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.
The contribution turns to the topic of „inner man“ in the Old Testament and especially in the Psalms. After a preliminary remark on the history of ideas, the Old Testament story of the „inner man“ is reconstructed using the example of older proverbs (aspect: sincerity), deuteronomic texts (aspect: internalization) and the individual psalms (aspect: self-awareness). Two excursions on creation by God and on the heart as the place of the Torah complete the picture. The other occurrences of the topic in the Lamentations and in the books of Jeremiah, Job, Kohelet and Sirach will only be discussed in passing.
Excavations in Boğazköy, ancient Ḫattuša, in Central Anatolia, brought thousands of clay tablets to light, which tell the story of the Hittites, a people that lived in Anatolia in the second half of the second millennium BC. Almost all of these texts were found in archives of the royal court, many among these being official documents that describe the national cults of the Hittite gods. Via these cults, the king and queen maintained a good relationship between the gods and royal family, and also affirmed the gods’ protection over the land. The present article tries to shed light on another side of Hittite religion, which does not center on the national cult but rather that of the personal gods of Hittite kings as well as the family religion of the Hittite population. Moreover, it strives to approach the issue of individuality among the Hittites and tries to understand and interpret the non-religious official documents of Hittite kings. For these purposes especially those of Telipinu, Muršili II and Ḫattušili III, in their political setting will be considered.
Paul’s letters to 2 Corinthians and to Romans afford deep insight into the “inner and outer human being.” Until now, the Platonic concept of the “inner/outer human being,” which is specially oriented towards the soul, has been of pivotal importance for New Testament Exegesis. This article argues instead that the principle of an inner and outer human being was used in Hellenistic times with differing connotations and in differing contexts and that Paul’s elaborations on the topic should also be analyzed in light of this diverse medical-philosophical tradition. The phrase “the human being inside and outside” should neither be equated with the soul and the body nor reduced to a simply dualistic notion.
The article explores the meaning of personal piety for transformations in the concept of person in ancient Israel and its environment. Therefore, it clarifies the relevant terms such as P/personal piety („P/persönliche Frömmigkeit“), everyday religiosity („Alltagsreligiosität“), Family / Household / Domestic Religion, individual religiosity („individuelle Religiosität“). Traces of a personal piety known from Egypt are found in a Babylonian text from the middle of the 1st millennium BC (the lament of Nabû-šuma-ukîn) and in the Israelite psalms, especially Ps 27 and 42–43. Here, features of a „personal piety“ can be found such as the longing for closeness to God, the supplication for help from the personal God and an intimate relationship with Him, as well es new forms of addressing the interior: in Ps 27 the heart speaks, in Ps 42–43 the speaker talks to the own næpæš. Thus forms of „Personal piety“ proof to be important for the transformation of the concept of person.
To love God with all your heart (Deut 6:5) and the hope that God will write the law on the hearts (Jer 31:34) are key forms and expressions of Hebrew Bible personal piety. Hitherto neglected but close parallels between these forms of personal piety are to be found in the neo-Babylonian East India House Inscription by Nebuchadnezzar II. In this paper, we shall draw some parallels and propose that personal piety in Deuteronomy and Jeremiah is being moved by a spirit of neo-Babylonian piety, in this case Nebuchadnezzar’s Shekhinah-Theology of the heart.
Jews who put up inscriptions were not usually trying to make a statement about their personal piety. They were, according to the nature of the inscription, commemorating a deceased relative or recording a contribution to their community. The ways in which they did so were often influenced more by their Greco-Roman surroundings than by a common Jewish tradition. Only a few inscriptions directly address an individual’s relationship with God. These will be examined first, and this article will then study some of the other ways in which piety was expressed: personal names; the wording of epitaphs; manumissions; donations to religious projects by individuals and families. All of these can reveal attitudes to religion and the divine.
Homer poses a rather mixed state of affairs to readers of an enlightened society. On the one hand, we find much that is familiar to us; on the other, we also find much with which we cannot identify ourselves at all. To us, Homeric society seems to be shaped entirely by conventional values: it does not appear to be greatly concerned with individuals. Furthermore, humans appear to be more or less robbed of the initiative for independent and self-directed action in Homer. Where we expect a free, autonomous decision, we find the Gods acting on behalf of humans. Indeed, the Gods do not merely influence humans from without; rather, they are also at work within them, so that Homer’s humans appear to be, as Goethe once said, „theomorphic“ in nature. But a closer engagement reveals that what appears foreign to us is actually often based on keen observation and an exceptionally nuanced understanding of the human psyche. As for the reasons why the opportunity to appropriate this foreign understanding was not pursued, we shall find that they lie in our „modern“ expectations and prejudices which render us almost blind to whatever does not satisfy them. In a world in which the engagement with foreign cultures and religions has become an urgent task, Homer can offer an introduction to this task.
Contemporary theories of personhood tend to distinguish between the inner self of human individuals and the social or public self they project to the outer world. The two entertain a relationship of discrepancy. While the inner self is true and authentic, the social self is a mask that hides the real person. All of us have a range of personas (literally, ‘masks’) at our disposition, each suited to a particular social performance depending on the dictates of circumstance. This opposition between inner self and public self is foreign to the concept of personhood in the early Middle East. Where we have “personal” religion, the ancients have “family” religion – meaning the god to whom individuals are particularly devoted is “the god of the father.” It is an inherited identity. The same reality is reflected in personal names: they run in the family, as though the new generation takes over the role the older generation has ceased to play. In Babylonia, a man may use the seal of his father or grandfather as his personal signature. In another realm, the use of formulary prayers throughout the ancient Near East fits the reality of a scripted version of personhood. And yet the Hebrew Bible does distinguish between the inner and the outer human being. “Man sees only what is visible, but Yahweh sees into the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). In all of this, the article asks whether the Bible is more modern than we would like to believe, or perhaps we are less different than we would like to believe.