American Oriental Society

Abstracts of Communications Presented

at the 207th Annual Meeting

23-26 March, 1997



Peter T. Daniels
Byblos Matrix and Ras Shamra Chimera
In a pair of articles (1987, 1989), the semiotician William Watt proposed an explanation for the North Semitic letter-order ( aleph, beth, gimel ...). He suggested that the 22 (or 27) letters were arranged in a rectangular "matrix" of 30 (or 48) cells,5 x 6 (or 8 x6), with the columns determined by phonetic criteria and the rows largely indeterminate. The orders of the rows and columns were arbitrary (1987) or determined by a "principle of maximal separation" (1989). Watt's main argument is the supposed statistical improbability of the possibility of devising a matrix with column (and row) labels so supposedly well suited to the letters. This argument represents a misapplication of probability theory (and is refuted by co-author A. Manaster Ramer in the full version of this article, of which preprints will be provided). My concern here is the absurdity of the chain of five events required for Watt's account of the history of segmental writing to be accurate. Ordinarily such speculation could be politely overlooked by specialists, but at least two linguists (Miller 1994: 70-76, 107; Pettersson 1996: 145-50) have taken the Matrix notion seriously and attempted extention to Runes and Greek respectively, so refutation has become imperative.


Miller, D. Gary. 1994. Ancient Scripts and Phonological Knowledge (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 116). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Pettersson, John Soren. 1996. "Grammatological Studies: Writing and Its Relation to Speech" (Reports from Uppsala University, Department of Linguistics 29). Ph.D. Dissertation.
Watt, W. C. 1987. "The Byblos Matrix." Journal of Near Eastern Studies 46: 1-14.
---- 1989. "The Ras Shamra Matrix." Semiotica 74: 61-108.}
Rahul Peter Das
On agneya- and saumya- in Classical Indian Medical Texts
The classification of material substances, including parts of the human body, along the lines of agneya- and saumya- to be found in classical Indian medical texts, and which also has ecological significance, has until now not been studied in detail. This presentation seeks to give an overview of the problem. The topics discussed will be the ancient antecedents of this classificatory system, the problem of what soma- (from which saumya- is derived) refers to, the relationship of agneya- and saumya- to the guna-s "hot" ( usna-) and "cold" ( sita-), terminological confusion because of interferences with other classificatory systems, and how the medical texts cope with the problem of different systems of classification.
Leo Depuydt
The Beginning(s) of Day and Month in Egypt and the Ancient World
Ever since the West has studied the civilizations in the eastern Mediterranean, northeastern Africa, and southwestern Asia to which it traces its origins, the calendar day of those early cultures has been thought to begin as a rule in the evening.

An evening beginning is unexpected. Of the two boundaries between day and night, it is the sun's brilliant morning appearance that naturally presents itself as a beginning. Sunset, on the other hand, is readily viewed as the end of the daily scenario of birth and death enacted by the sun.

But the day's evening beginning finds a ready explanation. It follows from the month's evening beginning. Months were mostly lunar before the beginning of the common era. Furthermore, lunar months were presumed to begin generally with the lunar event apparently most suited to the task: the first crescent's first visibility. First crescent visibility is an evening event.

What are the origins of this dominant paradigm? Until the great decipherments of the nineteenth century, the oriental calendars the west knew best were the Jewish and the Muslim calendars. In them, months and religious feast days begin in the evening. It was natural to generalize to other lunar calendars, notably the Greek and Hellenic calendars.

A new paradigm has announced itself, however, in which the morning beginning of both day and lunar month is as common as the evening beginning, if not more so. Indeed, in the new paradigm, the evening beginning is limited to the Mesopotamian calendar and its Jewish, Muslim, and Samaritan derivatives. There have been harbingers of this shift in paradigm. A milestone is G. Bilfinger's work of 1888 on the civil day. But this work found little following. In this century, W. K. Pritchett's works may be noted. Just in recent years, there has been an acceleration in the paradigm shift. In this shift, the study of ancient Egyptian calendars has served as an important catalyst. The time has come to consolidate the new paradigm.

Eerik Dickinson
"Elevation" and Hadith Transmission in Ayyubid Syria
For the scholars of hadith, "elevation" ( `uluw) was a characteristic which could inhere in both the isnad of a hadith and the transmitter of it. In the plainest terms, "elevation" resulted from the shortness of an isnad as determined by counting the individuals intervening between the current transmitter and the Prophet or some other important figure in the isnad. Those who possessed elevation in its most perfect form had studied in their youth with individuals themselves possessing elevation and then were lucky enough to outlive most of their contemporaries. Avid students sought out these individuals even if it meant traveling great distances. The significance of elevation in hadith scholarship has been little studied and modern researchers have yet to account for the marked interest in elevation of the Ayyubid princes of Syria. They paid individuals in possession of this quality to tour their lands and endowed schools of hadith, one of the purposes of which was to house these individuals. This raises a number of questions. One of the most interesting is why did the Ayyubids specifically support elevation, for in earlier times serious scholars regarded it as a characteristic of secondary importance and frequently contrasted the mindless pursuit of elevation with the more important tasks of obtaining the soundest texts from the most reliable and knowledgeable transmitters. Another question is why did this official interest appear at this juncture. The conclusions emerge that this unprecedented sponsorship of elevation resulted from the political aims of the Ayyubid regime and new attitudes toward the acquisition of hadith texts.
Michael R. Drompp
Hsieh-li Qaghan and the Collapse of the First Türk Empire
The Chinese Emperor T'ang T'ai-tsung's defeat of the Eastern Türks in 630 C. E. brought an end to their powerful tribal confederation that had dominated the eastern Eurasian steppe since 555 C. E. This victory led to a half-century of increased Chinese influence among the nomadic peoples of Inner Asia---and to a half-century of political impotence for the Eastern Türks. After the recovery of their power in the 680s, the leaders of this restored empire looked upon T'ang China's defeat and subjugation of the Eastern Türks as a period of national humiliation, as can clearly be seen from stone inscriptions that refer to the fact. To the Chinese, however, this period was a golden age of almost unprecedented power and influence vis-à-vis the peoples of Inner Asia.

This paper provides a re-examination of the factors leading to the defeat and subjugation of the Eastern Türks. It explores in particular the policies and actions of Hsieh-li Qaghan (r. 620-630), supreme ruler of the confederated empire, in order to reveal the effect of those policies and actions on the empire's collapse. The paper will attempt to show the relevance of internal factors fo the fall of Hsieh-li Qaghan, and so also will examine closely the role played by his nephew and viceroy, T'u-li Qaghan, who ultimately betrayed his uncle and submitted to T'ang T'ai-tsung. In this examination of these events, the paper will ultimately relate them to broader themes, particularly the role of "subordinate qaghans" in the Eastern Türk Empire and the prevalence of centrifugal forces that tended to weaken Inner Asian tribal confederations.

Elling 0. Eide:
Going GAGA over the Fire in the Sky
This paper offers the hypothesis that the titles qan, qayan, qatun, and qayatun may be derived from a root *GA meaning "fire" or "the heat and light of the solar fire" and that the usage was semantically analogous to the Chinese he and he-he meaning "radiance" or "majesty." It is suggested that this *GA would also explain the two recorded titles for the Hsiung-nu ruler and that it may lie behind the Hsien-pi a-kan `elder brother', the Turkish qang `father', and the Japanese hikaru, kagayaku, kagami, kama, etc.

The pan-Eurasian occurrence of similar roots and words, especially in Indo-European and Dravidian, leads to the speculation that this same *GA might lie behind the hitherto unexplained Cacus and Caelus of the Etruscans and the Romans. The paper also touches upon the possible relevance of *GAGA to the sun symbolism of the crow in China.

Suzanne M. Estelle-Holmer
Poetic Features of Early Akkadian Incantations
The corpus of early Akkadian, or "non-canonical" incantations, comprises approximately 65 texts in Old Akkadian, Old Assyrian and Old Babylonian. These texts are important for our understanding of Mesopotamian magic, but are also ideally suited to the study of Akkadian poetics. The texts tend to be short and it is therefore possible to discern how individual poetic features interact to create an over-all structure and contribute to the text's meaning and function. The interplay of poetic elements can be more difficult to assess in longer literary works. Incantations have been described as "effective literature," meaning that they involve an intentional use of language to achieve a desired effect. Incantations seem to exploit the poetic potential of a language more intensely than other genres and often go to extremes not tolerated in other, more formal, literary works.

Studies by Reiner (1985), Michalowski (1981), and Veldhuis (1991) have offered literary analyses of individual incantations and demonstrated the highly complex interaction of poetic elements on various linguistic levels. I have extended the type of analysis pioneered in these studies over a larger corpus in order to identify and study features which are characteristic of early Akkadian incantations in general. My paper will show the distribution of specific literary devices throughout the corpus and indicate the contexts in which they occur. I will focus specifically on anaphora, concatenation, and simile and demonstrate how they function to create structure and meaning.

James Evans
Psycho Chronology In Ancient Literature
Psycho Chronology studies the incidence of mass psychological cyclical movements; the shortest one is 226.175 days. One such manifestation in modern times is stock market panics: most stock market panics reach their climax within a few days of the epoch of this cycle. Although we do not know how this cycle manifested itself in ancient times, it was known and recorded throughout the ancient Near East. In the Old Testament, it is referred to as a "long season". Herodotus, Persian Wars VII, 186 states that 5,283,220 men came with Xerxes. This is a Grand Cycle of so many days, equal to 7 *47 *71 short cycles, also equal to exactly 249.5 cycles of 57.97 years each. We know the 58 year cycle as the interval between Black Tuesday of Oct. 29, 1929; and the intra-day low of Tuesday, Oct. 20, 1987 in the Crash of 1987.

The 58 year cycle epoch of 1510/1509 BC is the one by which Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt dated her first accession. In the Old Testament, it is the date of Purim on Feb 29 465 BC; also an epoch of the 226.175 day cycle.

In 1360 BC there was a pileup of several cycles which was observed at Amarna in Egypt by the entire then-known civilized world. It was regarded as an epoch; at various cycle times later, the Ramesside Kings of Dynasty 19 took on various exalted titles; it was later referred to as the "Era of Menophres". 23 cycles of 57.97 years later is 26 BC. To some this was the start of a `Sothic Cycle', giving a new meaning to the words.

Eight cycles of 57.97 years after Purim is Dec 20, 2 BC; the 25th day of the lunar month; the winter solstice; within three days of the epoch of the 226.175 day cycle. Early Church fathers thought this `pileup' the date of the Nativity.

Walter Farber
Is There a Specific Lamastu Disease?
For more than a century, Assyriologists have known Lamastu as a terrible demon who habitually attacks mothers and their newborn children, but also does harm to other human beings and even animals. Her influence has been seen as causing all kinds of feverish ailments, most often puerperal fever, but also liver disease or typhoid of the stomach, to name but a few. These identifications are primarily based on single lines or short passages culled from incantations, rituals and diagnostic omens, but find little support in medical prescriptions or texts from other genres. A reexamination of the evidence leads me to believe that the lack of diagnostic detail in the description of Lamastu's activities is not coincidental, but rather shows that her destructive influence on the health and life of infants is non-specific. The quest for a specific and definable `Lamastu disease' thus seems futile, and a comparison to our own non-specific concept of "Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)" might be more appropriate.
J. Michael Farmer
Three Poems at Jingmen
This paper examines three poems written by native Shu poets Chen Ziang (c. 658-699) and Li Bai (701-762). Chen's "Crossing Jingmen: Looking at Chu," and Li's "Crossing Jingmen: A Farewell," and "Looking at Shu and Jiangling from a Floating Boat at Jingmen" all depict passages---physical and symbolic, also revealing signs of the construction of eccentric and bravo literary personae based on Shu cultural models. Close readings of the three poems illustrate how each poet used the Yangtze river pass at Jingmen as a focal point for expressing his personal feelings upon leaving his homeland in search of fame and fortune in the cosmopolitan urban centers of Tang China. The imagery, allusions, and movement of each poem reflect the poets' identification as persons of Shu, and their ambivalence about leaving.

While a few recent articles by Chinese scholars address the early poetry of Chen and Li written in Shu, none account for these three particular poems, nor Chen and Li's departure from Shu. This paper argues that these passages were major events in the early lives of the poets, and these occasional poems reveal significant details about Shu cultural identity and its influence on the young Chen Ziang and Li Bai. It also points to the Yangtze river pass at Jingmen as a significant landmark in Shu cultural identity, and as a powerful symbol of a threshold between regional cultures, youth and adulthood, and obscurity and fame. But despite the insight these poems provide into the early identities of Chen and Li, they fail to indicate the extent of Shu cultural influence on the later lives of the poets---Chen Ziang abandoning his Shu persona as he found success in the capital, and Li Bai surpassing his Shu models in eccentricity and fame.

Peter Feinman
Cosmos and Chaos in the Ancient Near East---A Case Study: Genesis 14
The establishment of cosmos amidst the surrounding chaos was one of the primary requirements of kings in the ancient world (as maintaining it still or the Commander in Chief). Ancient cultures tended to regard themselves as "the people" who lived on "the land" in contrast to those uncivilized beings who surrounded them, i.e., Enkidu before being civilized, Elamites, Gutians.

The political leader who could establish order out of chaos would be revered as a great hero within that cultural setting. The foremost examples ere the Akkadians Sargon the Great and Naram-Sin, the Sumerian Ur III dynasty, and the Amorite Hammurabi. The memory of their political achievements lived on long after not only they had died but the dynasty they had created had ceased to exist---just as would happen to Alexander the Great and Charlemagne among others.

The West Semites in the Levant were not immune to or separate from this process. They could be just as concerned about the four quarters of the land as any other people. In this paper I will suggest the invading kings of Genesis 14 are meant to represent the forces of chaos from the four quarters of the world, that these four horsemen of the apocalypse were not intended to reflect a real alliance in history any more than the Vandals, Goths, Huns, and Mongols were all allied as one. Instead these kings represent four peoples who at four different times gained the reputation as a force of chaos because of an historical invasion (most likely of civilized Babylon). The author(s) of Genesis 14 relied on the knowledge of the audience to understand who these invaders were and who was the king who established order in Israel against the forces of chaos that threatened the land.

James L. Fitzgerald
Some Storks and Eagles Eat Carrion, Herons and Ospreys Do Not: kankas and kuraras (and badas) in the Mahabharata
The common understanding of Skt kanka is that the word means "heron," and kurara is generally understood to mean "osprey." But descriptions of the battlefield littered with the dead warrriors, in the Mahabharata's Stri and santi Parvans, mention these two birds as feeding upon carrion alongside the expected vultures, ravens, crows, and jackals. A check of Salim Ali's monumental Birds of India and Pakistan and other descriptions of bird behavior reveals that neither herons nor ospreys have been observed or reported to feed upon carrion. Further investigation of Ali and others leads to the conclusions that in the MBh 1) kanka must refer to the carrion-eating stork known in South Asia as the `Adjutant Stork' ( Leptopilos dubius) (and, or, the `Lesser Adjutant Stork,' ( Leptopilos javanicus) as well as to herons, and 2) kurara probably refers to Ali's `Ringtailed Fishing Eagle' ( Haliaetus leucoryphus) as well as to the osprey ( Pandion heliaetus). This paper will present the arguments supporting these conclusions and, time permitting, it will discuss the identity of the bada, or vada (a word which was unattested before the critical edition of the MBh), which is also mentioned as a carrion-feeder. Basing myself upon the possibility that bada is an allomorph of bala, "crow," I suggest that the bada may be Ali's `Indian Jungle Crow,' ( Corvus macrorhynchus culminatus), which feeds upon carrion in the MBh alongside the "raven," kakola (probably Ali's Corvus corax subcorax), and "crows," kaka-s, or alternatively vayasa-s (probably Ali's grey-necked `Indian House Crow,' Corvus splendens splendens).
Benjamin W. Fortson IV
Syntax and phonology in the Rigveda: "Metrical" lengthening of final syllables
This paper examines the distribution of selected "metrically" lengthened final syllables (for example, 3rd person middle -ta and -nta for -ta and -nta) for evidence of the operation of Brugmann's Law across word boundaries in close prosodic groupings.
D. R. Frayne
The Early Dynastic Hymn to Gilgamesh
A Sumerian tigi hymn known from three Early Dynastic period copies, one (logographically written) exemplar from Tell Abu salabikh (Biggs, OIP 99 no. 278), and two slightly later (syllabically written) exemplars from ancient Ebla (Edzard, ARET V nos. 20-21) sings the praises of an apparent divine king of Uruk. Because this important and very early composition alludes to several episodes known from the later literary material connected with Gilgamesh, we believe that it can be interpreted to be an Early Dynastic hymn to Gilgamesh.
Enrica Garzilli
Food and Sacrifice in the Veda According to Abhinavagupta's Tantraloka
What is the food for sacrifice? Can we sacrifice animals? What should be really sacrificed, and to whom? Is the Veda right in prescribing or prohibiting certain food? This short investigation will offer an overview of food and sacrifice in the Veda according to Abhinavagupta's Tantraloka.
Timothy J. Gianotti
Exploring al-Ghazali's Doctrine of Discourse
One of the greatest challenges faced by any student of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d. 1111) is figuring out what his real position is on a given topic when faced with a myriad of different and seemingly contradictory statements. To make matters worse, his terminology is highly self-conscious, at times plainly evasive, often equivocal and ambiguous, and sometimes suspiciously at variance with statements he makes elsewhere. This is so much the case that one begins to think that the challenge of pinning him down on a particular issue can hardly be without some intention on his part. Indeed, according to the Andalusian savant Ibn Tufayl, who followed al-Ghazali by only a generation, this is precisely al-Ghazali's preferred style of instruction. Whatever the case may be, the reader is frequently put in the position of a tracker, trying to pursue terms and intentions of terms and intended audiences all within the flow of unfolding time and changing context, and this is no small task.

With careful reading and unwavering attention to context, one finds that certain idiomatic or terminological trends become apparent, trends which seem to represent different genres of religious discourse, and these various genres serve various ends, the limits of which he carefully delineates for the attentive reader. Thus, when faced with the familiar puzzle of his different and often divergent treatments of the very same subjects, the reader's only hope lies in stepping back and studying the types of discourse in which the various statements occur. Once the idiom is identified, the reader must become aware of its uses and misuses, its legitimate functions and the functions for which it is in no way intended or suited. This leads to the necessary extraction of a "doctrine of discourse" from the corpus of al-Ghazali's works.

Drawing on a vast range of his known writings, both within and without the voluminous Ihya', this paper attempts to uncover al-Ghazali's operative understanding of the nature and purpose of religious discourse and explores the related issues of secrecy, disclosure, and the role of multilevel writing in addressing the vast range of human capacities, which he readily admits are not equal. Unlocking his doctrine of discourse provides the crucial key to unlocking almost every other aspect of his thought, be it in the realm of prophetic revelation, theology, law, esoteric experience, or the relations between these very different types of religious parlance. And, once his divergent treatments of specific topics are re-examined in the light of this discovery, he emerges as a much more consistent thinker than many have hitherto thought.

Robert M. Gimello
The Cult of "Mañjusri of the Thousand Arms and the Thousand Bowls" in T'ang Buddhism
In the last quarter of the eighth century there appeared in northern Chinese esoteric Buddhist circles a text entitled Ta-sheng yu-chia chin-kang man-shi-shih-li ch'ien-pi ch'ien-po ta-chiao-wang ching (The Scripture of the King of the Great Teaching, Mañjusri of the Thousand Arms and the Thousand Bowls, Ocean of the Adamantine Nature of Mahayana---Yoga Taisho 1177). According to its long and detailed preface, this work was a Chinese rendering of a Sanskrit tantra that had been brought to China by the missionary Vajrabodhi (Chin-kang-chih, d. 741). It is said to have been translated by the great Mi-tsung prelate Amoghavajra (Pu-k'ung-chin-kang, 705-774) and his Korean associate Hyech'o (704?-787). In actuality, however, it is a Chinese apochryphon of mysterious provenance that combines in novel ways the imagery and liturgy of early Indian tantric Buddhism with doctrinal themes drawn from the Chinese Hua-yen (Flower Garland) tradition. The protagonist of the text is the great bodhisattva Mañjusri, but that famous deity appears here in a form that is elsewhere quite unknown. He is depicted, after the fashion of a famous image of Avalokitesvara (Kuan-yin), with one thousand arms. In each of his thousand hands he holds a begging bowl, and in each bowl there appears a Buddha. The cult of this particular version of Mañjusri, virually unknown elsewhere in East Asia, seems to have flourished in northern China in late T'ang, Five Dynasties, Hsi-hsia, and N. Sung China, particularly in the regions of Wu-t'ai Shan and Tun-huang. This paper will be an analysis of this unique form of Mañjusri, illustrated with photographs of pictorial representations of him found among the Tun-huang murals and sculptural representations preserved in temples at Wu-t'ai-shan and T'ai-yüan.
David F. Graf
The Relationship of Safaitic and Thamudic "E" in Pre-lslamic Arabic Epigraphy
More than 40,000 Pre-lslamic Arabic inscriptions are known from the desert regions of the Middle East stretching from Syria to Yemen, and Iraq to Egypt. It is generally assumed that these rock engraved texts are the product of a nomadic pastoralist population. During more than a millennium of use, numerous changes and modifications took place in the script as it was diffused across Arabia. In particular, the relationship of two North Arabian types has been a problem, namely those designated Safaitic and Thamudic "E." The former are found mainly in the black basalt harra desert SE of Damascus and in NE Jordan. The Thamudic "E" texts are found further south primarily in the hisma desert of southern Jordan and NW Saudi Arabian. Both types are dated roughly to the first century BC to the fourth century AD. It was generally assumed the 200 km gravel desert expanse of central Jordan between them was an epigraphic void, since it lacks the basalt stones of the harra desert or the soft sandstone of the hisma mountains, both of which are more suitable for engraving inscriptions. But recent finds of a few scattered "Safaitic" like texts in the region indicate this virtual terra incognita was hardly an epigraphic vacuum and that it was under the sway of the northern Safaitic world. In July 1996, an epigraphical survey was conducted into the desert region E/SE of Amman in central Jordan to examine this hypothesis. As a result of the effort, more than 40 Pre-lslamic Arabic texts were collected, most of which were Thamudic "E" and only a few in Safaitic. These finds represent the first substantial corpus of Thamudic "E" texts discovered in the region, demonstrating the type was dominant over the whole Transjordanian plateau. Moreover, the paleography of the Safaitic texts reveals they are influenced by Thamudic "E," rather than the reverse.
Sidney H. Griffith
Theodore Abu Qurrah in the Majlis of the Caliph al-Ma'mun
Theodore Abu Qurrah (c. 755-c. 830), sometime monk of Mar Sabas monastery in the Judean desert, and Melkite bishop of harran in Syria, was one of the most well-known Christian controversialists in Arabic in the first Abbasid century. Persistently from the ninth century onward there are reports in the historical record which tell of an occasion on which he is alleged to have engaged in a debate about which is the true religion, Islam or Christianity, with a number of Muslim mutakallimin in the majlis of the caliph al-Ma'mun. What is more, the reports speak of the currency of a book which recounts the course of the debate.

The present communication discusses and reviews the contents of an unpublished Arabic tract which purports to be the account of this debate. While Alfred Guillaume discussed this work in 1924/1925, more information about it is now available. It is clear that the unknown author has structured the account around the interpretation of a particular verse of the Qur'an, viz., an-Nisa, IV:171. This study concludes that the text is an exercise in Christian/Muslim dialogue by an now un-known writer who used a popular genre of literary apologetics, the monk in the emir's majlis, both to entertain and to instruct his Christian readers. The text lays a claim to verisimilitude in the dramatis personae it includes, all well known figures in the history of Muslim/Christian relations.

Brigitte Groneberg
Ishtar's ritual: A single transvestite ritual?
In old Babylonian times we have come across several tablets that mention rituals to Ishtar, either an explicit sequential list of ceremonial activities or implicitly in some (Sumerian or Akkadian) hymns.

On a tablet that has long waited to be deciphered we have discovered a long hymn to Ishtar which dates from late (post?) Old Babylonian times. In this hymn there is mention of a ritual to Ishtar which clearly incorporated transvestite practices. These transvestite rites are mentioned not only with respect to the cultic personal of the goddess but also in a much wider context, referring to "men and women" in general.

The function of this ritual unfortunately remains unknown as the text is broken off before ist conclusion.

The new text can be put into context with other known descriptions of rituals concerning Ishtar. There appears to be a pattern which hints to a transvestite ritual feasting marking the end of a period when Venus has been invisible and changes from morning to evening star or vice versa.

What implication has this ritual for Mesopotamian society? Is the ceremony typical for Mesopotamian society or do we find parallels in other societies? What are the implications of the existence and prominence of this ritual for the position of women during the second millenium?

In this contribution the known facts are presented, the likely cultural parallels are indicated and some speculations are made as to the implications for the Old Babylonian society in general.

William W. Hallo
More Incantations and Rituals from the Yale Babylonian Collection
Volume 11 of Yale Oriental Series: Babylonian Texts (YOS 111) appeared in 1985 under the title Early Mesopotamian Incantations and Rituals. It was designed to present all the hitherto unpublished incantations and ritual texts at Yale, together with the Mesopotamian Culinary Texts since edited by Jean Bottero. A systematic search of all the collections at Yale was subsequently undertaken for the Catalogue of the Babylonian Collections at Yale (CBCY). In this process, Gary Beckman turned up a number of additional incantations and related genres. These are here summarized. Two texts in particular deserve special attention: one a group of Old Babylonian incantations against Lamashtu, the other a neo-Assyrian collection of astronomical omens and the rituals designed to deal with their consequences.
Benjamin Hary
Linguistic Notes on an Egyptian Judeo-Arabic Translation of Genesis
Judeo-Arabic is an ethnolect, which is an independent linguistic entity with its own history and development that refers to a language or a variety and is used by a distinct speech community. It has been spoken and written in various forms by Jews throughout the Arabic-speaking world; its literature is concerned for the most part with Jewish topics and is written by Jewish authors for Jewish readers.

Translations of sacred religious Jewish texts from Hebrew into Judeo-Arabic are usually done verbatim and are considered a special genre in Judeo-Arabic called sarh. This genre was developed to fill essential needs, assuring children basic education and providing the general Jewish public, who did not comprehend Hebrew and/or Aramaic, with proper education. In this paper I examine an Egyptian sarh of the Book of Genesis (portions of ms. HB 15, Annenberg Institute, Philadelphia). The manuscript is not identified, but I believe that it is an Egyptian sarh of the Torah, probably from the nineteenth century.

In the paper I show important Later Egyptian Judeo-Arabic linguistic characteristics. In addition to examining these characteristics, I also demonstrate the constant linguistic tension found in the language of the sarh between word-for-word translation in order to preserve the sacredness of the text, and the desire to be understood by the Judeo-Arabic readership, thus, interpreting the text from time to time by substituting words, paraphrasing, and adding flavor from the local dialect.

Wolfgang Heimpel
Lady of Girsu
The Sumerian name of the male city-god of Girsu, Ningirsu, means "Lady of Girsu." Scholars claim that the word nin means "lord" in this case and generally in the context of names of gods, and they refer to texts in the Emesal dialect where the element nin "lady" correspond to umun, the Emesal equivalent of en "lord," in case of names of male gods and to gasan, the Emesal equivalent of nin "lady," in case of names of female gods. Yet, beyond the context of divine names, the Emesal equivalent of nin is exclusively gasan and the appellative nin inside and outside the Emesal dialect means exclusively "lady." The one example where it seemed to have been used as descriptive title of the male god Nanna is an error. It is therefore beyond any doubt that Nin-Girsu means "Lady of Girsu." There is also no doubt that the "Lady of Girsu" was male without the slightest trace of being a hermaphrodite or having any kind of female alter ego.

While it is easy to speculate that there was originally a female city god of Girsu who was supplanted by a male city god who kept the descriptive title as name, no supporting evidence for such a development has been identified so far. The aim of this contribution is to demonstrate that Ningirsu's divine wife Bau was the original city god of Girsu. Identification of the 6 openings of the wall which is engraved on the plan of the statue of Gudea as architect with the description of 6 gates in the cylinder inscription of Gudea allows to correct current assumptions of the position of the plan on the ruin of Tello. Archaeological evidence and the names of the gates show that the plan is that of a temple complex, the Eninnu, which enclosed the temple Tarsirsir of Bau and the temple Anzubabbar of Ningirsu. The temple of Bau was located on the highest, and therefore presumably the oldest, part of the ruin. It is further likely that the temple complex Eninnu with its massive wall and gates was the "Holy City." This is significant because Bau is attested as its divine owner. While this evidence does not in itself explain the name "Lady of Girsu" of the male god Ningirsu, it indicates a stage in which the position of the city god was occupied by a female and thus provides an example for a Sumerian city where an originally female city god was supplanted by a male. Such development forms the background against which the female name of the male god may become understandable.

Wolfhart Heinrichs
Remarks on the Furuq literature
The talk will, in a preliminary way, adumbrate some of the semantic features of the legal term furuq. After some methodological considerations, a first approximation to the character of the furuq endeavor will be undertaken by quoting medieval pronouncements on its nature, goal, and value. After briefly reviewing the term furuq as used in other, non-legal, technical contexts, an effort will be made (1) to establish the relationship between furuq, ashbah wa-naza'ir, and qawa`id; and (2) to delineate the rank of furuq studies within the hierarchy of ijtihad. Finally, one of the outstanding Maliki (and Maghribi) works on furuq, that of al-Wansharisi (d. 914/1508), will be briefly characterized. The oblique intention of the talk is to deplore the lack of attention from which the furuq literature has suffered and to urge remedial action.
Suzanne Herbordt
Hittite Seals and Sealings from the Nisantepe Archive, Boghazköy
Among the most important recent discoveries made in Boghazköy, the ancient Hittite capital of hattusa, are over 3000 sealed bullae found in the Nisantepe archive in 1990-1991. An archival context is provided by a number of land donations associated with the bullae. The bullae are impressed with royal seals and seals of high officials. Chronologically they span the entire Empire Period. Although in the past other areas of excavation in Boghazköy have also yielded sealings, the material from Nisantepe exceeds by far that of the other complexes on Büyükkale, in Temple I and the temples of the Upper City. The closest point for comparison having many seals in common is the so-called "Siegel Depot" in Building D on Büyükkale excavated in 1936 und published by H. G. Guterbock in two volumes entitled "Siegel aus Boghazköy" (AfO Beih. 7, 1942).

Our paper will focus on those bullae bearing the seal impressions of high officials. They bear hieroglyphic inscriptions which na texts as lot oracles, a satisfactory interpretation of the procedure is still lacking. In 1974 A. Archi interpreted these texts by distinguishing between "passive symbols" and "active symbols." Then, drawing upon the methodology suggested by the MUs, or snake, oracles, he proposed that the KIN texts recorded the movements of an animal across a field in which the symbols had been place. The texts record those "symbols" which the animal touched.

A re-analysis of the earliest KIN text, KBo 18.151, suggests that two sets of lots were used. Comparison with lot casting terminology and methods from Akkadian, Greek and Hebrew sources indicate that the procedure may have involved shaking a set of lots in a receptacle. As the vigor of the shaking increased, one lot would leap up and fall onto the casting field. The procedure would then be repeated with a second set of lots. The cleromancer (SALsU.GI, "Old Woman"), however, would shake these lots in a way that allowed several to leap out at once. If this is the method behind the KIN-oracles, then the texts record the movements of these lots as they scatter across the casting field, including collisions, ricochets and their final position.

Michael Robert Hickok
Homicide Investigations in the Eighteenth Century Balkans
Ottoman judicial records demonstrate that the murder of Ottoman subjects and foreign travelers in the Balkans remained an issue of concern throughout the century for the populace, the provincial administrations, and the imperial center in Istanbul. Muslim and Christian peasants frequently petitioned the state to investigate wrongful deaths, calling for justice. In the provincial records, however, Ottoman officials on the scene wrote more often of the need to restore order as principal to a homicide investigation. The Ottoman Imperial Council showed interest in murders along the frontier with Austria during this period with an eye to the impact on trade and diplomatic relations.

The records of specific homicide investigations reveal that murder fell under the jurisdiction of Islamic law, Ottoman criminal law, and the customary law practiced by the various people living throughout the Balkans. Participants in a homicide investigation attempted to manipulate these overlapping systems to achieve various goals from asserting Ottoman authority to avoiding tribal feuds. The case histories indicate a concern by Ottoman officials to balance the need for political and social stability with a resolution that satisfied the populace's expectation for justice.

These homicide investigations fell to a provincial bureaucracy with limited resources and often delicate ties to the local populace. The record of their investigations shows that the crime of murder transcended specific ethnic and confessional divisions to provide a common link between the Ottoman state and the disparate Balkan peoples throughout the eighteenth century.

Gary Holland
Relativization in the Masat Texts
In Masat 10.14-16 we find the following text between paragraph lines:
SA 1pí-ha-ap-zu-up-pí-ma-mu ku-it
SA 1pí-ka-nu-ya ut-tar ha-at-ra-a-es
ka-ru-ú ták-su-la-a-ir na-at AS-ME
'<Was das betriff>, dass du mir über
die Angelegenheit des Pihapzuppi und Kaskanu geschrieben hast:
"schon befriedeten sie sich", davon habe ich Kenntnis genommen' (Alp 1991).
I cite a conventional translation by Sedat Alp, the editor of these texts. Here we have conjoined nouns separated by the enclitics -ma and -mu, as expected, but also by kuit. In this passage kuit is interpretable as a conjunction with very general meaning 'as to the fact that'. It is, however, also arguably interpretable as a relative adjective modifying uttar, a noun of very general meaning 'word, matter'. In the latter case, kuit would be separated from the noun it modifies by the second of the conjoined nouns. The second interpretation is made possible by such examples as ud-da-a-ar-mu ku-e ha-at-ra-es (Masat 8) 'Die Angelegenheiten, (über) die du mir geschrieben hast' (Alp 1991), in which kue is unquestionably a 'determinate' (Held 1957) relative adjective modifying uddar.

A somewhat different example is the following (Masat 10.47-50):

tu-el-mu ku-it SAlú.mes an-da-ti-y[a-a]t-tal-la
ut-tar ha-at-ra-a-es nu ka-a-sa am-mu-uk
har-mi na-at I-NA É.GAL- LIM
'<Was das betrifft>, dass du mir über deine eingeheirateten Schwiegersoehne [ ] /
geschrieben hast, siehe, ich habe (es im Kopf). / Ich werde darueber im Palast sprechen' (Alp 1991).
Here the genitive tuel is separated from the noun from which it depends, not only by the enclitic -mu, as expected, but also by the phrase SA lú.mes an-da-ti-y[a-a]t-tal-la. And once again, the previously mentioned ambiguity in the interpretation of kuit obtains. In these two examples it is interesting that after the operation of the placement rule for kuit the object uttar occupies the position immediately before the finite verb.

These examples and others from this corpus of texts cast light on the relationship between kuit as relative adjective and kuit as conjunction.

These epistolary texts provide some of the most colloquial Hittite that we possess, and yet the need was felt to break up conjoined NPs, genitive + noun collocations, and adjective + noun consitituents. Note that although kuit is arguably an adjective in these collocations, it occupies the position in the clause that kuit must occupy when it must be interpreted as a conjunction, namely, that after a full lexical item. An initial nu + enclitic string will not suffice; a full lexical item must precede it.

Fiorella Imparati
Palaces and Local Communities in Provincial Hittite Seats
The documents from the excavation of Mesat (ancient Tapikka) have given to us interesting information about the Hittite administration in the provinces of the kingdom and we expect that the documentation on from the recent excavation of sapinuwa (present-day Ortaköy) will supply to scholars other news or will confirm hypotheses already presented about this important topic.

In the letters from Masat the term é.GAL "palace" recurs often and, in all probability, it seems to have been one of those well known seats with administrative functions under the authority of the central government, situated in various parts of the kingdom, where the king could also reside in the course of his journeys. However, the question of the location of the palace in the various situations considered in these letters has not yet been dealt with.

After examining these letters, it seems plausible to me to hypothesize that in most cases reference is made to the same palace, situated in an administrative district not far from that of Tapikka, but of greater prominence. For many reasons I think that this palace was situated in sapinuwa. The existence of an important palace here is known from some texts of the archives of hattusa, and it is now confirmed the imposing structure of the building that has come to light in the course of the excavations of Ortaköy.

Another element that seems to me interesting to point out is that in a letter from Masat the initiative for the imposition of some duties on a person, presumably a royal functionary, is attributed to the "members of the town", probably the member of the local community. Admitting that in certain circumstances the local community may have had such a power, it is nonetheless still difficult to delineate its competences in the provincial seats and its relation with the central authority and to make clear the implication of political, social and economic nature which this involves.

Askold Ivantchik
The "Scythian Domination" in Asia and its Chronology
The accounts of the so-called "Scythian domination in Asia" in the second half of the 7th c. BC are preserved only in classical sources. The traditional dates of this event as well as the statement of Herodotus that the domination lasted 28 years, are not authentic and derive from late calculations. The date of an event and its description, however, often come from different sources and the inauthenticity of one does not automatically imply the inauthenticity of the other. The accounts of classical authors are founded on real events, although they exaggerate the size and the value of the Scythian raids. The chronological data of Herodotus and other classical sources cannot, however, represent a reliable basis for the dating of these raids. The cuneiform texts also offer no evidence for their dating, since they know the Scythians (I/Askuzaia) only as an unimportant people of the periphery. This is probably connected with the lack of Assyrian texts containing historical information for the period later than beginning of the 630's BC. The only basis for the dating of the Scythian raids in Asia, including the invasion of Palestine, is therefore the biblical data. As early as the 18th century the classical tradition about these raids was compared with the prophesies of Jeremiah (I, 14-15; IV, 6-VI, 30) and Zephaniah (II, 4-15) of a "disaster from the north", which was interpreted as an allusion to the Scythians. Contemporary objections to this interpretation identified the "northern disaster" instead with the Babylonians. Both points of view continue to find adherents. The interpretation of these texts depends in fact on the authenticity of the statement, that Jeremiah began to prophecy in the 13th year of Josiah's reign (Jer. 1, 2; 25, 3 = 627/6 BC). If this date is authentic, it is impossible to identify the "northern disaster" with the Babylonians: Babylon was at that time involved in the war for independence from Assyria and was as yet unable to threaten Palestine. The only real northern enemy could be the Scythians. The arguments against the traditional date of the early prophecies of Jeremiah are not convincing and the identification of the "disaster from the north" with the Scythians is therefore the most probable. This identification was already known to the early Christian authors: Eusebius places the invasion of the Scythians "as far as Palestine" at the same time as the beginning of Jeremiah's prophecy (Hier. 96 Helm). The year 627/6 BC represents thus the terminus post quem of the Scythian raid. A terminus ante quem is given by the Babylonian chronicles, which describe in detail the events of 616-595 BC; the described situation precludes the attribution of the Scythian raid to this period. The Scythian raids including the invasion of Palestine, which form the basis of the classical tradition of Scythian domination in Asia, belong thus to the time between 626 and 616 BC, most likely to the beginning of this period.