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Request: Ancient Near Eastern Texts and tools relating to the Old Testament


Peter Brylov Christensen
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First of all, I'd like to say that using Accordance has been an amazing experience which has enhanced my Old Testament studies to a whole new level. Many subjects concerning the Bible is extensively covered by the program, and I suspect that only few "holes" remain. One of them, however, would be my other specialty, The Ancient Near East. So I decided to make this module request - While I have most of the works mentioned below in my personal library, seeing them in my Accordance library would be a dream come true.

Before making this topic, I searched this particular forum for identical topics to make sure that I wouldn't be repeating what other people already have requested. I then took notice of these three topics - RobM's "Ancient Texts" from May 2009. A.D. Riddle's "Dictionaries for Ancient Languages" from May 2011, and finally tis454's "Akkadian" from December 2013.

1. RobM didn't specify what Akkadian texts he wanted other than a transliterated edition of Codex Hammurabi and similar law collections; On that note, I'd like to request Martha Noth's Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor (Second Edition, SBL - Writings from the Ancient World Series, Scholars Press, Atlanta, 1997), seeing that it contains the most important law collections from the Ancient Near East.

Other important Akkadian text editions I'd like to see would be:

 

A. R. George's The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic - Introduction, Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts Vol I & II (Oxford University Press, 2003) - of all the Gilgamesh editions I've read, this one is without a doubt the best.

 

W.G. Lambert, A.R. Millard and M. Civil's Atra-Ḫasīs - The Babylonian Story of the Flood with the Sumerian Flood Story (Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Indiana, 1999)

 

W.G. Lambert's Babylonian Wisdom Literature (Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Indiana, 1996)

 

2. A.D. Riddle asked for a few interesting dictionaries, and I, too, would really like to see the following:

 

J. Hoftijzer and K. Jongeling's Dictionary of the North-West Semitic Inscriptions. (Leiden: Brill, 1995)

G. del Olmo Lete and J. Sanmartín's A Dictionary of the Ugaritic Language in the Alphabetic Tradition. Vol I & II (Leiden: Brill, 2004)

 

Jeremy Black, Andrew George, and Nicholas Postgate's A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian. (CDA) (2nd corrected printing. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2000)

 

The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (CAD) - Quite the tour de force, that one!

I'd also like to request these dictionaries:

Wolfram von Soden's Akkadisches Handwörterbuch Band A-L, Band M-S and Band Ṣ-Z (Otto Harrasowitz, Wiesbaden, 1965, 1972 and 1981) - I am aware that it's written in German, which might alienate some, but it is arguably the best Akkadian dictionary there is. E.g. unlike the CAD (and CDA!), the AhW lists several verbal forms in its entries. Another problem with CAD is the vast amount of - albeit relevant - information. AhW is only in three volumes and almost always manages to tell the reader all he or she needs to know.

Michael Sokoloff's A Syriac Lexicon. A Translation from the Latin, Correction, Expansion, and Update of C. Brockelmann's Lexicon Syriacum (Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Indiana, and Gorgias Press, Piscata Way, New Jersey, 2009)

 

J. Payne Smith's A Compendious Syriac Dictionary (Clarendon Press, 1967)

3. Of course, there are also a lot of great grammars out there I'd like to see:

 

Wolfram von Soden's Grundriss der Akkadischen Grammatik (2nd edition, Pontificum Institutum Biblicum, Roma, 1969) - again, seeing that the German language might pose a problem, Harry Hoffner's translation of Arthur Ungnad's "Akkadian Grammar" (Fifth corrected edition, SBL - Scholars Press, Atlanta, 1992) is a good alternative.

Takamitsu Muraoka's Classical Syriac. A Basic Grammar with a Chrestomathy (Second, Revised Edition, Harrasowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, 2005)

 

Franz Rosenthal's A Grammar of Biblical Aramaic (Sixth, revised edition, Harrasowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, 1995)

 

Stanislav Segert's Altaramäische Grammatik mit Bibliographie, Chrestomathie und Glossar (2nd edition, Verlag Enzyklopädie Leipzig, 1975) - This exceptionally brilliant grammar covers all Aramaic dialects and not just the biblical material. There doesn't seem to be any English alternatives to this, though.

 

Stanislav Segert's A Basic Grammar of the Ugaritic Language (University of California Press, 1984) - Great for beginners but usable in general as well.

 

Daniel Sivan's A Grammar of the Ugaritic Language (Brill, Leiden, 1997)

 

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+10

 

I agree. We've long been short on ANE texts.

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Great with some positive feedback - I'll be looking forward to the day when it happens!
Speaking of which, any idea when/if it will? I know this is a slightly unfair question, though - the CAD alone would probably take several months to complete, not to mention getting green lights from the various authors/publishers to digitalize their respective works..

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[chuckle] O, that I were a prophet!

 

I've wanted the Pritchard's ANE books in Accordance for some time. As long as we're wishing, I'd love to see Goodenough's Greco-Roman Symbols, along with the site report of Dura-Europos. These are some of my favorites, but I have no idea how wide a market there is for them.

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I suppose it's the same problem with the Ancient Near East and its literature: It's a small niche field which yields an equally small market, even though the ANE sources are so important for the understanding of the Old Testament. But it does make sense, though: With Assyriology (and my specific "strain" of Old Testament Exegesis), you're expected to master an absurd amount of dead and living languages, making it an extremely inaccessible and time consuming venture - It took me a good four years to master most of the linguistic tools necessary for comparative analysis of Biblical and ANE material, but there is always room for improvement, seeing that I still need to learn Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and Hittite. And even then, there's certainly more I could work on.

So I guess the odds for more ANE-texts in the foreseeable future are somewhat slim, but hey, a guy can dream, right? On a positive note, it's comforting to see that Accordance already got the Aramaic Inscriptions from Egypt and the Ugaritic texts covered. I hope the trend continues!

Edited by Pchris
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Compared to ANET, I'd say COS is a welcome addition. All in all, it's "better" than ANET if you ask me. ANET is still a classic though, and an important one at that.
But it has a a few distinct weaknesses which it also shares with ANET - it only features translations of the texts, whereas there are no transliterations or facsimiles/photographs of the ANE material whatsoever. And seeing that COS only focuses on texts immediately relevant to the Bible, much important material is thus omitted. E.g. only Tablet XI of the Gilgamesh epic is included, whereas A.R. George's work mentioned in my original post covers the whole thing thoroughly.

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I agree. I'd prefer to have the entire ANE corpus, even if it is just for texts with canonical parallels.

 

Ditto for NT background materials, though Accordance has done very well in including the rabbinic, pseudepigraphic, and apocalyptic works.

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Hm, that reminds me - There is this huge photograph database called "The InscriptiFact Project" by The University of California, West Semitic Research. The thing is that they have thousands of these very high quality pictures covering many of the ANE inscriptions. We used the database as a part of the curriculum for my Ugaritic class three years ago, and working with HQ photos of the actual clay tablets yourself is quite a different experience compared to working with any transliteration. I was wondering if a similar feature (or perhaps the actual pictures from InscriptiFact) also could be implemented in Accordance someday in a manner like with the Dead Sea Scrolls Images module.

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Oh yeah, nearly forgot about that one - really great webpage. InscriptiFact has some Dead Sea Scroll material as well, but http://www.deadseascrolls.org.il/ got more pictures available from all the caves at Qumran, I believe.

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Hm, that reminds me - There is this huge photograph database called "The InscriptiFact Project" by The University of California, West Semitic Research. The thing is that they have thousands of these very high quality pictures covering many of the ANE inscriptions. We used the database as a part of the curriculum for my Ugaritic class three years ago, and working with HQ photos of the actual clay tablets yourself is quite a different experience compared to working with any transliteration. I was wondering if a similar feature (or perhaps the actual pictures from InscriptiFact) also could be implemented in Accordance someday in a manner like with the Dead Sea Scrolls Images module.

Oooo...

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

 

Oooo...

 

InscriptiFact is indeed an exceptional database, but they don't have pictures of everything yet. For instance, while they do have a lot of the Amarna Letters from the British Museum of London, they still lack the letters from the Vorderasiatische Museum of Berlin - Fortunately, this webpage has most of them:

 

http://amarna.ieiop.csic.es/maineng.html

 

I haven't managed to find a webpage/database that contains HQ pictures of the letters from The Egyptian Museum of Cairo, though. Do you know any?

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Compared to ANET, I'd say COS is a welcome addition. All in all, it's "better" than ANET if you ask me. ANET is still a classic though, and an important one at that.

But it has a a few distinct weaknesses which it also shares with ANET - it only features translations of the texts, whereas there are no transliterations or facsimiles/photographs of the ANE material whatsoever. And seeing that COS only focuses on texts immediately relevant to the Bible, much important material is thus omitted. E.g. only Tablet XI of the Gilgamesh epic is included, whereas A.R. George's work mentioned in my original post covers the whole thing thoroughly.

 

Just remembered about this tonight as I'm trying to track down an ANET citation (and personally wishing we had ANET as well ;) ): COS/ANET Index.

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My professor just told me this: This November Brill is going to publish two books by A.F. Rainey, William Schniewind and Zipora Cochavi-Rainey called "The El-Amarna Correspondence I-II (Leiden: E.J. Brill 2015)" which contains new transliterations and translations of the entire Amarna Letter corpus! This is quite something - The "standard" edition of the Amarna Letters is still Knutzons work from 1915, which regrettably lacks some of the letters, although the rest of them were published by A.F. Rainey in 1978. And even though 36 years isn't that much (especially not in the field of Assyriology and Biblical Exegesis *cough* Biblia Hebraica Quinta *cough*), a lot of things have none the less changed since then. As such, this new edition is very much welcome - and if the Amarna Letters are to be included in Accordance someday, I'd say this is the edition to go for, if possible.

 

Link: http://www.brill.com/products/reference-work/el-amarna-correspondence-2-vol-set

By the way, which ANET citation were you looking for?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another thing:

The KTU 3 (Keilalphabetische Texte aus Ugarit / The Cuneiform Alphabetic Texts from Ugarit, Ras Ibn Hani and Other Places) was released just recently in 2013. While Accordance has the important Ugaritic Data Bank by Cunchillos et alli (2003), KTU is now much newer and was also very much anticipated amongst ANE-enthusiasts due to the fact that the previous edition was published in 1995. Any chance we'll see it in Accordance?

 

With kind regards

 

Pchris

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  • 1 month later...

This page gives a nice comparison (and cross-index) of ANET and COS. Notice below the table that there are quite a few texts in ANET that are not in COS, and vice versa.

http://www.bombaxo.com/cosanet.html

 

Also, there is rumor of an additional volume of COS in the works.

 

Pchris, thanks for the heads up on Rainey's El-Amarna Correspondence. I will keep an eye out for that.

 

A.D.

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You're quite welcome, A.D! My professor told me just recently that the volumes have been postponed a bit by Brill due to delays. But don't they always?

 

Actually, there's a couple of ones I forgot in my original post that I'd like to see in Accordance as well:

 

An Aramaic Handbook vol I/1, I/2, II/1 and II/2 by Franz Rosenthal et alli (Porta Linguarum Orientalium Neue Serie X; Wiesbaden: Otto Harrasowitz, 1967).

It features texts and glossaries of nearly all stages of Aramaic - even Syriac! There's to my knowledge no dictionary of Old Aramaic either, so this glossary is also the closest thing to a non-biblical Aramaic Dictionary.

 

The Aramaic Inscriptions of Sefîre by Joseph Fitzmyer, S.J. (Biblica et Orientalia 19; Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute 1967)

 

It is the only piece of literature that specifically deals with these very important stelae, so it's naturally a must! It provides transliteration, translation, commentary, facsimiles of the stelae and photographs. The photographs aren't worth much, though, in therms of checking up on the transliteration.

 

Ancient Mesopotamia by Leo Oppenheim (Chicago: The University Press of Chicago, 1977 [1964])

 

An old and important classic even though it is slightly outdated by today's standards. Still a great introduction work to the field of Assyriology and its many obstacles.

 

The Sumerian King List by Thorkild Jacobsen (Assyriological Studies No. 11; Chicago: The University Press of Chicago, fourth impression, 1973 [1939])

 

In spite of its age, it is still the standard edition, and even though the Chicago Oriental Institute offers a free PDF download, I'd nevertheless like to see it in Accordance.

 

A Cuneiform Anthology of Religious Texts from Ugarit by Johannes C. de Moor and Klaas Spronk (Semitic Study Series No. VI; Leiden: Brill, 1987) and
An Anthology of Religious Texts from Ugarit by Johannes C. de Moor (Religious Texts Translation Series - NISABA Volume sixteen; Leiden: Brill, 1987)

 

The first book contains facsimiles of the religious texts from Ugarit (Not letters and the like), which is seldom seen, due to the fact that Ugaritic is almost always transliterated in Ugaritic scholarship, so it would make a neat addition. It cannot beat the InscriptiFact project, but if you will settle for facsimiles, this will do just fine. The second book contains translations of the texts transliterated in the first book. There is, of course, a newer translation of the Ugaritic texts with a more thorough commentary, which is the Religious Texts from Ugarit - The Words of Ilimilku and his Colleagues by Nicholas Wyatt (The Biblical Seminar 53; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998)

 

The Ugaritic Baal Cycle volume I - Introduction with Text, Translation and Commentary of KTU 1.1-1.2 by Mark Smith (Supplements to Vetus Testamentum Volume LV; Leiden: Brill, 1994) and The Ugaritic Baal Cycle volume II - Introduction with Text, Translation and Commentary of KTU/CAT 1.3-1.4 by Mark Smith & Wayne Pitard (Supplements to Vetus Testamentum Volume 114; Leiden: Brill, 2009)

Very thorough commentary on the Baal cycle. Both volumes use the same high quality photographs as the InscriptFact Project, which were taken by Bruce and Kenneth Zuckerman.

But to be honest:

 

I agree. I'd prefer to have the entire ANE corpus, even if it is just for texts with canonical parallels.

Ditto for NT background materials, though Accordance has done very well in including the rabbinic, pseudepigraphic, and apocalyptic works.

 

This is pretty much what I wish for - the entire ANE corpus for Accordance and loads of relevant literature about it.

 

With kind regards

 

Pchris

*EDIT*

Hah, would you look at that. This is my 100th post, granting me the "silver" title. How fitting!

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Now go for Gold Pchris! (500)

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Now go for Gold Pchris! (500)

 

Hm. Gotta make more and smaller posts then!

 

That reminds me: If A.D. Riddle and Daniel R. hadn't posted here just now, I would've bumped the thread myself one of these days and ask about the development/if there is any development at the moment concerning ANE material for Accordance. But I can appreciate that you guys have plenty of stuff to do and a lot of projects in the works as it is already. Furthermore, the ANE field of study, in spite of its importance, is somewhat niche compared to mainstream Biblical studies and the sources are very much less accessible than Hebrew and Greek ones, so if the ANE isn't the next project in line, I'd understand.

 

...But if something is currently happening, even a small cryptic hint would be great :)

 

With kind regards

 

Pchris

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Hi Pchris, not only can’t I drop a hint because I have no knowledge about anything like that, it’s also way above my paygrade in the organisation.

 

Someone else will have to let the dogs out...if there are any.

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I am afraid that we cannot make these things high priority. You are the only user advocating for them. We would need to see a lot more interest from other users before we could even consider adding such specialized resources. Either that, or the funding for the massive project would have to come from another source.

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