Herbert Donner and Wolfgang Röllig, Kanaanäische und aramäische Inschriften. Band 1, 5., erweiterte und überarbeitete Auflage.
(Wiesbaden: Harrassowiz Verlag, 2002), xviii, 79 pp. ISBN 3-447-04587-6. € 24,80
Reviewed by Scott Noegel
University of Washington

The first volume of H. Donner and W. Röllig’s now classic Kanaanäische und aramäische Inschriften is now nearly forty years old; the second and third volumes of that work are younger by only a few years (the volumes appeared in 1966, 1968, and 1969 respectively). Needless to say, in these intervening decades there have been a number of new inscriptional finds, as well as changes of interpretation. These necessitate a revised publication of this monumental work. Hence, the appearance of this revised publication, the first of the three volumes.

To be sure, the large quantity of new texts published since 1966, especially those in Phoenician, Neo-Punic, and Aramaic, makes it virtually impossible to publish them all under one cover. Moreover, comprehensive editions of these new texts have appeared in recent years, making their inclusion into any new edition of this work unnecessary. One also finds no Hebrew seal, stamp, weight, or arrow inscriptions in this work for these too are treated amply elsewhere.1 Thus, the editors of this revised work have opted to eschew exhaustiveness in favor of a careful selection of texts. They have done so with an eye toward the needs of students and teachers. The same reasoning lies behind the editors’ decision to forego revision of volume two of the original work (containing translations and commentaries), and instead plan for a revision of volume three, which will contain a glossary and exhaustive bibliography (listing relevant works published after 1965).

Those who are familiar with the first edition will be happy to know that all of the texts contained in that edition appear in this one. Moreover, the new edition contains a number of additional texts. These include Phoenician texts from Byblos, Sidon, Tyre, Sarepta (Tinnit inscription), Tel Miqne, Syria (Cebelireis Gagi), Kition, Crete, Kos (bilingual), Greece (Demetrias), and Spain (Hispania 14). Additional Punic inscriptions include those from Sicily (Grota Regina [Nr. 38A] and Mozia (Nr. 23, 24, 31]), Sardinia (Antas [Nr. 1–3]); and two from Carthage (including a Latino-Punic inscription). In addition, the editors have included some of the more famous inscriptions discovered since 1966 including those in Moabite (Kerak), Ammonite (Amman Citadel and Tell Siran inscriptions); and Aramaic (the bilingual from Tell Fekheriya, the Tell Dan, Arslan Tash/Samos, Deir `Alla, Tell Shech Hamad, and Tell Soukh Foqani inscriptions). Two Aramaic inscriptions from Asia Minor (Daskyleion and a trilingual inscription from Xanthos), and one from Bukan (placed under the heading “peripheral areas,” i.e., “Randgebieten”) conclude the book. All of these additional texts are grouped together as addenda, rather than integrated with those that appeared in the first edition.

Unlike the first edition no photos of the inscriptions accompany the texts,2 thus ruling out epigraphic research on these materials. Nevertheless, the editors’ useful selection of texts and their decision to provide no translations make this book an excellent study tool for university courses. Its affordable price especially encourages student use. The next time I teach a course on Northwest Semitic inscriptions, I shall use this as my primary textbook.


[1] See, e.g., John C. L. Gibson, Texbook of Syrian Semitic Inscriptions: Volume I. Hebrew and Moabite Inscriptions (Oxford: Clarendon, 1971), pp. 59–70, and more recently, R. Deutsch and M. Heltzer, Forty New Ancient West Semitic Inscriptions (Tel Aviv-Jaffa: Archaeological Center Publication, 1994).

[2] In the first edition, however, they appear at the end of volume 3.