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A Cuneiform Modality of Order

A Cuneiform Modality of Order

uṣurāt šamê u erṣeti “The designs of heaven and earth”

(p.103) Chapter Four A Cuneiform Modality of Order
Before Nature
Francesca Rochberg
University of Chicago Press

This chapter considers the ways the cuneiform scribes constructed order and intelligibility in the phenomenal world. It investigates the normative criteria inhering in the texts concerning divination, astronomy, astrology, magic, and medicine that determined aspects of order and anomaly in the conceptual world of the Assyro-Babylonian scholars. The ordered phenomenal world and the human knower who engages in observation, theory, calculation, and interpretation of that world constitute the chief axis of what we consider scientific as opposed to other kinds of knowledge.

Keywords:   signs, hermeneutic code, divine anger, monsters, anomalous birth, norms, anomaly, apotropaic ritual

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