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Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer
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West Asia/ Middle East > Inanna Queen of Heaven and Earth

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Jalilah | 4438 comments Mod
This thread is for our March 15-May 14 Gateway/Portal themed group read Original tale winner, Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer!


message 2: by Katy (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 852 comments I found a used copy through Abe Books for $1.05 + shipping -- so only $5.00. I'll buy it and join in!


message 3: by Leann (new) - added it

Leann (7leann) | 237 comments This has been on my TBR list since 2014, I'll join in!


Jalilah | 4438 comments Mod
If I can get a hold of a copy, I'll join in too!


Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
I really do want to read this one, but I'm already in the middle of half a dozen. I've got to finish those up before ordering more.


Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 744 comments I have a copy and can start as soon as the rest of you are ready.


message 7: by Katy (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 852 comments I now have a copy.


Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
I just got this yesterday and am really liking it so far.

I have to wonder, though, if plowing a metaphor for sex is truly this old or if that's a bit that the translator added in (That whole passage was fun, by the way.)


message 9: by Tamara (last edited Apr 10, 2018 03:10PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 744 comments Melanti wrote: "I just got this yesterday and am really liking it so far.

I have to wonder, though, if plowing a metaphor for sex is truly this old or if that's a bit that the translator added in (That whole pas..."


It actually is old. The "plowing" of Inanna is a metaphor for fertilizing the land.

Sumerian religion featured public rituals and ceremonies performed at the city temple. In addition to the daily sacrifices offered to the gods, the Sumerians engaged in a variety of festivals and monthly celebrations. The most important of these was the annual New Year celebration that culminated in the hieros gamos or sacred marriage between the goddess Inanna (embodied in the High Priestess) and the reigning monarch (embodying the Shepherd-King Dumuzi), which took place in Inanna's temple in Uruk. The king, playing the role of Dumuzi and personifying the land of Sumer, consummated his marriage to the goddess by copulating with the sacred priestess who embodied her. The sexual union between the incarnations of Inanna and Dumuzi was perceived as a fundamentally sacred activity that was deemed essential for the future fertility and prosperity of the community.

Excerpt from my chapter on Inanna in my book, Women and Goddesses in Myth and Sacred Text


message 10: by Katy (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 852 comments Thanks Tamara, that was cool.


Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
I'm getting close to the end... I read the tales straight through then moved through the rest of the material. I don't think this is the way to go, honestly.

I'd suggest reading the commentary along with/after each individual tale. There's a lot of information packed into it that would have been great to know while reading the stories themselves - alternate translations for words, meaning of names, etc.

For instance, the Sumerian word for water is the same for semen, so that means when they're talking about water having never touched Ninshubur, what they're really discussing is her virginity, not her state of cleanliness.

It's all good info to know, but I wish some of it had been footnoted so I could have known about it as I read.


Jalilah | 4438 comments Mod
Melanti wrote: "I'm getting close to the end... I read the tales straight through then moved through the rest of the material. I don't think this is the way to go, honestly.

I'd suggest reading the commentary al..."


Time flew by! My inter-library loan copy is due tomorrow and I just started now. As it happens many several books all arrived at once and I read them first. I regret it now because I'm really liking the stories, but I don't think I'll get to finish the entire book.
Between the commentaries which did you like best the ones by Wolkstein or Kramer?


Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Um, I think the one I found most useful was the first one


Jalilah | 4438 comments Mod
Tamara wrote: "Melanti wrote: "I just got this yesterday and am really liking it so far.

I have to wonder, though, if plowing a metaphor for sex is truly this old or if that's a bit that the translator added in..."


I would like to read your book Tamara!
This year I discovered Mesopotamian/Sumerian mythology and I love it! The people and gods all seem so human and real.
Have you read this book Inanna: A New English Version? It's literally the only book my library has on Inanna!


Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 744 comments Lila wrote: "Have you read this book Inanna: A New English Version? It's literally the only book my library has on Inanna!.."

No, I've not read this. But i'm going to see if I can find it although I notice the author doesn't have knowledge of ancient Sumerian and relies on other translations.

I have read several other translations of Inanna, but the one I liked the best and used excerpts from on my book is the one by Kramer and Wolkstein. Kramer is the expert on Sumerian mythology. I found his translation a bit dry. Wolkstein is a folklorist and storyteller. They worked together on the translation. The combination of his expertise and her talents made for a wonderful translation.


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