Cover image for Divination as Science: A Workshop on Divination Conducted during the 60th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Warsaw, 2014 Edited by Jeanette Fincke

Divination as Science

A Workshop on Divination Conducted during the 60th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Warsaw, 2014

Edited by Jeanette Fincke

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ISBN: 978-1-57506-425-3

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Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale

Divination as Science

A Workshop on Divination Conducted during the 60th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Warsaw, 2014

Edited by Jeanette Fincke

There is no doubt that Ancient Near Eastern divination is firmly rooted in religion, since all ominous signs were thought to have been sent by gods, and the invocation of omens was embedded in rituals. Nonetheless, the omen compendia display many aspects of a generally scientific nature. In their attempt to note all possible changes to the affected objects and to arrange their observations systematically for reference purposes, the scholars produced texts that resulted in a rather detailed description of the world, be it with respect to geography (the urban or rural environment on earth, or celestial and meteorological phenomena observed in the sky), biology (the outer appearance of the bodies of humans or animals, or the entrails of sheep), sociology (behavior of people) or others. Based on different divination methods and omen compendia, the question discussed during this workshop was whether the scholars had a scientific approach, presented as religion, or whether Ancient Near Eastern divination should be considered purely religious and that the term “science” is inappropriate in this context. The workshop attracted a large audience and lively discussion ensued. The papers presented in this volume reflect the focus of the sessions during the workshop and are likely to generate even more discussion, now that they are published.

 

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
There is no doubt that Ancient Near Eastern divination is firmly rooted in religion, since all ominous signs were thought to have been sent by gods, and the invocation of omens was embedded in rituals. Nonetheless, the omen compendia display many aspects of a generally scientific nature. In their attempt to note all possible changes to the affected objects and to arrange their observations systematically for reference purposes, the scholars produced texts that resulted in a rather detailed description of the world, be it with respect to geography (the urban or rural environment on earth, or celestial and meteorological phenomena observed in the sky), biology (the outer appearance of the bodies of humans or animals, or the entrails of sheep), sociology (behavior of people) or others. Based on different divination methods and omen compendia, the question discussed during this workshop was whether the scholars had a scientific approach, presented as religion, or whether Ancient Near Eastern divination should be considered purely religious and that the term “science” is inappropriate in this context. The workshop attracted a large audience and lively discussion ensued. The papers presented in this volume reflect the focus of the sessions during the workshop and are likely to generate even more discussion, now that they are published.

Preface

Abbreviations

Bibliographical Abbreviations

JoAnn Scurlock: Divination Between Religion and Science

Ulla Susanne Koch: Bias in Observations of Natural Phenomena made for Divinatory Purposes

Krzysztof Ulanowski: "Šamaš, great lord, whom I am asking, answer me with a reliable ‚Yes!": The Influence of Divination on the Result of War

Yoram Cohen: Sheep Anatomical Terminology in the Å¡umma immeru Omen Series and Additional Texts

Maria Stella Cingolo: Some Remarks about the Old Babylonian Libanomancy Texts

Jeanette C. Fincke: The Oldest Mesopotamian Astronomical Treatise: enuma anu enlil

Paul Delnero: Divination and Religion as a Cultural System

Indexes

General Index

Index of Texts

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