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A World Turned on its Head in ancient Near Eastern Prophetic Literature: A Powerful Strategy to Depict Chaotic Scenarios

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AbstractThis contribution argues that the notion of inversion often functions as a key literary principle in the repertoire of some ancient Near Eastern (Mesopotamian and Syro-Palestinian) “prophetic” scenarios of chaos: the world of chaos is portrayed as the direct reverse of the ideal world. Selected examples from Mesopotamia (e.g. the Marduk Prophecy) and Syro-Palestine (the Balaam inscription and various passages from the Hebrew Bible) are offered to illustrate this idea.


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Affiliations: 1: University of Stellenbosch, Email:, URL:


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