Hebrew and Babylonian Ideas of GodDie biblische und die babylonische Gottesidee: Die israelitische Gottesauffassung im Lichte der altorientalischen Religionsgeschichte. D. Johannes Hehn

George A. Barton
1913 The American Journal of Theology  
At last we have a thorough scientific comparison of the most fundamental conception in Israel's religion with the similar conceptions in Babylonia.' Such a comparison has been a desideratum since the publication of Delitzsch's Babel und Bibel lecture ten years ago. That event was followed by several pan-Babylonian claims of different sortsclaims which have met with varying degrees of popularity. No one with adequate knowledge of the Babylonian sources and equal knowledge of Old Testament
more » ... s has, however, until now made a careful and unprejudiced comparison of the idea of God in the literature of the two peoples. Professor Hehn's book does this and thus supplies a real need. Chap. i, pp. 1-15, is devoted to the fundamental conception of the Babylonians concerning the nature of deity, where it is found that the Babylonian gods are nature gods, connected with the sun, moon, or stars (but most of them with the sun), with plant-life, or with storms. Chap. ii, pp. 16-102, deals with the attitude of the Babylonian religion toward monotheism. With monotheism in view, the author examines the conceptions of the principal Babylonian gods, Anu, Enlil-Bel, Ea, Sin, Shamash, Ishtar, Marduk, Nebo, Tammuz, Ningirsu-Ninib, Nergal, Ramman-Adad, and Ashur. It appears that in a later time Marduk was conceived as being all and possessing all which the other gods singly possess and are. In him were thought to be united the peculiarities of the different gods. Marduk was exalted high above them all. Under such circumstances one would expect to find Marduk alone honored and the other gods falling into the background. It would be only a step for men to say, "Marduk alone is god and there is no other god near him." But Hehn finds that it never occurred to them to take this step, so that this is not a real monotheism. Adadnirari IV says of Nebo, "In him trust and beside him trust no other god!" This is the nearest approach to the intolerance inherent in real monotheism that the worshiper of any Mesopotamian god makes, but we have no evidence that Adadnirari IV carried it out. Indeed we have abundant evidence in his inscriptions that he continued to worship the national god Ashur. A hymn to the Die biblische und die babylonische Gottesidee: die israelitiscke Gottesauffassung im Lichte der altorientalischen Religionsgeschichte. Von D. Johannes Hehn. Leipzig: Hinrichs, I913. xii+436 pages. M. io. 417 This content downloaded from 138.073.001.
doi:10.1086/479213 fatcat:5teigffqi5cfroewsu34lcfage