“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.
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Biographical Note

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).


All interested in the History of Science, including astronomy, divination, and scholarly knowledge, particularly in ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean cultures.