Origin/Historian/Author: Babylonian
Source: Cuneiform Parallels to the Old Testament, Robert William Rogers

This fragmentary ritual found at Babylon was first published bv F. H. Weissbach, Babylonische MiszeUen 1903, Tafel 12, and translated. It is translated again by Ungnad in Gressmann, Altorientalische Texte und Bilder. The ritual was to be used when a temple had fallen and had to be restored. As a part of the ritual this cosmological passage was recited, after various offerings of bread, honey, butter, and oil had been made. In spite of its function, it offers the same series of events as their earlier Sumerian counterpart’s cosmology. But as we can see, things have begun to change, or become corrupt over time.

In this text, unlike other creation epics who immediately precede it, Anu is the creator of Heaven. Also, the creation of land from damming mountain rivers between lower marshes has now become the creation of mountains and seas. We see evidence of various other tales meshed into one, with subtle corruptions as each new telling is recorded. Eventually, these stories morph from a man making a dam, to a god creating the sky and earth.

Full Text Below

When Anu created the heavens,
Nudimmud (1) created the ocean, his dwelling,
Ea, in the ocean, broke off the clay,
He created the god (2) of bricks to renew [the houses (?)]
He created reed and forest for building work [. . .]
He created the god of carpenters, the god of smiths
and Arazu (3) to complete building work,
He created mountains and seas for all [. . .]
He created the god of goldsmiths, the god of smiths,
the god of masons, and the god of miners for
work [. . .] and their rich produce for sacrificial gifts,
He created Ashnan, and Lakhar, (4) Siris, Nin-gishzida,
Ninsar and [. . .] to make the offerings
He created Umutaan (5) and . . . who hold the
sacrifices in the hand,
He created Azag-Suga, the high priest of the great
gods, to complete the commands and ordinances,
He created the king to adorn the shrines of the gods
He created men to carry on [worship]
[…. Anu, Ellil, Ea [….]


1 A form of Ea. Ea is here creator of men, who are formed out of clay. In the same way Aruru made Engidu(Enkidu/Heabani) in the Gilgamesh epic (col. ii, line 34), see p. 82. These form interesting parallels to the account in J, Gen. 2. 7.

2 The names of these gods are written in Sumerian, which are here literally translated.

3 Arazu, an unknown god, the word means “prayer,” and Ungnad suggests that it may be prayer personified.

4 Ashnan and Lakhar are gods of vegetation, Siris probably god of wine. Ningishzida is the earlier days (time of Gudea), one of the chief gods, but he sank later to be the servant of the gods. He is known also
as the father of Tammuz.

5 Unknown god, the reading of the name, as also of the following one being quite uncertain. Ungnad suggests that they may be the gods of brewing and of cooking, but there is no evidence for this.