AbstractsPhilosophy & Theology

Let's talk about sex: a study into the sexual nature of the goddess Inanna

by Alexandra Louise Lowe

Institution: University of Birmingham
Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
Year: 2015
Keywords: BL Religion; D051 Ancient History; DS Asia; HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Record ID: 1409666
Full text PDF: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/5854/


This thesis examined the exact nature of the Sumerian goddess Inanna’s relationship with love. Many academics refer to her as the ‘Goddess of Love’ but this is a misnomer: Inanna’s actual function was more closely related to sexuality and sexual intercourse than romantic love. Through analysing Sumerian mythical and literary texts featuring the goddess with romantic or sexual themes, the study identifies that within the texts, Inanna is credited as the provider of sexuality, not of romantic feeling, by the Sumerians who wrote them. The thesis then analysed those academic works that portray Inanna as a love goddess, researching the scholarship behind the Sacred Marriage and the songs of Inanna. Commonly-held beliefs and practices maintained by researchers were questioned, such as the use of love as a euphemism to avoid discussing the sexual nature of source material and biases placed on the genders of the relevant players. This thesis used these conclusions to redefine the Sacred Marriage as a relationship between the king and Inanna and not an annual ritual and to clarify Inanna’s role as a goddess of sexuality for the Sumerians. This new definition will allow us to better understand the Sumerian relationship with their own sexuality.