Originally published as the Hibbert Lectures of 1887, this series of essays covers more than the title suggests. The work of an early explorer of Assyriology, this book traces many of the more familiar motifs and themes from ancient religion back to the ancient Babylonians.
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-59333-740-7
Publication Status: In Print
Publication Date: Mar 6,2009
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 550
Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion was the work of one of the pioneering Assyriologists of the nineteenth century, A. H. Sayce. Sayce was famous for his lectures, and his volume comprises what had been delivered as the Hibbert Lectures of 1887. Always interested in the culture of ancient Assyria and Babylonia, Sayce begins his observations with the historical background of ancient Iraq and its connection with ancient Israel. The second lecture is devoted to Bel-Merodach of Babylon, followed by a discussion of the gods of Babylonia. Narrowing the discussion down, he comes to perhaps the two most famous deities from ancient Babylon, Tammuz and Ishtar, making comparison with Prometheus and suggesting a kind of totemism. Sayce examines the sacred books of Chaldaea, comparing them to the Rig Veda. The cosmogonies, stories of the creation of the cosmos, wind down the collection. The sweep of the lectures is amazing when the reader realizes that many of these ideas were fresh and original with Sayce. Containing six appendices, this volume is a reprint of the fourth edition.
Archibald Henry Sayce (1845-1933) was a renowned Assyriologist, linguist, and sometime archaeologist. Educated at Queens College, Oxford, Sayce eventually came to hold the Professorship of Assyriology at Oxford. A prolific writer, he is responsible for many of the insights taken for granted by scholars today. Sayce, for example, was the first to suggest that the Hittites had been a major empire in ancient Anatolia (what is now Turkey). He was also a clergyman in the Church of England.