Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Easy access--not!

“ contrast to Greek and Roman cults where everybody could easily walk into the temple, in Mesopotamia access to the temple was severely restricted. For the average citizen, cooperation with the temple was limited to economic transactions, because the temples functioned as banks in lending money to individuals. The average citizen, aside from this, did not generally participate in the cult of the deity. The performance of family religion was primarily located within private households. Street sanctuaries, as attested in the topographical list of Babylon, may have served the needs of the individual to address the deities of the local pantheon or even the god of the family. The encounters among the patron deity, the members of the local pantheon, and the individual were thus restricted to the periods of the festivals, during which the gods left their temples to be carried in processions, linking various cultic localities. This complex situation of divine hierarchies and relationships in the life of the individual is reflected in the prayer literature, in which the personal god of the individual served as an intercessor with higher-ranking gods of the pantheon...”—Reconsidering the Concept of Revolutionary Monotheism, pages 28-29

<idle musing>
Yes, the dingirLAMMA, the personal guardian deity which morphed into the guardian angel of modern popular culture. I've said it before, but it bears repeating, in the ancient world, you wanted the major deities to ignore you and you did that by propitiating the dingirLAMMA who then ran interference for you...

This is a really fascinating book. I'm not quite half-way through, but it contains much good food for thought...
</idle musing>

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