Jewish studies scholar forges connections between ancient Mesopotamian texts and modern theology
Thousands of years ago, Mesopotamians craned their necks to watch as the moon passed between them and the sun, casting darkness on the Earth. They sacrificed animals and opened them up, carefully analyzing the characteristics of their organs. These ancient people were looking for messages from the gods; they sought information about potential enemy attacks, the weather, and predictions for their crops. “In any society, there is a desire to know the future. That’s still true today, if you think about political polling or weather forecasting,” said Abraham Winitzer, the Jordan H. Kapson Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at Notre Dame. Winitzer, who works primarily in Assyriology, is one of two Notre Dame theology faculty that have a focus on Jewish studies, an area in which the department is giving new emphasis.