Approaches to Sumerian Literature: Studies in Honour of Stip by Piotr Michalowski, Niek Veldhuis

By Piotr Michalowski, Niek Veldhuis

This quantity, devoted to H.L.J. Vanstiphout on the social gathering of his retirement from the college of Groningen, July 14th 2006, demonstrates the huge number of scholarly techniques to the examine of historic Sumerian literature. It comprises contributions by way of Bendt Alster (Ninurta and the Turtle), Nicole Brisch (In compliment of the Kings of Larsa), A.J. Ferrara (A Hodgepodge of Snippets), Alhena Gadotti (Gilgames, Gudam and the Singer), W.W. Hallo (A Sumerian Apocryphon?), Dina Katz (Appeals to Utu), Jacob Klein (Man and His God), Piotr Michalowski (The unusual historical past of Tumal), Gonzalo Rubio (Sulgi and the demise of Sumerian), Niek Veldhuis (How Did They study Cuneiform?), and Claus Wilcke (Die Hymne auf das Heiligtum Kes).

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14 There is no simple answer to the question of the nature of such texts, because parodic and comical features are common in sacred religious ceremonies all over the world. 15 A remarkable example occurs in the Atrahasis Epic, II vi 17–18: [ den-ki ] ìta“u“ a“àbam / [ina p]uhri “a ilì ßihtum ìkul“u (cf. vi 15–16), “Enki got fed up with remaining sitting (scl. ” The situation is classic: Enlil accuses Enki of having helped mankind to survive, but Enki simply outmaneuvers him by reminding him publicly of the ludicrous way in which he was tricked by Enki’s overwhelmingly superior cunning.

105–29 in Cultural Repertories: Structure, Function and Dynamics, eds. G. J. Dorleijn and H. L. J. Vanstiphout. Leuven: Peters. Reisman, D. D. 1970 Two Neo-Sumerian Royal Hymns. D. 1969. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms. Richter, T. 2004 Untersuchungen zu den lokalen Panthea Süd- und Mittelbabyloniens in altbabylonischer Zeit (2. verbesserte und erweiterte Auflage). AOAT 257. Münster: UgaritVerlag. in praise of the kings of larsa 45 Suter, Claudia 2000 Gudea’s Temple Building. The Representation of an Early Mesopotamian Ruler in Text and Image.

Inscriptions of the Isin dynasty are often brief and to the point, while the inscriptions of the rulers of Larsa and Babylon developed a narrative style, which often includes “historical” details. This clearly shows that certain categories of Sumerian literature could indeed be subject to change and innovation, and it is therefore possible that the royal hymns equally underwent stylistic changes in the course of several centuries. The Larsa royal hymns in particular, which represent the first instances of the change and innovation in this literature, show that the learned scribes found a new form of expressing essentially the same arguments that were considered important for rulers of previous dynasties: maintaining the favor of the gods.

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