Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Titel:
Dictionary of philosophy and psychology including many of the principal conceptions of ethics, logics, aesthetics ... and giving a terminology in English, French, German and Italian, vol. 2 [lead-zwing]
Person:
Baldwin, James Mark
PURL:
https://digitalesammlungen.uni-weimar.de/viewer/image/lit29448/245/
ORIENTAL PHILOSOPHY 
Ramman (‘the thunderer’), god of rain and 
storm. But under Hammurabi (about 2250 
b.c.) Babylon rises into political pre-eminence, 
and its local deity Marduk, already named in 
early texts, with the function of god of the 
spring-sun, is consequently elevated to the 
loftiest place. Day by day he rises out of 
the ocean, and so is the son of Ea, and he 
brings to light the hidden wisdom which lay 
in the mysteries of the deep. Year by year 
he wakens the dead to life, and in his 
character of ‘ the merciful ’ he heals the sick, 
sets free the prisoner, and protects the weak. 
Not only is lie first-born and leader of the 
gods, he is lord of lords, ruler of the world, 
whose will heaven and earth obey. Accord¬ 
ingly, in one of the great cosmogonic myths, 
he is the creator; and he is even called ‘god 
of gods ’ (Sayce, Hibbert Lectures, 501). Not 
even the rise of Assyria into empire (about 
1400 b. c.), and the advent of its great god 
Ashur to power, overthrew his influence, for 
the monarchs of Nineveh sometimes made 
pilgrimage to Babylon. Asbur, indeed, was 
regarded by the theologians on the Tigris as 
lord of the world and maker of the earth. 
He typifies the political unity of the empire 
over which he presides. The other gods are 
little more than members of his court, the 
land bears his name, and the king’s enemies 
are his foes. He is king of all gods, even 
‘ father ’ who has created them (Sayce, Hibbert 
Lectures, 128). Most striking of all, he is self- 
existent, for he is ‘ the creator of himself.’ 
But with the fall of Nineveh in 608 b.c. 
Ashur passes, and Marduk reappears in 
supremacy, so that Bel, Sin, Ramman, &c., 
even sometimes find their functions trans¬ 
ferred to him. Marduk almost, if not quite, 
reaches the elevation of Amun-Ra in Egypt ; 
but the Babylonian thinkers never formulated 
the Egyptian conception of continuity through 
change and renewal. 
The early cosmogonic speculations were 
finally embodied in a ‘ creation epic,’ which 
opens a series of poems in honour of Marduk. 
Before heaven and earth were named, when 
no god yet lived, there were only the heaving 
waters of the deep. The deep is personified 
as Tiâmat (equivalent to T’hôm, Gen. i. 2), 
primaeval mother of heaven and earth. By 
a kind of evolutionary process the first pair 
of gods, Lakhmu and Lakhamu, are ‘built’ 
out of the chaos, and from them after many 
days two more, Anshar and Kishar, the male 
and female principles of heaven and earth. 
Then follow Anu, Bel, and Ea, and in due 
course Ea’s son Marduk. Tiâmat dreads the 
growing power of the gods, and prepares for 
a great struggle by producing a brood of 
monsters to defend her. The elder gods are 
powerless for the conflict ; Anu and Ea fail ; 
but Marduk, installed as king, advances 
armed with the weapons of the storm, and 
attended by seven fatal winds. Tiâmat is 
caught in his net and slain; Marduk splits 
her gigantic carcase into two parts like a 
flattened fish, and one half is made into 
a covering for the heavens to hold back the 
waters. The earth is then constructed as 
a hollow hemisphere beneath the upper vault, 
spanning the great deep ; the districts of the 
mighty Three—Anu, Bel, Ea—are marked out, 
and the courses of the heavenly bodies are fixed. 
The tablet describing the origin of the human 
race has not been preserved, but at the close 
of the series the children of men are enjoined 
not to forget Marduk, ‘ who created mankind 
out of kindness towards them, the merciful 
one with whom is the power of giving life.’ 
As might be expected with a people so 
observant of the heavens, the cosmologie 
speculations are pervaded by a strong sense 
of law and order, connected in particular 
with Sin (the moon-god) and Shamash (the 
sun), the latter especially being ethicized as 
‘ the judge of the land, and the arbiter of its 
laws.’ The Babylonian pantheon does not 
present any exact equivalent to the Egyptian 
Maât, but the Thoth of the Nile finds a 
counterpart in the Mesopotamian prophet-god 
Nabu, ‘ proclaimer ’ or ‘ herald.’ He is the im¬ 
personation of wisdom ; son of Marduk, in the 
later theological system, he is ilu tashmît-u, 
‘ god of revelation (causing to hear).’ So he 
is the god of inspiration, and the source of 
science and literature. In this capacity 
Tashmit-um (feminine abstract) becomes his 
consort. And in virtue of the sovereignty of 
thought Nabu becomes for Nebuchadrezzar 
‘ the upholder of the world,’ ‘ the general 
overseer,’ and his temple is ‘ the house of 
the sceptre of the world.’ It is the mytho¬ 
logical expression of the first principle of 
philosophy. 
Literature : a very careful bibliography will 
be found in Jastrow’s Religion of Babylonia 
and Assyria (Boston, 1898). 
III. Persia. Neither the Egyptian nor 
the Babylonian religion has any present 
representatives. But the followers of Zoro¬ 
aster, known as Parsees in Western India, 
still preserve the sacred books in which the 
ancient teaching is embodied. First brought 
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