Journal of Hebrew Scriptures - Volume 5 (2004-2005) - Review

Gernot Wilhelm, ed., Akten des IV. Internationalen Kongresses für Hethitologie. Würzburg, 4.-8. Oktober 1999. (Studien zu den Boğazköy-Texten, 45; Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2001). Pp. xxiv + 759, 18 Tafeln. ISBN 3-447-04485-3. EUR 88.

Beginning in 1990, researchers specializing in the study of the Hittites, their language and culture have gathered every three years to exchange their latest discoveries and insights. These congresses have been held alternately in Çorum, the major Turkish city nearest the Hittite capital of Boğazköy/Ḫattuša (1990, 1996, 2002), and in a European center--Pavia (1993) and Würzburg (1999). The next session is scheduled for Rome in 2005.

The volume under review presents the proceedings of the Würzburg meeting, dedicated by the editor to the memory of Professor Erich Neu, who rallied from a terminal illness to deliver the keynote address ("Hethitologie heute") only to succumb less than three months later. Another melancholy aspect of the convention was the absence due to poor health of Professor Sedat Alp, doyen of Turkish Hittitologists and founder of the Congress. Nonetheless he sent his official greetings as well as a lecture to be read to his colleagues.

Around one hundred and fifty participants were in attendance in Würzburg, of whom sixty-three provided contributions to this book. Thirty of these have been composed in German, nineteen in English, eight in Turkish, and six in French, which gives some indication of the international character of contemporary Hittitology. Indeed, the variety could have been much greater, but scholars whose mother tongues are Japanese, Chinese, Hebrew, Dutch, Italian, or a Slavic language kindly chose to write in a more widely accessible idiom.

Almost all areas of pre-Classical Anatolian studies are represented here: I. Anatolian Philology. A. Hittite (J. Boley, R. Lühr, M. Mazoyer, G. Neumann, N. Oettinger, M. Ofitsch, G. T. Rikov, J. de Roos, K. Yoshida, S. Zeilfelder). B. Old Assyrian (V. Donbaz). C. Hattic (O. Soysal). D. Hurrian (T. Richter). E. Hieroglyphic Luwian (S. Alp, A. M. Dinçol, B. Dinçol, D. Hawkins, S. Heinhold-Krahmer, I. Klock-Fontanille). F. Phrygian (R. Gusmani). G. Comparative Linguistics (Jin Jie). II. Early Anatolian History. A. Assyrian Colony Period (O. Carruba). B. Old Hittite (J. Miller). C. Hittite Empire (H. Klengel, J. Orlamünde). D. Late Empire (Th. van den Hout, A. M. Jasink). E. Hittite Historiography (J. Klinger). F. Hittite Geography (R. Lebrun).

III. Hittite Culture. A. Society (Y. Cohen, Y. Soysal). B. Literature (M. Giorgieri, E. Otto, F. Pecchioli Daddi, E. Rieken, I. Rutherford). C. Religion (M. Hutter, H. C. Melchert, M. Nakamura, S. Ö. Savaş , P. Taracha). D. Diplomacy (S. de Martino/F. Imparati, I. Singer, N. Wazana). E. Realia (Y. Coşkun, H. A. Hoffner, J. Puhvel, C. Zinko).

IV. Anatolian Archaeology (E. Lafli, E. Masson, V. Müller-Karpe, A. T. Ökse, A. S. Öenir, M. Özsait/N. Özsait, J. Seeher, M. Süel, M. Süel, J. Yakar/A. M. Dinçol/B. Dinçol/A. Taffet).

The papers of greatest interest to more general audiences are probably those of J. Seeher ("Die Zerstörung der Stadt attuša"), who shows that the Hittite capital did not perish in a general conflagration at the close of the Bronze Age, but was rather gradually abandoned by the royal court and most of its inhabitants; of J. Klinger ("Historiographie als Paradigma. Die Quellen zur hethitischen Geschichte und ihre Deutung"), full of insightful observations on how the Hittites represented their past; and of N. Wazana ("Border Descriptions and Cultural Barriers"), who makes the (to my mind questionable) argument that the precise delineation of the confines of the Promised Land in the Hebrew Bible "is drawn from a literary and ideological heritage rooted in [a] Hittite worldview."

The great majority of these essays are of high quality, and this collection well deserves a place in institutional libraries, although those scholars not directly participating in Anatolian research will likely find it too expensive to acquire for personal use.

Gary Beckman
University of Michigan