Birth in Babylonia and the Bible: Its Mediterranean Setting

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BRILL, Jan 1, 2000 - History - 276 pages
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Utilising material spanning 3000 years, this book examines childbirth in the Biblical and Babylonian world. Stol's scholarship has an extraordinary range. He follows the mother and child from conception to weaning, analyzing a variety of different texts and topics. He deals, for example, with the vicissitudes and procedures of labor and delivery, delivery with magical plants and amulets, and with legal issues relating to abortion or to the liability of the wet-nurse. Many of the texts are rich and distinctive. Babylonian incantations to facilitate birth describe the child moving "over the dark sea" and, like a ship, reaching "the quay of life." His discussions are supplemented with relevant examples drawn from Greek and Roman sources, Rabbinic literature, and modern ethnographic material from traditional Middle Eastern societies. The last chapter, written by F.A.M. Wiggermann, deals with the horrible baby-snatching demon, Lamastum. This book is a fully re-worked edition of a volume originally written in Dutch (1983). Both authors teach at the Free University (Amsterdam).
 

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Contents

The conception
5
Phasing and duration of a pregnancy
17
Chapter II PROBLEMS DURING PREGNANCY
27
Infertility
33
Abortion
39
Chapter III MAGIC AND THE DIVINE
49
Incantations
59
A cylinder seal
72
The afterbirth
144
maternal imagination
151
The production of beautiful children
157
the ritual
165
Chapter VII MIDWIFERY AND NURSING
171
Wetnursing
181
The weaned child the nursemaid
190
Chapter VIII BIRTH IN MEDICAL TEXTS
193

Kings engendered by gods
83
Chapter IV WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN? PROGNOSTICS
91
The Star of Bethlehem
99
Chapter V GIVING BIRTH
109
The brick of birth
118
Difficult labour
129
Birth and pain
136
Chapter IX WORRIES AFTER BIRTH
205
Crying babies
211
Chapter X LAMASTU DAUGHTER OF ANU A PROFILE
217
Demonology and pathogenic activities
225
Diagnosis and countermeasures
236
Conclusion
248
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