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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Babylonian Oracle Questions
Lambert, W. G.

Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2007 pp. xiv + 216. $55.00

Description: The Babylonian tamitu texts are a corpus of questions addressed to the sun-god Shamash and the storm-god Adad jointly. Professional diviners were employed to put the questions with the appropriate rites and to formulate the wording correctly, since the only answer would be "yes" or "no." Thus the questions had to include a detailed exposition of the matter, and they open up intimate glances of things not otherwise available. Kings ask whether they should undertake a certain campaign, laying out a detailed plan of action. At the other end of the scale, a man wants to know whether his wife is telling him the truth. All tablets are of first millennium B.C. date, though some of the questions date from the second millennium B.C. Scribes copied out questions to serve as models for later use. In this volume W.G. Lambert has gathered together all the known material, including 54 tablets and fragments not previously published. All are given in cuneiform copy, transliteration, translation, with notes and an introduction. By far the greater part of this material has not been edited before.

Subjects: Ancient Near East, Mesopotamian Literature, Babylonian Literature, Literature

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Review by Frauke Weiershaeuser
Published 6/20/2010
Citation: Frauke Weiershaeuser, review of W. G. Lambert, Babylonian Oracle Questions, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2010).

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