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Sumerian Liturgies and Psalms   By: (1876-1937)

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Sumerian Liturgies and Psalms


Stephen Langdon

Professor of Assyriology

at Oxford University


Published by The University Museum



Introduction. Lamentation of Ishme Dagan Over Nippur. 13856 (No. 1) Liturgy of Ishme Dagan. 11005 (No. 2) Liturgical Hymn to Innini. 7847 (No. 3 and duplicate No. 4) Psalm to Enlil Containing a Long Intercession by the Mother Goddess. 15204 (No. 5) Lamentation on the Pillage of Lagash by the Elamites. 2154 (No. 6) Lamentation to Innini on the Sorrows of Erech. 13859 (Poebel No. 26) Liturgical Hymn to Sin. 8097 (No. 7) Lamentation on the Destruction of Ur. 7080 (No. 11) Liturgical Hymns of the Tammuz Cult. 3656 (Myhrman No. 5) A Liturgy to Enlil, Series e lum gud sun (Zimmern KL. No. 11) Reverse of Tablet Virolleaud (The titular litany) Early Form of the Series d. Babbar gim è ta 11359 (Myhrman No. 8) Liturgy of the Cult of Kes (Nippur Fragments and Ashmolean Prism.) Ashmolean Prism, Col. II Third Tablet of the Series "The Exalted One Who Walketh" ( e lum didara ) (No. 13) Babylonian Cult Symbols. 6060 (No. 12) Addendum On Obv. I 10 F. Description Of Tablets Index Of Tablets Index To Vol. X Autographed Texts Footnotes


[Transcriber's Note: This e book is Number 4 of Volume X of a series, which had a single page numbering system throughout the Volume. Thus, although this e book is pages 233 through 351, it contains references to pages outside of this range in the same Volume.]

With the publication of the texts included in this the last part of volume X, Sumerian Liturgical and Epical Texts , the writer arrives at a definite stage in the interpretation of the religious material in the Nippur collection. Having been privileged to examine the collection in Philadelphia as well as that in Constantinople, I write with a sense of responsibility in giving to the public a brief statement concerning what the temple library of ancient Nippur really contained. Omitting the branches pertaining to history, law, grammar and mathematics, the following résumé is limited to those tablets which, because of their bearing upon the history of religion, especially upon the origins of Hebrew religion, have attracted the attention of the public on two continents to the collections of the University Museum.

Undoubtedly the group of texts which have the most human interest and greatest literary value is the epical group, designated in Sumerian by the rubric zag sal .(1) This literary term was employed by the Sumerian scribes to designate a composition as didactic and theological. Religious texts of such kind are generally composed in an easy and graceful style and, although somewhat influenced by liturgical mannerisms, may be readily distinguished from the hymns and psalms sung in the temples to musical accompaniment. The zagsal compositions(2) are mythological and theological treatises concerning the deeds and characters of the great gods. The most important didactic hymns of the Nippur collection and in fact the most important religious texts in early Sumerian literature are two six column tablets, one (very incomplete) on the Creation and the Flood published by DR. POEBEL, and one (all but complete) on Paradise and the Fall of Man. Next in importance is a large six column tablet containing a mythological and didactic hymn on the characteristics of the virgin mother goddess.(3) A long mythological hymn in four columns(4) on the cohabitation of the earth god Enlil and the mother goddess Ninlil and an equally long but more literary hymn to the virgin goddess Innini(5) are good examples of this group of tablets in the Nippur collection.(6) One of the most interesting examples of didactic composition is a hymn to the deified king Dungi of Ur... Continue reading book >>

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