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Chapter Summary

In 1966, the author traced the origin of individual prayer in Sumerian from its beginnings in the late third millennium to a point where it could, conceivably, have inspired certain features of the individual laments in the Psalter. In 1973, the author presented a possible Sumerian prototype to the prayer of Hezekiah. The text in question is one of several letter-prayers to which the author has given the collective title of "Royal Correspondence of Larsa." In this chapter, the author presents a second composition from the same collection, at the same time pursuing the case for the comparative approach that can be made on its basis. The lamentations of ancient Mesopotamia are poetic responses to real or imaginary disasters. In the survey presented here the compositions are organized by genre and within each genre by language or dialect. The genres are compared and contrasted with their biblical counterparts.

Keywords: Biblical Psalter; Neo-Sumerian literary letters; Post-Sumerian penitential Psalms; prayers of Mesopotamia; Sumerian letter-prayer



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