Jealous Gods and Chosen People
The Mythology of the Middle EastBook - 2004
Esteemed scholar David Leeming, who has authored more than twelve books on mythology, here offers the first comprehensive narrative study of the mythology of the Middle East, that tumultuous region that was the cradle of civilization. Leeming begins with a brief, engaging history of the Middle East, spanning Neolithic cultures, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, the invention of writing and the rise of Egypt and Babylonia, Israel and Roman rule, and the early history of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims. This is followed by anin-depth discussion of the mythology of the region, covering individual pantheons, cosmic myths, mythic heroes, and much more. Leeming ranges from prehistoric figures such as the Mother Goddess of Catal Huyuk to Mesopotamian gods such as Marduk and mythic heroes such as Gilgamesh, to the pantheon ofEgyptian mythology, including the falcon-headed sky-sun god Horus and jackal-headed Anubis. The author also offers an illuminating exploration of the mythology of the three great monotheistic religions of the region: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In a provocative Epilogue, Leeming depictstoday's crisis in the Middle East as "violent, clearly immoral, and illegal actions" justified by "what can only be called myths." He notes that fundamentalists in the area's three religions all see their way as the only way, forgetting that myths represent truths that are spiritual andphilosophical--not historical events that can be used to justify acts of violence. With key maps, illustrations, bibliography, and index, Jealous Gods and Chosen People provides an inclusive, authoritative, and captivating account of a mythology that remains a potent--and often destructive--force in the world today.
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2004.
Branch Call Number: 201.3093 LEEMING
Characteristics: ix, 150 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm.