“The Voice of Mighty Copper in an Exorcistic Ritual”
article d’Anne-Caroline Rendu Loisel dans Beate Pongratz-Leisten, Karen Sonik (éds.), The Materiality of Divine Agency, Studies in Ancient Near Eastern Records 8, De Gruyter, Berlin, 2015, p. 211-227.
In the inquiry regarding the materiality of divine agency, exorcism constitutes an important and fruitful field of research. In exorcistic rituals, the powerful incantations and the specific objects used complement each other. They create a special atmosphere that assists the priest in experiencing the divine. In exorcism, the priest might call upon a god in order to protect himself before attempting to banish the demon from his patient. He might also ask, however, for the help of a secondary agent (a material object) in performing the ritual. This object arguably becomes, at least for the duration of the procedure, a beneficent agent invoked by the exorcist, who derives his power from the Mesopotamian gods associated with magic, Asalluhi/Marduk in particular. This contribution focuses on three noisy rituals described in the first millennium BCE canonical Utukkū Lemnūtu (Evil Demons) incantations. In the seventh tablet of this corpus, a demonic entity called “Mighty Copper” is involved in the exorcistic process. A musical instrument – most likely a copper bell – is used by the priest to produce a powerful and frightful noise that has the power to expel evil. At this particular moment, and only at this time, the noise produced is identified as the voice of Mighty Copper. Mighty Copper, rather than being a simple copper bell, endows the benevolent agent with a concrete and physical presence capable of assisting the exorcist, fighting on his side against the malevolent demon afflicting the patient.