Morality and the Minds of Gods - 10.1628/219222717X15235367195622 - Mohr Siebeck

T.M. Oshima

Morality and the Minds of Gods

Jahrgang 6 () / Heft 4, S. 386-430 (45)

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Over the more than two millennia of ancient Mesopotamian history, the prevailing understanding of the gods' involvement in human life was that the gods rewarded the pious with wealth and health and punished the impious for failing to observe cultic obligations. However, the quality of their life was not solely determined by the degree of devotion to the gods. Apparently, ancient people also believed that the gods abhorred anti-social conduct and imposed hardship on them even as they granted wealth for pro-social conduct. Although they often complained about their incomprehensibility, ancient Mesopotamians apparently regarded the gods' minds as the core of their moral norms. In this study, I outline the ancient Mesopotamian moral norms based on the will of the gods as reflected in ancient Sumero-Akkadian wisdom texts.

T.M. Oshima Born 1967; PhD in Assyriology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel; 2008–10 Alexander-von-Humboldt fellow at the University of Leipzig in Germany; 2010–13 research fellow at the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena (project of the German Research Foundation [DFG]; since 2015 DFG project at the University of Leipzig.