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Jealous Gods and Chosen People: The Mythology of the Middle East

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Here, David Leeming offers the first comprehensive narrative study of the mythology of the Middle East. Leeming offers an in-depth discussion of the mythology of the region, covering individual pantheons, cosmic myths, mythic heroes, and much more. He ranges from prehistoric figures such as the Mother Goddess of �atal H�y�k to Mesopotamian gods such as Marduk and mythic he Here, David Leeming offers the first comprehensive narrative study of the mythology of the Middle East. Leeming offers an in-depth discussion of the mythology of the region, covering individual pantheons, cosmic myths, mythic heroes, and much more. He ranges from prehistoric figures such as the Mother Goddess of �atal H�y�k to Mesopotamian gods such as Marduk and mythic heroes such as Gilgamesh, to the pantheon of Egyptian mythology, including the falcon-headed sky-sun god Horus and jackal-headed Anubis. The author also offers an illuminating exploration of the mythology of the three great monotheistic religions of the region: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In a provocative Epilogue, Leeming notes that fundamentalists in the area's three religions all see their way as the only way, forgetting that myths represent truths that are spiritual and philosophical--not historical events that can be used to justify acts of violence. With key maps, illustrations, bibliography, and index, Jealous Gods and Chosen People provides an inclusive, authoritative, and captivating account of a mythology that remains a potent--and often destructive--force in the world today.


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Here, David Leeming offers the first comprehensive narrative study of the mythology of the Middle East. Leeming offers an in-depth discussion of the mythology of the region, covering individual pantheons, cosmic myths, mythic heroes, and much more. He ranges from prehistoric figures such as the Mother Goddess of �atal H�y�k to Mesopotamian gods such as Marduk and mythic he Here, David Leeming offers the first comprehensive narrative study of the mythology of the Middle East. Leeming offers an in-depth discussion of the mythology of the region, covering individual pantheons, cosmic myths, mythic heroes, and much more. He ranges from prehistoric figures such as the Mother Goddess of �atal H�y�k to Mesopotamian gods such as Marduk and mythic heroes such as Gilgamesh, to the pantheon of Egyptian mythology, including the falcon-headed sky-sun god Horus and jackal-headed Anubis. The author also offers an illuminating exploration of the mythology of the three great monotheistic religions of the region: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In a provocative Epilogue, Leeming notes that fundamentalists in the area's three religions all see their way as the only way, forgetting that myths represent truths that are spiritual and philosophical--not historical events that can be used to justify acts of violence. With key maps, illustrations, bibliography, and index, Jealous Gods and Chosen People provides an inclusive, authoritative, and captivating account of a mythology that remains a potent--and often destructive--force in the world today.

30 review for Jealous Gods and Chosen People: The Mythology of the Middle East

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Jealous Gods and Chosen People is an anthropological look at the religions spawned in the Middle East beginning thousands of years ago. Leeming traces the Bronze Age mythologies of the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Hittites and Western Semites (whose descendents would spawn first Judaism and later Christianity and Islam), and ends with brief treatments of the mythological (as opposed to historical) aspects of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Throughout, Leeming highlights what these varied mythologi Jealous Gods and Chosen People is an anthropological look at the religions spawned in the Middle East beginning thousands of years ago. Leeming traces the Bronze Age mythologies of the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Hittites and Western Semites (whose descendents would spawn first Judaism and later Christianity and Islam), and ends with brief treatments of the mythological (as opposed to historical) aspects of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Throughout, Leeming highlights what these varied mythological traditions share, how they have interacted and borrowed from each other over the millennia. He provides a very compelling picture of modern monotheistic religions as inheriting and interpolating the ancient pagan religions of the Mesopotamians, et al. He demonstrates quite clearly how Judaism, Christianity and Islam share far more than they do not and laments the state of contention among these religions that has reigned in the area for centuries down to today. Moreover, he ties these land conflicts to the fact that modern people insist on reasserting ancient claims based on even older mythologies and tend to do so in violent ways that contrast sharply with the kernels of peace and mercy that ultimately live at the heart of all three major monotheistic religions. This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking work.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Sankey

    Good comparative study of the mythology of the ancient people of the Near East, with forays into how their environment (flooding rivers, importance of control of water spots, competition for farmland, walled cities, nomadic pastoralists, etc.) shaped their beliefs and outlook, and how the small divergences created ever-larger rifts in what is still, narratively speaking, a closely linked and overlapping set of mythological events.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    A solid (if brief) overview of myths/gods/religions that originated in the Middle East. Unfortunately it reads a little bit like a Wikipedia article from time to time with a lot of straight facts and related myths/stories with comparatively little analysis and arguments. Still very much worth the read!

  4. 4 out of 5

    kate

    the mythology and accompanying pantheons of: mesopotamia, the semitic tribes which began the abrahamic faiths, the hittites and egyptians. (basically the whole mideast aside from the vedic influenced persians). i found it a timely book. the early roots of islam, judaism and christianity are incestuous, familial - examining these religions from this distance actually provides a startlingly clear perspective. here the children of the first wife and the children of the second wife (or slave) live ou the mythology and accompanying pantheons of: mesopotamia, the semitic tribes which began the abrahamic faiths, the hittites and egyptians. (basically the whole mideast aside from the vedic influenced persians). i found it a timely book. the early roots of islam, judaism and christianity are incestuous, familial - examining these religions from this distance actually provides a startlingly clear perspective. here the children of the first wife and the children of the second wife (or slave) live out, generation after generation, the melodrama of a family warring over inheritance. the death and subjugation of the goddess/divine marriage faiths at the hands of the trickster god of the nomad tribe is examined. even the early moslems fought against the death of their goddess. what a different world it could be had the metaphysical mysticism of ancient egypt dominated rather than the perplexingly inconsistent god of job. in ancient egypt the words for 'humans' and 'tears' are the same. a devotion to the tragedy of human life in such a brutal world. re-examining assumptions and exploring lost metaphors.

  5. 4 out of 5

    A

    The history of the mythology of one of the oldest inhabited regions of civilization is certainly a large task, but this short book delivers just that. A comprehensive survey, it lists all major gods and myths of the middle east region reaching back some 5,000 years. There are far too many stories to cover in great detail. This book is complemented by an interest or knowledge of external sources as many of the fascinating myths are described very briefly. Additional to the maps and figures in thi The history of the mythology of one of the oldest inhabited regions of civilization is certainly a large task, but this short book delivers just that. A comprehensive survey, it lists all major gods and myths of the middle east region reaching back some 5,000 years. There are far too many stories to cover in great detail. This book is complemented by an interest or knowledge of external sources as many of the fascinating myths are described very briefly. Additional to the maps and figures in this book, a timeline graphic would have been a great help in conceptionalizing the ebb and flow of different ideas and peoples in the region.

  6. 4 out of 5

    jlma

    This book is mainly description of religions of the Middle East and their myths/gods/heroes. Here and there you can also find some the author's opinion on how these religions and their myths/gods/heroes (1) are perceived by members of non-Middle-East religions, and (2) influence today's political events in the Middle East. Easy read. Informative. Plenty of data. It will leave you wanting more "opinion". This book is mainly description of religions of the Middle East and their myths/gods/heroes. Here and there you can also find some the author's opinion on how these religions and their myths/gods/heroes (1) are perceived by members of non-Middle-East religions, and (2) influence today's political events in the Middle East. Easy read. Informative. Plenty of data. It will leave you wanting more "opinion".

  7. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Crews

    Includes two very cool things - the Old Testament precurses from which the Bible steals heavily along with the Jewish history that didn't make it into the OT (Torah, Tanakh, whatever you call it), and an historical look at the violence inherent in Middle Eastern religions. Includes two very cool things - the Old Testament precurses from which the Bible steals heavily along with the Jewish history that didn't make it into the OT (Torah, Tanakh, whatever you call it), and an historical look at the violence inherent in Middle Eastern religions.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Robert Kaufman

    A short read on a very volatile part of the world. The religions here had related beginnings but have she'd more blood than almost any others. A short read on a very volatile part of the world. The religions here had related beginnings but have she'd more blood than almost any others.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Larry

    Overview of middle east myths/history

  10. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

  11. 4 out of 5

    laura

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Coleman

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ztoyich

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paul Vittay

  15. 4 out of 5

    Seph

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kaci

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nausicaä Nausicaä

  19. 4 out of 5

    Khanh Christian

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anne

  21. 4 out of 5

    Isabelle Delisle

  22. 4 out of 5

    James E. Hansen

  23. 5 out of 5

    Peg

  24. 4 out of 5

    Marcus Washington

  25. 5 out of 5

    E.so

  26. 5 out of 5

    ZenithRV

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

  28. 4 out of 5

    Benton

  29. 5 out of 5

    Frances DePalma

  30. 5 out of 5

    Melinte Alexandru

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