The Primeval Flood Catastrophe: Origins and Early Development in Mesopotamian Traditions

Hardcover | December 20, 2013

byY. S. Chen

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Previous research on Mesopotamian Flood traditions tended to focus on a few textual sources. How the traditions originated and developed as a whole has not been seriously investigated. By systematically examining a large body of relevant cuneiform sources of diverse genres from the EarlyDynastic III period (ca. 2600-2350 B.C.) to the end of the first millennium B.C., this book observes that it is during the Old Babylonian period (ca. 2000-1600) and classical attestations of the Flood traditions are found. On linguistic, conceptual and literary-historical grounds, the book arguesthat the Flood traditions emerged relatively late in Sumerian traditions. It traces different evolutionary stages of the Flood traditions, from the emergence of the Flood motif within the socio-political and cultural contexts of the early Isin dynasty (ca. 2017-1896 B.C.), to the diversemythological representations of the motif in literary traditions, to the historicisation of the motif in chronography, and finally to the interactions between various strands of the Flood traditions and other Mesopotamian literary traditions, such as Sumerian and Babylonian compositions aboutGilgames. By uncovering the processes through which the Flood traditions were constructed, the book offers a valuable case study on the complex and dynamic relationship between myth-making, the development of literature, the rise of historical consciousness and historiography, and socio-politicalcircumstances in the ancient world. The origins and development of the Flood traditions examined in the book, furthermore, represents one of the best documented examples illustrating the continuities and changes in Mesopotamian intellectual, linguistic, literary, socio-political and religioushistory over the course of two and a half millennia.

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Previous research on Mesopotamian Flood traditions tended to focus on a few textual sources. How the traditions originated and developed as a whole has not been seriously investigated. By systematically examining a large body of relevant cuneiform sources of diverse genres from the EarlyDynastic III period (ca. 2600-2350 B.C.) to the e...

Y. S. Chen is Research Fellow (Ancient Near Eastern Studies) at Wolfson College, University of Oxford, UK.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pagesPublished:December 20, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199676208

ISBN - 13:9780199676200

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Table of Contents

Note on Transliteration and TranslationRelevant Dates of Ancient MesopotamiaMap of the Ancient Near EastMap of Ancient MesopotamiaIntroduction1. Flood Terminology2. The Primeval Flood Catastrophe Motif3. Antediluvian Traditions4. The Flood EpicConclusion