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Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook

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Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook

Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy

by Frank Moore Cross, Jr.
Edited by John Huehnergard and Jo Ann Hackett

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Table of Contents
New! Download the Index (PDF)


The editors have assembled here 55 key articles and notes by the well-known Harvard professor, organizing them under the categories Palaeography, Transjordanian Epigraphy, Hebrew Inscriptions, Aramaic Texts, and Old Canaanite and Phoenician Inscriptions. These essays, scattered in journals and various books, have now been brought together in one volume for easy access and attest to the life-long interest and contributions of one of the best-known epigraphers and palaeographers of the last 50 years.

Product Details

Publisher: Harvard Semitic Museum / Eisenbrauns
Publication date: 2003
Bibliographic info: xx + 371 pages
Language(s): English


Cover: Cloth



"The appearance of Cross's Leaves from an Epigrapher.s Notebook is the latest offering in the Harvard Semitic Studies series. This work carries on the rigorous standards of scholarship for which the series is known. Offerings such as The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Israelite Religion in the Light of Hebrew Inscriptions, and A Grammar of Akkadian attest to the outstanding scholarship found in the series.

As one of the foremost scholars working in paleography and epigraphy, Cross needs little introduction to the readers of this journal. He is one of the foremost Semiticists of our time...

While not everyone (e.g., Mendenhall, Helck) will agree with the import of scholarship in this volume, it nonetheless elucidates the history of its subject matter very fittingly... the book is the essential collection of a great many articles that otherwise would have to be gathered by the individual researcher. I highly recommend it for any graduate course in West Semitic paleography or epigraphy. Budding epigraphists cannot afford to be without this summary of a great scholar's work." -- Joseph R. Cathey, Dallas Baptist University in Review of Biblical Literature, July 2004

"Besides being a witness to the wide interests of C., this assemblage of essays will assist those interested in epigraphy to consult C.'s major writings on the subject without having to chase down several journals over a span of five decades. Adding to the usefulness of the volume are the several indexes: modern authors, texts, biblical references, targumic literature, Greek and Roman authors, texts from the Judaean Desert, arrowheads, and other inscriptions.

In brief, although this volume does not primarily represent new contributions to the field of epigraphy, it does represent a trove of very valuable foundational studies on the several subjects investigated. It will no doubt be a very useful source for the new student of ancient Semitic epigraphy as well as for the specialist who has not managed to track down C.'s numerous writings on all of these topics over the years." --Steve A. Wiggins, Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary, Nashotah, WI 53058, in CBQ 66 (2004)

"The contribution of C. to the study of Northwest Semitic epigraphy and palaeography would be hard to exaggerate and this collection of his publications in an immensely valuable addition to the library shelf. The 55 items here cover most of C.'s major works: exceptions are some longer studies on the Samaria papyri (Wadi ed-Daliyeh) (1955) and the development of the Aramaic script (1970). There are several important items, which have not yet appeared in print. The material is organized in sections on Palaeography (including major articles on the Jewish scripts [1961] and the Tell Fakhariyeh inscription [1995]), Transjordanian Epigraphy ('Ammonite Ostraca from Tell Hisban,' not yet published and therefore even more important), Hebrew Inscriptions ('Epigraphic Notes' series from BASOR 1961-62, Lachish Letters III and IV [1985 and 1956] and the Tell Sera' inscriptions [again unpublished]), Aramaic Texts (Prayer of Nabonidus [1984] and Tayma' [1986]), Old Canaanite and Phoenician Inscriptions (Ugaritic abecedary [1960] and early alphabet 1967, 1979]). Revisions have been incorporated as appropriate, with updating of text and of bibliographies. Indexes of modern authors and of ancient texts are appended and enhance the value of the volume significantly. The volume is beautifully produced: a worthy tribute to the work of a great scholar. Originally conceived of as a retirement gift, it appears that a major editorial contribution has been made by J. A. Hackett and J. Huehnergard." --J. F. Healey, in Book List 2. Archaeology and Epigraphy, JSOT 28.5 (2004)

"Under the editorial auspices of Jo Ann Hackett and John Huehnergard, the papers in epigraphy and palaeography by eminent scholar Frank Moore Cross were collected, slightly revised, and published in a splendid volume. The papers span over fifty years. They begin with short notes from the early 1950s that extend through his "first major venture into palaeography," as Cross puts it in the preface (The Development of the Jewish Script, 1961), to unpublished articles on Ammonite Ostraca and Old Hebrew Orthography. The pagination of the original publications is not indicated; the title was taken from a set of short notes on epigraphy published by Cross himself thirty years ago; two of which found their way into the present volume. The Index of Texts makes it possible to follow Cross's remarkably stable opinions through the years.

The fifty-five papers are divided into five sections. Section One, Palaeography, contains four articles. . . . Section Three, Hebrew Inscriptions, investigates in thirteen rather short articles a wealth of inscriptions found from Sardis to Ashkelon from the 8th century BCE to the 4th century CE. . . . The last section is Old Canaanite and Phoenician Inscriptions. It contains mostly papers on inscribed arrowheads from the period of the Judges, but there are also important contributions to "The Origin and Early Evolution of the Alphabet," a topic which Cross reevaluated approximately every decade. . . . The lesson is exciting. Thanks to later additions and revisions as well as high quality photo- graphs and careful drawings, one can truly see Cross the epigrapher at work. Many of his suggestions have been questioned, like the early dates for the spread of the Phoenician Alphabet to the Greeks and the founding of the Phoenician colonies in the Western Mediterranean (pp. 337ff.). The evidence for child-sacrifices, according to the inscription from Idalion (pp. 231-37) is very weak, and the attempts to take Ben 'Anat, found on many inscribed arrowheads, as the title (rejected by Cross, see p. 219) are quite promising indeed. Sometimes he moves over centuries too fast to be followed. For example, why does "the era of the United Monarchy of David and Solomon provide(s) the appropriate context" (p. 165) for an ostracon found in the destruction level of Ashkelon, belonging to the end of the seventh century BC?

Of course, the value of this magnificent volume is not diminished by these details. With great respect and expectation we await further contributions or perhaps another volume of collected papers, say, in Qumran studies or ancient Hebrew poetry." --Pavel Cech in Archiv Orientalni 72, 2004.

"This is a collection of lightly revised and edited previously published papers from one of the foremost scholars of the last generation. The collected papers deal with ancient inscriptions and especially with the development of the Jewish scripts. The book is divided into five sections covering palaeography, transjordanian epigraphy, Hebrew inscriptions, Aramaic texts, and Old Canaanite and Phoenician inscriptions. This convenient collection is invaluable to anyone working with ancient inscriptions. For research libraries." --William M. Schniedewind, University of California, Los Angeles in Religious Studies Review, April-July 2004

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