Gentry receives research grant for third time
April 28, 2008
By David Roach
For the third time, Peter Gentry, professor of Old Testament interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has received a Lilly Theological Research Grant.
The grant, administered by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and funded by the Lilly Foundation, is awarded after a team of scholars evaluates applicantsâ€™ research proposals. ATS is the main accrediting agency for theological schools in North America.
Gentry plans to use the $12,000 award to fund research in Germany during a sabbatical from January through June 2009. The research will allow Gentry to finish a critical edition of the Greek text of Ecclesiastes for the Goettingen Septuagint Series…
Others beat me to the punch, such as Pete Bekins and Jay Crisostomo, however, I thought I’d add the links as well. Furthermore, I’d like to thank the Oriental Institute for their electronic initiatives–not only is it a wonderful thing to have these great resources for free it is also very practical to have them in electronic form. Just today I used the electronic version of the L volume of the CAD with my Hebrew class to discuss an Akkadian cognate of a Hebrew word we encountered in the book of Ruth. It’s very impractical for me to lug around all the volumes of the print copy of the CAD but carrying a hard drive around isn’t too bad.
One last note–don’t forget about von Soden’s AHw. Duane Smith has a nice note about this that you should read. While CAD is certainly a monumental achievement and an invaluable resource, it is also well worth the time to check AHw for another opinion.
Want to a vacation a little more exciting than usual?Â Well, Expedia is offering several vacation packages that Indiana Jones would enjoy.Â The itineraries include a trip to Jordan in which you tour Petra and the Dead Sea as well as to Egypt which includes Aswan,Â Abu Simbel, and Luxor.Â The prices, however, are not as “Indiana Jones-ish”–no sneaking aboard a plane or temporarily borrowing a car without the owner’s permission–the Jordan trip starts at around $1,730 and Egypt $2,300 (prices do not include airfare from your home to the host country).
Gladius, a journal that covers warfare from the ancient Near East until the 18th Century in the Americas, offers free downloads on articles older than 6 months.Â About every other issue seems to have an article that is relevant for the study of the ancient Near East.Â Here are a few that interested me:
|The tactical development of Achaemenid cavalry||5-18
|Alexander K. Nefedkin|
|Deux archers assyriens Ã Mari (Syrie). Esquisse sur lâ€™introduction du fer au Proche-Orient ancien||11-25
|Juan Luis Montero FenollÃ³s|
|The Greek military camp in the ten thousandÂ´s army||29-56
|Mauricio G. AlvÃ¡rez Rico|
The wedge sank five times into the clay,
and a word, which had been spoken in a breath,
lay still until the godsâ€™ names were forgotten.
Then, when strangers took the tile in hand,
while stars sailed into the dark
beyond the world, the dead tongue
in the clay began to speak.
This poem appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, May 2008 edition. If you liked the poem, click through in order to encourage more of the same from the author and magazine.
I’m not sure which gods he had in mind that one could form with just five strikes of the stylus onto the clay–even “dinger utu” would probably require at least six strikes–three for “dinger” and three for “utu.” He may have meant “five times” in a looser sense to cover the writing of five names. In any case, anyone know of a deity that can be written at least somewhat properly (there is at times tremendous variation in the cuneiform orthography) in five strikes or less including the dinger sign?
The London Telegraph has a summary of David Wengrow’s article in Current Anthropology (Wengrow, D. (2008) ‘Prehistories of commodity branding’. Current Anthropology 49.1 (with comments from Rick Wilk, Guillermo Algaze, Irene Winter, Danny Miller, Elena Rova, Mitchell Rothman, Douglas Holt, and author’s response)).
According to Wengrow the seals morphed in use from identifying a person’s property or functioning as a signature to functioning as a brand mark (the article uses the misnomer of “brand name” but since only the pictographic representations are under discussion “brand mark” is a better term) for international trade.Â From the Telegraph piece:
The first origins of branding date back to around 8000 years ago, when Mesopotamian villagers began making personalised stone seals, which they pressed into the clay caps and stoppers they used to seal food and drink. These marked commodities would have been traded directly with neighbours and travellers.
But they turned into brands when urbanisation began in Mesopotamia – a little over 5000 years ago – when traders encountered more strangers and city residents increasingly had to deal with products of uncertain origin. Not by coincidence, this was also the time when alcoholic beverages, textiles and dairy products began to be mass produced.
And that is when Mesopotamians turned symbols into logos, Dr Wengrow says in the journal Current Anthropology. In this way, the caps and stoppers came to play a key role in telling people about the quality and origins of oils, wine and other products.
When a traveller saw a familiar logo, that provided him with key reassurance about the provenance and the quality of what he was buying.
This is an interesting topic, however, I’m not sure that I would take this analogy as far as Wengrow–from the Telegraph article it appears that he makes ready links with ancient Uruk seals and Nike’s swoosh and Coke labels.Â While it is perfectly logical that one would fashion a seal for use with wine bottles that had pictures of people drinking wine, I am not convinced that these were “brand marks” in the modern sense and that people in Turkey would be able to sort out various qualities of date-wine from Uruk based on the seal.
In any case, it’s an interesting topic.Â What are your thoughts?
Wow, this is really exciting.Â Archaeologists uncovered a newly discovered Babylonian town.Â On one hand it’s not surprising–there are many more to be found including, astoundingly, the capitol city of the Akkadian empire, Agade.
However, here comes the sad part:
He added that his team has come across several cuneiform tablets but â€œthere is no one to read the ancient writing because Iraqi experts with the knowledge to decipher Mesopotamian script have fled the country.â€
This is a terrible shame, however, I’ll volunteer to read some of them!Â Let’s pray that the site doesn’t get destroyed by looters.
RBL just released this review:
Early Ancient Near Eastern Law: A History of Its Beginnings: The Early Dynastic and Sargonic Periods
Reviewed by Michael S. Moore
I read this book a few months ago and found it very helpful, fascinating, and enlightening. If you are interested in the early history of Mesopotamia (heads up Jay Chrisostomo) this volume is required reading–but it will be very enjoyable required reading. One more observation–kudos to Eisenbrauns for putting out a book like this with a list price of $26, we appreciate it! I’ll make it easy for you to purchase the book, come on, you know you want it…
Early Ancient Near Eastern Law
A History of Its Beginnings: The Early Dynastic and Sargonic Periods
Second edition, with a 44-page addition/appendix
EIS – Eisenbrauns
by Claus Wilcke
204 pages, English
Paper, 5.5 x 8.5 inches
List Price: $26.00
Your Price: $23.40
A local Cincinnati design company produces a sweat-shop free t-shirt with this cool graphic that illustrates 50 ways you can help conserve the planet. Not only is it a pretty neat design, but it might spark some conservation conversation.
In light of the previous post on high-end restaurants and the fact that it is earth day today I’d like to make a small observation concerning our dining choices. While I don’t eat mammals for a variety of reasons, I do eat sustainable seafood. However, many restaurants from both categories continue to serve endangered fish or seafood that is caught using destructive methods.Â Here is a link to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Guide that you can print out (or access via cell phone) which will give you information to help you make sustainable choices in your seafood consumption.
While you’re at it, here is the Nature Conservancy Earth Day 2008 page which features practical things you can do to help conserve the environment. Have a great Earth Day and eat smartly.