The Netherlands Institute for the Near East

Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten  -  Institut néerlandais du Proche-Orient

Book Specifications
col. 321-566 pp.

Bibliotheca Orientalis LXXIX, 5/6 (2022)

2022  |  BiOr Volume 79 5/6 ISSN: 0006-1913


In Memoriam Kees Nijland (1928-2022)

by R. Kruk and N. Tasma

Dalley, S. — Babylon: Some Problems with Evidence

The new book by Olof Pedersén gives an instructive approach to the building works of Babylon. It uses digital reconstructions based on archaeological and textual evidence where possible. However, the so-called ‘Babylon Stela’ of Nebuchadnezzar II from the collection of Martin Schøyen is a fake. As various details from text and iconography show, it should not be accepted as evidence for the ziggurat at Babylon. Also, there is no evidence for battlements coloured with dark blue glazed bricks on city, temple and gateway walls, and some possible differences between Assyrian, Babylonian, and other styles in architecture are raised. The proposal for locating the Hanging Garden on the baked brick terracing of the North Palace should be discounted, not least because it relies on a mistaken understanding of warqum as ‘trees’. Widespread evidence for warqum as ‘pale gold’ and the related verb warāqum meaning ‘to be pale gold’, Š-stem ‘to gild’ is assembled and explained.

Frank, A. — On Challenges in Reading a “History of Israel”

Inspired by Edward Lipiński’s new books on the history of the Kingdom of Israel and of Jerusalem and Judah, this article offers low-threshold guidance for classifying secondary literature dealing with the “History of Israel”. The article is intended for anyone seeking an introduction to the methodological issues related to the “History of Israel” complex of topics. The main aim is to create an awareness of methodological work and to encourage reflection on one’s own methodology.

Jügel, T. — Microvariation of Alignment and its (Ir)relevance for Cognitive Linguistics

Neo-Aramaic varieties vary significantly in their morphological alignment patterns, while syntax largely displays accusative alignment.

This review article discusses Noorlander’s (2021) study and examines the pertinence of morphological structures for typology and diachrony. It appears that the identification of alignment patterns is particularly difficult for languages where transitivity is not a relevant parameter in morphological realisation. Yet, paradigmatic levelling does not happen at random and sequences of micro-changes can result in motivated subsystems. Contrary to Noorlander, I argue that despite the emergence of divergent subsystems the overall development leads from ergative to accusative alignment.

Warburton, D.A. — The Origins and Strengths of Early Civil Societies

Review article of Moin & Strathern, Sacred Kingship (2022) and Graeber & Wengrow, Dawn of Everything (2021). Two works touch in very different ways on the matter of the “natural” character of early complex social organisations. Whereas Graeber & Wengrow deal with the end of Prehistory and early societies, Moin & Strathern deal with the nature and history of Sacred Kingship. Some of the content and much of the methodology of these books is not directly relevant to Oriental Studies as such, but the general subject matter, scope, approach, methodology, assumptions, conclusions and claims of these books are of fundamental importance to all research into early human social history. All Orientalists – each individually doing current research into segments of the most important and longest narrative in human social history, stretching from the origins to modern times – should therefore be conscious of these works, and draw their own conclusions about what the work might mean for their own work.

Marciak, M. — Kings of Sophene in the Hellenistic Period

This paper overviews both historical and recently published numismatic evidence for the historicity of rulers of Sophene in the Hellenistic period. It is concluded that attributions of rare coins to Sophene cannot be accepted on the sole basis of numismatic data if they are not accompanied by textual or epigraphic evidence. As a result, the historicity of only the following rulers of Sophene can be seen as being firmly established in the current state of research: Samos (attested in the mid-3rd c. BCE), Arsames (attested in ca. 227 BCE), Xerxes (attested in ca. 212 BCE), Zariadres (attested in 188 BCE), Mithrobuzanes (attested between 188 BCE and 163 BCE), and Arsakes/Artanes (attested in 95 BCE). Furthermore, the identification of Arkathias in the second half of the 2nd c. BCE is likely.

Van Reeth, J.M.F. — The Dialogue Between Christians and Muslims Against the Background of Modern Islamic Studies

In the course of the 19th century and following the tracks of modern Biblical research, historical-critical studies were also developed about the Qurʾān. It proved to be an edited text as well, unmistakably shaped by a few generations of scribes. Any true and sincere dialogue between Christians and Muslims should take the results of such studies into account, evenly from both sides — Biblical and Qurʾānic exegesis —. Otherwise, the result can be no more than a pointless discussion beside one another, and no real dialogue with each other. In such a case it is to be preferred to exchange ideas implicitly, by way of scientific publications about each other’s sacred texts. As long as one is considering a text not as a living word but as dead material (Mouhanad Khorchide), uncreated even in its outward form and completely divine, not only because of the content of its message, but also in its literal, linguistic expression, any philological approach is impossible. But this does not mean that there may not be in the meanwhile a dialogue about comparable practical questions and principles which emerge from each other’s religious texts and traditions (Henri de La Hougue).

Book reviews and announcements

Faraonisch Egypte, Grieks-Romeins Egypte, Assyriologie, Hettitologie, Aramees, Fenicisch, Oude Testament, Vroeg Jodendom, Archeologie, Arabica, Pre-islamitisch Arabië, Achaemeniden, Islam



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