By Norman Cohn
During this engrossing ebook, the writer of the vintage paintings The Pursuit of the Millennium investigates the origins of apocalyptic religion - the idea in an ideal destiny, whilst the forces of excellent are positive over the forces of evil. Norman Cohn takes us again thousand years to the realm perspectives of old Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India, the ideas of Iranian and Jewish prophets and sages, and the earliest Christian imaginings of heaven on the earth, and he illuminates a big turning aspect within the historical past of human awareness. For this moment, corrected version, the ultimate bankruptcy, on Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians, has been completely rewritten and prolonged.
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Extra resources for Cosmos, Chaos, and the World to Come: The Ancient Roots of Apocalyptic Faith
Their object was always the same: to enable the deceased to emerge from the tomb and to evade the various traps and pitfalls that punctuated the route to the next world. But magic was not everything. In order to qualify one must have worshipped Osiris, and one must have lived one's life in accord with rna 'at. It was believed that at death a person had to face a trial, with judges (commonly Osiris himself, with some forty-two assistant judges), counsel for the prosecution and the defence, witnesses, even a clerk of the court (commonly the god Thoth).
Immediately below An and Enlil were the god Enki (Akkadian Ea) - the patron god of Eridu - and the goddess Ninhursaga. Enki's responsibility was to implement the decisions of An and Enlil, to organise the world like a city-state and to keep it in good working order. Closely associated with sweet water, he instituted the regime of the Tigris and Euphrates, appointed a god to look after the canals and another to ensure that the marshes were kept stocked with fish and reeds. He also organised the rains and put yet another god in charge of them.
The columns of the temple, with the capitals shaped to recall palms or lotus-flowers or reeds, represented the abundant vegetation of the island landscape. Some temple walls also have reliefs at their base showing plants, which seem to be growing from the very soil. So a new temple was regarded as representing the original reed shrine - and as possessing the same vast magical power as that. Just as the primordial hillock had been an island of order surrounded by an ocean of chaos, so in the world beyond the temple precincts chaotic forces were still active.