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Philosophy before the GreeksThe Pursuit of Truth in Ancient Babylonia$
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Marc Van De Mieroop

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157184

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157184.001.0001

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Word Lists: A Very Short History

Word Lists: A Very Short History

(p.35) Chapter 2 Word Lists: A Very Short History
Philosophy before the Greeks

Marc Van De Mieroop

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on the first works of Babylonian scholarship and thus the earliest in world history: word lists. The extraordinary character of these works seems to be ignored not only by scholars surveying the world history of lexicography, but also by those specialists of Babylonian scholarship who have devoted much effort to the study of lexical lists. No other ancient culture developed lexicography at the moment its people started to write, and throughout antiquity lexicographic activity out side Babylonia always remained minimal. This chapter examines the lexical material in Near Eastern history, taking into account the intricacies of the genre’s developments. To illustrate the longevity and popularity of lexical lists, as well as how much their contents could change, the chapter describes what is known about the thematic series that treated topics relating to human beings, including professional designations, kinship terms, and social classes.

Keywords:   word lists, Babylonian scholarship, lexicography, Near East, lexical lists, human beings, professional designations, kinship terms, social classes

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