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Ancient Near Eastern Mythology

Discover the great myths of the ancient Near East, the region bound by Egypt and the Mediterranean in the west, Iran in the east, Anatolia in the north, and the Arabian peninsula in the south.
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Overview

The ancient myths of the Near East are the foundation stones of both Western and Middle Eastern cultures. These stories originate in the period before the development of writing systems and tell how people made sense of the world through tales of gods, animals, men, women, and combined human/divine beings. These myths—among them the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Descent of Ishtar to the Netherworld, the Babylonian Creation Epic, the Tale of Innana—have great literary merit and reveal much about the development of historical writing and the evolution of religious systems. You study the myths and cultures of Egypt, Sumer, the Hittites, Ugarit, Assyria, and Babylon. You concentrate on the relationship between Ancient Near Eastern myth and biblical accounts.

About

Shalom L. Goldman

INSTITUTION

Emory University

Shalom L. Goldman is an Associate Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature in the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies at Emory University. He completed his undergraduate work at New York University and received his M.A. from Columbia University. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in the study of Hebrew and Ancient Near Eastern texts from New York University. Prior to taking his position at Emory, Professor Goldman taught at Dartmouth College. He has been a visiting professor at Brown, Case Western, and Ohio State. At both Dartmouth and Emory, Dr. Goldman has received awards for distinguished undergraduate teaching. In 2002 he was recognized by the Emory chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for his contribution to excellence in undergraduate education. Professor Goldman is the editor of Hebrew and the Bible in America, and the author of God's Sacred Tongue: Hebrew and the American Imagination. Dr. Goldman also worked with American composer Philip Glass to create the opera Akhnaten.

Studying Ancient Near Eastern Myth

01: Studying Ancient Near Eastern Myth

Studying Ancient Near Eastern Myth

33 min
The Emergence of Civilization in the Near East

02: The Emergence of Civilization in the Near East

The Emergence of Civilization in the Near East

30 min
Hittites and Canaanites

03: Hittites and Canaanites

Hittites and Canaanites

30 min
Archaeology, Science, and Ideology

04: Archaeology, Science, and Ideology

Archaeology, Science, and Ideology

30 min
Principles of Writing Systems

05: Principles of Writing Systems

Principles of Writing Systems

30 min
Literary and Religious Aspects of Myth

06: Literary and Religious Aspects of Myth

Literary and Religious Aspects of Myth

30 min
Ancient Near Eastern Myths and the Bible

07: Ancient Near Eastern Myths and the Bible

Ancient Near Eastern Myths and the Bible

30 min
The Ancient Gods—Egypt and Mesopotamia

08: The Ancient Gods—Egypt and Mesopotamia

The Ancient Gods—Egypt and Mesopotamia

30 min
The Ancient Gods—Syria/Canaan

09: The Ancient Gods—Syria/Canaan

The Ancient Gods—Syria/Canaan

30 min
The Creation Myths of Egypt and Mesopotamia

10: The Creation Myths of Egypt and Mesopotamia

The Creation Myths of Egypt and Mesopotamia

30 min
Epics of the Gods—Syria/Canaan

11: Epics of the Gods—Syria/Canaan

Epics of the Gods—Syria/Canaan

31 min
The Epic of Gilgamesh, Part One

12: The Epic of Gilgamesh, Part One

The Epic of Gilgamesh, Part One

30 min
The Epic of Gilgamesh, Part Two

13: The Epic of Gilgamesh, Part Two

The Epic of Gilgamesh, Part Two

30 min
Myths of Death and Destruction, Part One

14: Myths of Death and Destruction, Part One

Myths of Death and Destruction, Part One

30 min
Myths of Death and Destruction, Part Two

15: Myths of Death and Destruction, Part Two

Myths of Death and Destruction, Part Two

30 min
The Individual and Society—Legal Texts

16: The Individual and Society—Legal Texts

The Individual and Society—Legal Texts

30 min
The Individual and Society—Myth and Legend

17: The Individual and Society—Myth and Legend

The Individual and Society—Myth and Legend

30 min
Love, Lust, and Poetry

18: Love, Lust, and Poetry

Love, Lust, and Poetry

30 min
Marriage, Divorce, and Other Arrangements

19: Marriage, Divorce, and Other Arrangements

Marriage, Divorce, and Other Arrangements

30 min
Kingship and the Gods

20: Kingship and the Gods

Kingship and the Gods

30 min
Royal Historians, Poets, and Artists—Mesopotamia

21: Royal Historians, Poets, and Artists—Mesopotamia

Royal Historians, Poets, and Artists—Mesopotamia

30 min
A Royal Couple—Myth and Reality

22: A Royal Couple—Myth and Reality

A Royal Couple—Myth and Reality

30 min
Royal Historians, Poets, and Artists—Egypt

23: Royal Historians, Poets, and Artists—Egypt

Royal Historians, Poets, and Artists—Egypt

29 min
Wisdom Literature; Conclusions

24: Wisdom Literature; Conclusions

Wisdom Literature; Conclusions

30 min

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