Studying Akkadian for the Bible Student.

Gilgamesh Epic

Scholars have remarkable energy to construe from bits and pieces: Sumerian fragments, Assyrian fragments, Hittite texts, neo-Babylonian fragments as unified story that has a beginning and an end with all the drama, ups and downs in the center of the book. The methodology how this epic is  constructed in modern times is to take a leitmotif and then to strung the texts, whether late or early into one coherent, harmonized story that makes sense.

The Gilgamesh Epic with its famous multi-level ship or Titanic, is late, almost a millennium later than the report by Moses in 1460 BCE in Genesis.

Studying Akkadian

Akkadian is a language in which the Gilgamesh Epic was written.  We say Akkadian but it developed in various brands with its own linguistic idiosyncracies:  OB (Old Babylonian), MB (Middle Babylonian), NB (neo-Babylonian); OA (Old Assyrian), MA (Middle Assyrian), NA (neo-Assyrian).

Amarna linguistics, Ugaritic, Emarite, Eblaite are all languages that the student can also pursue if he/she studies Akkadian.

Akkadian is necessary for many reasons:

Royal court language, legal language, covenant styles, letter styles, styles of writing, bilingualism, multilingualism, and much more is necessary to understand the Bible better. Chiasm, synonymous parallelism, and many other poem tools can be understood better.

Reading Gilgamesh will not make a person an Akkadian scholar but it is necessary building block along the way. The rule is: read, read, read.

Grammars  and Dictionaries

The Accadian Grammar of Von Soden is a standard.

R. Borger's Sign list is important.

The Assyrian Dictionary is necessary to consult.

Riemschneider's book on Akkadian is a must for understanding the various dialects.

Most scholars focus to read the transliteration and then stop. One should maybe pursue beyond that and strive to read the original cuneiform also.

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