Untold Stories: The Bible and Ugaritic Studies in the Twentieth Century

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9780801047718: Untold Stories: The Bible and Ugaritic Studies in the Twentieth Century
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This book traces the history of Ugaritic studies and their impact on the study of the Bible. From the first discoveries in the late 1920s through the end of the millennium, Ugaritic studies have revolutionized the modern understanding of the Bible. The stories told in this book combine analysis of the major trends and intellectual approaches taken in various periods with firsthand accounts of the major Ugaritic and biblical scholars drawn from personal interviews and letters, including previously unknown sources from several archival collections.

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About the Author:

Mark S. Smith is the Skirball Professor of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at New York University. Smith's books include The Early History of God, The Ugaritic Baal Cycle (volume 1), The Pilgrimage Pattern in Exodus, and The Origins of Biblical Monotheism. He has also published Dead Sea Scroll texts and written numerous studies on biblical books, the religion of ancient Israel, and Hebrew grammar.

Review:

"The outstanding contribution to the amazing progress on the study of the Bible World during the twentieth century is light from Ugarit. And our second millennium bids fair to witness further progress under the aegis of a new generation of scholars. Mark Smith's new book provides the rising generation with all the background it needs concerning the accomplishments of their predecessors in the twentieth century: the facts, the publications and full annotated bibliography. No other tome supplies all of this."
—Cyrus H. Gordon, Emeritus Professor at Brandeis University and New York University

"Mark S. Smith is in the front rank of qualified research scholars in the complex world of Northwest Semitica, and he has made ample contributions to the ongoing elucidation and exposition of the many literary tests from Ugarit. In addition he is an acute observer of the scholarly scene, and a gifted chronicler of the major plays and players in the golden era of Ugaritic and Biblical Studies, just now drawing to a close. Untold Stories is very well told, and a must for all those who had a part in the decipherment and rendition of the ancient epic works, and those who have come along in the train of those pioneers."
—David N. Freedman, Endowed Chair of Hebrew Biblical Studies, University of California, San Diego

"Mark Smith has written a vade mecum for scholars and students in Ugaritic and biblical studies. It is an extensive and detailed history of scholarly work in Ugaritic, and in the biblical field where the two fields converge. The volume, entitled Untold Stories: The Bible and Ugaritic Studies in the twentieth Century, leaves almost nothing untold. The bibliography is astonishingly full, and Smith has used archives, correspondence, and interviews, resources not to be found in print, to further flesh out his history. As one would expect of him, Professor Smith handles his material with objectivity and balance. His treatment of peripheral scholars, postmodern ideologues, and doubtful theories is invariably understanding and kind. his treatment of major figures in the field is perhaps too kind--but not uncritical. In short, the book is required reading for all of us interested in Ugaritic and biblical studies."
—Frank Moore Cross, Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages, Emeritus, Harvard University

"Among the last century's many monumental discoveries in the Near East, that of the language and literature and, indeed, the very existence of the northern Syrian coastal town of Ugarit, is arguably the most important one. Being entirely unexpected, it opened up a new chapter in the history of Bible interpretation. The extraordinarily ingenious and speedy deciphering of the unknown cuneiform signs on the clay tablets revealed a West Semitic Language closely related to but much earlier than Biblical Hebrew and a poetic and fascinating rich mythology which immediately began to attract large numbers of students interested in the Ancient Near East.

"The author's true purpose here is to analyze the vast literary output in the field of Ugaritology during the last three-quarters of the 20th century from its very beginning until today. This offers the rare opportunity to observe the dynamics of the development of a new discipline under the influence of constantly changing intellectual currents and through the best efforts of a great variety of individual personalities with their different capabilities and their foibles that provide many delicious "untold stories."
—Franz Rosenthal, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Languages, Yale University

"In a fascinating, in-depth history of Ugaritic studies, the first of its kind, Mark Smith has illustrated a prime example of the miracle of modern discovery. In hindsight, it is hard to imagine that little more than seventy years ago, the richness of Ugaritic literature was totally unknown. Since the late 1920's, hundreds of scholars, masters and their disciples, working in many countries had the wisdom to devote primary energies to eluci -- Review

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9781565635753: Untold Stories: The Bible and Ugaritic Studies in the Twentieth Century

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ISBN 10:  1565635752 ISBN 13:  9781565635753
Publisher: Hendrickson Pub, 2001
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