A trip to the Orient
The Institute has exhibits on Sumeria/Mesopotamia, Assyria, Israel/Canaan, The Hittite Kingdom, Persia, Egypt and Nubia.
A couple of observations. I saw receipts for tax payment, letters from a police chief to investigate a death, a schoolboy's notebook where he practiced writing. In many ways, the societies of 3000 years ago were not that different from ours.
I impressed my companion by being able to read some rudimentary Hebrew and Greek. I was amazed how anyone could figure out the tiny cuneiform writing that covers a lot of the Sumerian artifacts. It seems impossible.
Lastly, for those who read the Godol Hador - he had a post on the Enuma Elish recently, and of course visiting the museum, I could not help but think of it. One of the exhibits featured a set of incantation bowls, much like the one pictured here. The writing is usually a mixture of Aramaic and Hebrew. These were buried in various parts of the house to ward off evil spirits such as the one pictured in the middle. This particular bowl mentions Lillith, who is a very colorful character in Jewish mythology.
Here is a translation of one of these bowls.
all you demons and devils and liliths,
by that hard and strong,
mighty and powerful bond with which are tied Sison and Sisin....
The evil Lilith,
who causes the hearts of men to go astray
and appears in the dream of the night
and in the vision of the day,
Who burns and casts down with nightmare,
attacks and kills children,
boys and girls.
She is conquered and sealed
away from the house
and from the threshold of Bahram-Gushnasp son of Ishtar-Nahid
by the talisman of Metatron,
the great prince
who is called the Great Healer of Mercy....
who vanquishes demons and devils,
black arts and mighty spells
and keeps them away from the house
and threshold of Bahram-Gushnasp, son of Ishtar-Nahid.
Amen, Amen, Selah.
Vanquished are the black arts and mighty spells.
Vanquished the bewitching women,
they, their witchery and their spells,
their curses and their invocations,
and kept away from the four walls
of the house of Bahram-Gushnasp, the son of Ishtar-Hahid.
Vanquished and trampled down are the bewitching women --
vanquished on earth and vanquished in heaven.
Vanquished are their constellations and stars.
Bound are the works of their hands.
Amen, Amen, Selah.