Babylonian Magic and Sorcery: Being "The Prayers of the Lifting of the Hand", The Cuneiform Texts of a Group of Babylonian and Assyrian Incantations ... from Tablets of the Kuyunjik Collections

Babylonian Magic and Sorcery: Being "The Prayers of the Lifting of the Hand", The Cuneiform Texts of a Group of Babylonian and Assyrian Incantations ... from Tablets of the Kuyunjik Collections

Language: English

Pages: 384

ISBN: 1534646647

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


An encouraging symptom of the advance made in the method of Assyriological publications is to be found in the work done during the past two years by such men as Knudtzon, Tallqvist, King, and Zimmern in gathering together the cuneiform tablets belonging to a single series or class and in presenting the group in such a form as to enable scholars to undertake a systematic study of the remains of Babylonian literature. Now that Bezold’s great catalogue of the Kuyunjik collection of the British Museum is complete, there is no longer any excuse for what might be termed “promiscuous” publications. Such publications are always of doubtful value and particularly so in the domain of Assyriology.
Mr. King’s book is a model of what a systematic publication ought to be. He has chosen as the basis of his work a group of tablets well defined by the formula, “The Lifting up of the Hand,” found in the colophon. To these he has added, as an appendix, a number of tablets that illustrate the group in question. He begins by an introduction in which he carefully and succinctly sets forth the character of the group, its distinguishing features, the divisions, the method of composition, the traces of editing that they show, and their contents. In five sections, the tablets of the group selected, are furnished to the reader in accurate transliterations and admirable translations, together with explanations and comments, elaborate where needed, brief where possible. The sixth section contains “Prayers against the evils attending an eclipse of the moon” published in the same complete fashion. A complete vocabulary is added and appendixes containing a list of proper names, a list of numerals, portions of words, and ideographs of uncertain readings. The first part of the whole work is brought to a close by several pages of additions and corrections and two indexes, one to tablets and duplicates and the other to the registration numbers of the tablets published. The second part of the work consists of copies of the cuneiform texts, beautifully transcribed. A glance at these copies is sulficient to inspire confidence, and much handling of the copies only increases and justifies this confidence. In respect to completeness, King’s publication compares most favorably with Knudtzon’s and Tallqvist’s recent works, while it is superior, e. g., to Zimmern’s “Surpu” Series, whose commentary is entirely too scanty, and whose book lacks an introduction in which the results of his study of the series published by him are summed up. Special importance is to be attached to this last feature. It is not too much to say that Knudtzon, Tallquist, and King have doubled the value of their monographs by the elaborate introductions which they have furnished.
It stands to reason that if a scholar devotes himself specially to some division of the great religious literature of the Babylonians and Assyrians, he is (or ought to be) in a better position than anyone else to understand the bearings, the import, and the character of the section that he has worked up….
The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, Vol. 13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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