A Woman of Valor: Jerusalem Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honor of Joan Goodnick Westenholz. Edited by Wayne Horowitz, Uri Gabbay, and Filip Vukosavovic Biblioteca del Proximo Oriente Antiguo, vol. 8. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, 2010. Pp. 214, illus. $45.
The 'eset hayil honored in this fitting tribute spent twenty years as Chief Curator of the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem and collaborated on the final volumes of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary for three decades. Perhaps best known for her 1997 magnum opus Legends of the Kings of Akkade, she (co)authored numerous scholarly articles on various topics as well as several books on objects held in the Bible Lands Museum. Unfortunately the volume under review does not include a list of her publications. Fifteen chapters are arranged alphabetically by author (no index), covering various subjects that will interest readers across the sub-fields of ancient Near Eastern studies. The chapters focus on text editions, thematic textual studies, and studies on material culture.
Text editions. In one of the most interesting contributions to the volume, Takayoshi Oshima publishes a first-millennium mythological text (A 7882 // BM 27776) that features Marduk, Enlil, and Damkianna, whom he identifies with Marduk's consort Sarpanitu. Although the beginning of the composition is not preserved, it appears that the narrative's focus is on how Marduk disturbed Enlil and the gods of Esumesa in Nippur. In both sources there are lines of text at the end that are left untreated or are edited only in part (p. 155, secrecy colophon).
Filip Vukosavovic edits nine unprovenanced tablets held in a private collection in Jerusalem. These documents date to the Ur III period (Amar-Suena 8-Ibbi-Suen 3) and are attributed to Iri-Sagrig (4), Garsana (4), and perhaps Umma (1). With merely the text editions and spare notes this chapter will likely interest only Ur III specialists.
Thematic textual studies. Tzvi Abusch offers a close reading of a passage from the anti-witchcraft incantation series Maqlu. A short incantation from Tablet VII (11. 22-28) contains the self-impregnation topos, which is explicated using parallels from the animal world and the practice of agriculture. The crux of this passage is Maqlu VII 24, for which Abusch presents a score (read MAS.DA for "MAS.DA"), plausibly suggesting that the mother-male juvenile units refer not to copulating pairs but rather to mother animals...