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K. VANDER TOORN, The Babylonian New Year Festival: new insights from the cuneiform texts and their bearing on Old Testament study

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the Babylonian New Year Festival and its bearing on the study of the Israelite cult. The Akitu-festival is not concerned with the rebirth of nature; its ritual is the answer, not to a cosmic crisis, but to the need for a demonstration, and thereby consolidation, of some of the central values of Babylonian civilization. The functional analogy between the Akitu-Festival on the one hand and the Autumn Festival on the other raises the question once more whether or not we should qualify the latter as a New Year Festival. The chapter returns to one element of Mowinckel's reconstruction that has completely disappeared from my description. According to Mowinckel, the Autumn Festival revolved around a cultic renewal of God's victory over the powers of chaos, both in the realm of nature and in the field of international politics.

Keywords: Akitu-festival; babylonian new year festival; israelite cult; Mowinckel



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