Photo by Erich Lessing, Art Resource, NY

ON THE COVER: The cap made of horns on this 4-inch-high bust identifies the wearer as a god, although the name of the deity remains unknown. Found in the ancient Sumerian city of Lagash (modern Tello), in southeastern Iraq, the late third-millennium B.C. terracotta figure now resides in the Louvre. In the Bible, the prophet Isaiah castigates idol-makers for thinking they can create gods with their own hands. But Michael B. Dick, in “Worshiping Idols: What Isaiah Didn’t Know,” points out that the Mesopotamians themselves never made such a claim. They believed only gods could make gods.