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1014Re: [ANE-2] Parpola & the Assyrian Tree

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  • Tomas Marik
    Apr 5, 2006
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      > Victor Hurowitz wrote:

      >>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.
      >The problem is that unless there is explicit evidence showing that the
      >stylized trees from outside of the Bible some how give life, there is no
      >reason to impose this function on them.

      Appart from its name, how does the "Tree of Life" in Genesis "some how give

      >That having been said, I can think
      >of two basic types of stylized trees: 1) trees which are being tended by
      >genies or divine creatures either with or with out the well known bucket
      >and cone;

      Obviously not a pine cone, since they seem to have always a regular grid on the
      reliefs. Rather the flower clusters of a male date palm, which has been pointed
      out already by Felix von Luschan in 1912 (Entstehung der Ionischen Säule,
      Leipzig == Der Alte Orient 4, esp. p. 27) and reinvented by B. Neveling Porter
      in her JNES article (no. 52 from 1993). So the reliefs would show a way of
      pollinating date palms that is still being used. BTW, the Akkadian verb for
      this is raka:bu.

      >2) trees which seem to be being eaten by animals. The later type
      >of representation would be the type of evidence I look for so that I can
      >call the trees "tree of life", although in any case I would proceed

      I would be even more cautious. As I said, "tree of life", if used as a
      technical term does not need to be connected with life at all. I've opened
      Eliade's Traité, the reprinted 1949 edition, the relevant chapter is "La
      végétation. Symboles et rites de renouvellement" on pp. 229-309. There he has
      an "Essai de classification" with seven groups: arbre microcosme, arbre image
      du Cosmos, arbre-théophanie cosmique, arbre symbole de la vie, arbre centre du
      monde, liens mystique entres arbres et hommes, arbre symbole de resurrection.
      There are no clear borders between the various types.

      >>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 think you made a mistake here and mean to say that "at least in Akkadian
      >and Ugaritic we DON'T have trees that are qd$, quddu$u".
      And what about `s. qd$ in the incantation RS 92.2014 and in Akkadian at
      least $e:p lemutti, 81-82.

      >That being the
      >case, then the term "sacred tree" is used only because they seem to be
      >objects of rituals or associated with recognizably divine creatures.

      And what about discussing the "tree of death" instead?

      Tomas Marik

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