The Introduction sets out the aims of the present book and explains its position in current scholarship. While an influential study by Eduard Norden (1913) argued, on the basis of a very limited corpus of texts, that early Greek religious poetry differed fundamentally from similar compositions in the ancient Near East, the current academic view is that early Greek literature was in fact pervaded by influence from Mesopotamian texts. Both positions are, however, based on questionable methods, and the Introduction explains that the present book aims not only to bring new primary sources to the debate but also to propose a better way to study possible contacts. The Introduction also describes the criteria that have been used to select the corpus of sources on which this study is based.
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