"The Scaffolding of Our Thoughts"

Essays on Assyriology and the History of Science in Honor of Francesca Rochberg


Francesca Rochberg has for more than thirty-five years been a leading figure in the study of ancient science. Her foundational insights on the concepts of “science,” “canon,” “celestial divination,” “knowledge,” “gods,” and “nature” in cuneiform cultures have demanded continual contemplation on the tenets and assumptions that underlie the fields of Assyriology and the History of Science.

“The Scaffolding of Our Thoughts” honors this luminary with twenty essays, each reflecting on aspects of her work. Following an initial appraisal of ancient “science” by Sir Geoffrey Lloyd, the contributions in the first half explore practices of knowledge in Assyriological sources. The second half of the volume focuses specifically on astronomical and astrological spheres of knowledge in the Ancient Mediterranean.

"This excellent Festschrift, dedicated to Francesca Rochberg, offers fascinating insight into the world of ancient magic and divination."
-Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 43.5 (2019)

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C. Jay Crisostomo, Ph.D. (2014) is Assistant Professor of Assyriology at the University of Michigan. His research and publications have focused on the languages, history, and scribal practices of cuneiform cultures, particularly of early second millennium Babylonia.    

Eduardo A. Escobar, Ph.D. (2017) is a postdoctoral fellow at the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge, University of Chicago, whose research focuses on cuneiform scholarly cultures of the ancient Middle East.

Terri Tanaka, Ph.D. (2014) is a visiting professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley and the communications and project analyst for Berkeley Prosopography Services. She has published on dress and identity in cuneiform texts and pedagogical practice.

Niek Veldhuis, Ph.D. (1997) is Professor of Assyriology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of several books and articles on cuneiform culture, history, and lexicography, including Religion, Literature, and Scholarship (Brill, 2004).
“This excellent Festschrift, dedicated to Francesca Rochberg, offers fascinating insight into the world of ancient magic and divination. (…) The volume contains 20 essays, all of consistently high quality (…)”
- Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer, in Society for Old Testament Study Book List 2019
Acknowledgments IX

 1 A Status Quaestionis on the Formation of the Canon of the Hebrew Bible
 2 Some Preliminary Clarifications
 3 Methodology and Structure

1 The Twenty-Two Books of the Jews According to Josephus
 1 The Passage of the Against Apion
 2 The Twenty-Two Books Outside the Against Apion
 3 Josephus and Some Books on the Borderline of the Canon

2 The Ninety-Four Books of the Torah According to 4 Ezra
 1 Introduction to 4 Ezra
 2 Coordinates for a Comprehensive Understanding of 4 Ezra
 3 The Characterization of Ezra
 4 Function and Meaning of the Ninety-Four Books
 5 Historical Context and Social Function of 4 Ezra
 6 Fourth Ezra and the Canon of the Hebrew Bible

3 Comparison and Conclusions
 1 A Short Comparison between Josephus and 4 Ezra on the Books
 2 Elements for an Hypothesis
All interested in the History of Science, including astronomy, divination, and scholarly knowledge, particularly in ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean cultures.
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