Schicksalbestimmende Kommunikation: Sprachliche, gesellschaftliche und religiose Aspekte hethitischer Fluch-, Segens- und Eideformeln. By Birgit Christiansen. Studien zu den Bogazkoy Texten, vol. 53. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2012. Pp. xii + 638. 128 [euro].
The book under review is a philological and cultural-historical study whose main topic is the curse, blessing, and oath formulae in Hittite textual sources. The curse and blessing formulae are considered constitutive parts of the oath. The main purpose of Christiansen's work is to propose a classification of the formulae based on the linguistic analysis of the documents, which underlines the common features and peculiarities of the various formulae present in the different texts and text genres. Furthermore, the classification is intended to constitute a model that can be useful for similar studies of other cultures. The classification of the formulae is not meant to be done only on a linguistic basis, but also includes criteria such as structure and content. In order to achieve this goal, the author's starting point is to consider the curse and blessing formulae as forms of communication.
The book is structured in three main parts: a general introduction consisting of the first three chapters, which regard the structure of the work, the textual material taken into consideration, the theoretical approach to the research topic, and the terminology of the formulae. A second, including the next six chapters, is dedicated to the proper analysis of the formulae in the different genres. The third and final part includes the two final chapters and presents the classification of the formulae, a summary, and the results of the work. A list of abbreviations, bibliography, and indices conclude the book.
The first chapter introduces the curse and blessing formulae as forms of communication. A paragraph is then dedicated to the questions and purposes of the research: Great attention is given to previous research and research approaches, in particular, those in which the curse and blessing formulae are considered expressions exclusively pertaining to orality. This approach is questioned by Christiansen. In the last paragraphs, the textual material is presented, along with the dating of the documents, their origins, languages, and genres.
The second chapter, devoted to the theoretical premises and the problems arising from the topic, demonstrates the originality of the author's approach. After a...