Seth L. SandersOct 6, 2023
From Adapa to Enoch
Scribal Culture and Religious Vision in Judea and Babylonia
Mohr Siebeck 2017
In From Adapa to Enoch: Scribal Culture and Religious Vision in Judea and Babylonia (Mohr Siebeck, 2017), Seth L. Sanders offers a history of first-millennium scribes through their heavenly journeys and heroes, treating the visions of ancient Mesopotamian and Judean literature as pragmatic things made by people. He presents each scribal culture as an individual institution via detailed evidence for how visionary figures were used over time. The author also provides the first comprehensive survey of direct evidence for contact between Babylonian, Hebrew, and Aramaic scribal cultures, when and how they came to share key features. Rather than irrecoverable religious experience, he shows how ideal scribal selves were made available through rituals documented in texts and institutions that made these roles durable. The result is as much a history of science as a history of mysticism, providing insight into how knowledge of the universe was created in ancient times.