Mesopotamian Religions - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Religion

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General Presentations

The earliest attempt at a comprehensive presentation of ancient Mesopotamian religions is François Lenormant's La magie chez les Chaldéens et les origines accadiennes (1874). Lenormant posited an early Sumerian (then called Akkadian) animistic stage of belief in spirits that were controlled by magicians. Contrasting with this was the religion of the Semitic inhabitants (now called Akkadians), a debased form of monotheism in which hypostases of the supreme god, called Ilu, had become separate powers in natural phenomena, especially astral phenomena. These two competing kinds of beliefs were eventually unified into a single system under Sargon of Akkad, whom Lenormant dated at about 2000 BCE. Part of this systematization included the ordering of local deities into the later pantheon.

The next major contribution to the study of Mesopotamian religions, and one of a wider scope, was A. H. Sayce's Lectures on the...

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This section contains 3,719 words
(approx. 13 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Mesopotamian Religions Encyclopedia Article
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Mesopotamian Religions from Encyclopedia of Religion. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.