OIS 6. Divination and Interpretation of Signs in the Ancient World Amar Annus, ed.

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The concept of sign, a portent observed in the physical world, which indicates future events, is found in all ancient cultures, but was first developed in ancient Mesopotamian texts. This branch of Babylonian scientific knowledge extensively influenced other parts of the world, and similar texts written in Aramaic, Sanscrit, Sogdian, and other languages. These papers are based on talks presented at the seminar Science and Superstition: Interpretation of Signs in the Ancient World, held March 6-7, 2009, and investigate how much we know about the Babylonian theory and hermeneutics of omens and the scope of their possible influences on other cultures and regions.

Table of Contents:

  1. Amar Annus. On the Beginnings and Continuities of the Mesopotamian Omen Sciences
  2. Francesca Rochberg. ‘If P, then Q’: Toward a Theory of Signs in Babylonian Divination
  3. James Allen. Greek Philosophy and Signs
  4. Ulla Susanne Koch. Three Strikes and You're Out! A View on Cognitive Theory and the First-Millennium Extispicy Ritual
  5. Edward L. Shaughnessy. Arousing Images: The Poetry of Divination and the Divination of Poetry in Early China
  6. Niek Veldhuis. The Theory of Knowledge and the Practice of Celestial Divination
  7. Eckart Frahm. Reading the Tablet, the Exta, and the Body: The Hermeneutics of Cuneiform Signs in Babylonian and Assyrian Text Commentaries and Divinatory Texts
  8. Scott B. Noegel. "Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign": Script, Power, and Interpretation in the Ancient Near East
  9. Nils Heeßel. The Calculation of the Stipulated Term in Extispicy
  10. Abraham Winitzer. The Divine Presence and Its Interpretation in Early Mesopotamian Divination
  11. Barbara Böck. Physiognomy in Ancient Mesopotamia and Beyond: From Practice to Handbook
  12. Seth Richardson. On Seeing and Believing: Liver Divination and the Era of Warring States
  13. Cynthia Jean. Divination and Oracles at the Neo-Assyrian Palace: The Importance of Signs in Royal Ideology
  14. JoAnn Scurlock. Prophecy as a Form of Divination; Divination as a Form of Prophecy: New Light on Sennacherib at Jerusalem and Nahum
  15. John Jacobs. Traces of the Omen Series Shumma izbu in Cicero's De divinatione
  16. Martti Nissinen. Response from a Biblical Scholar: Prophecy and Divination
  • Oriental Institute Seminars 6
  • Chicago: The Oriental Institute, 2010
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-885923-68-4
  • Pp. viii + 352; 10 figures, 1 table
  • $27.95