chapter  4
Akkadian wisdom literature
ByKAREN NEMET-NEJAT
Pages 26

Near Eastern didactic literature has been referred to as “wisdom literature,” a term borrowed from the Bible, because Biblical literature was known to the public before Akkadian works came to light. Mesopotamian wisdom literature was compared to the Biblical Books of Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes;1 however, the word “wisdom” (ne-mequ) was not as prominently mentioned in Akkadian literature as it is in Biblical Literature ( חכמה ):2

In the Bible wisdom stressed moral and ethical behavior as a philosophy.3

According to Akkadian literature, wisdom came from the gods, and specialists were trained in specific disciplines to intercede between mankind and the gods.4 Colophons were added to copies, describing texts as “secret,” communicating the information only to “experts” or “initiates” and forbidding its revelation to “non-initiates”; the tablet was described as “sacred property” belonging to the gods.5