Tammuz is the name of the Babylonian god who corresponds to the Egyptian Osiris, the Phoenician and Greek Adonis, the Phrygian Attis, and other well- known types of the dying son of Mother Earth. The worship of Tammuz in Babylonia and in those adjacent lands to which it spread was a cult of sorrow, death, and resurrection. This cult has attracted the attention of those interested in the history of the culture religions, for the religious mentality of a cultured people is best revealed here. The consciousness that human life is unstable, transient, and full of sorrow, gave rise to asceticism, fasting, and adoration of eternal life. The measure of development of such a cult is a sure test of the culture of a people, and measured by this test the Babylonian religion ranks high among the great culture religions of antiquity. Before the vast resources of Assyriology revealed this type of the dying and resurrected god in its most ancient and perhaps its highest form, Tammuz and his worship were known to the Classical and Modern world only by incidental references in western Semitic literature and in a few Greek and Latin works. Ezekiel tells us that the wailings for Tammuz were practised in the temple at Jerusalem in the early part of the sixth century B. c., and this worship must have been known and practised throughout Western Asia where Tammuz and Adonis of Byblus were identified. The worship is mentioned in post-Christian times by Mandean and Syriac writers. At Harran in Eastern Syria the Sabeans continued the worship of this Babylonian god into the Middle Ages.
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