Myth and Politics in Ancient near Eastern Historiography

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2004-09-09 Hardcover 1 New 0801443334 Ships Within 24 Hours. Tracking Number available for all USA orders. Excellent Customer Service. Upto 15 Days 100% Money Back Gurantee. Try ... Our Fast! ! ! ! Shipping With Tracking Number. Read more Show Less

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"The essays included in this volume analyze important historical texts from various regions of the ancient Near East. The distinguished Italian historian Mario Liverani suggests that these historiographical texts were of a "true" historical nature and that their literary forms achieved their intended results. Liverani focuses on two central themes in these texts: myth and politics. There is a close connection, Liverani finds, between the writing of history and the validation of political order and political action. History defines the correct role and behavior of political leaders, especially when they do not possess the validation provided by tradition. Historical texts, he discovers, are more often the tools for supporting change than for supporting stability." Liverani demonstrates that history writing in the ancient Near East made frequent use of mythical patterns, wisdom motifs, and literary themes in order to fulfill its audience's cultural expectations. The resulting nonhistorical literary forms can mislead interpretation, but an analysis of these forms allows the texts' sociopolitical and communicative frameworks to emerge.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This slim volume presents excellent introductions to eight of Liverani's pioneering studies. . . . Liverani's technique in each case is to submit familiar texts to close reading in order to reveal their underlying structures and historical implications. The results are unexpected and illuminating."—Choice 42:10, June 2005

"Myth and Politics in Ancient Near Eastern Historiography is an extremely useful collection. . . . When ancient historians encounter primary sources, they still sometimes accept them at face value and paste them into narratives. Liverani shows that this practice is dangerous, especially when one is dealing with political documents. Instead, he argues that one should plumb texts for meanings or messages."—Steven M. Stannish, History: Reviews of New Books 33:3

"In Myth and Politics in Ancient Near Eastern Historiography, the renowned Italian historian Mario Liverani shows clearly that underestimating the sophistication of ancient writings is a grave mistake, particularly when political and religious texts are in question. In eight fascinating essays that read like detective stories, Liverani dissects a variety of documents from the late second and early first millennium B.C.E., laying bare unexpected levels of meaning buried under their seemingly simple 'formal messages.' . . . Such a close reading of the texts turns many things upside down, and demonstrates the dangers inherent in uncritical use of ancient sources."—Simo Parpola, Archaeology Odyssey, July/August 2005

"Mario Liverani's work is among the most original and penetrating in the discipline of ancient Near Eastern studies. I recommend this brilliant and fascinating book with high enthusiasm."—Benjamin R. Foster, Yale University

"This collection of his classic essays, selected by Liverani himself and presented in English for the first time, displays Liverani's brilliance in dissecting a variety of myths, treaties, royal inscriptions, letters, and Biblical narratives. This collection will bring his substantive conclusions and his method to a wider audience of historians, anthropologists, and literary critics. The editors have done a splendid job introducing the essays, revising Liverani's own translations, and providing handy references to studies that have appeared since Liverani's original work."—Norman Yoffee, University of Michigan

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801443336
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Mesopotamia
1 Adapa, guest of the gods 3
Pt. 2 Hittite Anatolia
2 Telipinu, or : on solidarity 27
3 Shunashura, or : on reciprocity 53
Pt. 3 Syria
4 Leaving by chariot for the desert 85
5 Rib-Adda, righteous sufferer 97
6 Aziru, servant of two masters 125
Pt. 4 Hebrew Bible
7 The story of Joash 147
8 Messages, women, and hospitality : inter-tribal communication in Judges 19-21 160
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