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1000Re: [ANE-2] Parpola & the Assyrian Tree

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  • Tomas Marik
    Apr 4, 2006
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      Victor Hurowitz wrote:

      >Dear Thomas,
      >Just to clarify things, may I point out that although Parpola's first
      >article is called "The Assyrian Tree of Life", he states at the end of the
      >first paragraph "many scholars today prefer the more neutral term "sacred
      >tree" when referring to the Mesopotamian Tree". (JNES 52 p. 161). In the
      >rest of his article he refers to the Tree (capital T) or the Assyrian, or
      >the Mesopotamian Tree. In his article about Gilgamesh's name he speaks of
      >the "sacred tree". In any case, Parpola seems to steer clear of the "Tree of
      >Life" which, of course, is a biblical concept designating one of the two
      >trees in the Garden of Eden and serving metaphorically in some passages in
      >Proverbs, and should not be transferred outside the Bible and its
      >derivatives without specific warrant to do so.
      Dear Victor,

      I don't see any reason, why not borrow from the Bible, which actually
      has been done since long ago. "Tree of Life" sounds very good, "Sacred
      Tree" a little bit empty. What more, the Eden story is a nice example of
      demythologization, it destroys the common plot by explaining what the
      trees are good for, fresh from the beginning. This fits well into the
      terminology of the study of religions. On the other hand, at least in
      Akkadian and in Ugaritic we have trees that are qd$, quddu$u
      respectively, which is often being translated as "sacred". So I don't
      know, why "sacred tree" should be better.

      >I doubt that Parpola would claim that someone who ate from the
      >(Mesopotamian/Assyrian [Sacred]) Tree would live forever or be rejuvenated
      >or become young in his or her old age.
      I don't think it is impossible. By all means, the antithetical
      composition, their artificial composite nature, interchangebility with
      the king etc. clearly point to a comparable concept as the trees in the
      Garden of Eden. While we can doubt, whether the Assyrian artistic motiv
      was connected with any narrative at all, a connection with fertility,
      life and abundance can safely be proven.

      >Victor Hurowitz
      >Dept. of Bible, Archaeology and ANE Studies
      >Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
      >Beer-Sheva, Israel
      Tomas Marik
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