The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts & Pictures (Vol. 1)
Pritchard (J.), Ed.
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  1. This and its companion volume ("Pritchard (J.), Ed. - The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts & Pictures (Vol. 2)") is a collection of academic translations of key ancient near and middle eastern texts which have a bearing on the Old Testament. It is supplemented by black and white photographs of key finds which are probably rather less useful, since colour images are now readily available.
  2. The importance of reading primary ancient texts as opposed to commentaries that merely refer to them cannot be over-emphasised. Even in fragmentary form - which some of these texts are - the poems, stories and treatises themselves draw us into their own cultural context. This is a much better position to evaluate them from than merely seeing them as objects to be mined for their bearing on Old Testament topics.
  3. For example, most people who are aware of the Gilgamesh Epic - including many theology undergraduates - seem to believe that it is primarily a parallel to the story of Noah. In fact, reading it in either this or one of the other translations makes it clear that the story of Utnapishtim is largely incidental to Gilgamesh, which is about the quest for immortality.
  4. Again, reading commentaries on Ecclesiastes might easily give the impression that the book is merely an example of Pessimism Literature. These two volumes contain the three texts which are generally referred to. Reading here, it becomes clear that the categorisation is an extremely loose one: the parallel texts stand in their own right, but they are largely dissimilar from Ecclesiastes.
  5. Reading extra-Biblical primary texts - even in translation - is a discipline which is sadly missing both in the liberal-critical and evangelical schools of Biblical study. I cannot recommend these two volumes highly enough.

  1. The aim of this volume is to make available in convenient form those ancient Near Eastern documents which are important for an understanding of biblical peoples and their writings. For many centuries the Old Testament and a few Greek sources provided the sole witness to life in the ancient Near East. In comparatively recent years, however, the sources for the history of the peoples of the biblical world have been greatly augmented by archaeological discovery. Writings of Egyptians, Syrians, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians and other contemporary peoples have been recovered, deciphered, and reliably understood. In addition to the words of the ancient Near Eastern people, there has been amassed a significant additional documentation in art, architecture, and artifacts of daily life.
  2. The selection offered here has been made from the point of view of relevance to the Old Testament, the most widely studied and the most significant legacy from the ancient Near East. Some suggested points of contact with specific biblical passages have been entered beside the texts; the wide margins provide space for others which may occur to the user of the volume.
  3. Most of the translations are taken from Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, edited by James B. Pritchard, 2nd edition, Princeton University Press, 1955 (abbreviated ANET). In the side margins the reader may find references to the pages of ANET, where these translations are accompanied by full bibliographical references and footnotes. The more pertinent information about the photographs has been given in the captions. A full documentation for most of them may be had by referring To the Catalogue of The Ancient Near East in Pictures Relating to the Old Testament, by James B. Pritchard, Princeton University Press, 1954 (abbreviated ANEP), where details of size, provenience, publication, and present location of the object can be found. An account of the discovery and of the significance of some of the most important extra-biblical materials from the ancient Near East is given in the editor's Archaeology and the Old Testament, Princeton University Press, 1958.
    • Italics have been used in the translations to designate a doubtful translation of a known text or for transliterations.
    • Square brackets have been employed for restorations in the text;
    • Round brackets (parentheses) have been put around interpolations made for a better understanding of the translation;
    • Obvious scribal omissions have been placed between triangular brackets.
    • In the translations from Ugaritic, half square brackets have been used to designate a text which has been partly restored.
    • A lacuna has been indicated by three dots;
    • In case the lacuna comes before a final sentence dot, four dots appear.
    • References to the tablets, columns, lines of the text have been given usually in parentheses either within the translation, as in prose, or in the right-hand margin, when the form is poetry.
    • Capital Roman numerals indicate the number of the tablet or some other well-recognized division;
    • Lowercase Roman numerals have been used for columns;
    • Arabic numerals indicate the line or lines.
  4. In the difficult task of making a choice of the most relevant texts and pictures the editor has benefited from earlier collections, such works as those of Barton, Rogers, Gressmann, and Galling. Twenty-five teachers of graduate courses in the fields of Near Eastern and Old Testament history have given helpful opinions as to the most essential material to be included.

    Preface – v
    Illustrations – xi
    Acknowledgments – xviii
  1. Egyptian1 Myths And Tales (John A. Wilson)
    • The Memphite Theology of Creation – 1
    • Deliverance of Mankind from Destruction – 3
    • The Story of Sinuhe – 5
    • The Story of Two Brothers – 12
    • The Journey of Wen-Amon to Phoenicia – 16
    • The Tradition of Seven Lean Years in Egypt – 24
  2. Myths And Epics From Mesopotamia
    • A Sumerian Myth (S. N. Kramer)
      … The Deluge2 – 28
    • Akkadian Myths and Epics (E. A. Speiser)
      … The Creation Epic – 31
      … The Epic of Gilgamesh – 40
      … A Cosmological Incantation: The Worm and the Toothache – 75
      … Adapa – 76
      … Descent of Ishtar to the Nether World – 80
      … The Legend of Sargon – 85
  3. A Hittite Myth (Albrecht Goetze)
    • The Telepinus Myth – 87
  4. Ugaritic Myths And Epics (H.L. Ginsberg)
    • Poems about Baal and Anath – 92
    • The Tale of Aqhat – 118
  5. Legal Texts
    • Collections of Laws From Mesopotamia
      … The Laws of Eshnunna (Albrecht Goetze) – 133
      … The Code of Hammurabi (Theophile J. Meek) – 138
    • Documents from the Practice of Law
      … Mesopotamian Legal Documents (Theophile J. Meek) – 167
      … Aramaic Papyri from Elephantine (H. L. Ginsberg) – 170
  6. Egyptian Historical Texts (John A. Wilson)
    • The Expulsion of the Hyksos – 173
    • Asiatic Campaign of Thut-mose III – 175
    • A Campaign of Seti I in Northern Palestine – 182
    • The Report of a Frontier Official – 183
    • A Syrian Interregnum – 184
    • The War Against the Peoples of the Sea – 185
    • The Megiddo Ivories – 187
    • The Campaign of Sheshonk I – 187
  7. Assyrian And Babylonian Historical Texts (A. Leo Oppenheim)
    • Ashurnasirpal II (883-859): Expedition to the Lebanon – 188
    • Shalmaneser III (858-824): The Fight Against the Aramean Coalition – 188
    • Adad-nirari III (810-783): Expedition to Palestine – 192
    • Tiglath-pileser III (744-727): Campaigns Against Syria and Palestine – 193
    • Sargon II (721-705): The Fall of Samaria – 195
    • Sennacherib (704-681): The Siege of Jerusalem – 199
    • Esarhaddon (680-669): The Syro-Palestinian Campaign – 201
    • Receipt of Tribute from Palestine – 202
    • Historiographic Documents
      … The Fall of Nineveh – 202
      … The Fall of Jerusalem – 203
      … The Fall of Babylon – 203
      … Nebuchadnezzar II (605-562) – 205
      … Cyrus (557-529) – 206
  8. Palestinian Inscriptions (W. F. Albright)
    • The Gezer Calendar – 209
    • The Moabite Stone – 209
    • The Ostraca of Samaria – 211
    • The Siloam Inscription – 212
    • The Lachish Ostraca – 212
  9. Canaanite And Aramaic Inscriptions (Franz Rosenthal)
    • Building Inscriptions
      … Yehimilk of Byblos – 215
      … Azitawadda of Adana – 215
      … Kilamuwa of Y’dy-Sam'al – 217
      … BarrakabY’dy-Sam'al – 218
    • Cultic Inscriptions
      … Ben-Hadad of Damascus – 219
      … Kilamuwa of Y’dy-Sam'al – 219
      … Zakir of Hamat and Lu'ath – 219
      … Yehawmilk of Byblos – 220
      … The Marseilles Tariff – 221
      … The Carthage Tariff – 223
  10. Rituals And Hymns
    • Egyptian Execration Texts (John A. Wilson)
      … The Execration of Asiatic Princes – 225
    • Egyptian Hymns (John A. Wilson)
      … The Hymn to the Aton – 226
      … Hymn of Victory of Mer-ne-Ptah (The "Israel Stela") – 231
    • An Akkadian Hymn (Ferris J. Stephens)
      … Hymn to Ishtar – 231
  11. Wisdom, Prophecy, And Songs
    • Egyptian Instructions (John A. Wilson)
      … The Instruction of the Vizier Ptah-hotep – 234
      … The Instruction of Amen-em-Opet – 237
    • Proverbs from Mesopotamia (Robert H. Pfeiffer) – 244
    • Aramaic Proverbs and Precepts (H. L. Ginsberg)
      … The Words of Ahiqar – 245
    • Akkadian Observations on Life (Robert H. Pfeiffer)
      … A Pessimistic Dialogue between Master and Servant – 250
    • Egyptian Prophecies, Songs, and Poems (John A. Wilson)
      … The Prophecy of Nefer-rohu – 252
      … Love Songs – 257
      … In Praise of the City Ramses – 258
  12. Letters
      Akkadian Letters (W.F. Albright)
      … The Mari Letters – 260
      … The Amarna Letters – 262
    • Aramaic Letters (H.L. Ginsberg)
      … Letters of the Jews in Elephantine – 278

In-Page Footnotes ("Pritchard (J.), Ed. - The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts & Pictures (Vol. 1)")

Footnote 1: Unfortunately, my copy has this section missing, with a double-printing of pp. 61-92.

Footnote 2: The first page is missing from my copy.


Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 1973 paperback reprint.

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