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Let Sleeping Gods Lie?

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Chapter Summary

In ancient human religious perception, even the Gods need sleep, suffer other incapacity or illness and occasionally die, disappearing into the Netherworld. The evidence for silence on the part of the deities in the ancient Near East appeared to be as meagre as in the Bible. The idea of divine sleep is just another form of divine 'humanity' and belongs to a complex of metaphors that also include suffering from illness, mishap and even the experience of death as part of the human condition. The prayer to El-Kunirsha is of great interest such that it shows El-Kunirsha to be a God invoked for such troubles as bad dreams, short life, anxiety, illness and also against wild animals. In early Judaism, the idea of a transcendent, ever vigilant deity YHWH developed theologically as a stolid belief of the YHWH-alone movement and veneration.

Keywords: El-Kunirsha; sleeping Gods



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