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The old Sumerian language, which cannot, in the opinion of the best scholars, be shown to have affinity with any language of the ancient world, came to be confined to matters of religion and magic, and was superseded by the Assyro-Babylonian, which was Semitic.

On the contrary we have in them a parallel case of survival in a far more complete form. The inference we may obviously draw is that the Sumerian narrative continued in existence, in a literary form that closely resembled the original version, into the later historical periods.

The close parallelism between this portion of the text and the end of the myth in the Gilgamesh Epic will be seen from the following extracts, the magical portions being omitted from the Sumerian Version: It will also be noted that with this line the text again falls naturally into couplets. Col. VI, ll. 6-9 and 12 are there compared with Gilg. Epic, XI, ll. 198-205.

In the second lecture we noted how the very words of the principal Sumerian Creator were put into Marduk's mouth; but the rest of the Semitic god's speech finds no equivalent in the Sumerian Version and was evidently inserted in order to reconcile the narrative with its later ingredients. This will best be seen by printing the two passages in parallel columns:

It has indeed long been recognized that the rôle played by Marduk in the Babylonian Version of Creation had been borrowed from Enlil of Nippur; and in the Atrakhasis legend Enlil himself appears as the ultimate ruler of the world and the other gods figure as "his sons". Anu, who heads the list and plays with Enlil the leading part in the Sumerian narrative, was clearly his chief rival.

In their new home, among the flat plains, there were no such rocks and it was impossible to construct their shrines in the old fashion. The Sumerians did not like this. All Asiatic people have a deep respect for tradition and the Sumerian tradition demanded that an altar be plainly visible for miles around.

But in spite of their imperfect state of preservation, these documents are of great historical value and will furnish a framework for future chronological schemes. Meanwhile we may attribute to some of the later dynasties titles in complete agreement with Sumerian tradition. The dynasty of Ur-Engur, for example, which preceded that of Nîsin, becomes, if we like, the Third Dynasty of Ur.

In addition to business-documents of the First Dynasty of Babylon and of the later Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, and Persian periods, between two and three thousand literary texts and fragments were discovered here, many of them dating from the Sumerian period. And it is possible that some of the early literary texts that have been published were obtained in other parts of the city.

Ea's argument that the sinner should bear his own sin and the transgressor his own transgression in some measure forestalls that of Ezekiel; and both the Hebrew Versions represent the saving of Noah as part of the divine intention from the beginning. But the Sumerian Version introduces the element of magic as the means by which man can bend the will of the gods to his own ends.

Given a belief in the constant presence of the unseen and its frequent manifestation, such a story as that of Peniel might well arise from an unexplained injury to the sciatic muscle, while more than one ailment of the heart or liver might perhaps suggest the touch of a beckoning god. There is of course no connexion between the Sumerian and Hebrew stories beyond their common background.

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