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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author addresses two special problems of literary techniques in the cuneiform area, particularly in Akkadian. The two problems discussed here are the creative impulse and the process of canonization in cuneiform literature-two opposite poles of one larger question which may be described as the formal aspect of textual history. These two aspects can be investigated profitably on the cuneiform side, where the evidence is ample, and applied with caution on the Biblical side, where it is almost nonexistent. The canonization of the neo-Sumerian corpus presumably took place in Middle Babylonian times, specifically during the period of the "First Kassite Empire". The Old Babylonian period, so active in both canonization of the Old Sumerian heritage and adaptation of the neo-Sumerian tradition, was not demonstrably a creative period in its own right, as far as Sumerian is concerned.

Keywords: Akkadian literature; Babylonian periods; Cuneiform literature; Sumerian religion



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