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Ugaritic Narrative Poetry [Paperback]

By Mark S. Smith (Editor) & Simon B. Parker (Editor)
Our Price $ 18.55  
Retail Value $ 19.95  
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Item Number 146875  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   280
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 6.38" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 1997
Publisher   Society of Biblical Literature
ISBN  0788503375  
EAN  9780788503375  

Availability  99 units.
Availability accurate as of Jan 17, 2018 06:14.
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Item Description...
More than 500 years before the Odyssey and the Iliad, before the biblical books of Genesis or Job, masters of the epic lived and wrote on the Mediterranean coast. The Ugaritic tablets left behind by these master scribes and poets were excavated in the second quarter of the twentieth century from the region of modern Syria and Lebanon, and are brought to life here in contemporary English translations by five of the best known scholars in the field. Included are the major narrative poems, "Kirta," "Aqhat," and "Baal," in addition to ten shorter texts, newly translated with transcriptions from photographs using the latest techniques in the photography of epigraphic materials (sample plate included).

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General   [19247  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry   [123  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Reference > Foreign Languages > General   [9460  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Reference > Foreign Languages   [751  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Important translations of Ugaritic Stories  Jun 24, 2004
Ugaritic Narrative Poetry edited by Mark S. Smith, Edward L. Greenstein, Theodore J. Lewis, David Marcus, Simon B. Parker (Society of Biblical Literature) (Paperback) The Ugaritic narrative poems all come from the ancient city of Ugarit, which lies half a mile inland from the Syrian coast opposite the eastern tip of Cyprus. The city was discovered after a farmer's accidental exposure of an ancient tomb nearby in 1928 and has been excavated almost annually since 1929. The excavators have uncovered a large palace; an acropolis with two temples, the house of the high priest, and the house of a divination priest; and numerous other large and small buildings, both sacred and secular. These all date from the fourteenth and thirteenth centuries B.C.E. The levels from this period lie closest to the surface, have been most extensively excavated, and have yielded several archives and libraries. The uninscribed and inscribed remains together disclose many aspects of the city's culture during the Late Bronze Age.
Ugarit was well situated for trade. Trade routes extended by land east-ward to the other major cities of Syria, to Mitanni, and to Assyria; by sea westward to Cyprus and the Aegean; by land and by sea northward and westward to Asia Minor and the territory of the Hittites; and southward to Palestine and Egypt. Through economic and cultural contacts with these various regions, Ugarit became a rich and cosmopolitan city in the Late Bronze Age.
Excavators have found in the city the scripts and languages of several of the cultures with which it had relations. Two languages and scripts predominate, however. Akkadian, the language of the Assyrians and Babylonians, was the international language of the period and was used especially for communications between states, including Egypt. (Ugarit was predominantly under Egyptian influence in the first part of the Late Bronze Age but after ca. 1350 B.C.E. was dominated by the Hittite state to the north.) Akkadian was written in the complex cuneiform writing system, in which each of several hundred signs consisted of a cluster of wedge-shaped impressions on soft clay and represented a syllable, word, or indicator of a semantic category. But Ugarit also had its own native language, related to several Semitic languages, but generally classified as Northwest Semitic, reflecting its proximity to the hypothetical ancestor of the first-millennium languages of Syria-Palestine: Aramaic, Hebrew, Phoenician, and so on. To write this language, the scribes of Ugarit devised their own script. They exploited the alphabetic principle that had already inspired the invention of the Canaanite alphabet farther south, but devised signs using cuneiform impressions on clay, as for Akkadian. The Ugaritic alphabet consists of thirty simple cuneiform signs, each one representing a consonant (except for three which represent the same consonant -a glottal stop-with three different vowels). In this script the scribes of Ugarit wrote numerous internal administrative records of the city government, many letters and religious texts, and a few literary texts.
The Ugaritic texts include the only collection outside of the Bible of native poetry and narratives from pre-Roman Syria-Palestine. These narrative poems are of unique value as a source of information about Syro-Palestinian poetry, narrative, and mythology toward the end of the Bronze Age. As such, they also provide us with a sample of the traditional background of some of the poetic, narrative, and mythological material in the Hebrew Bible. We find in the Ugaritic narrative poems representatives of a developed poetic tradition that lies behind the poetic achievement now pre-served in the prophetic, liturgical, and wisdom books of the Hebrew Bible; versions of traditional tales or motifs that are later recast in Hebrew prose narratives; and a world of gods, with their conflicts and assemblies and interventions in human affairs, that is still dimly reflected in the surviving Hebrew literature.
The Ugaritic narratives are all apparently poetic; that is, they consistently use parallelism and/or poetic formulas. Parallelism, familiar from most biblical poetry, refers to the juxtaposition of phrases or clauses in usually two, sometimes three, and occasionally more, poetic cola of similar syntactic structure and/or semantic import. Poetic formulas include standard epithets for common characters, including gods; standard expressions for the introduction of direct speech, for a character's arrival at or departure from aplace, for the passage of time, and so on; and standard pairs of words or phrases used in parallel cola. Many formulas constitute a complete colon and even appear in pairs or larger clusters of cola. While a prose translation that did away with these features would offer a more fast-paced and engaging narrative to the modern reader, we have retained them in the interest of giving a sense of the traditional, poetic character of narratives that would have been not read silently but recited orally.
The first three narratives translated here, Kirta, Aqhat, and Baal-stories of a king, a patriarch, and the gods respectively-are recognizably literary works, whatever the social purposes they served. Several of the other, shorter narratives, however, appear to have some more immediate, practical use, as is suggested by references to ritual acts, prescriptions, or social circumstances in conjunction with which the narratives were recited. This suggests the immediate power of specific narratives in relation to specific situations.
The first three works are best known and have been translated several times. The other, shorter texts have in many cases not been included in the standard translations of Ugaritic texts, and the translations that are available sometimes exhibit the translator's creativity and imagination where a sound basis for determining the meaning of the original is lacking. The more fragmentary and obscure texts are included because of their obvious relations with those that are better preserved and understood and also because they have been used in some bold hypotheses concerning Ugaritic mythology and religion.

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