Hittite Logograms and Hittite Scholarship.

Author:Gordin, Shai
Position:Book review

Hittite Logograms and Hittite Scholarship. By Mark Weeden. Studien zu den Bogazkoy-Texten, vol. 54. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2011. Pp. xvii + 693. 128 [euro].

A comprehensive study dedicated to Akkadian and Sumerian logograms in Hittite texts, also termed Akkadograms and Sumerograms, has long been a desideratum in Hittitology--be it on the level of grammar, morphology, or phonetic pronunciation; their possible origins and diffusion across Mesopotamia and its western periphery; or the use of logograms as a tool in textual criticism (especially dating of manuscripts and as part of scribal habits). Hence, the book under review, a reworked version of the author's 2007 SOAS (London) doctoral dissertation, is already impressive by attempting to fill the gap on at least part of these topics, based on analyses of an extensive corpus of Sumerograms and Akkadograms. (Other reviews of the present volume are by Th. van den Hout, ZA 102 [2013]: 344-47, and G. Torri, "Hiding Words behind the Signs: The Use of Logograms in Hittite Scribal Praxis," OrNS 81 [2012]: 124-32.)

At the outset Weeden distinguishes two lexical corpora (pp. 39-40), resulting in his striking alphabetical catalogue in the appendix of 718 logograms, analyzed according to their relationship to paleographical criteria (pp. 429-655): 1) logograms from datable historical texts (CTH nos. 1-216); 2) anomalous logograms collected from the entirety of the Hittite textual corpus, marked as being only lexically attested (*), those attested only locally in Anatolia (**), or those used differently in Anatolia than in Mesopotamia (***). All catalogue entries are ordered according to whether the form has phonetic complementation or not (and further according to case, etc.). Each text is analyzed as to its script form, and many larger lemmata of anomalous logograms are also organized according to use in various text genres (e.g., me in oracular texts, pp. 576-80).

Even without the descriptive and analytical parts of the book, the evidence collected in this appendix would be immensely helpful, and it will become an indispensable logographic reference dictionary. Although incomplete--the author estimates that he covers only about 2.5% of the Hittite corpus)--it is still better than having no such research tool at all. At present (excluding Friedrich's older Hethitisches Worterbuch [Heidelberg, 1952]), up-to-date reference publications (e.g., Christel Ruster and Erich Neu, Hethitisches Zeichenlexikon [Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1989] = HZL) cover logograms only in regard to their Hittite reading and translation. Explicit text citations or short discussions can be found only under relevant Hittite words in the large dictionary projects. These are limited to logograms with Hittite readings and are obviously difficult...

To continue reading