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Ancient Near Eastern Texts and Studies, vol. 4, A Corpus of Ammonite Inscriptions.

The inventory of Ammonite inscriptions is steadily growing. In 1983 Kent P. Jackson published The Ammonite Language of the iron Age (Chico, California: Scholars Press) in which he presented the texts then available: 3 inscriptions, 7 ostraca and 60 seals, with translations and copious notes. The recent book under review contains considerably more texts, altogether 154, with photographs and/or drawings, and very rich bibliographical documentation. Professor Aufrecht made effective use of the opportunity to study the originals in Amman and Jerusalem and has also consulted with many scholars in the field (cf. preface, pp. viii-ix). He states as the purpose of his volume (pp. x-xii): to give for each inscription full bibliography, physical description and location, photographic reproduction, linguistic information, and criteria for its identification as Ammonite.

The introduction gives basic information about language, onomastics, paleography, iconography (and the Deir Alla Plaster texts, which are not included in this corpus). Short summaries of present opinions and problems are accompanied by copious bibliographical data. The relationship of the Corpus to previous collections is conveniently presented in the Text Concordance (pp. xxx-xxxvi).

The numbering of the inscriptions follows the chronological sequence of their first editions. For each inscription presented in transliteration and translation, basic information is given about color and composition, type, measurements, provenance and location, and a physical description. Bibliographic information and a discussion of dating are followed by the linguistic analysis of individual words.

The corpus consists of 147 Ammonite inscriptions, with six additional ones recognized as Ammonite by F. Israel in 1987 and one more cited as such by several authors. The number of inscriptions then becomes 154 (cf. pp. 343-46). Aufrecht excluded (p. x, note) one- or two-letter inscriptions, but he appropriately included 8 isolated letters on three double-faced statues (pp. 192-93). There are only four relatively longer inscriptions, three from Amman - "statue," theatre," "citadel" - and the bottle of Siran. Twelve ostraca are included in the corpus: six from Heshbon (I, II, IV, V, XI, XII), four from Tell el-Mazar III-V, VII) and one each from Nimrud. and from Amman. On two stamps and 129 seals there are personal names, seven seals exhibit letters in alphabetic sequence.

The appendices deal with classification (according to the probability of Ammonite character), with iconography, with use and non-use of letters y, w, and h for indicating long vowels, and with Hieratic number signs. The glossary contains general words, personal names and their components. In the bibliography many hundreds of items are listed. Access to the rich bibliographical references related to individual inscriptions is facilitated by the index of authors, in which their publications are listed separately.

The reproductions of 147 texts on 52 plates, which Aufrecht collected from many sources (cf. 463-64), should have been presented with more attention to their value. They are printed on the same paper as the text, and many of them are difficult to read due to insufficient contrast in the photographic reproductions. Considerable help is provided by drawings of ostraca and some other texts.

This corpus, collected so carefully and competently by Aufrecht, will serve as suitable basis for further research. The Ammonite inscriptions will surely be quoted by the convenient numbers in his CAI, and the collected references will be most conducive to further progress in Ammonite studies. In the bibliography, even items from sources not easily accessible, with titles that do not indicate Ammonite connections, are duly included, such as this reviewer's article on the Nimrud ostracon in Asian and African Studies (Bratislava) 1 (1965): 147-51. Some lists are selective; in that on the Ammonite language (pp. xii-xiv) many reviews of the book by Jackson (v. supra) are listed, but neither the one by this reviewer (BASOR 260 [1985]: 85-86) nor that by E. G. Clarke (JAOS 106 [1986]: 270-72; but cf. pp. 387-88) to whom Aufrecht dedicated his book.

Aufrecht tries to present Ammonite words in phonological reconstructions. This attempt deserves a positive evaluation since it represents a foundation for further work in this direction. These phonological reconstructions are included in square brackets [ ], but the use of slashed brackets // would correspond better to the usage in linguistic publications.

Among the large number of personal names, only seven are feminine, five of them marked as such by bt 'daughter', two by mt, interpreted by Aufrecht following Lipinski as wife', rather than '(female) servant'. The meaning 'wife of second rank', as in Gen. 20:17, may be also taken into consideration, cf. W. Gesenius ... Handworterbuch, ed. R. Meyer and H. Donner, 18th ed. (Berlin: Springer, 1987), 71 a: 'Nebenfrau'.

In the last line (15) of the Nimrud ostracon Aufrecht adds two letters to the attested form blntn: bn[n]lntn. This reviewer still prefers the interpretation of l as dissimilated from *n before the following n, as proposed in 1965 and preferred also by J. Naveh (MAARAV 2.2 (1980): 164, n. 5). Jackson (v. supra, 65-66) follows Albright's 1958 interpretation, 'Belnatan'. The omission of bn 'son' can be supported by analogy of the preceding line 14, if kbs is a personal name, Lamb', and not a word for a profession, washer. To Jackson's list of patronymics not preceded by bn 'son' (e.g., CAI 31 lys d l), a Phoenician analogy from the fifth century B.C. can be adduced, from the inscription on the jar found in 1963 at Ras Shamra: lhr nmq '(Belonging) to HR, (son of) NMQ'. Professor Schaeffer entrusted this reviewer with publication of this short inscription. The manuscript prepared in 1963 in Beirut was submitted and the proofs corrected, but the publication intended for Ugaritica (cf. Ugaritica 5 [Paris, 1968]: xi) has not yet appeared.

The alphabet seals are clearly indicated as such if the number of letters in the alphabetic sequence is large: 12 (cf. CAI 93), 10 (cf. CAI 22, 114, 115), or even 5 (CAI 24). Only 4 letters bgd are on the seals CAI 54a and 82; the same letters are preceded by l- on the seal CAI 60. This indication of the owner may mean that the following letters represent a personal name, / abigad/. Such interpretation is also possible for CAI 82, as seals without l- do appear in the corpus: CAI 6, 11, 20, 33, 35, 138, 17a, 21a. While magic functions of an alphabetic sequence may not be excluded, might it not have been possible to produce alphabetic seals to be sold to illiterates? If so, could the introductory l- make them more similar to real seals? The personal name bgd does not appear in lists of other Canaanite personal names, even though its components 'father' and 'fortune'/'Gad' (divine name) are attested. Could a name originate from an attempt to give sense to an alphabetic sequence? The seal CAI 60 was purchased and is kept in Jerusalem; it was there published in 1968 by Professor Nahman Avigad, the scholar who is represented in the bibliography by 28 publications (pp. 380-82; cf. index, pp. 441-42).

Among the inscriptions in form of a seal (cf. pl. XIX, p. 443), CAI 56 published by N. Avigad in 1966, deserves special attention, since it is a votive text similar to Phoenician texts of this kind. This analogy suggests that we understand the relative s preceding ndr 'he vowed' as 'what' rather than as 'who' (pp. 145-48; cf. Jackson, supra, 77-80).

This corpus of Ammonite inscriptions, prepared with care and devoted to both the texts and to their bibliographical documentation, may serve as a model for editors of similar collections.
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Author:Segert, Stanislav
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1992
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