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By Alasdair Gray

What unusual mystery made wealthy, attractive, tempestuous Bella Baxter impossible to resist to the negative Scottish scientific scholar Archie McCandless? was once it her mysterious foundation in the house of his gigantic good friend Godwin Baxter, the genius whose voice may well perforate eardrums? This tale of real love and clinical bold whirls the reader from the non-public operating-theatres of late-Victorian Glasgow via aristocratic casinos, low-life Alexandria and a Parisian bordello, achieving an interrupted climax in a Scottish church.

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At the end of the preserved text of the legend we find Daniel summoning the spirits of the dead in the hope that with their help he will once again be able to embrace his son. Beside the motifs of the promise of a son (cf. Gen. 15:4–6; 18:1–15) and the withering of the vegetation, the capriciousness of the gods constitutes a striking element of the legend. The primary theme of the Ugaritic Legend of Keret (Kirtu)27 is the continuation of the dynasty. In addition to his brothers, King Keret loses no less than seven wives before they are able to grant him an heir.

Such inscriptions and annals are not infrequently of value for the establishment of dates. The same can be said for the fragments of the so-called “Babylonian Chronicle”55 that confirm the keeping of a chronicle of the most important national events in Babylon from the middle of the second millennium BCE up to the Seleucid period. The chronicle in question sheds welcome light on the fall of Jerusalem under King Jehoiakin in 597 BCE. We will examine parallels between Ancient Israel’s prophetic, wisdom and psalmic literature and similar literary products of the Ancient Near East in chapters IX and X.

534–541; D. J. Wiseman, The Vassal Treaties of Esarhaddon, London 1958; K. Watanabe, Die adê-Vereidigung anlässlich der Thronfolgeregelung Asarhaddons (Baghdader Mitteilungen, Beiheft 3), Berlin 1987. ancient israelite literature 37 heaven and earth, clothe you in leprosy and (thus) not permit you to enter the presence of god and king; roam the open country as a wild ass or gazelle! May Shamash, the light of heaven and earth, not give you a fair and equitable judgment, may he take away your eyesight; walk about in darkness!

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