Essay about Ancient Near Eastern Thought

Words: 3636
Pages: 15

Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament (Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible)

Introduction Using contemporary studies as the foundation of his research John Walton reviews the ancient and Near Eastern and Israelite cognitive context. He provides guidance for students and general public to have a wider understanding and expand their knowledge of today’s culture, and historical culture interacts with the ancient world culture. In doing so, he tries to balance all audiences though examining artifacts to assist the individual’s understanding through these artifacts about both the historical prospective and culture and the parallel with the Bible.
Summary of Book The book is divided into five parts. Part 1,
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Each of these cultural texts is summarized, ranging from the Eridu Genesis to Nineteenth Dynasty Egyptian love poetry. The selections are all annotated so readers can easily find copies of the texts under discussion. In summary, Part 2 is also a fine survey of ancient Near Eastern literature, but it could have benefited from having excerpts from each of the examples of literature listed. Since the summary of literature only includes a précis of each selection, readers will still need to have access either to original sources or to other works.
Part 3 – Religion
Chapter 4 –The Gods
John Walton wrote:
It would be difficult to discuss with ancients the concept of divine intervention, because in their worldview deity was too integrated into the cosmos to intervene in it. For the most part deity is on the inside not the outside. All experience was (is) religious experience. All law was spiritual in nature, all duties were duties to gods; all events had deity as their cause. Life was "religion" & "religion" could not be compartmentalized within life. Pg 87 On pages 94-95, Walton details Yahwehʼs council, i.e., the references in the Old Testament to a “court” of heavenly beings (Pss 29, 82, 89; 1 Kings 22; Gen 1:26; 3:22; 11:7). He does a very nice job in laying out succinctly the data and the general issues. Several ideas, concepts and comments parked some interest to me as a student, for example: “From the Old Testament itself, it would be clear that the