• Disgust, Disease and Defilement: The Experiential Basis for Akkadian and Hittite Terms for Pollution

    Author(s):
    Yitzhaq Feder (see profile)
    Date:
    2016
    Group(s):
    Ancient Near East
    Subject(s):
    Ancient languages, Cognitive science of religion
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    impurity, pollution, disease
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M61675
    Abstract:
    This article challenges the common tendency in modern research to treat impurity as a religious phenomenon divorced from mundane concerns. Employing the cross-cultural psychological notion of “contagion,” this investigation examines the usage of terms for pollution and purity in Hittite and Akkadian as they relate to distinct domains of human experience, specifically uncleanness, infection, and transgression. Special attention is given to the use of these terms in reference to infectious disease. This analysis demonstrates the real-world experiential basis for notions of impurity and also provides a new perspective to shed light on the peculiarities of each culture (e.g., the absence of an Akkadian term for “pollution”). The article concludes with a detailed excursus on the etymology of Akkadian musukku and its relation to Sumerian (m)uzug.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal Article
    Journal:
    Journal of the American Oriental Society
    Volume:
    136
    Start Page:
    99
    End Page:
    116
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    4 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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