Transcendent Occultation of the Divine in Neo-Babylonian Art [VIDEO]

Posted in: ASOR, ASORTV
Tags: annual meeting, ASOR, ASORTV, Constance Gane, Mesopotamia, Neo-Babylonian
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2014-AM-Blog-Banner1At the 2014 ASOR Annual Meeting in San Diego, Constance Gane chaired the Archaeology of Mesopotamia session. This session had submissions in all areas illuminated by archaeology that relate to the material, social, religious culture, history and international relations, and texts of ancient Mesopotamia. Still though, she found time to sit down with ASORtv and read a paper she presented the year before at the 2013 ASOR Annual Meeting. You can view her presentation and paper abstract below.

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Abstract from the 2013 Annual Meeting Program book.

This study investigates the contribution of provenanced Neo- Babylonian iconographic depictions of composite beings, commonly referred to by the term Mischwesen, toward understanding the ideology of the Neo-Babylonians. Most basic is the function of portrayals as metaphors for supernatural beings, with hybrid body parts representing various attributes. Patterns emerging from the data illuminate the nature of the cosmos and the degree to which its elements are interconnected, including the respective loci of composite beings in the cosmic community. Some members of this community are readily accessible to the Babylonians, while others are more remote. By contrast with direct anthropomorphic portrayal of certain high gods in the preceding period, Neo-Babylonian depiction of these deities through their symbols and attribute animals, including hybrids, conveys a sense of occultation: withdrawal of these beings to greater transcendence, which evokes a heightened sense of reverential awe.


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