The Netherlands Institute for the Near East

Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten  -  Institut nĂ©erlandais du Proche-Orient

Book Specifications
col. 537-798 pp.

Bibliotheca Orientalis LXXVIII, 5/6 (2021)

2021  |  BiOr Volume 78 5/6 ISSN: 0006-1913


Wilfred van Soldt (1947-2021) and the Western Regions of the Cuneiform World. An Appreciation

by Y. Cohen

In Memoriam Pieter Sjoerd van Koningsveld

by A. Ryad and M. Ghaly

Meeks, D. — L’écriture énigmatique égyptienne est-elle énigmatique ?

The so-called Egyptian « enigmatic » writing has captured the attention of Egyptologists since the origins of their discipline. Over the past two decades its study has known a considerable development under the impulse of some devoted scholars, providing all interested in hieroglyphs, including non-Egyptologists, with an important overview of their discoveries and progresses. Their efforts give new insights about the complex mechanisms involved in the creation of new signs and new cryptic values. The problems the contributors were confronted with concern first the use, over generations, of typographic types unable to capture all the details the hieroglyphs show on monuments. Details, however, prove to be of real importance when it comes to decipher enigmatic texts and current digital fonts could only partly overcome this shortcoming. Facsimiles are not used systematically, usually for technical reasons. This has an impact on the final scientific publications. Another difficulty is raised by the fact that hieroglyphs are supposed to be a gift of gods to humans. Each sign has a philosophical and theological backgrounds which are not quite obvious at first sight. Such backgrounds are significantly at stake in the resolution of the correct reading and understanding of enigmatic texts. As the two volumes presented here represent the first overall synthesis of what is known and what was recently discovered about this type of writing, they offer an essential groundwork for future researches.

Rogner, F.A. — Narrativity – Storytelling – Reference: On Some Fundamental Distinctions in the Discussion of Images

44 years after the first – and so far, last – major publication on the issue of the narrative function(ing) of ancient Egyptian images, N. Braun’s Bilder erzählen. Visuelle Narrativität im alten Ägypten sets out to explore this field anew. On the basis of this monograph, this article discusses trends and problems in the discussion of visual narrativity and pictorial narration in ancient Egypt and other (visual) cultures. Part I gives an overview of the book and presents the author’s main hypotheses. Part II introduces three major problems that lead to contradictions in many narratological analyses of images and to the almost complete neglect of basic characteristics of the perception of images. In Part III the model of visual narrativity developed by the reviewer himself is introduced. By establishing a systematic distinction between visual narrativity and pictorial narration (or storytelling) it avoids many difficulties of previous studies. Part IV looks into the contexts of particularly strongly narrative images in ancient Egypt, especially in the New Kingdom (ca. 1550–1050 B.C.), and into the use of images to tell stories by themselves.

Wiggermann, F.A.M. — Sumuqan

Note from the Editors: Dr. Frans Wiggermann is the esteemed contributor of long and probing entries in the Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie, invited by its editor D.O. Edzard. Ranging from “Mischwesen” (1994) to “Siebengötter” (2010); see p. 12 f. in his Festschrift AOAT 441 (2017). The last article that he submitted was that on the god Sumuqan. At that time, the Reallexikon was urged to accelerate its pace in order to keep to the dead-line. As a consequence, the lengths of articles were severely limited and Sumuqan in Band 13, Lieferung 3/4 (2012), was much shorter than in the original manuscript. Here, the manuscript is published as it was. It follows the format and the (terse) style of the Reallexikon.

Gass, E. — Zwei neue Konstruktionen einer Geschichte Israels – Überlegungen zur Methodik und zu deren Ergebnissen

In jüngster Zeit wurden einige Entwürfe einer Geschichte Israels vorgelegt, die von unterschiedlicher Qualität sind und bisweilen nicht an die Klassiker der Geschichte Israels heranreichen. Arbeiten, die nur Altbekanntes aufhübschen, ohne den neueren Forschungsstand zu berücksichtigen, braucht niemand. Wenn man demgegenüber innovativ archäologische Forschung und philologische Beobachtungen in die Untersuchung einbezieht, dann kann eine Konstruktion der Geschichte Israels entstehen, die Neues bietet und zur Diskussion einlädt. Dann wird nicht nur die Bibel nacherzählt, sondern ein eigenständiges Bild der Geschichte Israels entworfen, mit dem man sich auch wissenschaftlich auseinandersetzen möchte. In kurzem Abstand voneinander sind zwei derartige Werke erschienen, die dem genannten Anspruch entsprechen, wobei sich die zweite Darstellung ausschließlich auf Juda und Jerusalem fokussiert, zumal vom selben Autor eine Geschichte Israels schon zwei Jahre früher publiziert wurde.

Louw, Th.A.W. van der — The Greek Pentateuch and the Number of its Translators

The question whether the books of Greek Pentateuch were translated by five individuals (or more, or less) has implications for textual criticism and various types of historical research. To make his case for multiple authorship, Hayeon Kim statistically charts the various renderings of Hebrew words and phrases throughout the Greek Pentateuch. Most books exhibit variation, but if one rendering appears in greater frequency, this points to the “preferences” of an individual translator. Kim’s discussion of Hebrew words and some syntactical constructions makes him conclude that the five books were done by five different translators, in succession. Issues undermining Kim’s argument are (1) the assumption that renderings in disparate genres can be compared statistically, (2) the introduction of an alternative method in his treatment of the tabernacle accounts, incompatible with his main approach and (3) the problematic handling of literature. A comparison with J.A.L. Lee’s treatment shows that that the consequences of the multiple authorship hypothesis for the actual translation practice need to be thought through more consistently. Adequate methodology is needed to determine if translators consulted books that were done earlier, and in what order they worked.

Book reviews and announcements

Faraonisch Egypte, Assyriologie, Hettitologie, Semitisch, Oude Testament, Vroeg Jodendom, Oosters Christendom, Archeologie, Midden-Oosten, Islam



General information on BiOr

For authors, reviewers, and publishers

The publication schedule, guidelines for reviews and articles, and more, is found on our BiOr guidelines page. Publishers of books to be reviewed will also find useful information there.

Indexes on BiOr

Looking for a review of a specific book? All book reviews, articles, and In Memoriams published in BiOr from start to present are listed in the digitised indexes. Download BiOr indexes 1943-2022 (pdf, ca. 30 MB) and use the search function in your pdf viewer.