By William W. Hallo
Literature starts at Sumer, we might say. on condition that this historical crossroads of tin and copper produced not just bronze and the whole Bronze Age, but in addition through necessity, the 1st approach of record-keeping and the means of writing. Scribal colleges served to propagate the recent procedure and their curriculum grew to create, safeguard and transmit all demeanour of artistic poetry. In a life of examine, the writer has studied a number of features of this such a lot old literary oeuvre, together with such questions as chronology and bilingualism, in addition to contributing basic insights into particular genres resembling proverbs, letter-prayers and lamentations. moreover, he has drawn conclusions for the comparative or contextual method of biblical literature. His reviews, largely scattered in diversified guides for almost fifty years, are the following assembled in handy one-volume layout, made extra trouble-free by means of vast cross-references and indices.
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Literature starts at Sumer, we may possibly say. on condition that this old crossroads of tin and copper produced not just bronze and the full Bronze Age, but additionally through necessity, the 1st procedure of record-keeping and the means of writing. Scribal faculties served to propagate the hot method and their curriculum grew to create, guard and transmit all demeanour of artistic poetry.
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Additional resources for The World's Oldest Literature (Culture and History of the Ancient Near East)
Kramer, UET 6/1, p. 10 ad Nos. 102–106. called ˇsudx(KAxSU)-dè-dingir; 30 Levine and Hallo, HUCA 38 (1967), 17–58: esp. 48 n. 24. 2. 33 The actual dedication of the completed new temple was presumably the occasion for more joyous expressions, speciflcally perhaps the class of poems generally referred to as temple hymns. Their finest representative is certainly Gudea’s hymn in praise of the rebuilding of the Eninnu at Lagash. But the genre did not begin with him, since the great cycle of hymns to all the temples of Sumer and Akkad is attributed, on the strength of its own colophon, to Enheduanna, the daughter of Sargon.
G. Lambert: The Sultantepe Tablets: a review article, RA, 53, 1959, p. 121. R. Gurney: The Tale of the Poor Man of Nippur (= The Sultantepe Tablets V), An. , 6, 1956, pp. , 7, 1957, p. 136; cf. A. Speiser: Sultantepe Tablet 38 73 and En¯una Eliˇs III 69, JCS, 11, 1957, pp. 43–44. 39 For the Akkadian proverbs, cf. BWL, ch. I. Gordon: Sumerian Proverbs (= Museum Monographs. Philadelphia, 1959) and previous literature cited there, pp. 552–553. 40 Cf. Especially H. Lewy: The Babylonian Background of the Kay Kâûs Legend, Ar.
Xix, 1–9 with Judges xix, 14–25, shows the same tendency to repeat or enlarge a given theme in a given manner. The whole problem of such ‘internal parallels’ in the various separate ancient Near Eastern literatures is worthy of investigation. K. Simpson: Allusions to The Shipwrecked Sailor and the Eloquent Peasant in a Ramesside Text, JAOS, 78, 1958, pp. 50–51. For the related question of citations, see R. Gordis: Quotations as a Literary Usage in Biblical, Oriental and Rabbinic Literature, HUCA, 22, 1949, pp.