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May 2022

Gilgamesh and the Translation of Philological Crises

May 13 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Kaplan Hall 365,

This year, the Babylonian epic Gilgamesh celebrates the 150th anniversary of its modern rediscovery in 1872: since then, the epic has swept like a Flood through the literary world, and it continues to be celebrated as the oldest entry in the literary canon. In this talk, Sophus Helle offers an introduction to the epic and its modern afterlife, focusing on the particular challenges that face the translators of premodern texts, who must contend with the cruxes and crises that come…

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March 2020

People of Empire: Assyrianness Through the Looking-Glass of the Neo-Assyrian State

March 5, 2020 @ 1:45 pm - 3:30 pm

In the first half of the first millennium BCE, the Neo-Assyrian state forged what Mario Liverani has called the world's "prototype empire". Empires are often associated with imperial peoples: a core population that maintains its distinctiveness and enjoys a privileged position within the imperial structure. Were the Assyrians such a people? The Neo-Assyrian state apparatus produced a great deal of textual material spanning many genres and purposes and covering much of its existence. A significant part of this material has…

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February 2020

Creating the Cult of a Goddess: Politics and Religion at Mari in the Old Babylonian Period

February 27, 2020 @ 1:45 pm - 3:15 pm
Fowler A222, 308 Charles E Young Dr N
Los Angeles, CA 90024 United States
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Traces of ancient Mesopotamian religion have been discovered by archaeologists working across the modern Middle East—temples and other religious structures, worn by time; small fragments of once-opulent cult statues and temple furnishings; clay tablets inscribed with stories of and hymns to the gods; and mundane records of administrators, concerned with tracking the many cults that could inhabit a single city. While the Assyriologist A. Leo Oppenheim cautioned that these remains were capable of revealing “only a dim reflection” of Mesopotamian…

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Episodes from the Early History of Knowledge: Instruction Manuals in Cuneiform Scholarship

February 11, 2020 @ 1:45 pm
Royce 243,

This talk examines the early history of the instruction manual, focusing on cuneiform texts identified as technical procedures. Addressed to “you” as the grammatical subject, procedures—in Akkadian, nēpešum, from the verb epēšu "to make, compute”— encompassed topics ranging from mathematics, glassmaking, horse-training, perfumery, medicine, and astronomy. Over the course of two millennia, procedures would develop into one of the most long-standing vehicles for knowledge transmission in cuneiform cultures. However, the longevity of the textual format, which on its surface appears…

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Resource Mobilization, Social Engineering, and Opportunism: The Revival of Larsa in Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian State Project

February 6, 2020 @ 1:45 pm - 3:00 pm
365 Kaplan Hall,

When a Babylonian and Median coalition put an end to Assyrian domination over the Ancient Near East in the late 7th century BCE, the Babylonian kings set about to revitalize the heartland of their new state, the Neo-Babylonian empire. One of the cities that benefited from this imperial program of rebuilding and land reclamation was Larsa, an ancient cult center of the sun god Shamash in what is now southern Iraq. The main architect of this project was Nebuchadnezzar II.…

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September 2019

Applying for Jobs and Life After the Dissertation

September 26, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Kaplan Hall 365,

Join NELC faculty Dr. Cate Bonesho, Dr. Kara Cooney, and Dr. Bill Schniedewind for a workshop and discussion of applying for jobs and life after the dissertation.   Event Flyer RSVP Below:  

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January 2019

John of Litharb (d. 738 CE), On the Soul: A Previously Unknown Syriac Treatise and the New Light it sheds on Islamic Kalām, on Byzantine Theology, and on Syriac Psychology

January 28, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Kaplan Hall 365,

John of Litharb is a fairly well-known Syriac author from the turn of the seventh-and-eighth centuries, who participated in a robust circle of intellectual Christian theologians, historians and philosophers. Although he is known to have authored several important works, due to the accidents of manuscript transmission, only one very short letter of his was thought to have survived to this day. I have recently discovered a significant work of his On the Soul, completely overlooked in previous scholarship. I seek…

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December 2016

New Light on the Egyptian Origin of the Hebrew Alphabet

December 1, 2016 @ 7:00 pm - December 2, 2016 @ 5:00 pm
Young Research Library (YRL) Room 11360, 280 Charles E Young Dr N
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States
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The publication of a new inscription from Theban Tomb 99 sheds new light on the early history of the Hebrew Alphabet.  This ostracon is a bilingual “abecedary” written in Egyptian Hieroglyphic and Semitic.  It gives further evidence for an Egyptian connection to the origins of the early Hebrew alphabet. Sponsored by the UCLA Near Eastern Languages & Cultures Cosponsored by the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies UCLA College of Humanities Kershaw Chair of Ancient Eastern Mediterranean Studies Cotsen Institute…

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October 2016

I Can Hear The Barbarians

October 6, 2016 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
NELC Seminar Room (Humanities 365), 365 Humanities
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States
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