Making, Creating, Drawing A Diversion

I’ve wasted a lot of time today trying to understand the semantic ranges of Akkadian epēšu and banû. Both mean “to make stuff.” Banû tends to connote “to create” while epēšu tends towards “to build.” But their semantic ranges overlap a lot. When written as a logogram, DÙ can stand for either. As far as I can tell, it is extremely rare, if ever, that they were used in parallel. But both were used in synonymous parallel with eēru, “to draw, design.” In case you are wondering, the common logogram for eēru is UR, not DÙ. I’m particularly interested the use of these verbs in the context of making clay figurines as surrogate bodies for ghosts. Truthfully, I really can’t see much difference in their use in such contexts.
What motivated this diversion? Geneses 2:7, Quran 15:26-29 and an abnormally interesting post at Pharyngula concerning a wrong-headed view of genetics and genomics did. What does the Biblical or Quranic accounts of the creation of man have to do with Akkadian epēšu and banû and even eēru? Maybe nothing more that an overactive free association within an exhausted brain. I hope I sleep better tonight. What do they have to do with genetics and genomics? Even less.

One thought on “Making, Creating, Drawing A Diversion”

  1. Creating, building, clay figurines, creation of man? You’re being a little elusive but the image of the ram-headed Khnum just sprang immediately to my head, the divine potter who was said to craft humankind on his potter’s wheel. If I’m not mistaken, that mythic theme spread around a little.
    Speaking of banû, w-bn on the Punic side of the Pyrgi Tablets correlates with Etruscan θemiasa which refers specifically to the building of a temple to the foremost goddess Uni (= Astarte) around 500 BCE. This would be an example of the semantic overlap that you’re noting.

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