Religion Tutorial response 1
Tutor: Zakarial Asmal.
The Regeneration that shaped the corrosion.
This essay aims to, through the analysis of the cosmogonies and eschatology’s of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia , focusing on the theme of water and using it as tool to identify and explore the myths, symbols ,rituals and environment Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. At the outset it will be discussed how the myth and illustrates and articulates the relationship between the cosmogony and the environment. In the following paragraphs the relationship between cosmogonies, ritual and symbols will be illustrated. Further the eschatology’s of both religions will be discussed and the relationship between eschatology and environment, myth, symbol and ritual will be illustrated. Finally it will identify and illustrate this type of relationship in an alternative religion, the religion selected is Christianity. The cosmogony of the Egyptians – the creation myth depicts a “primal hill rising from the waters reflecting the relationship between Egypt and the significant Nile River.”(Nielsen, 1983:33) One can perceive this myth as an articulation of the development of a “stable, prosperous civilization that lasted for more than thirty centuries” (Nielsen, 1983:50) this is evident as the waters of the Nile were predictable and unchanging. The Nile flood occurred at the same time every year and as a result of the rich silt deposited from it produced fertile soil that enhanced the agricultural production. In addition, because of the pleasant weather and what Nielsen described as “abundant water.” This myth can be perceived as inferring the Nile as the lifeline, the mythological motive behind the success of Egypt as “the unchanging flooding of the Nile assured the Egyptians of an unwavering universe.” (Nielsen, 1983: 33). The myth illustrates that the consistency of -the waters of the Nile from which the primal hill rises -the physical and agricultural environment. One which is stable and a success due to the rich silt deposited by the flood, resulting in fertile soil, which could produce two- three crops per year. The focus on the theme of water in this cosmogony functioned to justify the stable environmental state of Egypt. In contrast to Egypt the cosmogony of Ancient Mesopotamia the “Epic of Creation,” depicts the relationship between the myth of the creation of the world and the environment as unstable. The cosmogony makes this evident as it describes the “early watery chaos before the formation of the world.” (Nielsen, 1983:50) Apsu Tiamat and Mummy were embodied as water deities. There was great strife between Apsu and the water god Enki. The conflict was centred around “an early inertia and the new deities who advanced the process of creation.”(Nielsen, 1983:51) As a result, monsters were created and wars were started and the world began in conflict. The significant rivers the Tigris and Euphrates unlike the Nile rose “unpredictably and fitfully, breaking man’s dykes and submerging the crops.” (Neilson, 1983:50) In addition to the physical environment the rivers influenced the political, economic, social and cultural environment as they were unstable due to the different deities. For example the Akkadians, Sumerians and Babylonians invasions of Mesopotamia. Each of the respective deities adjusted the structures they for example the Babylonians “developed a large professional army and elaborate bureaucracy.” (Nielsen, 1983:49)
As a result of the cosmogony and eschatology of Mesopotamia the rituals were performed to commemorate the god’s march into battle against Tiamat and the chaos presented by the Tigris and Euphrates. This was evident as the performed rituals such as the recital of the epic of creation which were significant as they “marked the end of the chaotic old year.” (Nielsen, 1983:52) The ritual was centred on the king posing as subject to the god’s in effect acknowledging their...
Bibliography: Nielsen, N. C. 1983. Religions of the Ancient World in Religions of the World. New York: St. Martin’s Press: 33.56.
Waterencyclopedia.com, (2014). Religions, Water in - river, sea, oceans, important, source, human. [online] Available at: http://www.waterencyclopedia.com/Po-Re/Religions-Water-in.html [Accessed 18 Aug. 2014].
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