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Proverbs

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Chapter Summary

The identical proverb 'In the city where there is no dog, the fox is oxherd' clearly distinguishes the 'lame' from the 'halt', a distinction that is still alive in the New Testament. The distinction is that of the greater and the lesser evil, and it has inspired similar proverbial expression through the ages. An even closer parallel to the Sumerian proverb is provided by a proverb quoted in the early Byzantine Scholiast to Iliad XXIV. After analyzing this proverb, the chapter next focuses on colloquial Sumerian. This is followed by a discussion on biblical abominations and Sumerian taboos. The chapter demonstrates the functional equivalence of certain terms in Sumerian, Akkadian, and Hebrew that share the semantic field of divine abominations or taboos. Of the many taboos catalogued in the hemerologies, the one against eating fish and leek is particularly worthy of notice because of its persistence in the cuneiform tradition.

Keywords: Akkadian texts; biblical abominations; cuneiform tradition; Hebrew bible; Iliad; Sumerian proverb; Sumerian taboos

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