In this brief study, Jeremias examines the representations of life after death in the Babylonian and Assyrian sources. The descent of Ishtar, basic concepts of the grave, descriptions of the afterlife and the realm of the blessed are all examined. The possibility of return from death and the biblical outlook on the subject are also part of the exploration.
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In this brief study, Jeremias examines the representations of life after death in the Babylonian and Assyrian sources. After his introductory remarks, he provides a text and translation, along with commentary, of the underworldly journey of Ishtar. General considerations of death and the grave follow this initial consideration. Jeremias then explores the underworld in its many facets – the world-mountain, differing names of the underworld, the deities and demons associated with it, and the place and its inhabitants. This thorough exploration is followed by a chapter on the climes of the blessed, the Mesopotamian conception of “heaven.” The final chapter of this booklet deals with the likelihood of being freed from the underworld. An afterword about the Old Testament outlook on life after death concludes this study. Useful for biblical scholars interested in the early Assyriological conceptions of the afterlife, this little study still has a contribution to make.
Alfred Karl Gabriel Jeremias (1864-1935) was a German Assyriologist at the University of Leipzig. He was a Lutheran pastor and he published the first German translation of the Gilgamesh Epic.