Title: The Ritual Means of Empowerment of the Mesopotamian Exorcist
University: Yale University
Supervisor: Eckart Frahm
My dissertation examines the ways in which the Mesopotamian “exorcist” (āšipu) constructed his identity and authority in and through ritual performance. Among the various strategies, the project focuses on the āšipu’s self-purification and self-protection, his special attire and attributes, and the special nature and forms of his ritual speech. The project draws mainly on ritual texts of the āšipu from the first millennium BCE. Analyzing the construction of the image of the ideal āšipu will lead to a better understanding of his authority as a religious professional in the context of other Mesopotamian experts as well as in cross-cultural comparison.
Keywords: ritual, religion, scholarship, expert, purity, speech