Welcome to the August issue of Ancient News. I recently asked an Assyriologist what she thought the most important Eisenbrauns series was; she replied the SAA series. Well, it’s not published by us, but it is distributed by us; close enough. So, we’re running a 10-day sale, at 30–40% off. The sale ends August 22nd. I’ve listed some of the titles below.
Our publication schedule was light this last month (I listed some recent ones below), but I just did a count, and we have thirteen titles due between now and ASOR/AAR/SBL. To avoid missing any of them, you should subscribe to our new release emails. Update your email preferences here.
In the conference arena, at the RAI, we surprised Jack Sasson (no mean feat!) with the table of contents for a Festschrift in his honor entitled From Mari to Jerusalem; watch for it in the spring. Unfortunately no one took a picture of the presentation.
In other conference news, Jim just finished his final conference before retiring in October, and of course the books got held up in customs. For the first few days of IOSOT, he was manning an empty table, but they finally arrived. You can see the display on our Twitter or Facebook pages. The next conferences are in November; see the upcoming events section for details.
Speaking of conferences, SBL has a nifty new app for searching the meeting program book. It grew out of their SBL Central initiative, of which Eisenbrauns and PSU Press are one of the nine foundation sponsors (and one of two university presses). If you are an SBL member, fill out your profile. Starting sometime in 2020, you will automatically be notified of new releases in your selected areas of interest—including Eisenbrauns books, of course.
As usual, we received some nice reviews of Eisenbrauns books this month. I’ve included excerpts from four of them below. If you happen across a review of an Eisenbrauns book, please let me know about it via email!
The first half of Assurbanipal’s long reign (668–ca. 630 BCE) was a time of peace and great prosperity and political success for Assyria. But towards the middle of his reign a serious crisis broke out in Babylonia, unleashing a long, bitter and destructive conflict between Assyria, Elam and Babylonia, which was to shake the very foundations of the Empire. Less than a year after Assurbanipal had achieved a crushing victory over Elam, annexed the country to his realm and was at the apex of his political power, his brother . . . (more)
The internal stability and cohesion of the Neo-Assyrian Empire to a very considerable degree rested on the public image of the King as an omnipotent earthly representative of God. Many elaborate rituals were designed and performed in order to promote this image and firmly implant it in the minds of the king's subjects, vassals and enemies. The corpus of royal rituals known to us includes a long series of ritual acts to be performed by the king in the temples of Aššur, Ištar and other gods; rituals performed during the New Year's festival and other seasonal festivals in front of audiences consisting of. . . (more)
The important corpus of Neo-Assyrian political and administrative letters discovered in ancient Calah (present-day Nimrud) by Sir Max Mallowan in the early 1950s has been partially accessible to Assyriologists in marvellous hand-copies and preliminary transliterations and translations since 1955, thanks to the pioneering efforts of the late H. W. F. Saggs. Nevertheless. . . (more)
The letters edited in this volume represent the correspondence of various priests and high temple officials in the Assyrian realm during the third through fifth decades of the seventh century BC. They consist chiefly of reports to Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal about cultic concerns and matters connected with the construction and renovation of temple edifices in the major cities of the Assyrian empire, both in the heartland and in the provinces. These fascinating letters throw. . . (more)
View all the titles here
This book offers a diachronic and synchronic account of the verb morphology and phonology of Aramaic from its initial appearance early in the first millennium B.C.E. until the second millennium C.E. Aramaic, a subfamily of Semitic, is closely related to Hebrew and the other Canaanite languages; together, the two subfamilies of Aramaic and Canaanite constitute the northwest branch of the. . . (more)
The first in a series of volumes publishing the Sumerian literary texts in the Schøyen Collection, this book makes available, for the first time, editions of seventeen cuneiform tablets, dating to ca. 2000 BCE and containing works of Sumerian religious poetry. Edited, translated, and annotated by Christopher Metcalf, these poems shed light on the interaction between cult, scholarship, and scribal culture in. . . (more)
In ancient Mesopotamia, men training to be scribes copied model letters in order to practice writing and familiarize themselves with epistolary forms and expressions. Similarly, model contracts were used to teach them how to draw up agreements for the transactions typical of everyday economic life. This volume makes available a trove of previously unknown. . . (more)
For more than a century, scholars have debated whether Paul the apostle was a faithful follower of Jesus or a corruptor of Jesus’s message and the true founder of Christianity. Signs of Continuity intervenes in this debate by exploring a largely overlooked element of similarity between the two men: the place of miracles in their ministries.
In his close analysis of the miracles performed by Jesus and Paul, Greg Rhodea points to signs of continuity between. . . (more)
“[T]his volume succeeds in the editors’ broad goal of moving gender studies in the ANE forward. The editors deserve praise for organizing the workshops that led to this volume and publishing a collection of strong papers written by such a diverse group of scholars. One can only hope that the tools offered here will be adopted broadly and not only by researchers—most of them women—with a specific interest in gender issues.”—Jennie Ebeling, Department of Archaeology and Art History, University of Evansville, Evansville, IN, in Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 7 (2019): 254–56
“The monograph is, as stated in the preface, clearly a labor of love and will have no trouble finding an audience. With its bouts of humor and clever turns of phrase, it is also easy to read and concise in size, which is why it can be recommended for anyone interested in the latest and occasionally the quirkiest views on some of the most fascinating but largely unanswerable questions of interpretation of terms and concepts found within the Hebrew Bible.”—Joanna Töyräänvuori, University of Helsinki in Review of Biblical Literature, July 2019
“Dewrell’s study contains many valuable observations and considerations in the treatment of individual texts and evidence. In a broad survey, he summarizes the state of research in a clear manner and disproves much alleged evidence that is repeatedly cited in the discussion. This alone is a valuable and helpful contribution.”—Thomas Hieke, Mainz in Biblische Notizen 181 (2019): 19–20
“It is a volume worth your time and your money. I heartily recommend it.”—Jim West, at Zwinglius Redivivus, July 29, 2019
Previous assessments of religion in Shelley’s work have been limited in scope and, as Airey asserts, have tended to privilege the novels she wrote when she was married to the prominent atheist Percy Shelley and shortly after his death. Such readings imply that Shelley and her works are most interesting for what they can tell us about her husband and second-generation (and predominantly male) Romanticism. Airey’s analysis corrects this imbalance by giving equal weight to Shelley’s later work, which draws on Evangelical discourses elevating the. . . (more)
This volume presents editions of two fascinating anonymous and untitled manuscripts of magic produced in Elizabethan England: the Antiphoner Notebook and the Boxgrove Manual. Frank Klaassen uses these texts, which he argues are representative of the overwhelming majority of magical practitioners, to explain how magic changed during this period and why these developments were crucial to the formation of. . . (more)
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