Surviving texts from the Ancient Near East reveal a cosmology that included a dark underworld realm, principally associated with fertility cycles and describing fertility gods and goddesses who are captured and imprisoned in this realm.
In this underworld contrary gods live permanently in a world without joy where there is only dust to eat and drink. This land also served as a great warehouse for dead mortals. It was not conspicuously a place of punishment, but hints of judgment and retribution are already evident, and these elements became significant elements in other cultures as the idea of hell developed.
Evidence of this underworld are found in portions of five texts, which have been included here from:
- The Epic of Gilgamesh
- The Descent of Inanna to the Netherworld
- Baal and the Underworld
- The Descent of Ishtar
- The Vision of Kummâ.
This work is published in conjunction with the website
www.Hell-on-Line.org, which presents a comprehensive collection of materials on the more than 100 visions, tours and descriptions of the infernal otherworld from the cultures of the world from 2000 BCE to the present. This second edition contains a new preface, introduction and bibliography.
Five texts, preface, introduction, notes, bibliography, glossary, web resources.
Paperback, 76 pages.