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The Early Dynastic Kiš Tradition

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Chapter Summary

This chapter describes a group of mainly lexical compositions that may be labeled the "Kiš Corpus". The author argues that although on the surface the compositions in the Kiš Corpus may seem to be written in Sumerian, in fact these texts were meant to be read in the Semitic language that characterized Kiš cultural continuum. He argues that there is evidence that the traditional southern lists were read and understood in Sumerian, while the texts that belong to the Kiš Corpus were meant to be read in Semitic. The author briefly introduces each of the six lexical compositions with example passages. He discusses the main characteristics by which Kiš Corpus may be differentiated from other contemporary groups of lexical texts. By engaging in the Kiš tradition the scribes identified themselves with a rather abstract, supra-historical and super-regional community of scribes, extending all the way to the very beginning of writing.

Keywords: Kiš Corpus; lexical compositions; Semitic language; Sumerian language



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