>אוסף תעודות ארמיות ממצרים העתיקה כרך ג' - סיפורת, חשבונות ורשימות
מידע נוסף
מו"ל:
בשיתוף:
  • החוג להיסטוריה של עם ישראל, האונ' העברית
שנה:
1993
דאנאקוד:
45-811174
ISBN:
965-350-014-7
משקל:
1020 גר'
כריכה:
רכה

אוסף תעודות ארמיות ממצרים העתיקה כרך ג' - סיפורת, חשבונות ורשימות

עריכה, ציור ותרגום מחדש לעברית ולאנגלית

תקציר

קובץ זה מכיל מסמכים וטקסטים נדירים בארמית עם תרגומים לעברית ולאנגלית.


This volume continues the series Textbook of Aramaic Documents (TAD) begun with vol. 1, Letters (1986), and vol. 2, Contracts (1989). The standard set of previous volumes is maintained here, and the authors are to be congratulated for producing an edition that, without exaggeration, deserves to be called definitive. A final vol. 4 is to appear, "to cover papyrus fragments and inscriptions on potsherds, stone, and wood."

Like the preceding volumes, vol. 3 has these central features: first, beautiful new copies of the texts, made with consummate skill, in almost every case from prolonged or repeated consultation of the originals; second, printed transcriptions of the texts; third, accompanying translations into Modern Hebrew and English. Additional components assist the consultation and comprehension of the texts: bibliographies, a foreword and an introduction, excursuses, tables, and charts, including, for example, a foldout with a reconstruction of the original scroll of Ahiqar. There is an economical but extensive glossary (some twenty-four pages) with many of the features of a concordance of words (to be treated at greater length below). As the authors quietly assert (p. vi), there are new readings for almost every piece. The implication is that all previous editions now become outmoded in their most essential function, that of giving a reliable text; in view of the extraordinary care and skill with which Porten and Yardeni have examined and presented the texts, it is unlikely that any future advance in this regard is possible. This edition is in that sense definitive.

This edition is elaborate, but one of its many virtues is that the user finds it economical. Each of the many features in this lavish series is directed to a well-defined purpose, and even the bilingual presentation of certain parts (Modern Hebrew and English) is not felt as something overloading the work.

ביקורות ועוד

Since the present review is for a biblical journal, it seems in place to emphasize, at the risk of stating the obvious, that in reediting this corpus of Egyptian Aramaic documents the authors have done great service to biblical studies, though the significance of the texts is not, of course, narrowly restricted to biblical or Judaic studies. In his review of vol. 2 , J. A. Fitzmyer sketched the history of the publication of Aramaic documents from Egypt, giving due emphasis to the utility of A. E. Cowley's collection (Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C. [Oxford: Clarendon, 1923]), a standard reference for a previous generation, and to the subsequent publications by E.G. Kraeling, G. R. Driver, and J. B. Segal, all superseded now by this "ideal publication," to use Fitzmyer's apt characterization.

The new edition of Ahiqar is of most obvious importance for students of biblical literature. P. and Y. introduce new evidence for the order of elements of the text, a major advance. The new evidence consists in their decipherment of the erased "customs account" over which the literary text was written, which yields a certain succession of Egyptian months, and in their reconsideration of papyrological and scribal features. The new solution is bound either to settle a question debated by scholars from the time of discovery of the text until the most recent restudy (Ingo Kottsieper, Die Sprache der Ahiqarspruche [BZAW 194; Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, 1990]), or at the very least to define the basis from which any future discussion will have to begin.

Though the authors provide a brief excursus on "structures and themes in Ahiqar" (the date of the Ahiqar manuscript is given, reasonably enough, as the second half of the fifth century B.C.E.), they do not provide even summary opinion or information on the possible prehistory, literary connections, or subsequent history of this composition. Restraint in this respect is in keeping with the nature of the edition, already very sizable, but at this point a reader may feel that not enough direction is given, even by the bibliography. The summary discussion given in Cowley, Aramaic Papyri, 204-11, however out-of-date it may be by now, suggests the sort of brief introduction that might have been more useful to a student approaching the text without previous acquaintance with Ahiqar.

Aside from the literary interest of this lengthy and influential text (and of the "Bar Punesh" and Bisitun inscription of Darius), there are many other things for the biblical scholar here, also in the accounts and lists: data bearing on the vocabulary of Biblical Aramaic and Biblical Hebrew, a rich trove for the student of onomastics, and much information on the economic and social realities of life in the Elephantine military colony and in the Egyptian milieu in which the colony was set.

The authors' generous spirit of cooperation with others in the field of Aramaic studies is evidenced in the glossary, which carries the notice (similar to the note heading the glossary of vol. 2) "Computer-generated in collaboration with the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon Project" (the CAL project). Even before the TAD textual materials were published, they were put at the disposal of the CAL project and its director, Professor Stephen A. Kaufman; the happy result is that the printed edition has thus been enhanced, and that the lexical project has had the advantage of early use of the best readings. (Here and there in the work Kaufman is "Steve"--a pleasing and significant informality.) Note that the Newsletter of the CAL, beginning with no. 11, Spring 1994, publishes supplements to the recent work of Joseph A. Fitzmyer and Stephen A. Kaufman, An Aramaic Bibliography (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992). These supplements include additions to the bibliography for the Elephantine texts in general, and specifically for some of those published by P. and Y. It is Kaufman's intention to continue to issue these supplements, periodically; in this way users of P. and Y.'s fundamental series should be able to keep it up-to-date bibliographically with relative ease.

The English translations of the texts are the work of P., who states his intention in this way: "All translations are literal, and the Aramaic word order is frequently preserved to convey the full sense of the original" (p. vi). Such a statement arouses misgivings at the outset, since it would seem to contain a number of controversial or even contradictory assumptions, and indeed there are cases where the rendering given makes a reader wish that the function and nature of the translation had been thought out more carefully. The English is at times unidiomatic, as at Ahiqar 1.107: "The [bramb]le despatched to [the] pomegranate, saying . . . ," and in extreme cases it gets the sense exactly backward, where Aramaic syntax calls for an order the reverse of the English order: "For a bird is a word" (Ahiqar 82). On the whole, however, this is more than outweighed by the many cases where P. has done splendidly in this aspect of the work also, especially when one bears in mind the formidable difficulty of the material involved.

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By Delbert R. Hillers, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD