Tammuz corresponds to the Sumerian deity Dumuzi, who figures prominently in myths, sacred marriage texts, and laments. Largely a tragic figure, he is the lover of the goddess Inanna who consigned him to the netherworld. The presence of two kings named Dumuzi in the Sumerian King List, one before the flood and one after, suggests that there may have been a historical person with that name.

Much of the early scholarly attention concerning Tammuz focused on James G. Frazier's interpretation (The Golden Bough), in which Tammuz was connected to the motif of the dying god. In this understanding, now largely abandoned, the death and resurrection of the god corresponds to the seasonal cycle with its alternation of decay and revival of plant life.

In the single biblical occurrence of Tammuz (Ezek. 8.14), the prophet sees women at the Temple court weeping for Tammuz. The ample firstā€millennium BCE cuneiform documentation pertaining to mourning rites for Dumuzi provides a suitable backdrop for the passage in Ezekiel.

In Judaism, the fourth month of the year (June/July) is called Tammuz.

James H. Platt