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Marina V. Vorobjova

The Phenomenon of Man in Babylonian Tradition


Mesopotamia,  a region in south west Asia and the site of several ancient civilazations,  was where one found the state of Babylon.  Written monuments from this location date back to between 4-5000 years B.C.  Climatic conditions in Babylonia yielded an economic development of the region that gave rise in the first instance to the development of science.

The phenomenon of the individual person in Babylonian tradition is one whereby the religiousness of the individual was distinguished by its multiple god faith which drew upon a large number of gods.

Divine power was combined with natural power and, as a result,  rendered a direct influenec upon the life of the individual. The nature of the relationship between nature and the individual yielded the relationship between the gods and the individual.

With contary thoughts discouraged,  the individual became wholly dependant upon the the gods.  Life was said to be capable of prediction from birth ; so that any sign upon the body of the individual could be interpretated. Herein lies the origins of the practical 'magic' of an individual,  his different formula of 'magic' ,  inherent within Babylonians.

Thereby,  one can speak of the 'making of man' by the way of service to the gods.  The individual was seen as simply a facility for interpretation. Furthermore,  an attitude was developed towards medicine in Babylonian tradition,  whereby the additional use of public facilities whose main function was viewed as being concerned with the formula which carried the individual's  'magic'  nature formula.  The further tradition concerning the study of symptoms and treatment of diseases went parallel with the first though in time was seen as secondary to the former philosophy.

The view of the individual's  'magic'  formual,  it may be said,  can not exist for a lengthy time on an equal footing with other schools of thought. Such schools of thought will inevitably popularise themselves as religious, philosophical and scienitific,  else  it would  be forced into retreat. Departing from the primary tradition in Babylon of 'magic'  consciousness which subsitutes a 'make up of man'  in all regards,  led to the individual turning aside predeterminations by the gods and denied him the right to hold doubt.
 

Translated by Richard Bishop


GOD. PERSON. WORLD: Annual Scientific Conference, Russian Christian Institute for the Humanities (Saint- Petersburg, 1999): 28-30.

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