Von Gottern und Menschen. Beitrage zu Literatur und Geschichte des Alien Orients: Festschrift fur Brigitte Groneberg.

Author:Foster, Benjamin R.
Position:Book review

Von Gottern und Menschen. Beitrage zu Literatur und Geschichte des Alien Orients: Festschrift fur Brigitte Groneberg. Edited by DAHLIA SHIHATA; FRAUKE WEIERSHAUSER: and KAMRAN V. ZAND. Cuneiform Monographs. vol. 41. Leiden: BRILL, 2010. Pp. xvii + 500. illus. $224.

The work of Brigitte Groneberg is well known to every serious student of Akkadian literature. This reviewer especially admires her fearlessness, shown already in her doctoral dissertation, in presenting first editions of Akkadian texts no one else has attempted (so also Charpin, p. 18 n. 3), some of which stand on or beyond the limits of comprehension. This volume presents twenty-four studies in her honor, reflecting her diversity of interests and impact on the discipline.

Among the philological and textual contributions, Cavigneaux and Jacques take up the Silbenvokahular texts, asking whether or not the scribes assigned some meaning to the syllables, how practical the equivalences were, and what might be their possible association with the scholastic creation story KAR 4. They pursue this inquiry with considerable ingenuity and once again stress the academic face of cuneiform literature, even in its primary stages. Charpin returns to the Old Babylonian edicts, pointing out their often local and specific character, though, at the same time, the same clauses can recur in more than one edict and the texts available to us appear to be copies. This perplexing state of affairs is thrown into relief by his decipherment of the seal impression on a newly discovered tablet, which proves to be none other than that of Ammiditana as crown prince, rolled over the tablet and envelope of yet another edict, this one, however, an original. Charpin then goes on to set the edict in its local context, both historical and archaeological. This essay is a tour-de-force of creative scholarship.

Durand presents a Mari letter consisting of a bilious complaint about a certain Asqudum, who seems to enjoy a fair amount of royal patronage. It is tempting to associate this man with the well-known notable and diviner of that name, who married into the royal family and enjoyed considerable status at court. From this letter it emerges that Asqudum had commercial interests not always crowned with success and carried on with probity. As Durand points out, commercial documents are not so common at Mari as one would expect from such a great entrepot, so the complaints and appeals registered here are of unusual interest. W. Farber edits to an exacting standard. with collations, spells and rituals to reconcile domestic disputes--one manuscript long known from the Tisserant collection, the others unedited duplicates from Sultantepe. This sheds new light on this lesser-known aspect of Ishtar, who is more commonly associated with fomenting disputes than resolving them.

Maul takes up...

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