Saturday, April 9, 2011

When is a monk not a monk? (cont.)

click to enlarge

The Sumerian solution, applied several thousand years after the heyday of the Sumerians by Dan Foxvog, a scholar of the language who recently retired from UC Berkeley, was to make the monks into “gala-priests”. The first two words in the text above are gala eš5. That eš5 means “three” is obvious.

The gala-priest was one of the several different classes of temple functionaries. His job was to sing choral liturgies (“heart-soothing laments”) for the goddess Inanna, as well as private burial laments. Gala-priests may have had a “third gender” identity in Sumerican culture. They sang their songs in the women's dialect (eme-sal) and some of them took women's names, and for those that know Sumerian, the elements that make up the written word gala are suggestive!

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Tríar Manach