Rebirth of the ANE List
Photo source: ANE-2 List Homepage This blog is about my posts in various lists, and the ANE List is pretty much one of the most useful tools for anyone interested in the Ancient Near East. All time time, one sees scholars ask for references, for emails of other scholars, or just general questions, and there's no doubt this list truly brings the power of the Information Age to the study of the ANE. It is sad that the ANE list in its old format had to go, but perhaps good can only come out of such a thing. The reborn ANE List is moderated by Chuck Jones, the original moderator of ANE, Jeffrey Gibson, who organized the effort to renew the ANE List, as well as other influential scholars such as Niels Peter Lemche, Marc Cooper, Robert Whiting, and Trudy Kawami. A great big thanks to all of them for taking up this task and giving us a new, better, ANE List.
I joined the ANE List in the aftermath of the Joash Tablet "discovery", trying to understand what it was about. After a while, it had occurred to me that the ANE List might be the perfect place to pose a question regarding a study I had tried years earlier in regards to a certain word in the Book of Esther ("pitgam") and its etymology. My post on the issue generated a lot of responses, and I was able to trace the history of the study of this word's etymology all the way to the 19th century. On the Linguist List, when I asked the same question a few years earlier, I received no responses. On the ANE List, I was able to continue off list, and in one case was able to suggest ideas and see how well they work out with someone who had studied Old and Middle Persian.
...This study has now been placed "on hold" while I work on a different study that has to do with the Song of Deborah and the Iron Age I/IIA. In this study, just recently I was wondering whether the Akkadian "Sutu" are the same as the Egyptian "Shasu." The two terms seem similar and they are used to refer to pretty much the same kinds of people in texts where the only difference is the language -- Egyptian or Akkadian. But do scholars think that they really be identified? For me, the first answer was to be found in, where else, the archives of ANE, in an old post by Niels Peter Lemche, who wrote, "an element of so-called Shasu (and/or Sutu to name the Akkadian equivalent) would have been present in the Iron Age population of Palestine." Later, I found a comment to the same effect in Gösta W. Ahlström's book, The History of Ancient Palestine.
If you are just starting to learn about the ANE, and you are interested in a general modern introduction to the subject, I can mention my recent query on the ANE List for just that. The offlist suggestion to read Amelie Kuhrt's The Ancient Near East proved to be very satisfactory. This is a very useful book that answers many of my questions and needs for a general overview of the ANE. On specific details, where I knew the material beforehand, I felt it was lacking. For example, it doesn't represent the state of studies as regards ancient Israel and Judah properly, suggesting a synthesis of Biblical and Archaeological data of the type which is controversial today. I felt it should have at least mentioned that this view is controversial. However, as a general introduction to the the history of the region on the large scale, it is great.
I'm sure these examples show just how useful the ANE List can be for scholars and amateurs alike. So, if you haven't joined the new ANE List yet, join now!