Birth in Babylonia and the Bible
Utilising material spanning 3000 years, this book examines childbirth in the Biblical and Babylonian world. Stol's scholarship has an extraordinary range. He follows the mother and child from conception to weaning, analyzing a variety of different texts and topics. He deals, for example, with the vicissitudes and procedures of labor and delivery, delivery with magical plants and amulets, and with legal issues relating to abortion or to the liability of the wet-nurse. Many of the texts are rich and distinctive. Babylonian incantations to facilitate birth describe the child moving "over the dark sea" and, like a ship, reaching "the quay of life". His discussions are supplemented with relevant examples drawn from Greek and Roman sources, Rabbinic literature, and modern ethnographic material from traditional Middle Eastern societies. The last chapter, written by F.A.M. Wiggermann, deals with the horrible baby-snatching demon, Lamastum. This book is a fully re-worked edition of a volume originally written in Dutch (1983). Both authors teach at the Free University (Amsterdam).