Download PDF by John Horvath: An Introduction to Distributions

By John Horvath

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In the case of evoked divination, prayer was often a preliminary to the divinatory process. However, a prayer could also be a formal part of the divinatory ritual, as was the ikribu—the prayer cum 48 Sir C. Lyell, Principles of geology, being an attempt to explain the former changes of the earth’s surface, by reference to causes now in operation vol. 1 (London 1830) 85. 49 S. Pulleyn, Prayer in Greek religion (Oxford 1997) 8. defining divination 33 ritual—used by the expert during Mesopotamian extispicy.

125–127. 24 chapter two In other words, it expresses the idea that humans seek to detect agency in the environment—any occurrence is thought to have been brought about by someone or something. These agents are usually people or animals. If an event for which no person or animal could be held responsible took place in the ancient world, humans still required an agent to explain the event: on account of the omnipresent belief in the existence of a supernatural, people could easily attribute otherwise unexplained occurrences to a ‘hidden agent’ of this type.

58 In Mesopotamia, divination and justice were also linked conceptually. 59 Consider a Mesopotamian text known from Old Babylonian times: the so-called ‘prayer to the gods of the night’. Law, justice and jurisdiction play a role in this divinatory prayer which was recited during the divinatory ritual: the expert asks for justice to be provided through extispicy. Recht, justice, kittu, was a term normally used in jurisdiction. 61 According to some sources, in this cases: if a person was accused of sorcery or witchcraft, this was not judged by human judges in a normal law court.

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An Introduction to Distributions by John Horvath


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