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The Textual Criticism of Sumerian Literature

By Paul Delnero

The Textual Criticism of Sumerian Literature
Hardback, 230 pages £74.00
Published: 2012
ISBN: 9780897570886
Format: 280mm x 215mm
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Subjects: American Schools of Oriental Research, Ancient Near East
Series: ASOR Journal of Cuneiform Studies Supplement Series

The occurrence of textual variation is a significant but frequently neglected aspect of the study of Sumerian literary compositions. The correct evaluation of textual variants and the proper understanding of how and why they occur are essential to producing reliable editions of such texts. Such explorations also provide invaluable evidence for the written transmission of Sumerian literary works and a wealth of data for assessing aspects of Sumerian grammar.

Drawing from a detailed analysis of the different types of textual variants that occur in the numerous duplicates of a group of ten compositions known collectively as the Decad, this book aims to provide a much needed critical methodology for interpreting textual variation in the Sumerian literary corpus which can be applied to editing and analyzing these compositions with improved accuracy.


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Mechanical Errors

Chapter 3: Local and Regional Variation

Chapter 4: Diachronic Variation

Chapter 5: Variants in Sources Compiled by the Same Scribe or Group of Scribes

Chapter 6: Idiosyncratic Variants

Chapter 7: Interpretive Variants

Chapter 8: Procedure for Evaluating Textual Variation

Chapter 9: Conclusion



Paul Delnero is an Assyriologist who specializes in the history, culture, and society of Ancient Mesopotamia, with a particular emphasis on the study of the Sumerian language and its grammar. Delnero writes about archival practices in the second millennium BCE, the interaction of orality and literacy in the Mesopotamian textual record, and the transmission of Sumerian literature. Currently, Delnero is Assistant Professor in Assyriology in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 230 pages
 280mm x 215mm

BIC Code:
  LAN006000, LAN009000, LAN021000
 American Schools of Oriental Research


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