In this comprehensive study, Wayne Horowitz examines all of the extant Mesopotamian texts relating to the ideas of the physical universe and its constituent parts—heaven, earth, the subterranean waters, and the underworld. He shows that the Mesopotamian view of the universe, although somewhat discordant, remained fairly constant over more than 2,500 years.
Horowitz surveys the various sources for Mesopotamian cosmic geography, including mythological and literary texts, as well as the famous “Babylonian Map of the World” and various astrological and astronomical texts. According to this ancient worldview, the universe was built by the gods in earliest times and was held together by cosmic bonds. But beyond this general notion, Horowitz discovers a significant variety of cosmological views in texts of different genres and from different periods. In addition, the available evidence leaves a number of problems unsolved. What are the bounds of the universe? What is beyond the limits of the universe? Horowitz explores some of the speculations made by these ancient people.
In the second section of the book, Horowitz discusses each of the various regions and their names in various locales and time periods, drawing on the disparate sources to show where there is coherence and where there is difference of perspective. In addition, he discusses all of the names for the different parts of the universe and examines the geographies of each region.
In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
Discover more of the implications of ancient cosmology for biblical studies in Genesis 1 as Ancient Cosmology.
Wayne Horowitz is associate professor of Assyriology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. An archeologist and expert in Mesopotamian literature, he is the author of The Astrolabes and Related Texts: Mesopotamian Astronomy before 1000 BC and Cuneiform in Canaan: Cuneiform Sources from the Land of Israel in Ancient Times.