This book uses insights from religious studies, literary theory, and the history of science for understanding the Sumerian composition
Nanše and the Birds in the context of the Old Babylonian scribal school. The discussions of Babylonian religion, literature, and scholarship focus on the usefulness and relevance of these modern concepts for categorizing the ancient text.
The volume presents the first critical edition of
Nanše and the Birds, as well as editions of the hymn Nanše B and all third millennium and Old Babylonian lexical lists of birds. It includes 37 plates with photographs and line drawings, including many previously unpublished tablets. The final chapter discusses the identity and orthography of all Sumerian bird names in literary, administrative and lexical texts.
'A Cow of Sîn' is an Akkadian incantation for a woman in childbirth. It contains a small mythological narrative (about 20 lines) about the moongod and his beloved cow, Geme-Sîn. Sîn falls in love with his cow and impregantes her. When at the end of her pregnancy the birth-pangs begin, Sîn hears her cries in heaven. Two helping spirits descend to earth and perform a ritual to ease the birth. The incantation ends with a supplication: may this woman give birth as easily as Geme-Sîn. Veldhuis presents the various versions of the text and offers a literary analysis which takes into account the poetic and pragmatic aspects of the incantation. This study is meant both for the Assyriologist and for anyone interested in Akkadian literature.
This volume, dedicated to H.L.J. Vanstiphout at the occasion of his retirement from the University of Groningen, July 14th 2006, demonstrates the broad variety of scholarly approaches to the study of ancient Sumerian literature. It contains contributions by Bendt Alster (Ninurta and the Turtle), Nicole Brisch (In Praise of the Kings of Larsa), A.J. Ferrara (A Hodgepodge of Snippets), Alhena Gadotti (Gilgameš, Gudam and the Singer), W.W. Hallo (A Sumerian Apocryphon?), Dina Katz (Appeals to Utu), Jacob Klein (Man and His God), Piotr Michalowski (The Strange History of Tumal), Gonzalo Rubio (Šulgi and the Death of Sumerian), Niek Veldhuis (How Did They Learn Cuneiform?), and Claus Wilcke (Die Hymne auf das Heiligtum Keš).
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.