Creation Stories of the Middle East

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Creation Stories of the Middle Eastis a comprehensive study of the myths about the beginnings of the cosmos, earth and humankind in Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Anatolia, Syria-Palestine and Persia. A vast range of original texts in English translation are presented in this book. Reference is also made to archaeological and other data, including folk tales, in order to set the stories in their historical and religious context.

This book will provide the reader with general information concerning the emergence and development of each and every culture whose stories will be presented and discussed. Central creation themes will be analyzed, such as preexistence, creation of the universe from the watery chaos/order, division, order of creation, time frame, emergence of humankind, gender roles and incest, paradise and destruction. While many books and articles have been written on the subject of creation stories of the Middle East, this is the first work which demonstrates and explains the evolution of these stories from ca. 3400 B.C. to modern times.

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Editorial Reviews

Wasilewski (anthropology, U. of Utah-Salt Lake City) explores the forgotten narratives, myths, and traditions that played a central role in the accounts of creation found in the Old Testament and the Quran. She interprets tales of the Sumerians, Egyptians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Canaanites, Hebrews, Arabs, and the early Indo-Europeans. Finding that the concept of religion emerged only with the focus on a single male deity, she traces the gradual rise and fall of the female goddesses of creation. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781853026812
  • Publisher: Kingsley, Jessica Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/15/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 228
  • Sales rank: 878,496
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface. Introduction. 1. In Search of Foundation: Sumerian Origin. 2. In Search of Control: Egyptian Theologies. 3. In Search of Tolerance: Anatolian, Canaanite and Persian Sources. 4. In Search of One God: Biblical and Quranic Attempts on Reconciling Realities. 5. Out of Watery Chaos. 6. Divine Order and Its Creators. 7. Almost Divine? Chosen People. 8. Accident or Intention? The Egyptian Lack of Interest in Human Creation. 9. Of Mud and/or Divine. 10. Paradise: Divine or Human? 11.Were Gods Mad? The Destruction of Humankind. 12.Where Do We All Go? Conclusions. Bibliography. Maps. Chronological Charts. Index.
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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted April 28, 2015

    Highly Recommended - a must have

    I took Ewa Wasilewska's classes at the University of Utah and found her to be the foremost scholar in her field. Creation Stories of the Middle East is a must have for scholarly reference libraries.

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