Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Not by human hand, kind of

Although the materials are said to be pure and of divine origin, the divine statue, three times referred to as an alam/ almu rather than an ilu, is manufactured by the craft deities who form its wooden body with carpenter’s tools and provide it with eyes of paint or inlaid precious stones. Although the role of human craftsmen is ritually denied, as we have seen, the mouth-washing and mouth-opening texts do not attempt to hide the fact that the divine statue was constructed from raw materials. On the contrary, the contribution of the craft deities as manifestations of Ea, the divine craftsman par excellence, is a prominent theme. As with the “birth” of the statue, the manufacturing process is also imagined as undertaken by the gods.—The "Image of God" in the Garden of Eden, page 81

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