Enūma eliš, the Babylonian epic of creation, was the most influential Mesopotamian religious text of the first millennium BCE. This article discusses how the epic was read, re-interpreted, and revised during the period from 900 BCE to AD 500, both within and outside Mesopotamia. The Assyrian version of the epic, and various Assyrian commentaries on the text, receive particular attention. The article argues that the Erra epic and parts of the Primeval History of the Bible represent counter-texts written in response to the ideological challenges posed by Enūma eliš, and that war and peace were factors that determined to a significant extent how the Babylonians and other people of the ancient world approached the epic.
2010 The Society for Near Eastern Studies in Japan