The seven tablets of Enūma eliš, “The Chaldean Genesis,” contain multiple creations artfully woven in a story that has the god Marduk as the hero. Most creation accounts found in Enūma eliš are reminiscent of earlier traditions. Former narratives as well as related themes and motives are adopted and adapted by means of intentional alterations to suit the purpose of the new text. In this paper I study the ways in which various creations are included, tailored, and arranged to promote Marduk’s position as the head of the Babylonian pantheon.
DietrichM.DietrichM.LoretzO.ina ūmī ullûti “An jenen (fernen) Tagen”. Ein sumerisches kosmogonisches Mythologem in babylonischer TraditionVom Alten Orient zum Alten Testament: Festschrift für Wolfram Freiherrn von Soden zum 85. Geburtstag am 19. Juni 19931995KevelaerVerlag Butzon und Bercker5772AOAT 240Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag
LambertW. G.McCulloughW.The Reign of Nebuchadnezzar I: A Turning Point in the History of Ancient Mesopotamian ReligionThe Seed of Wisdom: Essays in Honor of T. J. Meek1964TorontoUniversity of Toronto Press313
LambertW. G.HeckerK.SommerfeldW.Ninurta Mythology in the Babylonian Epic of CreationKeilschriftliche Literaturen1985BerlinD. Reimer Verlag5560Ausgewählte Vorträge der XXXIIe Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale Münster 8. 12.7.1985
SmithG.The Chaldean Account of Genesis1876LondonSampson Low, Marston, Searle, and RivingtonContaining the Description of the Creation the Fall of Man the Deluge the Tower of Babyl the Times of the Patriarchs and Nimrod; from the Cuneiform Inscriptions
ToornK. van derEmertonJ. A.The Babylonian New Year Festival: New Insights from the Cuneiform Texts and Their Bearing on Old Testament StudyCongress Volume Leuven 1989 Vetus Testamentum1991LeidenE. J. Brill331334
WinterI.WinterI.“Women in Public: The Disk of Enheduanna, the Beginning of the Office of EN-Priestess, and the Weight of Visual Evidence.”On Art in the Ancient Near East. From the Third Millennium B.C.E.2010vol 2Boston—LeidenE. J. Brill6583(First published in 1987 under the same title. In La Femme dans le proche orient antique. Proceedings of the Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale Paris July 1986 edited by J.-M. Durand pp. 189–201. Paris: A.D.P.F.)
Recently D. Katz2011: 127pointed out three differences between the beginning of Enūma eliš and Mesopotamian literary conventions: the introduction goes back earlier than other accounts Enlil is not mentioned and Anu is not the head of the pantheon as in the Sumerian tradition.
Note already the observation by Lambert2008: 26: “(. . .) are Anšar—Kišar the third generation in turn offspring of Laḫmu—Laḫamu or a second pair born to Apsû—Tiāmat?”
For Lambert1975: 57and Livingston  2007: 80–81 Ešara is not the earth but an extra layer of the universe. See my discussion towards the end of this paper under the section “Stage 3: The Creation of the World” subheading c.4. “The creation of Babylon and Esaĝila” footnote 28.
As pointed out by George1992: 296when commenting on Enūma eliš IV: 137–40 “E-sagil and Babylon are thus to be at the center of the Universe above Apsû Ea’s domain but below the heavens (. . .).”
As George1997: 129–130explained in the Nippur tradition Nippur was the oldest city; whereas in other texts such as the Sumerian King List that privilege was attributed to Eridu. Although Uruk Keš and Sippar were also each considered to be the oldest city in other texts in Enūma eliš Babylon displaces Nippur and assimilates with Eridu. The choice of Eridu and Nippur is not coincidental for they represent the city of Marduk’s father and the city of the god Marduk seeks to replace.
Alster and Vanstiphout1987: 2have compared the introduction of the Debate between Ewe and Grain with the opening of Enūma eliš. They pointed out that the absence of Ewe and Wheat is repeated twice and that “it is an inversion of the scheme used in Enūma eliš” because in the Debate “not-yet-being is followed by not-being-named.”