particular rooms of the temples, and their terminology is archaic and similar to the garments of the gods. During worship, each category of priest had its own specific dress identifying its status and its role in the rituals. These garments were sometimes adorned with motifs representing celestial symbols or protective deities.
 
Top-cited authors
Jeremy Smoak
  • University of California, Los Angeles
Steve Wiggins
Kathlyn Coooney
  • University of California, Los Angeles
Thomas Schneider
  • University of British Columbia - Vancouver
Robert Rollinger
  • University of Innsbruck