Sumerian Sin

The Sumerians didn’t have the same idea of universal sin that is common in modern Christian communities. There were no ten commandments, and there was no original sin. There was sin however. Sin in ancient sumer is an act that offends ones personal gods. One could also offend the gods in general by upsetting the established order of the universe.

In Christianity and Judaism, when one breaks the ten commandments they have transgressed against a contract. In Judaism this transgression was a bad mark against the whole community, while Christians considered sin to be a personal transgression.

Abraham of the bible was a Semite who worshiped the Akkadian and Sumerian gods. It is not surprising therefore that the ten commandments were a contract between him and his personal god El. It was written in the standard two tablet format with all content copied equally on each tablet. In their original form they are a valuable look into the moral values of the people.

The Sumerians also looked at law as something handed over to man by the sun god Utu. Civilization was highly important to the Sumerians and was a part of the personal connection that brought them closer to their gods. The rules of society were therefore an integral piece of their moral beliefs. Breaking the law was not a sin however. It was simply another way that one could upset the order of the universe, and it came with it’s own punishments.