Jewish Studies

Seth L. Sanders

From Adapa to Enoch

Scribal Culture and Religious Vision in Judea and Babylon

[Von Adapa bis Henoch. Schriftkultur und religiöse Visionen in Judäa und Babylonien.]

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Published in English.
What was the relationship between ancient scribes' religious visions and their literary creativity? During the first millennium BCE both Babylonian and Judean scribes wrote about and emulated their heroes Adapa and Enoch. Seth L. Sanders offers the first comprehensive study of their scribal ideologies and the historical connections between them.
Seth L. Sanders offers a history of first-millennium scribes through their heavenly journeys and heroes, treating the visions of ancient Mesopotamian and Judean literature as pragmatic things made by people. He presents each scribal culture as an individual institution via detailed evidence for how visionary figures were used over time. The author also provides the first comprehensive survey of direct evidence for contact between Babylonian, Hebrew, and Aramaic scribal cultures, when and how they came to share key features. Rather than irrecoverable religious experience, he shows how ideal scribal »selves« were made available through rituals documented in texts and institutions that made these roles durable. He examines how these texts and selves worked together to create religious literature as the world came to be known differently: a historical ontology of first-millennium scribal cultures. The result is as much a history of science as a history of mysticism, providing insight into how knowledge of the universe was created in ancient times.

Seth L. Sanders Born 1968; 1999 PhD from Johns Hopkins University; 2007–13 Assistant Professor of Religion, 2013–15 Associate Professor at Trinity College; since 2015 Professor of Religious Studies at University of California Davis; 2010–11 Fellow at NYU Institute for the Study of the Ancient World; 2015–16 NEH and Guggenheim Fellow.


The following reviews are known:

In: Adamantius — 26 (2020), pp. 708–710 (Marco Settembrini)
In: New Testament Abstracts — 61 (2017), S. 379
In: Salesianum — 80 (2018), S. 558–559 (Rafael Vicent)
In: — (William Brown)
In: Journal for the Study of the OT — 42.5 (2018) (Joachim Schaper)
In: Ancient Jew Review — (3/2018) (Mark Lester)
In: Archiv für Orientforschung — 54 (2021), pp. 559–562 (Markham J. Geller)
In: Bibliotheca Orientalis — 75 (2018), S. 159–165 (Amar Annus)
In: Zeitschr. f. d. Alttestamentl. Wissenschaft — 2018, S. 501–502 (Beate Ego)
In: H-Net Reviews — (4/2018) (Uri Gabbay)
In: Reviews of Biblical and Early Christian Studies — (Ryan Schroeder)
In: Bulletin for Biblical Research — 28.2 (2018), S. 311–312 (Russell Morton)