Who needs classical schools when there are Mesopotamian ones?
Iran has been in the news a lot lately, mainly for less than ideal reasons.Â However, the history of Iran is quite fascinating and certainly is important for ancient Near Eastern and biblical studies.Â One important resource for the study of ancient Iran is the Encyclopaedia Iranica which allows free online access.Â Enjoy!
Tired of boring departmental and committee meetings that don’t accomplish anything except wasting your time? Check out this article along with 5 tips from Forbes on how to hold a great meeting.
Here are some links to images in Google maps of some ancient Near Eastern sites:
Persepolis- the capital of the Achaemenid empire
Pasargadae- the capital of the Persian empire
Nippur- Enlilville, major Mesopotamian city; see the Oriental Institute’s site of the Nippur Expedition
Today’s Wall Street Journal has a summary of the various plans coming out of Washington that are intended to ease the financial burden of higher education.Â Here are the proposals with my comments:
None of these proposals (except the last one) will do anything at reducing tuition and probably even the debt burden of students.Â As more money is readily available for students to apply to education cost, education vendors will be able to pass on price increases.Â What has to happen is for the price of education to meet the upper limit on what people are willing to pay.Â Once that happens schools will be forced to contain costs and the escalating building boom competition between schools will lessen.Â Only then will tuition costs moderate.
What do you think?
Duane Smith has some wise words concerning Logos Software’s soon to be released Ugaritic Library and the video demo.Â I blogged about this release a little while ago and took some heat for it–both in comments and in emails.Â But I’m glad to see that others agreed with me then and upon seeing the demo they still feel the same.
Here are some notes from Wolfram von Soden’s Grundriss der Akkadischen Grammatik that I made for some friends. It is pretty much just a translation of his overview of Akkadian language dialects, although I didn’t included everything and changed a few things here and there.
The Language Periods and Dialects of Akkadian as well as the Most Important Sources
a. The designation of the language as Akkadian comes from the Babylonians themselves. Akkad was the old capitol city in which the Semites first settled in northern Babylonia opposite Sumer, which was the designation of southern Babylonia.
b. The extant Akkadian texts span 2.5 millennia from about 2500 BC to just after the time of the birth of Christ. The language naturally changed quite a bit during this time. We differentiate the following periods:
c. Old Akkadian (aAKâ€”Altakkadische) was used until the fall of the kingdom of Ur (2500-1950). The sources for this period are economic documents and names (there are also quite a few Sumerian texts) as well as a few royal inscriptions and scattered other texts from Babylonia and Mesopotamia up to the Zagros. The particularities of this oldest language period are not well known. The later more distinctive differences between Babylonian Akkadian and Assyrian seemingly develop from the end of this period.
d. Babylonian Dialects:
a. Old Babylonian (aB Altbabylonische) ca. 1950-1530 (until the end of the first dynasty of Babylon). The genres of letters and economic documents and to a limited degree literature are richly attested. Regions have their own dialects such as North Babylonian, South Babylonian, Eastern (above all Mari) with other more minor dialects as well. In all of these dialects there are differences between earlier and later texts. For instance, the language form of the administrative language of Hammurabi (1728-1686) in his laws and letters. To a large degree, the literary language preserves archaic spellings; this is particularly true for the hymn-epic dialect of many poems.
b. Middle Babylonian (mB Mittelbabylonische) ca. 1530-1000. This language is not as attested as other dialects, but it does occur in letters, economic documents, royal inscriptions and also from Assyrian and literary texts. At the end of this period begins the decline of the inflected endings.
c. (Jungbabylonische jB). There is substantial variation in the language of the letters and economic documents than in the substantial literature of the first half of the first millennium, which even with the increasing decline of the inflected endings there is a testimony of conscious attention to language in the schools. Many poems show an aspiration to older, often overloaded, language, which is attached to the hymnic-epic dialects.
d. Neo-Babylonian (Neubabylonische nB) is the living language most seen in the letters and economic documents of the time from around 1000 to the end of the Assyrian period (around 625). The increasing Aramaic influence of the Babylonian environment came with the decline of vocalic endings and aramaisms crept into Akkadian expressions.
e. Late Babylonian (SpÃ¤tbabylonische spB) the language of the Chaldean, Persian, and Seleucid period. In spite of convulsive archaizing in the royal inscriptions of the Chaldeans and in particular literary pieces there is an increasing tendency toward a mixed Babylonian-Aramaic language that is merely a written or learned language as the people spoke Aramaic. This linguistic decline is traceable to all regions.
e. Assyrian Dialects:
a. Old Assyrian (Altassyrische aA) 1950-1750. Mostly letters and documents from Assyrian trading colonies in eastern Asia Minor and only a very few royal inscriptions and other texts. Between the language of the trading colonies and the very paltry other documents very few dialectal differences can be detected.
b. Middle Assyrian (Mittelassyrische mA) 1500-1000. Documents, laws, a few royal inscriptions, letters, and literary texts. In the later texts Aramaic coloring occurs especially in idioms. The language is increasingly used in a narrower environment. Royal inscriptions are increasingly written in Babylonian, but many Assyrian forms intrude into these documents.
c. Neo-Assyrian (Neuassyrische nA) 1000-600. Letters, documents, royal inscriptions, literary texts. The difference between literature and everyday speech is not as large as contemporary Babylonian; the inflected endings find themselves in a quick decline. In the 7th century Aramaic makes its biggest influence in the deeds and economic documents.
Grundriss der akkadischen Grammatik
Analecta Orientalia – AO 33
by W. von Soden
Biblical Institute Press / Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, 1995
xxxi + 327 + 55* pages, German
Your Price: $75.00
Scholarly rivalry is not new. Grant Frame and Andrew George describe a letter sent by scribes from Borsippa to Ashurbanipal:
In the disparaging remark about the scholars of Babylon, the letter reveals a rivalry between the scribal communities of the capital, Babylon, and Borsippa. It is not unexpected that an element of chauvinism should inform scribal life in Babylonia. A similar rivalry can be seen in a Sumerian practice letter of a much earlier time, in which scholars of Nippur cast doubts on the competence of their colleagues in the nearby capital, Isin.1
These disputes sounds so familiar…
In these days of crisis there is more need for a stabilizing intellectual life than ever, and this fact would seem to entail closer attention to what one can learn from the age-old experience of man. Only the thinker who knows both the past and present and can interpret each in the light of the other can cope as thinker with the recurrent problems of mankind. Today more than ever the archaeologist seems warranted in believing that his branch of the humanities has an increasingly great role to play.1
Many of the factors that caused Albright to write this statement are sadly still in place today. People are intent upon settling disputes with violence, thoughtful responses that carefully weight both the past and the present are devalued in favor of more immediate, and might I posit fleeting, responses, academic departments that cultivate the mind and person struggle amid the construction of luxury boxes in sporting arenas…However, progress has been made since the time of Albright by the fact that it is no longer acceptable nor accurate to refer to archaeologists exclusively with the pronoun “he” or “his.”
Here are a couple quotes from Alvin Plantinga’s review of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion that appeared in Books & Culture.Â I post them because they are quite fun–who says academics has to be dry and boring?Â Plantinga and Dawkins sure don’t.
As the above quotation suggests [this is the quote in my previous post], one shouldn’t look to this book for evenhanded and thoughtful commentary.Â In fact, the proportion of insult, ridicule, mockery, spleen, and vitriol is astounding.Â (Could it be that his mother, while carrying him, was frightened by an Anglican clergyman on the rampage?)Â If Dawkins ever gets tired of his day job, a promising future awaits him as a writer of political attack ads.
You might say that some of his forays into philosophy are at best sophomoric, but that would be unfair to sophomores; the fact is (grade inflation aside), many of his arguments would receive a failing grade in a sophomore philosophy class.
Bonus:Â See Angie on Imaginary Grace for some thoughtful comments in regard to the previous post.