Forthcoming Book Alert: Prophecy in the Ancient Near East and Hebrew Bible

Although it will not be published for quite a while, I am looking forward to a forthcoming publication from de Gruyter: Prophecy in the Ancient Near East and the Hebrew Bible by Martti Nissinen. For those who are not aware, Martti Nissinen is well known for his work with Near Eastern literature and prophecy. One of his books was, in fact, one of the first academic books which I ever read. So, he is very much the reason why I do what I do today.

Just Another Day Learning Akkadian

This is a snippet from my translation of an Akkadian marriage contract.

“If Bashtum has said to Rimum, her husband, “You are not my husband,” they will throw Bashtum into the river.” – Marriage contract written in Akkadian
If Rimum does the same, he only pays silver. This is institutionalized sexism in its truest form.

New Book by Ilan Peled

Although it won’t be released for a few months, I am excited to read Ilan Peled’s Masculinities and Third Gender: The Origins and Nature of an Institutionalized Gender Otherness in the Ancient Near East. It will be published by Ugarit-Verlag. After reviewing Goddesses in Context, I look forward to how Peled will contribute to our understanding of gender and sexuality in the ancient Near East.

Admitted into School

I just realized that I never formally announced some good news via my blog. I was admitted into the University of Chicago Divinity School to complete my MA! Although won’t be posting nearly as many reviews from new publications, I plan on writing about each book I read for the coursework in order to ensure that I fully grasp the content.

Thank your readership that has encouraged me to continue working diligently!

Philosophy before the Greeks

I am hope to eventually read Van de Mieroop’s forthcoming book titled Philosophy before the Greeks: The Pursuit of Truth in Ancient Babylonia. It looks extraordinary. Here is little summary from the Princeton University Press website:

There is a growing recognition that philosophy isn’t unique to the West, that it didn’t begin only with the classical Greeks, and that Greek philosophy was influenced by Near Eastern traditions. Yet even today there is a widespread assumption that what came before the Greeks was “before philosophy.” In Philosophy before the Greeks, Marc Van De Mieroop, an acclaimed historian of the ancient Near East, presents a groundbreaking argument that, for three millennia before the Greeks, one Near Eastern people had a rich and sophisticated tradition of philosophy fully worthy of the name.

In the first century BC, the Greek historian Diodorus of Sicily praised the Babylonians for their devotion to philosophy. Showing the justice of Diodorus’s comment, this is the first book to argue that there were Babylonian philosophers and that they studied knowledge systematically using a coherent system of logic rooted in the practices of cuneiform script. Van De Mieroop uncovers Babylonian approaches to knowledge in three areas: the study of language, which in its analysis of the written word formed the basis of all logic; the art of divination, which interpreted communications between gods and humans; and the rules of law, which confirmed that royal justice was founded on truth.

The result is an innovative intellectual history of the ancient Near Eastern world during the many centuries in which Babylonian philosophers inspired scholars throughout the region—until the first millennium BC, when the breakdown of this cosmopolitan system enabled others, including the Greeks, to develop alternative methods of philosophical reasoning. (Source)



John H. Dobson and Hebrew

“Hebrew is in some ways very different from European languages. Do not try to confine it within the prison of English grammatical terms, or it may laugh and run away from you.” – John H. Dobson in Learn Biblical Hebrew, 2nd Edition, pg. 39.

The picture of little Hebrew letters running away from prison with English grammar guards is now stuck in my mind.

Ritual Applications of Salt in Mesopotamian Texts

SaltI’m primarily posting this article from a book published in 2010 for my own records. Though, I do hope that somebody will find use of the article. I have a few ideas percolating in my brain involving salt and ritual.

“In addition to its various utilitarian functions , literary evidence confirms that salt served several purposes in ritual activities across the ancient Near East. For example, Mesopotamian texts describe the use of salt in animal and vegetable sacrifices, incense offerings, various magical rites, and ritual curses. Salt is cited also in the analogies of Mesopotamian omen literature.”
– Jeffrey Stackert (Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible; Associate Faculty in the  Department of Classics and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago)
Read the complete article here: