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Imagining the FetusThe Unborn in Myth, Religion, and Culture$
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Jane Marie Law and Vanessa R. Sasson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195380040

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195380040.001.0001

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Embryology in Babylonia and the Bible

Embryology in Babylonia and the Bible

(p.137) Embryology in Babylonia and the Bible
Imagining the Fetus

Marten Stol

Oxford University Press

This essay is a historical and philological investigation of reproduction as it was understood in ancient Near East societies. It explores the differences in embryology as conceived by various cultures in the ancient Near East (primarily among the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Israelites) and their points of similarity. Embryological theories run the gamut from “high” science, with truths still accepted, to superstitions that said that female fetuses were carried on their mother’s left sides, required a longer pregnancy, and drained their mothers’ strength more than did male fetuses.

Keywords:   delaying birth, duration of pregnancy, field, Golem, infertility, Luke 1, seed, female

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