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Sın, the deity of wisdom, the 'lord of knowledge,' and a divinity of light adored throughout Babylonia, was the ancient Sumerian moon-god and a member of the second triad of cosmic deities. He was called the son of Bêl (Enlil of Nippur) and was the patron of Ur, at the mouth of the Euphrates, where he was worshipped as Nannar ('Furnisher of Light') at his famous temple, E-gishshirgal (“House of Light'), although his cult was most celebrated at Harran, where he was termed Bêl-Harran.107 He was an oracle-god, though second, in this aspect, to Shamash, and was an ancient divine physician, his name occurring in many incantation-texts, usually in a secondary capacity as supporting other divinities in their demand for exorcism and for the departure of the demons of disease. 108
107 Jastrow, Religion, pp. 75, 76, 78. 108 Neuberger und Pagel, loc. cit.
THE HEALING GODS OF THE PAGAN SEMITES
OF THE WEST
PART I: GENERAL SURVEY
ITTLE is known of the views of the Phænicians and
other Pagan West-Semites concerning disease;
and the only survivals of their practices of healing are a few general facts which indicate that their methods were essentially theurgic in character.
The Semites of the West and their records. Active in manufacture and commerce, and bold in seafaring, the Phænicians, of whom we are least ignorant in the present connection, were skilled craftsmen; and their enterprise in carrying their wares, their arts, and their sciences to the farthermost parts of the world then known made them rich and powerful. Peacefully inclined, however, they became a prey to other nations, who conquered them, levied heavy tributes upon them, and held them in subjection, so that, from prehistoric times, they were dominated in turn by Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome. All records of their national life and of their religious beliefs and customs have disappeared, except the fragments of the writings of Mochos the Sidonian and Sanchuniathon, which are regarded as apocryphal in their present form,' and inscriptions on monuments and tablets which have been found in the ruins of their towns and temples. These remains, supplemented by comparative studies of similar neighboring peoples of the same epoch, the records of Assyro-Babylonia and Egypt, and the comments of the writers of the later period of Greece and of Rome, form the fragmentary and imperfect material upon which the existing outlines of Phænician beliefs, practices, and general civilization have been constructed.
1 Cooke, A Text-Book of North-Semitic Inscriptions, p. xviii, note.
The Phænicians and their deities. The Phænicians, like other members of the Semitic race, exhibited a strong inclination toward religion. The gods of their pantheon represented the various powers of nature; the sky, the earth, and every important object was animated by a divinity. There were celestial deities with cosmic attributes, and there were terrestrial, tribal, departmental, and adopted foreign gods, to say nothing of compound divinities, such as Eshmun-Astart, or Melqart-Resheph, new deities who formed individual traits; Shemesh was the sun-god; Yeraḥ, the lunar deity; Resheph, the divinity of lightning; and 'Anath, the goddess of war. Some of the deities had been brought to Phænicia by the early immigrants, but more had been transplanted by their conquerors or had been adopted from other nations as they severally exercised a dominating influence on or intermingled with the people, among the more prominent of these being Shamash and Nergal of Assyro-Babylonia; Osiris, Isis, Ubastet, and Bes of Egypt; and Aphrodite, Dionysos, Helios, Asklepios, and Poseidon of Greece. After the conquest of Alexander the Great, the relations between Phænicia and Greece became very close, and many elements of Hellenic religious life mingled with those of Phænicia, especially the identification of deities with the adoption of Greek names.
The nature of their gods. The generic West-Semitic name for 'god' was ēl, and