Mesopotamia: Writing, Reasoning, and the Gods

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University of Chicago Press, Jun 15, 1995 - History - 311 pages
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Our ancestors, the Mesopotamians, invented writing and with it a new way of looking at the world. In this collection of essays, the French scholar Jean Bottero attempts to go back to the moment which marks the very beginning of history.

To give the reader some sense of how Mesopotamian civilization has been mediated and interpreted in its transmission through time, Bottero begins with an account of Assyriology, the discipline devoted to the ancient culture. This transmission, compounded with countless discoveries, would not have been possible without the surprising decipherment of the cuneiform writing system. Bottero also focuses on divination in the ancient world, contending that certain modes of worship in Mesopotamia, in their application of causality and proof, prefigure the "scientific mind."
 

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User Review  - Iacobus - LibraryThing

This book is a collection of articles written by the author (a respected French Assyriologist) from 1966 to 1982, along with an introduction and some helps and aids. This is not an introduction to ... Read full review

Contents

The Birth of the West
1
ASSYRIOLOGY
13
In Defense of a Useless Science
15
Assyriology and Our History
26
A Century of Assyriology
41
WRITING
53
The Avalanche of Decipherments in the Ancient Near East between 1800 and 1930
55
From Mnemonic Device to Script
67
The Substitute King and His Fate
138
The Code of Hammurabi
156
Free Love and Its Disadvantages
185
THE GODS RELIGION
199
The Religious System
201
Intelligence and the Technical Function of Power EnkiEa
232
The Dialogue of Pessimism and Transcendence
251
The Mythology of Death
268

Writing and Dialectics or the Progress of Knowledge
87
REASONING INSTITUTIONS AND MENTALITY
103
Oneiromancy
105
Divination and the Scientific Spirit
125
GlossaryIndex
287
References
305
Bibliographical Orientation
309
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

Jean Bottero, a scholar of rare abilities, is Director Emeritus of Assyriology in the Department of Philology and History at the Ecole pratique des hautes etudes. Bottero's other books include Mesopotamia: Writing, Reasoning, and the Gods (1992) and a volume on ancient Mesopotamian cuisine.

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