|Author||James B. Pritchard|
|Publisher||Princeton University Press|
|Publication Date||December 8, 1975|
This is one of those books that is not very accessible to the casual reader with no previous knowledge, but very well worth sticking with. It contains a large number of texts - history, myth, hymns, poetry of many kinds - from about 2000 BC to the the 4th century BC. Many of the texts are damaged, some more severely than others, and this is indicated in the notes and text. Those with an interest in the Old Testament should find it very valuable as a help to their understanding of the religions and cultures with which Israel interacted, but this selection deserves to be widely read. There are about 200 black and white photographs of archaeological finds, in the back of the book - which is almost worth buying for them alone. If you have ever wanted to know more about the Canaanites, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, in their own words, this is an excellent place to start. Those with an interest in comparative religion should find much of interest to them. What might put some people off, is that the texts do look a bit unsightly. Where words are missing, and impossible to restore with any certainty, plenty of dots appear. Italics, Roman type, square brackets, and dots, may make some texts look messy. But the damage should not be exaggerated. There is even a certain amountain of humour at times. And there is an index of Biblical references. There is a second volume as well, some of the texts in which fill up gaps in the texts printed in the first.