Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament with Supplement

Princeton University Press
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This anthology brought together the most important historical, legal, mythological, liturgical, and secular texts of the ancient Near East, with the purpose of providing a rich contextual base for understanding the people, cultures, and literature of the Old Testament. A scholar of religious thought and biblical archaeology, James Pritchard recruited the foremost linguists, historians, and archaeologists to select and translate the texts. The goal, in his words, was "a better understanding of the likenesses and differences which existed between Israel and the surrounding cultures." Before the publication of these volumes, students of the Old Testament found themselves having to search out scattered books and journals in various languages. This anthology brought these invaluable documents together, in one place and in one language, thereby expanding the meaning and significance of the Bible for generations of students and readers. As one reviewer put it, "This great volume is one of the most notable to have appeared in the field of Old Testament scholarship this century."

Princeton published a follow-up companion volume, The Ancient Near East in Pictures Relating to the Old Testament (1954), and later a one-volume abridgment of the two, The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures (1958). The continued popularity of this work in its various forms demonstrates that anthologies have a very important role to play in education--and in the mission of a university press.

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Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Mar 30, 2016
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Pages
744
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ISBN
9781400882762
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Ancient / General
History / Middle East / Egypt
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The ancient Near East is known as the "cradle of civilization"--and for good reason. Mesopotamia, Syria, and Anatolia were home to an extraordinarily rich and successful culture. Indeed, it was a time and place of earth-shaking changes for humankind: the beginnings of writing and law, kingship and bureaucracy, diplomacy and state-sponsored warfare, mathematics and literature. This Very Short Introduction offers a fascinating account of this momentous time in human history. The three thousand years covered here--from around 3500 BCE, with the founding of the first Mesopotamian cities, to the conquest of the Near East by the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE-represent a period of incredible innovation, from the invention of the wheel and the plow, to early achievements in astronomy, law, and diplomacy. As historian Amanda Podany explores this era, she overturns the popular image of the ancient world as a primitive, violent place. We discover that women had many rights and freedoms: they could own property, run businesses, and represent themselves in court. Diplomats traveled between the capital cities of major powers ensuring peace and friendship between the kings. Scribes and scholars studied the stars and could predict eclipses and the movements of the planets. Every chapter introduces the reader to a particular moment in ancient Near Eastern history, illuminating such aspects as trade, religion, diplomacy, law, warfare, kingship, and agriculture. Each discussion focuses on evidence provided in two or three cuneiform texts from that time. These documents, the cities in which they were found, the people and gods named in them, the events they recount or reflect, all provide vivid testimony of the era in which they were written. About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
Sicker explores the political history of the Middle East from antiquity to the Arab conquest from a geopolitical perspective. He argues that there are a number of relatively constant environmental factors that have helped condition-not determine-the course of Middle Eastern political history from ancient times to the present. These factors, primarily, but not exclusively geography and topography, contributed heavily to establishing the patterns of state development and interstate relations in the Middle East that have remained remarkably consistent throughout the troubled history of the region.

In addition to geography and topography, the implications of which are explored in depth, religion has also played a major political role in conditioning the pattern of Middle Eastern history. The Greeks first introduced the politicization of religious belief into the region in the form of pan-Hellenism, which essentially sought to impose Greek forms of popular religion and culture on the indigenous peoples of the region as a means of solidifying Greek political control. This ultimately led to religious persecution as a state policy. Subsequently, the Persian Sassanid Empire adopted Zoroastrianism as the state religion for the same purpose and with the same result. Later, when Armenia adopted Christianity as the state religion, followed soon after by the Roman Empire, religion and the intolerance it tended to breed became fundamental ingredients, in regional politics and have remained such ever since. Sicker shows that the political history of the pre-Islamic Middle East provides ample evidence that the geopolitical and religious factors conditioning political decision-making tended to promote military solutions to political problems, making conflict resolution through war the norm, with the peaceful settlement of disputes quite rare. A sweeping synthesis that will be of considerable interest to scholars, students, and others concerned with Middle East history and politics as well as international relations and ancient history.

This multivolume work is still proving to be as fundamental to Old Testament studies as its companion set, the Kittel-Friedrich Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, has been to New Testament studies.

Beginning with father, and continuing through the alphabet, the TDOT volumes present in-depth discussions of the key Hebrew and Aramaic words in the Old Testament. Leading scholars of various religious traditions (including Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, Greek Orthodox, and Jewish) and from many parts of the world (Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States) have been carefully selected for each article by editors Botterweck, Ringgren, and Fabry and their consultants, George W. Anderson, Henri Cazelles, David Noel Freedman, Shemaryahu Talmon, and Gerhard Wallis.

The intention of the writers is to concentrate on meaning, starting from the more general, everyday senses and building to an understanding of theologically significant concepts. To avoid artificially restricting the focus of the articles, TDOT considers under each keyword the larger groups of words that are related linguistically or semantically. The lexical work includes detailed surveys of a word s occurrences, not only in biblical material but also in other ancient Near Eastern writings. Sumerian, Akkadian, Egyptian, Ethiopic, Ugaritic, and Northwest Semitic sources are surveyed, among others, as well as the Qumran texts and the Septuagint; and in cultures where no cognate word exists, the authors often consider cognate ideas.

TDOT s emphasis, though, is on Hebrew terminology and on biblical usage. The contributors employ philology as well as form-critical and traditio-historical methods, with the aim of understanding the religious statements in the Old Testament. Extensive bibliographical information adds to the value of this reference work.

This English edition attempts to serve the needs of Old Testament students without the linguistic background of more advanced scholars; it does so, however, without sacrificing the needs of the latter. Ancient scripts (Hebrew, Greek, etc.) are regularly transliterated in a readable way, and meanings of foreign words are given in many cases where the meanings might be obvious to advanced scholars. Where the Hebrew text versification differs from that of English Bibles, the English verse appears in parentheses. Such features will help all earnest students of the Bible to avail themselves of the manifold theological insights contained in this monumental work.
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