Wednesday, March 26, 2014


These trends in Assyriology and biblical studies are connected by numerous conceptual and methodological threads. Given my purposes here, it is worthwhile to note that both science historians and biblical theologians have had dramatic and detrimental impacts on how we appreciate ancient Near Eastern understandings of the relationship between the natural world and literature. Science historians imagined science to be completely separate from and above historical and cultural considerations, while theologians rendered the Israelite God completely separate from and above nature and history. Assyriologists were blinded to the scientific discourse within Mesopotamian literature, while biblical scholars were oblivious to the naturalistic aspects of Israelite religion and its ancient Near Eastern character. Both fields were thus unable to appreciate how these ancient cultures’ systematic perceptions of the natural world were culturally situated.—Poetic Astronomy in the Ancient Near East, page 17

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