aspects of religious belief and practice in babylonia and assyria

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria LECTURE I CULTURE AND RELIGION FIFTY or sixty years ago the task of a lecturer called upon to deliver a course of six lectures on the religion of Babylonia and Assyria would have been comparatively simple. He could have told all that was known or that he knew in a single lecture, and could have devoted the remaining lectures to what he did not know—an innocent form of intellectual amusement, sometimes indulged in by lecturers of all times. During the past five or six decades, however, the material for the study has grown to such an extent that it is no longer possible, even were it desirable, to present the entire subject in a single course of lectures.1 It is my purpose, therefore, in 1 This full treatment has already been furnished by the authorthe present course to restrict myself to setting forth the more salient features in the beliefs and practices of a religion of antiquity that well merits the designation—remarkable. Its great age is of itself sufficient to call forth respect and interest. Although the civilisation that once flourished in the region of the Euphrates and Tigris is not so ancient as not many years ago it was fondly supposed to be by scholars whose enthusiasm outran their judgment,1 yet we may safely say that three thousand years before our era, civilisation and religion in the Euphrates Valley had reached a high degree of development. At that remote period some of the more important centres had already passed the zenith of their glory. Since thecourseof civilisation in this region flowed from south to north, it follows that the cities of the south are older than those of the northern part of the valley; and this assumption is fully confirmed by the results of excavations, as wel...
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