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Extra info for Akkadian Prayers and Hymns: An Introduction
In the attempt to answer these questions, the definition of prayer offered above will develop toward one that more suitably fits the Mesopotamian data. 22 In Mesopotamia there were a great many entities that were not human, though characterized anthropomorphically,23 and had powers that went well-beyond normal human capacity. 24 Humans could use ritual speech to communicate with all of these beings; descrip- 21 Although this point is a commonplace among social scientific and religious studies scholars, it seems to be resisted by ancient historians.
Let my penis be (lū) a (taut) harp string So that it will not slip out of her! 32 én: O Adad, canal inspector of heaven, son of Anu, Who gives oracular decisions for all people, the protector of the land, At your supreme command which cannot be opposed, And your faithful affirmation which cannot be altered, May NN son of NN, become stiff (limgug)33 for NN, daughter of NN, may he come into contact with (limḫaṣ), mount (lirkab), and penetrate (lišērib) (her)! 34 The second text begins with an invocation of a supra-human being; there are several honorific epithets and statements intended to glorify the deity; and the text concludes with a complex petition (note the four precatives) for the deity to act upon.
INTRODUCTION 11 ritual speech prayer praise Fig. , figurines or other items) before, during, and/or after the recitation of the verbal communication. For a variety of reasons, the descriptions of such practices may not be preserved with the texts to be recited and so may not be as easily identified. Nevertheless, attending to these other features—and therefore adjusting the definition of prayer in light of them—is important in order to avoid a truncated understanding of Mesopotamian prayer and praise.