Ugaritische Grammatik.

Author:Huehnergard, John
Position:Book review

Ugaritische Grammatik. Zweite, stark uberarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage. By JOSEF TROPPER. Alter Orient und Altes Testament, vol. 273. Munster: UGARIT-VERLAG, 2012. Pp. xxii + 1068. [euro]100.

Since its initial publication in 2000, Josef Tropper's monumental Ugaritische Grammatik (UG) has been the standard reference work on the language, superseding and supplanting all others. In terms of comprehensiveness and detail, no previous work had come even close to UG, and it is unlikely anything will, for the foreseeable future, even as more texts continue to be excavated and published.

To be sure, there have been criticisms of UG, some of them sharp, among the many reviews. Reviewers complained that Tropper devoted too much attention to the historical Northwest Semitic background of Ugaritic; that he sometimes cited too many previous views on a particular issue or, conversely, that he sometimes did not cite enough such views; that, in some instances, Tropper offered more than one interpretation of his own about a difficult passage; or that he offered any interpretation at all. In this reviewer's opinion, however, the compiler of a reference grammar of an incompletely understood language such as Ugaritic has to decide how best to interpret every text, based on his understanding of the grammar as a whole, and then describe that grammar consistently as he understands it; and this Tropper did in exemplary fashion. And since much of our understanding of Ugaritic is based on comparative Semitic, especially Northwest Semitic, evidence, it was necessary for Tropper to present his view of that evidence as well. And while one may always quibble about some details of historical Northwest Semitic grammar, in this regard too Tropper was consistently judicious.

A second edition of UG has now appeared, on which Tropper labored for nearly a decade. The title page states that the new edition is "heavily reworked and expanded," and indeed it is. It is in large part a new book.

In the preface to the new edition, Tropper responds graciously to his critics, in the spirit of scholarly cooperation. (He also replied to some criticisms in a separate article, Tropper 2001.) And he has incorporated their corrections and many of their suggestions into the text of the revision, especially those offered by Dennis Pardee in his 400-page review--undoubtedly the longest review in the history of ancient Near Eastern studies (Pardee 2003-2004). Tropper has also incorporated references to nearly one hundred Ugaritic texts published since UG first appeared (although some of those texts were published too late to be considered in detail). Unfortunately [UG.sup.2] appeared just over a year before the latest--third--edition of Die Keilalphabetischen Texte aus Ugarit / Cuneiform...

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