What are the correspondences between Sumerian religion and Judaism?

Question by Darth Seditious: What are the correspondences between Sumerian religion and Judaism?
I am doing research on the similarities between Sumerian religion and Judaism. One of the things I am looking at is to see if possibly some of the gods became angels in Judaism. Is there any “paganism” that Judaism inherited from the Sumerian religion?

Best answer:

Answer by Sarah
No. Judaism is inherently monotheistic. Angels do not have any power except as God’s servants.

It’s not the Sumerian religion you should be looking at, it’s the Akkadian religion. So many more parallels there.

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2 thoughts on “What are the correspondences between Sumerian religion and Judaism?

  1. That is an interesting question. We know from the Bible that Abraham originally came from ‘Ur of Chaldeans’ . I believe that is the oldest human settlement known and is in ancient Sumeria. However also according to the Bible, God tells Abraham to leave idolatry of the region, go to Canaan to worship Him, the only true God. So in a way, Judaism is trying to become something different and not a derivative of Sumerian religion. Another interesting connection is when Jacob, the grandson goes back to Haran to seek wife – and marries Rachel. On the way back, Rachel has some ‘household idols’ indicating practices of Sumerian type religion.

  2. Mesopotamia involved the nations of Sumer, Akkad, Babylon and Assyria throughout its ancient history. Aspects of Sumerian religion influenced the Bible in at least one example – the story of God slaying the sea monster Leviathan.

    In Isaiah 27 1:3:

    “In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword,
    Leviathan the gliding serpent,
    Leviathan the coiling serpent;
    he will slay the monster of the sea.”

    The myth of the storm god slaying the sea monster comes directly from Sumer. The Canaanites believed that the storm god Ba’al slew the sea monster “Yam” which, both in Hebrew and the Canaanitic language of Ugarit means “sea”. The Hittites have their storm god, Teshub, that slays the sea monster Illikummi. All the way back to Sumer, we have Enki slaying the monster “Kur”. No coincidence.

    Habbakuk 3:15 tells us “You trampled the sea with your horses, the surging of mighty waters.”

    This seems strange to us to think the Bible could come from somewhere, but it’s really not so strange after all. It certainly went somewhere. Islam, Christianity—they come from it, though they are dramatically different. Why should we think that’s the first time this has happened?

    Within the broader Mesopotamian sources we can refer to:

    * ‘Code of Hammurabi’ to see one likely precursor to the Ten Commandments.
    * Another Decalogue precursor [Egyptian in origin] is from the ‘Egyptian Book of the Dead’ and titled as the ‘Negative Confession’.
    * Remember the older Creation Story from Babylon – Enuma Elish.
    * Also the earlier Flood Story featuring Utnapishtim – Epic of Gilgamesh.

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