Ancient Near East Mythology - Mesopotamia - Later Influence

Later Influence

The influence exerted by the Babylonian-Assyrian religion was particularly profound on the Semites, while the astral theology affected the ancient world in general, including the Greeks and Romans. The impetus to the purification of the old Semite religion to which the Hebrews for a long time clung in common with their fellows — the various branches of nomadic Arabs — was largely furnished by the remarkable civilization unfolded in the Euphrates valley and in many of the traditions, myths and legends embodied in the Old Testament; traces of direct adaptation from and responses to Babylonia may be discerned, while the indirect influences in the domain of the prophetical books, as also in the Psalms and in the so-called "wisdom literature", are even more noteworthy.

Even when we reach the New Testament period, we have not passed entirely beyond the sphere of Babylonian-Assyrian influences. In such a movement as early Christian gnosticism, Assyrio-Babylonian elements — modified, to be sure, and transformed — are largely present, while the growth of an apocalyptic literature is ascribed with apparent justice by many scholars to the recrudescence of views, the ultimate source of which is to be found in the astral-theology of the Babylonian and Assyrian Priests.

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