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Writing divine speech: Greek transliterations of near eastern languages in the hellenistic east

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Chapter Summary

The author of this chapter suggests that the function of Greek transliterations of Akkadian texts need to be considered in the light of these two considerations the ability of Greek alphabetic writing to produce phonetic transliterations, and the existence of non-referential models of language in the ancient world. But whilst the production of Greek transliterations of Near Eastern ritual languages by the traditional literate classes of these cultures may have aided the masters of these literacies in negotiating social status for themselves with a new, foreign elite fascinated by the exotic, barbarian other, the origin of the phenomenon of transliterated texts appears, in each case, to be internal to the specific culture concerned. The supreme irony of the situation is that it was the resources provided by Greek alphabetic writing which facilitated the attempts to preserve these ancient literacies and the social orders in which they were embedded.

Keywords: Akkadian texts; Divine Speech: Greek Transliterations; Eastern Languages; Greek transliterations; Hellenistic East; near Eastern ritual languages; phonetic transliterations; traditional literate classes; Writing Divine Speech: Greek



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