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Title: An examination of prayer and other techniques of plague aversion in the Hebrew Bible in the light of other ancient Near Eastern texts : a comparative study
Author: Crawford, J. D.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1997
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This dissertation examines the phenomenon of using prayer and other techniques to avert, remove, or transfer plague in the ancient Near East. The first chapter examines the phenomenon of divine-human communication and establishes a definition of prayer that is derived from ANE material. Theories concerning the origins and development of prayer are analysed and a definition of "plague prayer" is proposed. The second chapter examines specific narrative prayer texts in Exod. 32, Num. 14 and 2 Sam. 24 that deal with averting the wrath of Yahweh. A combination of text-critical, source-critical and literary-critical observations define the form and function of the prayers in their contexts. The second part of the chapter investigates some Mesopotamian and Hittite texts: The epic of Atra-Hasis, a series of incantation-prayers, and two versions of the Hittite plague prayers of Muršiliš II. A comparative analysis focuses on the structure of the prayers, their function in the narratives and the thematic elements within them used to communicate their message. The third chapter of the dissertation examines "non-prayer" techniques that are used in the ancient Near East to avert the anger of the gods or to relieve plague. In the Hebrew Bible the discussion includes the cultic role of the Levites, the half-shekel atonement payment, the Passover, the restoration of Sarah, the use of incense, the act of Phinehas, the Ark narrative, the account of the revenge of the Gibeonites and the use of divination. The Mesopotamian material examined includes the use of incense, three incantation series (Šurpu, Namburbi and Maqlû) for assuaging divine anger and the use of divination.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available