Pictures of Adam and Eve as Dumuzi and Inanna

Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.

01 May 2007 (Revisions through 29 August 2010)

I understand that Adam and Eve are recastings of Dumuzi and Inanna. Other protagonists fused together and recast as Adam are Adapa, Enkidu and Ziusudra. Other protagonists for Eve are Shamhat, Nin-ti, Ninhursag and Ziusudra's wife in Dilmun. Genesis' Eden is a recast of the Sumerian edin.

Below, a drawing after a cylinder seal found at Sumerian Nibru (Akkadian Nippur) of the Ur III period (circa 2150 B.C.) showing Inanna bestowing symbols of rulership to a king who pours out water (?) into a pot containing perhaps a seedling plant, a date palm (?) with two clusters of dates. Two gods with horned helmets observe the coronation. To the viewer's left is a tall Cedar tree (?). According to one myth Inanna accompanied by her brother Utu the sun-god descends to the earth from heaven to "acquire knowledge" by eating of various herbs and trees. One of the trees she eats of is stated to be a cedar. Cedar nuts are consumed and used as a garnish in several Middle Eastern meals to this day. At Nibru/Nippur archaeologists found clay tablets which revealed one of Inanna's Sumerian epithets was nin-edin "the lady of edin" and Inanna-edin "Inanna of edin." Her husband was Dumuzi the shepherd who bore the Sumerian epithet mulu-edin "the lord of edin." The "lady of edin" ate of a cedar tree to acquire sexual knowledge so she could perform her conjugal duties with her new husband, "the lord of edin." Both Inanna and Dumuzi also bore another Sumerian epithet ama-ushumgal-an-na "the mother is a great serpent-dragon of heaven." Mesopotamian myths reveal that the gods created kings to oversee mankind's provisioning of the gods with the basics of life: food, shelter and clothing. Perhaps the king's watering of the seedling datepalm (a fruit tree) recalls the myths that stated man was created to relieve the Igigi gods of creating and clearing irrigation canals and ditches to provide water for the god's city-gardens where grew assorted fruit trees (date palms, apple and fig trees, etc.). That is to say one of man's duties was to care for the city-gardens of the gods and offer this produce to the gods in the temples. The cultic act of "watering" a seedling fruit tree then recalls man's duty to provide water for the gods' gardens via the maintenace of irrigation canals and ditches, a job formerly held by the Igigi gods. Inanna possessed a city-garden at Uruk and there she planted a Huluppu tree intending to make a throne of it after it had matured. At Mari on the Euphrates she is shown giving the symbols of rulership to Mari's king and a scene below her shows shows men harvesting dates from a date palm. Please click here for a picture of the Mari investiture of its king and six Cherubim (?) guarding Inanna's fruit trees. (cf. p. 98. Figure 15. for the below drawing. Jeremy Black, Graham Cunningham, Eleanor Robson, and Gabor Zolyomi. The Literature of Ancient Sumer. Oxford & New York. Oxford University Press. 2004 and 2006)
Below, a bas-relief in stone showing an enthroned goddess and god (the horned helmets revealing they are deities). This stele was found at Ur (Muqqayar, Sumerian : Urim) and the deities are thus "assumed" to be the moon-god and his wife (Sumerian: Nannar or Nanna, Akkadian: Sin and wife, Sumerian: Ningal). To the degree that the gods and goddesses tended to be rendered in similar forms the stele gives us an idea of what Inanna and a deified Dumuzi may have looked like. Between them is a pot with perhaps a date palm seedling with date clusters (?) hanging over the pot's edge. The king in Mesopotamian belief was appointed by the gods to oversee man's service to the gods provisioning the gods with life's necessities: food, shelter and clothing. One of man's duties was to create and maintain the irrigation canals and ditches that provided water for the gods' city-gardens which possessed various herbs, vegetables, grain and fruit trees. Dumuzi as a king of Uruk would be responsible for providing water for Inanna's city-garden (For the below picture cf. p. 9. Diana Wolkstein & Samuel Noah Kramer. Inanna Queen of Heaven and Earth, Her Stories and Hymns From Sumer. New York. Harper & Row. 1983).
Wolkstein and Kramer on Uruk's (also translated as the edin of Kulaba) great apple tree where Dumuzi is seized by the Ugalla/Galla demons. Note that Dumuzi is described as seated upon a throne and the above stele shows enthroned dieties:

The galla said:
"Walk on to your city, Inanna.
We will go with you to the big apple tree in Uruk."
In Uruk, by the big apple tree,
Dumuzi, the husband of Inanna, was dressed in his shining me-garments.
He sat on his magnificent throne...
The galla seized him...
Inanna fastened on Dumuzi the eye of death.
She spoke against him the word of wrath.
She uttered against him the cry of guilt:
"Take him! Take Dumuzi away!"...
The galla...seized Dumuzi..."

(p. 71. "From the Great Above to the Great Below."  Diana Wolkstein & Samuel Noah Kramer. Inanna Queen of Heaven and Earth, Her Stories and Hymns From Sumer. New York. Harper & Row. 1983) 

Below, an impression from a cylinder seal showing perhaps Dumuzi as the "life-force" in the vegetation of the edin (the great plain through which flow the Tigris and Euphrates rivers) of the Spring, feeding two goats. He was a shepherd of the edin and had flocks of goats and sheep. At the far ends of the seal appear two Sumerian cult-poles usually associated with Dumuzi's wife Inanna of Uruk, who bore the Sumerian epithet nin-edin "the lady of edin." (for the below photo cf. p. 85. Diana Wolkstein & Samuel Noah Kramer. Inanna Queen of Heaven and Earth, Her Stories and Hymns From Sumer. New York. Harper & Row. 1983) 
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Below, a clyinder seal impression showing a god (?) with horned helmet and a woman seated on either side of a date palm possessing two clusters of dates. Behind the god (?) is a serpent. This seal has been popularly called "The Adam and Eve Seal," the serpent being described by some as Eden's serpent. The problem in such an identification? The Edenic serpent is portrayed as possesing legs and this serpent has none. Neither Adam nor Eve are portrayed as being a god and goddess, thus this is most likely NOT a seal of Adam, Eve and the Serpent. However I understand that these figures are the pre-biblical Sumerian "prototypes" of Adam, Eve and the Serpent in the forms of Inanna and Dumuzi. I understand that Eve is a recast of Inanna and Adam a recast of Dumuzi. Both Inanna and Dumuzi were called in Sumerian ama-ushumgal-an-na "the mother is a great serpent-dragon of heaven." So the serpent on the seal might be an allusion to these two deities' epithet (for the below picture cf. p. 3. "The Huluppu Tree." Diana Wolkstein & Samuel Noah Kramer. Inanna Queen of Heaven and Earth, Her Stories and Hymns From Sumer. New York. Harper & Row. 1983)?

Genesis tells us that God stationed Cherubim to deny man access to the tree of life in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:24) and later we are informed that Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem bore scenes of Cherubim and Palm Trees (1 Kings 6:29, 32, 35). Perhaps the Palm Trees in Solomon's Temple were Date Palms? If so, then the Date Palm seedlings shown above on this page being watered by man before various Mesopotamian gods and goddesses perhaps were later morphed by the Hebrews into the Tree of Life? 

Interestingly, the late Professor Thorkild Jacobsen (Harvard University) rendered ama-ushumgal-an-na NOT as "the mother is a great serpent-dragon of heaven":


We can distinguish the form of Dumuzi called Dumuzi-Amaushumgalanna, who appears to be the power in the date plam to produce new fruit. The name Amaushumgalanna means "the one great source of the date clusters" ( (.ak) and refers to the so-called heart of palm, the enormous bud which the palm tree sets each year. This is the lightest and happiest of all the forms of the god. The cult celebrates his sacred marriage only, not his loss in death- presumably because the date is easily storable and endures. His worship among the shepherds and cowherds has greater range.." 

(p. 26. "Dying Gods of Fertility." Thorkild Jacobsen. The Treasures of Darkness, A History of Mesopotamian ReligionNew Haven & London. Yale University Press. 1976)

If Jacobsen is right, perhaps the hands extended toward the date palm in the below seal are alluding to Dumuzi as being manifested in the palm's date-clusters (his resurrection from death, hence the tree is a tree of life)? Most scholars however disagree with Jacobsen and prefer to render ama-ushumgal-an-na as: "the mother is a great serpent-dragon of heaven" (ama= mother, ushum= serpent, gal= great, an-na= heaven).

Dumuzi was seen as the life-force in the annual Spring renewing of edin's vegetation and in one myth he is transformed into a snake to slither out of his bonds to elude briefly his captors the Ugalla demons. Is the snake on the below seal an allusion to his being made briefly into a snake and his extended hand toward the tree an allusion to his "return to life" in the vegetation of edin as a date palm? To the degree that Inanna was called 
nin-edin "the lady of edin" and her husband Dumuzi was called mulu-edin "the lord of edin" I understand these gods are pre-biblical prototypes behind Adam, Eve and the Serpent who dwelt in Eden (The Sumerian edin).

Another possible interpretation of the below cylinder seal is that the seated deities are Inanna and either her husband Dumuzi or Gilgamesh, both were kings of Uruk and both were deified and made into gods. 

Inanna plants a Huluppu tree (a willow tree?) in her holy garden at Uruk and wants  to make furniture of it, a throne to sit on and a bed to lie upon but is prevented by a snake living at its base. Gilgamesh drives away the snake, slaying it with his ax, then uproots it so it can be made into a throne (and bed) for Innana. The below cylinder seal's two thrones (?) might be an allusion to the myth about the Huluppu tree's being chopped down and made into a throne after Gilgamesh slays and removes the tree's guardian, the serpent? The extended hands of the god and goddess pointing to the tree might allude to it being the source of the wood for the thrones they sit upon?

Kramer on the Huluppu tree, describing it as being formed with the earth's creation:

"In the first days, in the very first days,
In the first nights, in the very first nights,
In the first years, in the very first years,
In the first days when everything needed was brought into being...
When earth had separated from heaven,
And the name of man was fixed...
Enki, the god of wisdom...
At that time, a tree, a single tree, a huluppu tree
Was planted by the banks of the Euphrates...
A woman who walked in fear of the word of the sky God...
Plucked up the tree from the river and spoke:
'I shall plant this tree in Uruk,
I shall plant this tree in my holy garden.'
Inanna cared for the tree with her hand...
She wondered:
'How long will it be until I have a shining throne to sit upon?'
'How long will it be until I have a shining bed to lie upon?'
The years passed...
Then a serpent who could not be charmed
Made its nest in the roots of the huluppu tree.
How Inanna wept!
(Yet they would not leave her tree.)...
Gilgamesh the valiant warrior...
Lifted his bronze ax...
He entered Inanna's holy garden.
Gilgamesh struck the serpent who could not be charmed...
Gilgamesh then loosened the roots of the huluppu tree;
And the sons of the city, who accompanied him, cut off the branches.
From the trunk of the tree he carved a throne for his holy sister
From the trunk of the tree Gilgamesh carved a bed for Inanna"

(pp. 4-9. "The Huluppu-Tree." Diana Wolkstein & Samuel Noah Kramer. Inanna Queen of Heaven and Earth, Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer. New York. Harper & Row, Publishers. 1983)

Elsewhere on this website I have articles identifying Adam, Eve, the Serpent, Yahweh, the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life as recast Sumerian and Mesopotamian myths, some associated with Ur, Uruk, Eridu and Nippur.

Some commenators on the BIble understand that Eden's tree of life was the date palm, cf. Ezekiel's description of Cherubim guarding date palms as decorations in Solomon's temple (Ez 41:18-25) and it is interesting that the cylinder seal shows a date palm and a serpent. 

In the biblical recasting the serpent is associated with a tree in a Yahweh's Garden of Eden. Inanna had a Holy Garden surrounded by Uruk's edin possessing a date palm and serpent just like Yahweh, and at Nippur Sumerian hymns called her nin-edin "the lady of edin/eden." She sought knowledge by eating of a tree in another hymn with her brother Utu the son-god just like Eve of Eden's garden. Naked men at Uruk cared for Inanna's holy garden surrounded by the Sumerian edin/eden (cf. the Warka/Uruk  3rd millennium BC alabaster vase for a file of naked men presenting her the harvest from her holy garden which included date-palms). So like Yahweh, Inanna's holy garden surrounded by an edin/eden was cared for by naked man (Adam caring for Yahweh's garden of Eden in a state of nakedness).

I understand that the Hebrews are taking "great liberties" in recasting the Sumerian and Mesopotamian motifs about the origins of the earth and man into new stories with new names and locations, Yahweh being a fusion of innumerable gods and goddesses including: An/Anu (of Uruk), Enlil/Ellil (of Nippur), Enki/Ea (of Eridu); Eve being a fusion of Inanna/Ishtar (and Shamhat of Uruk); Adam being a fusion of Enkidu of Uruk, Adapa of Eridu and the innumerable Sumerian city-gardens of the gods and goddesses surrounded by edin being fused together and recast as _one_ God's Garden in Eden.
Below, color  photo of a seal impression in clay, the seal being to the viewer's right. It resides in the British Museum and was acquired by them in 1846 from the John Stewart Collection. In 1876 George Smith of the British Museum suggested that elements from this seal might be the Mesopotamian precursors that were later transformed into the Adam and Eve story.
The above images have been apparently taken from the below stela and artifically combined, eliminating the figures between them. This is a stela found at Ur showing the Sumerian King Ur-Nammu circa 2200 BC honoring the enthroned Moon-god Nanna(r) and his wife Ningal. The King is shown twice, serving both deities by pouring water into a cult-vase bearing a seedling date-palm tree with date clusters. It was the King's duty to oversee the care of the gods' fruit-tree gardens surrounded by the Sumerian Edin (plain) (cf. C. Leonard Woolley. The Sumerians. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1928, 1929 for the below photo opposite the title page)