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Re: [ANE-2] question about translations of Sumerian

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  • Jean-Fabrice Nardelli
    Dear Joanna, with very few exceptions, you can consider outdated or perverse everything in Sumerian scholarship, be it editions of texts or philological lore,
    Message 1 of 14 , Oct 31, 2007
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      Dear Joanna,

      with very few exceptions, you can consider outdated or perverse everything in Sumerian scholarship, be it editions of texts or philological lore, that was published before the 1950s. The relative paucity of literary material at hand (before S. N. Kramer really stirred things up in the field of poetry, starting from 1946 and his Sumerian Mythology. A Study of Spiritual and Literary Achievement in the Third Millenium B.C.) and inadequate familiarity with the Sumerian language conspired to obscure the forms and structures of belles lettres (the state of affairs before the 1940s is surveyed by C. Wilcke, "Formale Gesichtspunkte in der sumerischen Literatur", Assyriological Studies 20, 1976 = Festschrift Th. Jacobsen, 205 sq.) ; as a consequence, literary pieces were nearly always understood in terms of mythological or historical sources and not as works of craftsmanship. Only with the reconstruction of, and commentary on, some major compositions, starting with Jacobsen and Kramer's epoch-making publication of the myth of Inanna and Bilulu in 1953 (JNES 12, 160-187 = Jacobsen, Towards the Image of Tammuz and Other Essays on Mesopotamian History and Culture. Edited by W. L. Moran [Cambridge (Mass.), Harvard U. P., 1970], 52-71 [text] and 334-353 [notes]), was it feasible to attempt any sound analyse of literary structure and formal style, without which no interpretation could be more than (informed but intuitive) guesswork ; in the same time, the scientific foundations of Sumerian grammar, first consolidated by A. Poebel (Grundzüge der Sumerischen Grammatik, 1923), were put on firmer grounds by A. Falkenstein and his disciples (Falkenstein, Grammatik der Sprache Gudeas von Lagas, 2 vol., 1949-1950, and Das Sumerische, 1959). See further J. A. Black, G. Cunningham, E. Robson & G. Zolyomi, The Literature of Ancient Sumer (Oxford, 2004), lvii-lx.

      I hope this helps.

      J.-F. Nardelli.


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • victor avigdor hurowitz
      If I may add to your answer to Joanna s query - she did in fact ask where an update translation could be found for the piece she was interested. Many Sumerian
      Message 2 of 14 , Nov 1, 2007
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        If I may add to your answer to Joanna's query - she did in fact ask where
        an update translation could be found for the piece she was
        interested. Many Sumerian literary works including divine hymns are now
        available on the internet in "authoritative", up to date
        transliteration and English translation in the Electronic
        Corpus of Sumerian Literature, ETCSL. All ANE scholars should be aware of
        this site and should bring it to the attention of their students as
        well. The fact that it links into the Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary
        (PSD) and the University of California Digital Cuneiform Library
        Initiative (DCLI) makes the three of them together a very powerful
        research and educational tool.

        Best,
        Victor Hurowitz
        BGU



        On Wed, 31 Oct 2007, Jean-Fabrice Nardelli wrote:

        > Dear Joanna,
        >
        > with very few exceptions, you can consider outdated or perverse everything in Sumerian scholarship, be it editions of texts or philological lore, that was published before the 1950s. The relative paucity of literary material at hand (before S. N. Kramer really stirred things up in the field of poetry, starting from 1946 and his Sumerian Mythology. A Study of Spiritual and Literary Achievement in the Third Millenium B.C.) and inadequate familiarity with the Sumerian language conspired to obscure the forms and structures of belles lettres (the state of affairs before the 1940s is surveyed by C. Wilcke, "Formale Gesichtspunkte in der sumerischen Literatur", Assyriological Studies 20, 1976 = Festschrift Th. Jacobsen, 205 sq.) ; as a consequence, literary pieces were nearly always understood in terms of mythological or historical sources and not as works of craftsmanship. Only with the reconstruction of, and commentary on, some major compositions, starting with Jacobsen and Kramer's epoch-making publication of the myth of Inanna and Bilulu in 1953 (JNES 12, 160-187 = Jacobsen, Towards the Image of Tammuz and Other Essays on Mesopotamian History and Culture. Edited by W. L. Moran [Cambridge (Mass.), Harvard U. P., 1970], 52-71 [text] and 334-353 [notes]), was it feasible to attempt any sound analyse of literary structure and formal style, without which no interpretation could be more than (informed but intuitive) guesswork ; in the same time, the scientific foundations of Sumerian grammar, first consolidated by A. Poebel (Grundzüge der Sumerischen Grammatik, 1923), were put on firmer grounds by A. Falkenstein and his disciples (Falkenstein, Grammatik der Sprache Gudeas von Lagas, 2 vol., 1949-1950, and Das Sumerische, 1959). See further J. A. Black, G. Cunningham, E. Robson & G. Zolyomi, The Literature of Ancient Sumer (Oxford, 2004), lvii-lx.
        >
        > I hope this helps.
        >
        > J.-F. Nardelli.
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
      • Jean-Fabrice Nardelli
        Being presently remote from libraries, I cannot locate a better alternative to the edition cum translation Joanna pointed out ; what I may add, while
        Message 3 of 14 , Nov 1, 2007
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          Being presently remote from libraries, I cannot locate a better alternative
          to the edition cum translation Joanna pointed out ; what I may add, while
          gratefully acknowledging the importance of ETCSL, is that both Falkenstein &
          von Soden's Sumerische und akkadische Hymnen und Gebete (Zurich, Artemis,
          1953) and M.-J. Seux' Hymnes et prières aux dieux de Babylonie et d'Assyrie
          (Paris, Cerf, 1976) remain useful. Joanna, you could try to check if the
          texts you are interested in appear in these two anthologies. For updates,
          assuming that you have some command of German, there is (e.g.) H. Hartmann,
          Die Musik der sumerischen Kultur (Diss. Franfurt am Main, 1960), 184-244,
          and Wilcke, apud Festschrift Jacobsen, 250-292.

          J.-F. Nardelli
        • victor
          I too, living in the desert, am remote from good libraries, which makes ETCSL all the more welcome. You can read it on the beach if you have wireless internet,
          Message 4 of 14 , Nov 1, 2007
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            I too, living in the desert, am remote from good libraries, which makes
            ETCSL all the more welcome. You can read it on the beach if you have
            wireless internet, and from your home or office if your internet is
            landbound. Of SAHG and HP are still valuable, not having said or even
            implied that they are not, but I don’t think they are on line yet so again
            they are not available to anyone without a library near by.

            Victor

            BGU



            _____

            From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
            Jean-Fabrice Nardelli
            Sent: Thursday, November 01, 2007 12:23 PM
            To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [ANE-2] question about translations of Sumerian



            Being presently remote from libraries, I cannot locate a better alternative
            to the edition cum translation Joanna pointed out ; what I may add, while
            gratefully acknowledging the importance of ETCSL, is that both Falkenstein &

            von Soden's Sumerische und akkadische Hymnen und Gebete (Zurich, Artemis,
            1953) and M.-J. Seux' Hymnes et prières aux dieux de Babylonie et d'Assyrie
            (Paris, Cerf, 1976) remain useful. Joanna, you could try to check if the
            texts you are interested in appear in these two anthologies. For updates,
            assuming that you have some command of German, there is (e.g.) H. Hartmann,
            Die Musik der sumerischen Kultur (Diss. Franfurt am Main, 1960), 184-244,
            and Wilcke, apud Festschrift Jacobsen, 250-292.

            J.-F. Nardelli





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Joanna Sheldon
            Thank you, Victor, for confirming my suspicion. I spend inordinate amounts of time on the ETCSL -- love the place! But I m always hoping to find more material,
            Message 5 of 14 , Nov 1, 2007
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              Thank you, Victor, for confirming my suspicion.

              I spend inordinate amounts of time on the ETCSL -- love the place! But I'm
              always hoping to find more material, not posted there.

              Best,
              Joanna

              At 16:32 31-10-07, you wrote:
              >Dear Joanna,
              >I don't know the book you are talking about, but in 1920 Sumerian was not
              >very well known, and in any case, nearly 90 years in any academic
              >discipline should make certain things out date. Would you go to a
              >brain surgeon or a heart surgeon who finished his training in 1921?
              >Cynicism aside,
              >If you are looking for up to date, reliable translations of Sumerian
              >literature you can go to the Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian
              >Literature. Google ETCSL and you're there.
              >Best, and good luck,
              >Victor Hurowitz
              >BGU




              C. Joanna Sheldon, PhD
              Hastings, UK
              doing independent research on the roots of Western esotericism
            • Joanna Sheldon
              Dear Jean-Fabrice, Thank you for your detailed response. I ve read Kramer, and notice that his translations differ from the modern ones. I just bought a copy
              Message 6 of 14 , Nov 1, 2007
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                Dear Jean-Fabrice,

                Thank you for your detailed response.

                I've read Kramer, and notice that his translations differ from the modern
                ones. I just bought a copy of the Jacobsen, who writes Enkik instead of
                Enki - so I am wary of anything earlier. It puzzles me that Gorgias Press
                is republishing the Vanderburgh. Perhaps it has something more to
                contribute than the translations.

                You've brought up a question that's been in the back of my mind for a
                while: Is there anything in Black, Cunningham, et. al. that's not on the
                ETCSL? I haven't managed to take a look at it, yet.

                Thanks again,
                Joanna


                At 22:40 31-10-07, you wrote:
                >Dear Joanna,
                >
                > with very few exceptions, you can consider outdated or perverse
                > everything in Sumerian scholarship, be it editions of texts or
                > philological lore, that was published before the 1950s. The relative
                > paucity of literary material at hand (before S. N. Kramer really stirred
                > things up in the field of poetry, starting from 1946 and his Sumerian
                > Mythology. A Study of Spiritual and Literary Achievement in the Third
                > Millenium B.C.) and inadequate familiarity with the Sumerian language
                > conspired to obscure the forms and structures of belles lettres (the
                > state of affairs before the 1940s is surveyed by C. Wilcke, "Formale
                > Gesichtspunkte in der sumerischen Literatur", Assyriological Studies 20,
                > 1976 = Festschrift Th. Jacobsen, 205 sq.) ; as a consequence, literary
                > pieces were nearly always understood in terms of mythological or
                > historical sources and not as works of craftsmanship. Only with the
                > reconstruction of, and commentary on, some major compositions, starting
                > with Jacobsen and Kramer's epoch-making publication of the myth of Inanna
                > and Bilulu in 1953 (JNES 12, 160-187 = Jacobsen, Towards the Image of
                > Tammuz and Other Essays on Mesopotamian History and Culture. Edited by W.
                > L. Moran [Cambridge (Mass.), Harvard U. P., 1970], 52-71 [text] and
                > 334-353 [notes]), was it feasible to attempt any sound analyse of
                > literary structure and formal style, without which no interpretation
                > could be more than (informed but intuitive) guesswork ; in the same time,
                > the scientific foundations of Sumerian grammar, first consolidated by A.
                > Poebel (Grundzüge der Sumerischen Grammatik, 1923), were put on firmer
                > grounds by A. Falkenstein and his disciples (Falkenstein, Grammatik der
                > Sprache Gudeas von Lagas, 2 vol., 1949-1950, and Das Sumerische, 1959).
                > See further J. A. Black, G. Cunningham, E. Robson & G. Zolyomi, The
                > Literature of Ancient Sumer (Oxford, 2004), lvii-lx.
                >
                >I hope this helps.
                >
                >J.-F. Nardelli.
                >
                >
                >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
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                >
                >This message was checked by NOD32 antivirus system.
                >http://www.eset.com

                C. Joanna Sheldon, PhD
                Hastings, UK
                doing independent research on the roots of Western esotericism
              • Joanna Sheldon
                Thank you, J.-F. This is great stuff. It s good to know Falkenstein is reliable. Sadly I m not having much luck finding the books you suggest at the British
                Message 7 of 14 , Nov 1, 2007
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                  Thank you, J.-F. This is great stuff.

                  It's good to know Falkenstein is reliable. Sadly I'm not having much luck
                  finding the books you suggest at the British Library, but BL does have
                  Burkert and Stolz Hymnen der Alten Welt im Kulturvergleich which includes
                  D.O. Edzard's Sumerische und akkadische Hymnen.

                  I'll have to wait to look up some of the others till I return to Ithaca (an
                  appendage to Cornell U.!) this winter... I see Cornell has all of them.

                  Regards,
                  Joanna

                  At 10:22 01-11-07, you wrote:
                  >Being presently remote from libraries, I cannot locate a better alternative
                  >to the edition cum translation Joanna pointed out ; what I may add, while
                  >gratefully acknowledging the importance of ETCSL, is that both Falkenstein &
                  >von Soden's Sumerische und akkadische Hymnen und Gebete (Zurich, Artemis,
                  >1953) and M.-J. Seux' Hymnes et prières aux dieux de Babylonie et d'Assyrie
                  >(Paris, Cerf, 1976) remain useful. Joanna, you could try to check if the
                  >texts you are interested in appear in these two anthologies. For updates,
                  >assuming that you have some command of German, there is (e.g.) H. Hartmann,
                  >Die Musik der sumerischen Kultur (Diss. Franfurt am Main, 1960), 184-244,
                  >and Wilcke, apud Festschrift Jacobsen, 250-292.
                  >
                  >J.-F. Nardelli
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >__________ NOD32 2545 (20070923) Information __________
                  >
                  >This message was checked by NOD32 antivirus system.
                  >http://www.eset.com

                  C. Joanna Sheldon, PhD
                  Hastings, UK
                  doing independent research on the roots of Western esotericism
                • Christopher Conlan
                  Joanna, Since you are in London, you might try the School of Oriental and African Studies library, The Institute of Archaeology (UCL) library, and/or the main
                  Message 8 of 14 , Nov 1, 2007
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                    Joanna,

                    Since you are in London, you might try the School of Oriental and African Studies library, The Institute of Archaeology (UCL) library, and/or the main University College London Library- between them they will have all of the books that you need/want concerning Sumerian. As far as I recall, all of the libraries provide access for visiting scholars.

                    Sincerely,

                    Christopher Conlan

                    ----- Original Message ----
                    From: Joanna Sheldon <tadorne@...>
                    To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Thursday, 1 November, 2007 11:01:16 AM
                    Subject: Re: [ANE-2] question about translations of Sumerian

                    Thank you, J.-F. This is great stuff.

                    It's good to know Falkenstein is reliable. Sadly I'm not having much luck
                    finding the books you suggest at the British Library, but BL does have
                    Burkert and Stolz Hymnen der Alten Welt im Kulturvergleich which includes
                    D.O. Edzard's Sumerische und akkadische Hymnen.

                    I'll have to wait to look up some of the others till I return to Ithaca (an
                    appendage to Cornell U.!) this winter... I see Cornell has all of them.

                    Regards,
                    Joanna

                    At 10:22 01-11-07, you wrote:
                    >Being presently remote from libraries, I cannot locate a better alternative
                    >to the edition cum translation Joanna pointed out ; what I may add, while
                    >gratefully acknowledging the importance of ETCSL, is that both Falkenstein &
                    >von Soden's Sumerische und akkadische Hymnen und Gebete (Zurich, Artemis,
                    >1953) and M.-J. Seux' Hymnes et prières aux dieux de Babylonie et d'Assyrie
                    >(Paris, Cerf, 1976) remain useful. Joanna, you could try to check if the
                    >texts you are interested in appear in these two anthologies. For updates,
                    >assuming that you have some command of German, there is (e.g.) H. Hartmann,
                    >Die Musik der sumerischen Kultur (Diss. Franfurt am Main, 1960), 184-244,
                    >and Wilcke, apud Festschrift Jacobsen, 250-292.
                    >
                    >J.-F. Nardelli
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >Yahoo! Groups Links
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >__________ NOD32 2545 (20070923) Information __________
                    >
                    >This message was checked by NOD32 antivirus system.
                    >http://www.eset com

                    C. Joanna Sheldon, PhD
                    Hastings, UK
                    doing independent research on the roots of Western esotericism





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                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Eric J. M. Smith
                    ... I suspect that this is just Jacobsen s way of indicating that Enki s name actually had a final consonant which was not pronounced word-finally. You can
                    Message 9 of 14 , Nov 1, 2007
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                      On 11/1/07, Joanna Sheldon <tadorne@...> wrote:
                      > I've read Kramer, and notice that his translations differ from the modern
                      > ones. I just bought a copy of the Jacobsen, who writes Enkik instead of
                      > Enki - so I am wary of anything earlier.

                      I suspect that this is just Jacobsen's way of indicating that Enki's
                      name actually had a final consonant which was not pronounced
                      word-finally. You can see the -k show up when Enki is in the ergative
                      case, were he is usually written [d]en-ki-ke4. It's not that Jacobsen
                      is wrong; he's just being idiosyncratic (or pedantic).

                      Eric J. M. Smith
                      Dept. of Linguistics
                      University of Toronto
                    • Richard S. Ellis
                      I studied Sumerian with both of these scholars; it might have been two different languages, their methods were so different. Richard S. Ellis Professor of
                      Message 10 of 14 , Nov 1, 2007
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                        I studied Sumerian with both of these scholars; it might have been two
                        different languages, their methods were so different.

                        Richard S. Ellis
                        Professor of Archaeology, retired
                        Bryn Mawr college.

                        Eric J. M. Smith wrote:

                        >I suspect that this is just Jacobsen's way of indicating that Enki's
                        >name actually had a final consonant which was not pronounced
                        >word-finally. You can see the -k show up when Enki is in the ergative
                        >case, were he is usually written [d]en-ki-ke4. It's not that Jacobsen
                        >is wrong; he's just being idiosyncratic (or pedantic).
                        >
                        >Eric J. M. Smith
                        >Dept. of Linguistics
                        >University of Toronto
                        >
                        >
                      • JSheldon
                        Thank you, Eric. I notice now that there is a note to this effect in the collection of essays that I m reading. Regards, Joanna Joanna Sheldon, Hastings, UK
                        Message 11 of 14 , Nov 3, 2007
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                          Thank you, Eric. I notice now that there is a note to this effect in the
                          collection of essays that I'm reading.

                          Regards,
                          Joanna

                          Joanna Sheldon, Hastings, UK


                          At 20:50 01-11-07, you wrote:
                          >On 11/1/07, Joanna Sheldon <tadorne@...> wrote:
                          > > I've read Kramer, and notice that his translations differ from the modern
                          > > ones. I just bought a copy of the Jacobsen, who writes Enkik instead of
                          > > Enki - so I am wary of anything earlier.
                          >
                          >I suspect that this is just Jacobsen's way of indicating that Enki's
                          >name actually had a final consonant which was not pronounced
                          >word-finally. You can see the -k show up when Enki is in the ergative
                          >case, were he is usually written [d]en-ki-ke4. It's not that Jacobsen
                          >is wrong; he's just being idiosyncratic (or pedantic).
                          >
                          >Eric J. M. Smith
                          >Dept. of Linguistics
                          >University of Toronto
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >__________ NOD32 2545 (20070923) Information __________
                          >
                          >This message was checked by NOD32 antivirus system.
                          >http://www.eset.com

                          C. Joanna Sheldon, PhD
                          Hastings, UK
                          doing independent research on the roots of Western esotericism
                        • JSheldon
                          ... I envy you! Joanna C. Joanna Sheldon, PhD Hastings, UK doing independent research on the roots of Western esotericism
                          Message 12 of 14 , Nov 3, 2007
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                            At 21:55 01-11-07, you wrote:
                            >I studied Sumerian with both of these scholars; it might have been two
                            >different languages, their methods were so different.
                            >
                            >Richard S. Ellis
                            >Professor of Archaeology, retired
                            >Bryn Mawr college.


                            I envy you!

                            Joanna

                            C. Joanna Sheldon, PhD
                            Hastings, UK
                            doing independent research on the roots of Western esotericism
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