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Jennie Ebeling, J. Edward Wright, Mark Elliott,
and Paul V. M. Flesher

Editors

Subjects: LCSH: Bible—Antiquities. | Bible—Criticism, interpretation, etc.


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 Copyright©   
 2017 by Baylor University Press 

PREFACE
Several years ago the editors began discussing how beginning students in college
Bible courses and a public interested in biblical studies and the ancient
Israelites actually studied the Bible. In particular, we wondered, how much
did new archaeological discoveries and historical research impact their understanding
of ancient Israel and its history? Were such students dependent on
biblical scholarship that strictly privileged the biblical narrative? Did the public
only encounter apologetic testimonies supported and presented by church and synagogue?

What we found was disappointing. Introductory textbooks, even at the
college level, focus mostly on the biblical books and refer to archaeological
knowledge only in passing—usually
when there is a good picture. Old Testament
textbooks depend on the biblical narrative rather than on archaeology
for their organization. The situation for the general public is worse. From “biblical
mysteries” TV programs more interested in viewership than accuracy to
books propounding a variety of theologies and tendentious interpretations,
we could not see how an interested and intelligent reader would get a solid
understanding of the contributions made by the fields of archaeology, biblical
studies, and ancient history to the understanding of ancient Israel. Finally,
where serious works are available, they were not written to be accessible to
beginning students.

A century ago it was true that if you wanted to understand the ancient
Israelites, you had to read the Bible, the Old Testament. Today, if you want to
understand the Old Testament, you need to study the history and archaeology
of the ancient people of Israel.

The editors decided it was necessary to present ancient Israel’s origins and
history in a such way that students could understand the Israelites from all of
the evidence, not just from a single collection of ancient writings. The study of
ancient Israel should be multifaceted and not simply a study of the Bible. This
book aims to address the needs of students and the public at large by showing
how archaeological finds, including ancient texts and inscriptions from other
countries and empires, help modern readers comprehend the political, social,
and sometimes military dynamics that shaped the ancient Israelites and led
their scribes to write the books now in the Bible.

The present book brings together biblical experts and active archaeologists
to contribute their understanding of the present state of research and put
together a picture of the origins and history of the people Israel, within the
history of the ancient Near East. Despite the in-depth
expertise of our authors,
all of them composed their chapters for an audience without a deep knowledge
of ancient Israel—for
people seeking a better understanding rather than those
who were already knowledgeable. Fourteen experts in different periods of
ancient Israel’s history contributed chapters, as did the editors. This achievement
is a result of teamwork, for despite the seemingly natural conjunction
of the Bible and the archaeology of ancient Israel, the two fields do not have a
history of working together. True, archaeologists working in Israel were once
accused of digging with a trowel in one hand and a Bible in the other. But few
archaeologists were trained as biblical scholars. As William Dever identifies
the distinction in chapter 5, the combination inherent in “biblical archaeology”
before the 1970s was between archaeology and theology, not archaeology
and biblical studies. Indeed, as Mark Elliott shows in chapter 2, biblical archaeologists
like William F. Albright saw themselves as opponents of “higher
criticism” and its related research into the biblical text. From the opposite perspective,
few biblical scholars had the training and background to understand
the details of archaeological investigation and were able to incorporate it into
their research at the primary level. Textual scholars of course made use of the
inscriptions archaeologists unearthed, but the excavations that discovered
them? Not so much.

In this light, the teamwork and cooperation that this textbook represents
was hard won. The editors thank the authors for working with us to help
achieve the vision that guided this book. They put up with many editorial
“suggestions” and requests for revision in particular areas. We appreciate the
patience and diligence that all showed to us.

Baylor University Press and its director, Carey Newman, have shown a
great deal of support and patience for this project. The BUP production team
has shepherded this work through the publication project to its completion.
The editors are pleased and thankful for the care and creativity that this book
has received from BUP. Another institution deserving our thanks for its support
of this work is BiblePlaces.com and especially Todd Bolen. BiblePlaces.
com supplied most of the photographs in this book gratis. Thanks also go out
to Norma Franklin, Jim West, and Pat Landy, who read drafts of many chapters
and provided useful comments, and to Conor McCracken-Flesher, for doing the index.

Both Jennie Ebeling and Paul Flesher would like to thank the W. F.
Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem for support provided
during the final year of work on this project. The Albright appointed
Jennie as the prestigious Annual Professor for 2015–2016, and it made Paul
the Seymour Gitin Distinguished Professor during spring 2016. The libraries
of the École Biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem and the Israel
Antiquities Authority in the Rockefeller Museum were also extremely helpful.
Paul would also like to thank Dean Paula Lutz and the University of Wyoming
for awarding him sabbatical leave for 2015–2016
(during which he worked to bring this project to conclusion) 
as well as the staff of the Interlibrary Loan
Department of the University of Wyoming’s Coe Library for their work in
obtaining volumes not available on campus. Jennie would like to thank the
Department of Archaeology and Art History at the University of Evansville as
well as Alexandra Cutler.
Mark Elliott wants to thank all the other editors—Jennie
Ebeling, Paul
Flesher, and Ed Wright—for
their valuable assistance in creating and developing
the website Bible and Interpretation (www.bibleinterp.com). Ed Wright
thanks the faculty, staff, students, and supporters of The Arizona Center for
Judaic Studies for their interest in and support of this project over many years.
Finally, the editors would like to thank their spouses and children for their
support and love during the long process of putting this book together. This
volume is dedicated to our students—past,
present, and future. Every day the
students in our classes reveal their fascination for the ancient world as they
seek insight into the choices people made when confronted with momentous
(and not so momentous) events. Our past students inspired us to create this
volume, and we hope it will guide the learning of our future students.


Table of Contents
Preface xi
Archaeological Ages xv
Historical Timeline xvii
Ancient Jerusalem xxi
List of Maps xxiii
List of Figures xxv
List of Abbreviations xxxiii
Introduction 1
I
Archaeology, the Bible, and Epigraphy
Discovery, Techniques, and Development
1 Introduction to the Geography and Archaeology
of the Ancient Near East 15
Gary P. Arbino
2 Introduction to the Old Testament and Its Character
as Historical Evidence 45
Mark Elliott, with Paul V. M. Flesher
3 The West’s Rediscovery of the Holy Land 83
Victor H. Matthews
4 “Bible Lands Archaeology” and “Biblical Archaeology”
in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries 111
Rachel Hallote
5 A Critique of Biblical Archaeology
History and Interpretation 141
William G. Dever
II
Israel before Settling in the Land
6 In the Beginning, Archaeologically Speaking
Archaeology to the Bronze Ages in Canaan 161
K. L. Noll
7 Archaeology and the Canaanites 185
Jill Baker
8 The Book of Genesis and Israel’s Ancestral Traditions 213
Mark Elliott and J. Edward Wright
9 Israel in and out of Egypt 241
J. Edward Wright, Mark Elliott, and Paul V. M. Flesher
III
Israel Settles in the Land of Canaan
10 Looking for the Israelites 275
The Archaeology of Iron Age I
J. P. Dessel
11 Looking for the Israelites 299
The Evidence of the Biblical Text
Paul V. M. Flesher
12 The Philistines during the Period of the Judges 317
Ann E. Killebrew
IV
The Kingdoms of the People Israel
13 The United Monarchy 337
David between Saul and Solomon
Baruch Halpern
14 Israel 363
The Prosperous Northern Kingdom
Randall W. Younker
15 The Southern Kingdom of Judah 391
Surrounded by Enemies
Aren M. Maeir
16 Daily Life in Iron Age Israel and Judah 413
Jennie Ebeling
17 Israel and Judah under Assyria’s Thumb 433
J. Edward Wright and Mark Elliott
18 The Religions of the People Israel and Their Neighbors 477
Richard S. Hess
V
Judah as a Province
From the Babylonians to the Persians
19 Destruction and Exile 505
Israel and the Babylonian Empire
Bob Becking
20 Persia and Yehud 529
Charles David Isbell

Glossary 557
Bibliography 567
Gazetteer 607
Index of Biblical and Ancient References 613
General Index 624
Contributors 649


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ARCHAEOLOGICAL AGES
Paleolithic Era 1,500,000–22,000 BP
Lower 1,500,000–250,000
Middle 250,000–50,000
Upper 50,000–12,000
Epipaleolithic Period 12,000 BP–8500 BCE
Neolithic Period 8500–4500 BCE
Pre-Pottery
Neolithic 8500–5500
Pottery Neolithic 5500–4500
Chalcolithic Period 4500–3600 BCE
Early Bronze Age 3600–2400 BCE
EB I 3600–3000
EB II 3000–2750
EB III 2750–2400
Intermediate Bronze Age 2400–2000 BCE
Middle Bronze Age 2000–1550 BCE
MB I 2000–1900
MB II 1900–1650
MB III 1650–1550
Late Bronze Age 1550–1200 BCE
LB I 1550–1400
LB II 1400–1200
Iron Age 1200–586 BCE
Iron I 1200–1000
Iron II 1000–586
Iron IIA 1000–928
Iron IIB 928–722
Iron IIC 722–586
Neo-Babylonian
Period 586–539 BCE
Persian Period 539–332 BCE
Hellenistic Period 332–63 BCE
Roman Period 63 BCE–330 CE
Byzantine Period 330–630 CE
Islamic Period 630–1918 CE
Early Arab Period 630–1099
Crusader Period 1099–1250
Mamluk Period 1250–1517
Ottoman Period 1517–1918
Modern Period 1918–present

Legend, History and the Ancient Cityre

MICHAEL SEYMOUR


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 Copyright©   
 2014 Michael Seymour 

About the Author
Michael Seymour is Research Associate in the Department of Ancient Near
Eastern Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Prior to joining the
Metropolitan Museum he worked for the Department of the Middle East at the
British Museum, where he was co-curator of the special exhibition Babylon:
Myth and Reality. He is a consultant to the World Monuments Fund on the site
of Babylon, and an editor of the journal Iraq. He is co-author (with I. L. Finkel)
of Babylon: Myth and Reality (2008).


‘The city of Babylon and the idea of Babylon have co-existed as intertwined
threads of intellectual and historical engagement for centuries. In the recent past
Babylon was an emblem for Saddam Hussein’s control over Iraq’s past (ancient
Babylon), present (reconstructed Babylon), and future (eternal Babylon). Since
at least the sixth century BC, and up to modern times, Babylon has been
entangled in discourses that transgress the boundaries between history, myth,
fantasy and bias, while over the past century scientific archaeology has
contributed to the mix. Michael Seymour teases apart the golden threads of
Babylon’s discourses, tracing each one in meticulous detail before reweaving
them into a new and brilliant tapestry, presenting us in this adroit and learned
book with a Babylon fit for the scrutiny of our age.’

– Roger Matthews, Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology, University of
Reading ‘In this ambitious and all encompassing account of how the ancient city
of Babylon has been studied, interpreted and received throughout history,
Michael Seymour offers an exemplary study in the reception of the ancient
world. Multiple manifestations of the notion of Babylon are explored, revealing
the extent to which ancient civilisations have been appropriated according to
different cultural contexts and priorities. The book presents an intoxicating mix
of mythology, interpretation and fact from a wide variety of sources: both textual
and visual. Through each of the chapters we see the exciting and complex
journey that antiquities undertake once retrieved from the earth in which they
were buried. One of the most important findings of the work is the extent to
which ancient Mesopotamian culture is shown to have “lived on” in a range of
conflicting and successive contexts. In this thoughtful and probing analysis,
Seymour unravels the very idea of Babylon, revealing it to be a complex bundle
of meanings and significances. He does a great service to archaeology, ancient
history and cultural studies in telling this story of entanglement.’
– Stephanie Moser, Professor of Archaeology, 
University of Southampton

‘This is a brilliant first book by a rising star in Ancient Near Eastern studies. It
comes at a critical moment when the ancient city of Babylon is under the
spotlight as never before. After the coalition invasion of 2003 Babylon was
turned into a military camp to universal international condemnation. Now the
World Monuments Fund is helping with the conservation of the site and
application has been made for Babylon to become a World Heritage Site. There
have also been three major exhibitions about Babylon in the last few years, in
Paris, Berlin and London, all with sumptuous catalogues, and the famous Cyrus
Cylinder, found at Babylon in 1879, is currently the subject of a touring
exhibition. Yet until now there existed no book that traced the exploration and
excavation of Babylon against the wider backdrop of developments in European
intellectual thinking and understanding. Michael Seymour does this with great
skill and clarity, and has produced a book that not only examines the importance
and significance of Babylon in the western and eastern traditions, but also
provides a readable account of the history and excavation of the city. This will be
an indispensable book both for scholars in a number of different fields and for
laymen interested in the Ancient Near East.’
– John Curtis, OBE, 
Keeper of Special Middle Eastern Projects, The British Museum


Table of Contents
List of illustrations
Acknowledgements
Maps
1. A city and its ghosts
2. Ancient Babylon
3. Tyrants and wonders: The biblical and classical sources
4. The Earthly City: Medieval and Renaissance approaches
5. Discoveries and fantasies: Enlightenment and modern approaches
6. The German experience: Excavation and reception
7. The Library of Babel: Babylon and its representation after the excavations
8. Culture and knowledge
Postscript: The Babylon exhibitions
Notes
Bibliography
Plate Section
LIST


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This publication is supported by the AHRC.

Each year the AHRC provides funding from the Government to support research
and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities. Only applications of the
highest quality are funded and the range of research supported by this investment
of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes
to the economic success of the UK. For further information on the AHRC, please

Published in 2014 by I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd 6 Salem Road, London W2 4BU
175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010


Distributed in the United States and Canada
Exclusively by Palgrave Macmillan
175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010

THE MYSTERY OF ALL MYSTERIES

The Citation on All Spirits, The Spirit in the Burning
Bush, "Helmet of Moses and Aaron/'
Healing by Amulets

THE WONDERFUL MAGICAL AND SPIRIT ARTS

of Moses and Aaron, and the Old Wise Hebrews, taken from
the Moiaic Books of the Cabala and the Talmud,
for the Good of Mankind

PREPARED FOR PUBLICATION UNDER THE EDITORSHIP OF
DR. L. W. de LAURENCE

Author of "The Great Book of Magical Art, Hindu Magic and East Indian
Occultism," i( The Famous Book of Death and Hindu Spiritism,'* tl The Mystic
Test Book of The Hindu Occult Chambers, Magic Mirror, Hindu and Egyptian
Crystal Gazing." Author and Publisher of the Jive famous "Text Books"
for "The Congress of Ancient, Divine, Mental and Christian Masters" etc., etc.

RARE OLD MOSAIC BOOKS OF THE TALMUD AND CABALA

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 1910 de LAURENCE, SCOTT & CO 

Preface
The first edition of this volume has been commended and criticised by
the public. It was admitted to be a valuable compendium of the curiosi*
ties of literature generally, and especially of that pertaining to magic, but
that it was at the same time calculated to foster superstition, and thereby
promote evil—a repetition of the charge made against the honorable
Horst, the publisher of a magical library.
In our enlightened age, the unprejudiced will observe in the publication
of such a work, only what the author claims, namely, a contribution in reference
to the aforesaid literature and culture of no trifling merit ; but in
regard to the believer also, the issue of a cheap edition will be more
serviceable than the formerly expensive productions on sorcery, which
were only circulated in abstract forms and sold at extortionate rates.
What other practical value the above named edition may possess is not
the question. Let us not, therefore, underrate this branch of populat literature
; the authors wrote in accordance with a system which was, or at
least, seemed clear to them, and illustrious persons, in all ages and climes
have not considered the labor requisite to fathom the mysteries of magic
as labor expended in vain, and although they condemned the form, they
could not deny the possibility or even fact that gifted men, of inherent
worth, could accomplish such wonderful things.
In regard to the present edition it can only be said, that the so-called
Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, which have for several centuries attracted
the popular faith, is reality in accordance with an old manuscript
(the most legible among many), and given word for word, divested only
of orthographical errors which the best interest of literature demand—
with unerring fidelity. The publisher guarantees that not one syllable
has been added*


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by Drunvalo Melebizedeh


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 Copyright©   
 2000 by CLEAR LIGHT TRUST 

Introduction
We meet again, together exploring the vastness of who we are, and
again dreaming the same ancient secret that life is a beautiful mystery leading
to wherever we envision.
Volume 2 contains the meditation instructions that were originally
taught to me by the angels for entering the consciousness state called the
Mer-Ka-Ba—in modern terms called the human lightbody. Our lightbody
holds the possibility for the human potential to transcend into a new translation
of the universe we find so familiar. Within a specific state of consciousness,
all things can begin anew and life will change in ways that appear miraculous.

These words speak more of remembrance than of learning or teaching.
You already know what is in these pages because it is written in every cell of
your body, but it is also hidden deep inside your heart and your mind, where
all that is really needed is just a simple nudge.
Out of the love that I have for you and all life everywhere, I offer these
images and this vision to you so that they will be useful; so that they will
bring you closer to the self-realization that Great Spirit is intimately and
lovingly connected to your essence; and with the prayer that these words be
the catalyst that opens the way for you into the higher worlds.
You and I live in a pivotal moment in Earth's history. The world is dramatically
metamorphosing as computers and humans enter into a symbiotic
relationship, giving Mother Earth two ways to see and interpret world
events. She is using this new sight to alter and open the pathways into the
higher worlds of light so that even a child can understand. Our Mother
loves us so much.
We, her children, are now walking between the two worlds, our ordinary
everyday life and a world that surpasses the dreams of even our oldest
ancestors. With our Mother's love and our Father's help, we will find a way
to heal the hearts of the people and transform this world back into unity
consciousness once again.
May you enjoy what you are about to read, and may it truly be a blessing in your life.
In love and service,
Drunvalo


Table of Contents
Introduction xi
NINE Spirit and Sacred Geometry 225
The Third Informational System
in the Fruit of Life- 225
The Circles and Squares of Human Consciousness 225
Finding Near-Perfect Phi Ratios 226
The First and Third Levels of Consciousness 227
Locating the Second Level 228
Geometric Lenses to Interpret Reality 229
Superimposing the Fruit of Life 230
Lucie's Genius 230
Lucie's Ladder 231
Side Note: Sacred Geometry Is a Do-It-Yourself Project 233
A Snag in the Ladder 234
The Three Lenses 235
Square Roots and 3-4-5 Triangles 236
Leonardo's and CBS's Eye 237
Vitruvius" 10 by 12 238
10,000 Years to Figure Out 239
Vitruviusand the Great Pyramid 240
The Search for a 14 by 18 241
The Unknown Leonardo 242
A Great Synchronicity 245
Earth-Moon Proportions 246
Earth, Moon and Pyramid Proportions 248
Rooms in the Great Pyramid 248
More Rooms 250
The Initiation Process 250
Light Reflectors and Absorbers above the King's Chamber 251
Comparing the Levels of Consciousness 252
Catching the White Light 252
Proof of the Initiation Chamber 254
Catching the Dark Light 255
The Halls of Amend and the Face of Jesus 256
Summary of the Initiation Process 256
TEN The Left Eye of Horus Mystery School 259
Egyptian Initiations 262
Crocodile Initiation at Kom Ombo 262
The Well under the Great Pyramid 267
The Tunnel beneath the Pyramid 268
TheHathors 278
Dendera 280
An Immaculate Conception 282
The World's Virgin Births 282
Parthenogenesis 283
Conception on a Different Dimension 284
Thoth's Genesis and FamityTree 285
An Earth Lineage Travels into Space 285
The Flower of Life Seen from the Feminine Side 287
Wheels on the Ceiling 292
The Geometry of the Egyptian Wheels 293
ELEVEN Ancient Influences on Our Modern World 297
The Heliacal Rising of Sirius 303
Virgo and Leo, Aquarius and Pisces 304
The Four Comers Implication 304
The Philadelphia Experiment 305
TWELVE The Mer-Ka-Ba, the Human Lightbody 309
The Geometries of the Human Chakra System 310
The Unfolded Egg of Life and the Musical Scale 311
The Human Chakras and the Musical Scale 314
The Wall with a Hidden Doorway 315
Ways to Find the Doorway 317
Chakras on Our Star Tetrahedrons 319
The Egyptian 13-Chakra System 320
Discovering the True Chakra Locations 321
A Body-Surface Chakra Map 322
A Different Movement on the Star Tetrahedron 323
The Five Spiraling Light Channels 324
Let There Be Light 324
Egyptian Sexual Energy and the Orgasm 330
The 64 Sexual/Personality Configurations 332
Instructions for the Orgasm 333
Beyond the Fifth Chakra 334
Through the Final Half Step 335
The Energy Fields around theBody 337
How to See Auras 338
The Rest of the Human Lightbody 340
From My Old Writings—Living as a Child 399
How Life Works When You're Connected with the Higher Self 401
Communicating with Everything Everywhere 403
Foretelling the Future 404
The Lessons of the Seven Angels 406
Testing the Reality of Your Connection with Your Higher Self 407
SEVENTEEN Duality Transcended 411
Judging 411
The Lucifer Experiment: Duality 411
The Bright and Shining One 412
Creating a Dualistic Reality 414
Earth Humans as the Focus of the Experiment 417
Using the Intellect without Love 418
The Third, Integrated Way 419
TheSirian Experiment 419
My Three Days in Space 419
Technology Reconsidered 421
The History of the Sirian Experiment 422
August 7, 1972, and the Successful Aftermath 425
The Return of Free Will and Unexpected Positive Consequences . . . . 426
EIGHTEEN The Dimensional Shift 429
The Great Change 429
An Overview of a Dimensional Shift 429
The First Signs 430
The Phase before the Shift 431
Five to Six Hours before the Shift 432
Synthetic Objects and Lucifer-Reality Thought Forms 433
Planetary Shifts 434
The Experience of an Actual Planetary Shift 435
Six Hours before the Shift 435
The Void—Three Days of Blackness 436
The New Birth 437
Your Thoughts and Survival 438
How to Prepare: The Secret of Everyday Life 440
This Unique Transition 442
NINETEEN The New Children 443
The Current Growth of Knowledge 443
Human Mutations, Historical and Recent 445
DNA Changes in Blood Types 445
The Indigo Children 446
The Children of AIDS 448
The Bible Code and AIDS 449
The Superpsychic Children 450
The Fourth-Dimensional Shift and the Superkids 454
Life Is Great, an Epilogue 455
References 459
Index 463
Template for a Star Tetrahedron (see back of book)

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Book editor, Margaret Pinyan

Computer graphics originated by
Tim Stouse and Michael Tyree

Theory and Practice

Markham J. Geller

Ancient Cultures
These enjoyable, straightforward surveys of key themes in ancient culture are ideal for anyone new to the study of the ancient world. Each book reveals the excitement of discovering the diverse lifestyles, ideals, and beliefs of ancient peoples.

1. Medicine, Assyro-Babylonian. 2. Medicine, Assyro-Babylonian–Philosophy. 3. Medicine, Assyro-Babylonian–Methodology. 4. Magic, Assyro-Babylonian.

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 Copyright©   
 2010 Markham J. Geller 

Introduction to Babylonian
Medicine and Magic
If a man has pain in his kidney, his groin constantly hurts him, and his
urine is white like donkey-urine, and later on his urine shows blood, that
man suffers from “discharge” (mus.û-disease). You boil 2 shekels of myrrh,
2 shekels of baluhhu-resin, (and) 2 sila-measures of vinegar together in a
jug; cool it and mix it in equal measure in pressed oil. You pour half into
his urethra via a copper tube, half mix in premium beer, you leave it out
overnight and he drinks it on an empty stomach and he will get better.
Babylonian recipe for disease of the kidneys, BAM 7 35
[If a] man has intestinal colic, he constantly scratches himself, he retains
wind in his anus, food and fluids are regurgitated (and) he suffers from
constipation of the rectum – its “redness” is raised and troubles him [without]
giving him relief – you desiccate a lion skin and mix it with lion fat,
you dry (it) a second time, crush and mix it in cedar oil, make a pessary
and insert it into his anus.
Babylonian recipe for disease of the anus, BAM 7 151

Medicine today is technological and scientific, often making it difficult
to cast our minds back to earlier ages when medicine was less understood
and less successful. Actually, we need not go back very far in
time, since any physician trained in medicine before the discovery of
penicillin would attest to how relatively unsophisticated medicine still
was, even by the middle of the twentieth century. As one physician
recalls, After the discovery of modern life-saving drugs, therapy dramatically
improved in most aspects of medicine, to the extent that medicine has
made more rapid and successful progress during the past 60 years than
in the entire cumulative previous history of Western medicine, from
Galen to the twentieth century.
Nevertheless, we do not yet have the answers to all medical questions,
and in some significant areas we are hardly better informed about human
behavior and medical practice than were ancient and medieval practitioners.
Medicine remains an art, and tracing back the history of this art can
help us better understand the processes of discovery and treatment.
Let us take one example, the problem of diet and health. Obesity has
recently been recognized as one of the scourges of modern times, with
little overall consensus as to how one should understand and act upon the
issues involved. According to one expert, our modern ideas of diet were
developed and promoted after the Second World War by the American
Heart Association, based upon studies comparing cholesterol and heart
attack rates in countries around the world. The research concluded that
high levels of fat in modern diets were specifically responsible for obesity
and heart disease, and recommended a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.1
After a low-fat diet did not have the anticipated effect, new diets were
introduced to improve health and reduce obesity, one requiring total fat
restriction while another recommended exactly the opposite, a high-fat
low-carbohydrate diet. Subsequent studies embraced contradictory
advice, advocating diets based upon a theory of “good” and “bad” fats as
well as “good” and “bad” carbohydrates (Agatston 2003: 16–21).
Our modern scientific world dispenses a great deal of confusing information
about health and prevention of disease, which is a trait modern
medicine shares with its ancient counterpart. Moreover, diets and trendy
medications tend to be the obsessions of wealthier classes in society, and
this situation hardly differs from antiquity, when the best medical advice
was only on offer to those patients who could afford the costly services.
When we turn to ancient Babylonian medicine, one question often
asked is whether any part of Babylonian medicine was actually effective.
Did it work? We have hundreds of drugs cited in Babylonian medical
recipes, in addition to long lists of plants and minerals used for medicinal
purposes, often with descriptions of the drugs and of the diseases for
which they could be used. We have no idea, however, how such data was
compiled, since there were no clinical trials. How would ancient physicians
know which plants were effective against which diseases? We can
surmise that plants were identified over a very long period, perhaps
going back to Neolithic times, and the use of such plants was determined
by a hit-or-miss means of trying something to see what happens, and
then keeping careful records of the results. The crucial point was to
remember, later on, if the drug seemed to work.
One redeeming feature of Babylonian medicine is the lack of surgery,
because of the substantial risks involved. Almost all Babylonian
medical texts are limited to pharmacological preparations administered
mostly as potions, salves, ointments, fumigations, or suppositories.
Surgery would have been dangerous without either proper
antiseptics or anesthesia, nor is there any firm evidence from Babylonia
of bloodletting. For this reason, the Babylonian physician probably
caused less harm to his patient than his later colleagues in medieval

Dissection and Disease Taxonomy
As we go back in time, the relationship between magic and medicine
alters considerably, although not fundamentally. The technological basis
for what we know as modern medicine has a long and tedious history,
which actually made precious little advancement over many centuries.
The major breakthrough leading to a scientific understanding of medicine
came relatively late, in the fifteenth century, with dissection of the
human body providing more precise knowledge of human anatomy.
Meanwhile, autopsies were primarily an academic exercise, carried out
exceptionally by some noted Greek physicians in Alexandria in the third
century BC (von Staden 1998: 52). There are various practical reasons
why the taboo of cutting open the human body was usually observed,
even by Galen. First, before the invention of rubber gloves, dissection
could have been dangerous since the researcher could easily contract a
disease which had been the patient’s cause of death (see Geller 2007:
187f.). Second, religious taboos no doubt played an important role,
since disfiguring the human body was thought to have affected how the
soul might appear in the afterlife. In Homer, for instance, the soldier in
Hades is seen with his battle scars (Bernstein 1993: 30, 65). Apart from
the taboo itself, the most probable reason for the lack of interest in
dissection in ancient and medieval medicine was the fact that knowledge
of internal anatomy did not actually help in healing the patient. Knowing
where the organs were located and how the blood circulated were important
discoveries in themselves, but how did one convert this knowledge
into effective treatment?
It is not particularly easy to classify diseases within Babylonian medicine,
although they fall generally within similar categories in Hippocratic
medicine. Some diseases are simply associated with parts of the body,
such as head disease, tooth disease, eye disease, nose disease, even foot
disease, as well as kidney disease and anus disease. Baldness was treated
as a disease. There are varieties of skin diseases, including rashes and
pocks, as well as leprosy-like conditions affecting the nose and mouth,
but it is impossible to diagnose these conditions according to modern
disease terminology.
A major development in understanding disease only came with the
discovery of morbid anatomy in the eighteenth century in Padua and at
St George’s Hospital, London, where physicians began to realize that
autopsies after diagnosis could provide important clues to diagnosing
disease correctly (Porter 1997: 263f.). It took centuries, however, for this
idea to develop from the days of Egyptian mummification, which was the
last period when dissections were carried out on a regular basis as part
of embalming, or from third-century BC Alexandria, where a few Greek
physicians practiced vivisection on prisoners.
What this effectively means is that ancient and medieval medicine
had much in common, and that the fundamental relationship between
doctor and patient remained fairly constant over the centuries. The relationship
between magic and medicine – the psychological and technical
approaches to healing – was always present and was constantly evolving.
We will see that although real technological advancement in medicine
was slow in developing, knowledge about disease and healing improved
over time, and theories about disease and healing were changing as well.
Not every new idea is an advancement or an improvement on what
came before, but the complex relationship between magic and medicine
is usually affected by new theories of healing, or even by skepticism
towards accepted theories.
Another factor determining how magic and medicine relate to each
other is the complex relationship between doctor and patient, in the
ancient world as in our own society. Within Mesopotamia, there is much
we do not know about this relationship. Was the doctor paid, and how
much? What was his status within society? Would men and women be
treated by the same doctor? Was medical help readily available? How
many doctors were there within a community, or was medicine only
available to the royal household and those closely associated with either
the palace or temple? Although there is much here that we would like to
know but will probably never know, it is possible to make some reasonable
assumptions based upon the data which we have. But first, it is
important to clarify the nature of our sources.


Table of Contents
List of Illustrations viii
List of Abbreviations x
Acknowledgments xii
Introduction to Babylonian Medicine and Magic 1

1 Medicine as Science 11
2 Who Did What to Whom? 43
3 The Politics of Medicine 56
4 Medicine as Literature 89
5 Medicine and Philosophy 118
6 Medical Training: MD or PhD? 130
7 Uruk Medical Commentaries 141
8 Medicine and Magic as Independent Approaches to Healing 161

Appendix: An Edition of a Medical Commentary 168
Notes 177
References 202
Subject Index 211
Selective Index of Akkadian and Greek Words 217
Index of Akkadian Personal Names 220


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