In this course we will probe the distinct but related corpora of biblical and ancient Near Eastern “mythologies.” The focus will be on Mesopotamian literature (i.e., literary texts that are the products of ancient Iraq), though we will also examine biblical texts, particularly those that demonstrate influence from Mesopotamia. Both sets of texts shed light on the cultures that produced them, and we will explore how these texts both reveal and conceal aspects of their respective cultures. We will also consider the ways in which media (i.e., the physical material that scribes used to write these texts) and context (e.g., literary, religious, archaeological, social, etc.) contribute toward our understanding of this ancient material. Although our main focus will be on what these texts might have meant to their ancient audiences, we will also reflect on their continued influence on modern beliefs and perceptions.

Prerequisites: None