Date of Award

Summer 2023

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Religion, PhD


School of Arts and Humanities

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Tammi J. Schneider

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Matthew Bowman

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Daniel Ramírez

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2023 Heather Marie Burrow


ancient near east, assyriology, babylonia, cognitive anthropology, cognitive linguistics, worldview

Subject Categories

History | Religion


To add to our knowledge about a Near Eastern culture, this project examines through textual evidence how the early first millennium BCE Neo-Babylonians thought, reasoned, and wrote in order to partially reconstruct the shared, generally held worldview of the Neo-Babylonian people using the transdisciplinary approach of worldview analysis. Worldviews are what we use to think with, not what we think about. Underlying surficial cultural behaviors are deeper levels of cognition regarding how to reason, perceive the world, prioritize values, prescribe behavior, and explain all of life. Specifically, this work examines the language and logic reflected in the textual archive, believing that this is the foundational level of any worldview. I argue that one finds two related components: (1) that they were linguistically programmed to be attuned to the full context over particularities, verbal actions over agential subjects, the continuity of substances over discrete objects, the standard use of maleness over femaleness, and the affective power of spoken or written words, and (2) that they were logically programmed to prefer gradations over distinctions, functional properties over inherent attributes, radials and/or rhizomes over linearity, and relationships and/or comparisons over abstractions and algorithms. By addressing this underlying, implicit cognitive software the Neo-Babylonians used, one is better able to understand the society’s more observable and obvious religious, ethical, legal, political, and social features. This has the potential to present a more contextualized view of Neo-Babylonian civilization. Reconstructing the ancient Neo-Babylonian worldview allows scholars to compare and contrast the linguistic and logical features to other ancient nearby cultures in order to understand continuities and differences and what accounts for them. One can open a dialogue between these ancient societies at a deeper level. It demonstrates the uniqueness of Neo-Babylonia. And it provides a basis for understanding how Neo-Babylonians contributed to the roots of Western civilization and thought. Most current worldview analysis examines modern or postmodern worldviews. By examining an ancient worldview, one can begin to more clearly understand any common aspects which exist for all worldviews and any elements that exist in ancient ones which are missing from cataloging more modern worldviews. Thus, the cataloging of an ancient worldview helps to open new vistas within worldview studies. This study invites similar ones within ancient Near Eastern studies and within ancient studies in general.