Three kinds of sources: Personal names, diĝir-ša3-dab(5)-ba prayers (prayers addressed to the personal gods) and dialogues between a Man and his God give us a privileged access to private piety in Mesopotamia. The personal gods have a protective function similar to the protective spirits (šēdu and lamassu) but are said also to create (banû or walādu) man. Man’s relationship to his personal gods is one of parent-to-child and not one of king-to-subject as is the case with the national gods. Appeasing the anger of the personal gods requires the accomplishment of penitential rituals like ilī ul īdi “My god, I did not know”, magical rituals and dream omens. In these texts Man shows a sense of guilt and expects the compassion of his personal gods. The Mesopotamian culture does not show a preponderance of shame over guilt. We try to show the originality of the Mesopotamian concept of person.
What is interiority? The task for the present chapter is to define interiority, not in negative terms (vis-à-vis exteriority) as is often done, but as an act of overcoming the confines of finitude. By tracing the metamorphosis of interiority, the chapter illustrates how Augustine articulates the dynamic ‘I’ in light of God, and shows that interiority is realized fully only as Church. We begin by elucidating the enigmas of interior estrangement and relational fragmentation as per Book X of Confessions (§1). The discussion then turns to the dynamism of the Trinitarian structure of relation and its exterior and corporeal orientation in On the Trinity (§2). Through the Word incarnate, the voice of the Church in the Expositions on the Psalms functions as a unifying narrative to gather and harmonize an otherwise dissipated interiority (§3). Thus the Church as an image of the soul exteriorly signifies the unity which the making of Church interiorly transforms in the soul (§4). The conception of interiority for Augustine goes in hand with exteriority and with the performative action of Christ in the Church.