Akkadian Resources - What They Look Like/Inter-relate

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DMB | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, May 15 2021 8:13 AM


This thread is just for info, if you're looking in Akkadian, and you want to know what the resources looks like, while linking information. If you have other resources (eg Concise Akkadian!), please add, for future searchers.

Akkadian is primarily Assyria and Babylonia, across approximately a thousand years. It shows up in the Hittite as well as Egyptian ... widespread. Aramaic was next ... greek followed, as lingua franca. Although Akkadian is not a close semitic cousin to hebrew, surprisingly, they parallel each other, even in spelling sorts. And indeed there's a lexicon that links the two.  But the primary value is in records. Hebrew is pretty much the jewish Bible, plus inscriptions. A limited religious world. Akkadian, because of baked mud (!) is recorded in almost a million records, from the religious, to legal, to everyday issues. And therein lies its value here ... sort of a cultural context to the jewish Bible.

Below, I selected 'rabu' as an example. Originally, I was looking at its later cousin, 'rabbi' and tracing backwards. 

1. Akkadian Lexical Companion for Biblical Hebrew (Tawil)


This works off the hebrew side, and then looks for akkadian approximate equivalents (direct, idiomatic, etc). It's so well done, just this volume alone, is a treasure. It's limitations are quickly noticable ... below, 'rabu' is the single right column half ... 2 usages. However, you quickly see related usage ... cupbearer on the left-lower!

2. Chicago Assyrian Dictionary


This is the big boy (21 volumes), and illustrates why akkadian can provide cultural context. Just the word 'rabu' occupies 30 pages of usage. As a big plus, it also indicates the general period that the usage shows up. Below, I was looking at the usage of 'elder' in terms of inheritance. But ... across the page is usage for offialdom!  I did find, later, a favored son receiving a multi-colored-coat as inheritance, vs his other brothers, zippo.

3. English to Akkadian Companion to Assyrian Dictionaries (Cohen)


This came out recently. It sorts by english, looking at 3 of the akkadian dictionaries, plus adding more recent discoveries. It's simple in approach ... an english, followed by a bunch of akkadian. The power is in the synonyms and grouped words ... you can generally get pretty close to the desired akkadian. However, it's still hard work, since several akkadian words often match the english. But absent the indexed english, the choices would be harder to find.  Recommended.

The softward didn't like my page-example, so no page-example.

Posts 1284
David Wanat | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 15 2021 8:47 AM

You made me curious. But the only directly Akkadian resource (as opposed to translated texts) I have is this:

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Posts 805
DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 15 2021 10:05 AM

Yep. Although Logos is successfully tippy-toeing into aramaic sources, plus the aramaic language prepub soon to ship.

Part of the problem is what I might call 'Christian exegesis'. You start with a Biblical hebrew word, then you scan other Bible contexts (across centuries??), then you tippy-toe into nearby semitic cognates for more clues. Where the problem occurs is 'context' ... trying to match up the social environment (same century maybe?) that demanded the author's usage.

Example: the coat-of-many-colors (KJV). Watch how they try to narrow down the word-definition, without looking for why such a coat might (might) be significant .... the social context.

Regarding akkadian, you're right. A single resource, but good. But if you use the above examples (I broke down and ordered the concise akkadian 'blue book' ... anything but concise!), they do often point back to Logos resources ... Nuzi texts, legal, poetic and religious texts ... even hittite and egyptian. So, there's 'some'! Never look the gifthorse in the mouth ... ha.

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