- Paperback: 273 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press; Revised ed. edition (September 10, 1978)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300022913
- ISBN-13: 978-0300022919
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #491,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion Revised ed. Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Jacobsen has a tendency to present speculation as fact--you wouldn't guess from reading this alone that many of his points are disputed--and the translations are a little stilted, at least to my ears. But his book goes a long way to turning the fragmentary evidence into a coherent philosophy of nature, humanity and the gods. Mesopotamian religion is often described as pessimistic; Jacobsen restores some of the awe, love and splendor that might have made it a convincing world view for thousands of people we'll never otherwise know.
This is a text of history of Mesopotamia in its own right. By the time history gets back this far, the lines become very blurred, rather like parallel lines intersecting on the horizon. Literature, religion, archaeology, sociology, psychology -- all of these disciplines become intertwined in Jacobsen's text as he looks at Sumerian society.
The book is organised with an introduction, then according to time divisions of fourth, third, and second millennia, then concludes with an epilogue into the first millennium, during which the Bible as we know it (and most ancient history such as is commonly known occurred) came to be.
Ancient Mesopotamian Religion: The Terms
The first chapter introduces basic concepts for doing religious studies of any historical era, as well as those specific to this text. Key concepts such as understanding the numinous, the confrontation with power not of this world, the use of metaphor and the importance and limitations on literalness are explored.Read more ›
As an introduction to Mesopotamian religions, Thorkild Jacobsen's Treasure of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion is exemplary primarily because of the author's background as an expert in the fields of Oriental philology and archeology. The book is full of prime source texts throughout, some of which are Jacobsen's own updated translations. Reading this as a student has been a broadening experience. This is due the fact that less is taken for granted because of the unusual amount of Semitic texts included. A fuller appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of this work shall be noted in its proper place after a full assessment of the material has been given.
II. Assessment: Content and Methodology.
(a) Content and Methodology.
Treasures of Darkness is ordered logically on a chronological pane and in addition to the religions themselves, it touches upon weighty issues of historical methodology in each successive section. Jacobsen starts with the fourth millennium, and each section thereafter deals with a successive millennium and its representative metaphors. According to Jacobsen, the metaphors are as follows: (1) the fourth millennium is represented by the Provider metaphor; (2) the third millennium with the Ruler metaphor; (3) the Second with a Parent metaphor alongside the Creation and Gilgamesh epics; (4) lastly, the first millennium with Warrior-King and Hero metaphors.
Before delving into the particulars of each epoch, he commences his treatment of the ancient Mesopotamian religions by identifying and clearly defining the terms "religion", "Mesopotamian" and "Ancient".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nice to be able to read the source material regarding Mesopotamia and the Annunaki.
Very interesting book.