From an Antique Land introduces the various cultures and literatures of the Ancient Near East, including literature originally written in Egyptian, Sumerian, Akkadian, Hittite, Ugaritic, Canaanite, Hebrew, and Aramaic. The timeframe extends from the invention of writing through the conquest of Alexander the Great. Each chapter includes an overview of the culture, a discussion of literary genres, and descriptions and short analyses of the major literary works.
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Carl S. Ehrlich is professor of Hebrew Bible at York University in Toronto.Review:
An important collection of essays from which both students and scholars will learn much. (Michael D. Coogan, Stonehill College)
This is a comprehensive and searching treatment of the literatures of the major cultures of the ancient Near East. Carl Ehrlich has gathered a group of well-known specialists, who not only summarize and comment on the literary works of each culture, but put them in context, in terms of the languages, styles, genres, and themes, and against the political, social, and cultural history from which they come and which they reflect. A distinctive and welcome mark of this book is that although it has a large,discerning chapter on the Hebrew Bible, it is not a book of "Bible backgrounds," of which there are many examples. Rather, the treatment of the Hebrew Bible takes its place alongside equally large and substantial examinations of the other major ancient Near Eastern literatures on their own. The result is revealing testimony to the richness and variety of the ancient Near Eastern literary world altogether, not just of the Hebrew Bible, and a solid foundation of reference for further study of it. (Peter Machinist, Harvard University)
This wonderful volume gives the curious reader magisterial overviews and reliable details on a vast literature, resurrected only recently from the mounds and tombs of the ancient Near East. This literature is among the world's oldest and most distinct, articulating a lore that, but for a few stray samples embedded in the Hebrew Bible or in the Classics, is hardly familiar. Luckily, we have here experienced contributors and their presentations, while personal, are all informative and enriching. (Jack M. Sasson, Vanderbilt University)
The volume at hand was a pleasure to review! This compact but chock-full-of knowledge book is a treasure trove of information on a variety of topics relating to the literatures of the main cultures of the ancient Near East....The chapters in the volume under review are all of high quality and broad views....I...highly recommend this volume for what it is: an excellent introduction to the main literary traditions of the ancient Near East. One has to be thankful to the authors of the various chapters, and in particular to the editor, for their efforts to produce this wonderful volume....The overview provided in this handy and well-produced volume will serve as a basis for future study. We would be blessed with such collections in all fields of research relating to the ancient world! (Review of Biblical Literature, May 2010)
Professors of the literature and cultures of the ancient Near East can no longer complain about a lack of competent and engaging resources. Since the completion of Hallo and Younger’s three-volume Context of Scripture in 2002, we have seen the arrival of several helpful handbooks and introductions, in addition to other collections of texts. This new volume, characterized best by its subtitle, is distinctive in a number of ways and is a welcome addition to the resources available to students and instructors alike. (American Schools of Oriental Research)
This monograph is a good introduction not only to the literature of the ancient Near East, but also to its cultures, people, and history. Its fundamental strength and the feature that sets it apart from similar studies is its methodology: From an Antique Land is diachronic. (H-Judaic)
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