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The Society of Biblical Literature is the oldest and largest international scholarly membership organization in the field of biblical studies. Founded in 1880, the Society has grown to over 8,500 international members including teachers, students, religious leaders and individuals from all walks of life who share a mutual interest in the critical investigation of the Bible.
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<< Return to SBL Forum Archive ETANA Expands its Core Texts

ETANA (Electronic Texts and Ancient Near Eastern Archives) has digitized, and continues to digitize, texts selected as valuable for teaching and research relating to ancient Near Eastern studies. We have selected primarily editions that are outside of copyright, or with the permission of copyright holders. While the new electronic editions we have produced are under copyright, the ETANA project chooses to make these freely available for noncommercial teaching and research purposes.

As part of a USAID grant to assist Iraqi universities rebuild their archaeology programs and collections, Stony Brook University in New York State has digitized 181 cuneiform text publications and archaeological site reports, including dissertations relating to archaeology in Iraq. Prof. Elizabeth Stone was the Principal Investigator for this grant. These texts are either out of copyright, or Stony Brook has received permission to digitize them. We are pleased to report that Stony Brook is contributing these digital texts to the ETANA Core Texts collection for free access to anyone engaged in teaching and research. Archival copies of the scanned texts are held by the Stony Brook Libraries. If Stony Brook University digitizes more cuneiform text publications and site reports, it will contribute these to the ETANA collection as well. Stony Brook will catalog the digitized titles before sending them to ETANA. We anticipate the Core Texts available on the ETANA site will almost double by the end of the year as the result of the materials donated from Stony Brook.

The civilizations of the ancient Near East produced the world's earliest written texts—in hieroglyphs, cuneiform, and alphabets—with which they described the first empires, recorded the first legal codifications, preserved the first love songs, and registered the first contracts, among states or individuals. Not surprisingly, these cultures elicited broad curiosity among later civilizations, our own not excepted, resulting in a flood of evaluation, scholarly or otherwise. While the discovery of new texts always leads to new evaluation, it is remarkable how assessments arrived at decades ago continue to be of much value, not only because they often carry editions of original documents, but because they contain insights minted freshly after first exposure to major documents.

This latest expansion of the Core Texts follows upon a grant that the Vanderbilt Divinity Library received last year from the American Theological Library Association's Cooperative Digital Resources Initiative (CDRI) to expand the Core-Texts collection of ETANA. The grant provided $6,000 toward the scanning and posting of additional volumes on the ETANA web server. Volumes scanned with grant resources have archival tiff images and copies of the PDF access images deposited on the CDRI server as well. The proposal to digitize material for the Core-Texts project stretched the boundaries of the CDRI project, as it has been a very image-oriented program thus far. However, as many of the ETANA core-texts materials are visually complex and not readily amenable to OCR processing, this proposal was considered and endorsed by the review committee.

A list of ongoing candidates for digitization is being maintained, derived from titles in the original candidates list compiled for the Mellon grant, suggestions received from users of ETANA, as well as titles suggested during the CDRI grant application process. Among the 176 titles already available on ETANA's website are:
Benzinger, Immanuel. Hebräische Archäologie (Leipzig 1894)
Cheyne, T. K.; Black, J. Sutherland. Encyclopaedia biblica; a critical dictionary of the literary, political and religious history, the archaeology, geography, and natural history of the Bible. Volumes I-IV (London 1903)
Sayce, Archibald Henry. Lectures on the origin and growth of religion as illustrated by the religion of the ancient Babylonians (Oxford 1898)

Titles that are in the processes of being digitized include:
Botta, Paul Emile. Monument de ninivie . Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 1849.
British Museum Dept. of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities. Cuneiform texts from Babylonian Tablets etc., in the British Museum . London: The Trustees.
Champollion, Jean-Francois; Maspero, Gaston. Monuments de l'egypte et de la nubie. Notices descriptives conformes aux manuscrits autographes rédigés sur les lieux . Paris: chez Firmin Didot freres, 1844-1889.
Fossey, Charles. Manuel d'assyriologie: Fouilles, ecriture, langues, litterature, geographie, histoire, religion, institutions, art... Paris: E. Leroux, 1904-.
Gauthier, Henri. Le q. Recueil de tîtres et protocoles royaux, noms propres des rois, reines, princes et princesses, noms des pyramides et de temples solaires, suivi d'un index alphabétique . Mémoires publiés p. Les membres de l'institut francais d'archéologie orientale du caire. T. Xvii-xxi;. Le Caire: Impr. de l'Institut francais d'archeologie orientale, 1907-1917.
Gray, Clifton Dagget. The Samas Religious Texts Classified in the British Museum . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1901.
Hilprecht, H.V. (ed). Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania. Series a, Cuneiform Texts . Series a, cuneiform texts. Philadelphia: Dept. of Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania, 1893-1912.
Institut francais d'archeologie orientale du Caire. Catalogue General Antiquites Egyptiennes du Musee du Caire. Cairo: Imprimerie de l'Institut français d'archéologie orientale, 1901-
Knudtzon, J. A., and Otto Weber. Die el-amarna-tafeln . Vorderasiatische bibliothek. Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1915. Layard, Austen Henry. Monuments of Nineveh; from Drawings Made on the Spot . London: J. Murray, 1853.
Layard, Austen Henry. A Second Series of the Monuments of Nineveh Including Bas-Reliefs from the Palace of Sennacherib and Bronzes from the Ruins of Nimro . London: J. Jurray, 1853.
Mariette, Auguste. Les mastabas de l'ancien empire, fragment du dernier ouvrage de a. Mariette . Paris: F. Vieweg, 1889.
Reisner, George Andrew. Harvard Excavations at Samaria, 1908-1910 . Harvard Semitic Series. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1924.
The University of Pennsylvania, The University Museum. Publications of the Babylonian Section. Publications of the Babylonian section. Philadelphia: Department of Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania, 1911-.
Virolleaud, Charles. L'astrologie chaldéenne: Le livre intitulé "enuma (anu) ilu bêl" . Paris: Librairie P. Geuthner, 1905-.

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Citation: , " ETANA Expands its Core Texts," SBL Forum , n.p. [cited May 2006]. Online:http://sbl-site.org/Article.aspx?ArticleID=537

 
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