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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

A Comprehensive Grammar to Hammurabiís Stele
Richardson, M. E. J.

Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias, 2008 pp. ix + 346. $85.00

Series Information
Gorgias Handbooks, 8

Description: Probably more than anything else, a knowledge of Akkadian language and literature has taught the world of twentieth-century scholarship about the Bible within its Ancient Middle Eastern context. One of the most important sources of this knowledge stems from the many publications in the earlier part of that century concerned with the laws of Hammurabi. In his previous book on the subject the author provided a complete index of the vocabulary of that long inscription. He now provides a complete grammar, so that a student of Akkadian can learn the elements of the language by reading the stele as a whole. The standard hand-copy of the cuneiform text is set out in columns opposite a phonetic transcription, thus the comprehensive set of citations illustrating various points of Akkadian grammar presented in subsequent chapters can be easily checked within their wider linguistic context. This is supplemented with an alphabetically arranged list of the phonetic values of all the cuneiform signs that occur in the text which includes Sumerograms as well as phonograms. The quality of the excellent original photographs of the stele taken soon after it had been excavated merits their inclusion as an appendix. This book, when used in conjunction with the authorís previous Hammurabiís Laws, makes it possible for a student to learn to read and understand the whole text of Hammurabiís Stele. Mervyn Richardson studied Semitic languages in England, principally at the University of Durham, but also at the University of London. His teaching career was spent at the University of Manchester. There he was very actively involved with the editing of the Journal of Semitic Studies. He currently works at Leiden University where he is an honorary research worker and is the author of the English edition of Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (based on the German edition by L. Koehler and W. Baumgartener), and also of Hammurabiís Laws.

Subjects: Ancient Near East, Mesopotamian Literature, Literature

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Review by Russell Hobson
Published 6/20/2010
Citation: Russell Hobson, review of M. E. J. Richardson, A Comprehensive Grammar to Hammurabiís Stele, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2010).

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