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16 READING AKKADIAN PRAYERS AND HYMNS: AN INTRODUCTION It spread (to others) the gnawing of (his) insides, The stock of the human race was diminished. Belet-ili went before Ea the king, “O Ea, humankind was created by your spell, “Second, you pinched off their clay from the firmament of the depths. “By your great command, you determined their capacities. ), jaundice! 38 Although these kinds of texts are clearly excluded from the present understanding of prayer because they are directed at malevolent (here, an illness) rather than benevolent powers, they often bear one of the two Sumerian superscripts, én or én-é-nu-ru, under discussion.

490. 8 READING AKKADIAN PRAYERS AND HYMNS: AN INTRODUCTION to take these aspects into consideration explicitly when reading prayers and hymns—even if the evidence for determining the details of a practice, community, or institution is more limited than one would like—may lead to failing to understand fully or seriously misunderstanding the prayers one reads and the humans who produced and/or utilized them. ” It moves the reader toward interpreting prayers and hymns in a multi-faceted manner as cultural artifacts situated in a subset of human activities identified as religious.

Despite the prominence and therefore usefulness that verbal communication has for the present purpose (this book does after all deal with language), the answer is negative. “Communication via words” does Mesopotamian prayer justice no more than it ). Throughout the does justice to the contemporary Muslim practice of ṣalāt ( ancient Near East, texts that contain or describe prayers and hymns—recognized as such by the initial definition given above—often record or prescribe various bodily gestures.

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