Private shrine to Aten & Akhenaten

Fall 2011

REL 607
Ancient Religious Rhetoric

Thursdays 12:30-3:15 p.m. in HL 504
Instructor: JIM WATTS (Ph.D.)
Office: 505 HL 
Phone: 443-5713 
E-mail: click here

The purpose of this seminar is to introduce:

  1. rhetoric as an analytical tool for studying religion,
  2. religious discourse as a distinctive form of and problem for the study of rhetoric, and
  3. ancient Near Eastern literature as a resource for the study of both comparative rhetoric and religion.

Ancient Near Eastern texts offer abundant material for studying comparative religious rhetoric. These works from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Syria and Israel often invoke religious ideas for overtly persuasive goals. Yet their various physical and literary forms illustrate the complicated roles played by texts in ancient (and later) cultures, while their distinctive rhetorical forms relativize and contextualize the history of Greco-Roman rhetorical theories. Their interaction provides a basis for creative scholarship in comparative rhetoric and religion.

This seminar will train students to:

  1. interpret ancient Near Eastern texts in translation with sensitivity to their original cultural contexts, their religious roles, and the conditions of their preservation and publication in modernity;
  2. analyze the rhetoric of ancient texts to understand their persuasive effects on ancient and contemporary audiences;
  3. evaluate claims for the distinctiveness of religious rhetoric(s) in comparison with other forms of social discourse.

Course Requirements:
Students are expected to be prepared to discuss in class all the required readings (listed below under Sources and Analysis).  In addition, each student will (1) prepare and present a report on one additional book or set of essays (listed after Report), and (2) write a substantive and original research paper on a subject related to the course topic, presenting the class with a summary during the last class meeting. (The finished research papers are due on or before December 19th.) Late papers and reports will not be eligible for "A" grades.

Required Texts:

  • Carr, David M. Writing on the Tablet of the Heart: Origins of Scripture and Literature. New York: Oxford, 2005.
  • Kennedy, George A. Comparative Rhetoric: An Historical and Cross-Cultural Introduction. New York: Oxford, 1998.
  • Lipson, Carol and Roberta Binkley (eds.). Rhetoric Before and Beyond the Greeks. Albany: SUNY Press, 2004 (= RBBG below).
  • Snell, Daniel C. Life in the Ancient Neat East. New Haven: Yale, 1997.
  • Recommended: New Oxford Annotated Bible = New Revised Standard Version (Oxford) or the New Jewish Study Bible = Tanakh - New Jewish Publication Society Version (Oxford).

All students are required to read Snell before the first class meeting. The ancient texts other than the Bible, as well as the articles in rhetorical theory and analysis, are available on-line through Blackboard. * marks readings not online. For a full list of resources relevant to the topic of this course, consult the Bibliography below. 

Topics and Readings (for full citations, see bibliography below; all source readings except biblical texts are on Blackboard; analysis readings not found in the required texts are also on Blackboard):
Day Topic Texts:
Sep 1 Introductions
in Lemke Room,
Special Collections,
6th floor Bird Library
- * Snell, Life in the Ancient Near East (all)
- "After 90 Years, a Dictionary of an Ancient World" (NYT 6/6/11)
- Hauser, "Philosophy and Rhetoric"
Ancient Rhetorical Settings
Sep 8 Instruction & Persuasion

Sources: Ptah-hotep, Satire on the Trades, Eloquent Peasant, Turin Judicial Papyrus (Egyptian)
Debate between Sheep & Grain, Gilgamesh and Akka (Sumerian)
* Genesis 18; Exodus 32; Judges 9; 1 Samuel 8; Proverbs 15-16 (Hebrew)
Aristotle, Rhetoric 1.1-3, 2.1 (Greek)
Analysis: - Fox, “Ancient Egyptian Rhetoric.”
- * Hallo, "The Birth of Rhetoric." RBBG 25-46
- Wills, “Speaking Arenas of Ancient Mesopotamia.”
- * Sweeney, “Law, Rhetoric, and Gender in Ramesside Egypt,” RBBG 99-113
- Zulick, “The Active Force of Hearing: The Ancient Hebrew Language of Persuasion.”

Sep 15 Persuasion & Religion Survey: - Beaulieu, "Mesopotamia"
Debate between a Man and his Ba (Egyptian)
Babylonian Theodicy [scroll down] (Akkadian)
* Job 1-7, 38-42; Proverbs 7-8 (Hebrew)
Plato, Republic 2.364-366; Laws 10.884-888d [scroll to end] (Greek)
Analysis: - Burke, Rhetoric of Motives xiii-xv, 19-46
- Pernot, "Rhetoric of Religion"
Report on Burke, Rhetoric of Religion
Sep 22 Comparative Rhetoric Survey: - Wright, "Syria and Canaan"
Sources: Hittite treaty
* Deuteronomy 5-6, 31; Nehemiah 8-9 (Hebrew)
Analysis: -* Kennedy, Comparative Rhetoric, prologue & chs. 1, 2, 4, 6
-* Watts, “Story-List-Sanction,” RBBG 197-2120
Report on Patrick, Rhetoric of Revelation
Spoken & Written Rhetoric
Sep 29

Literacy & orality:
Myths & Epics

Survey: - Beard, "Writing and Religion"
Sources: Enuma Elish, Tukulti-Ninurta [scroll to bottom] (Akkadian)
Kirta [scroll down] (Ugaritic)
Shipwrecked Sailor, Horus & Seth (Egyptian)
Analysis: - Baines, "Interpreting the Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor"
- Mifsud, "Storytelling as Soul-Tuning .. Ramayana"
Report on Ong, Orality and Literacy

Oct 6

Literacy & orality:
Stories, Autobiographies, & Histories

Survey: - Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature 1:1-12
Sources: Harkhuf, Paheri, Sinuhe (Egyptian)
Babylonian king lists and chronicles (Akkadian)
* 2 Kings 16-17, Nehemiah 1-2, 3-4, 13; Esther (Hebrew)
Analysis: - Lorton, "Reading the Story of Sinuhe"
- Lipson, “Rhetoric and Identity: Ancient Egyptian Autobiographies.”
- Zaeske, "Unveiling Esther as Pragmatic Radical Rhetoric"
Report on Niditch, Oral World and Written Word

Divine Rhetoric
Oct 13 The Divine Audience:
Spells & Curses

Survey: - Johnston, "Magic"
Sources: magic spells, omen lists (Akkadian)
Pyramid Texts, Book of the Dead [scroll down] (Egyptian)
* Deuteronomy 28 (Hebrew)
Analysis: - Moran, "Persuasion in the Plain Style"
- Thomas, Literacy and Orality 74-100.
Report on Thomas, Literacy and Orality in Ancient Greece

Oct 20 The Divine Rhetor:
Prophecy & Law

Survey: - Collins, "Israel"
Sources: Mari letters, Neo-Assyrian prophecies (Akkadian)
* Jeremiah 2, 7, 36; Exodus 19-24 (Hebrew)
Analysis: - Watts, "Oracular Rhetoric"
Barton, "History and Rhetoric in the Prophets"
Report on Schüssler Fiorenza, Rhetoric and Ethic

Oct 27 The Divine Audience:
Hymns & Prayers

Sources: Osiris, Aten, Hymns to Sesostris III, Amun-Re (Egyptian)
Exaltation of Inanna, Lament over Ur (Sumerian), Neo-Assyrian prayers, Neo-Babylonian lament, prayers to personal gods(Akkadian)
* Psalms 6, 11, 18, 46-49; Isaiah 38 (Hebrew);
Hodayot: Qumran Hymns (Hebrew)
Analysis: - * Binkley, “The Rhetoric of Origins and the Other: Reading the Ancient Figure of Enheduanna,” RBBG 47-63
- * Swearingen, “Song to Speech: The Origins of Early Epitaphia in Ancient Near Eastern Women’s Lamentations,” RBBG 213-25
- Newsom “Kenneth Burke Meets the Teacher of Righteousness" [at end of Hodayot]

Rhetorical Texts
Nov 3 Problem of Persuasive Texts: Letters

Sources: Personal correspondence (Sumerian, Egyptian), Royal correspondence (Sumerian, Egyptian), Letters to the dead (Egyptian), Letters to gods (Sumerian, Egyptian)
Analysis: - Poster, "Economy of Letter Writing" [at end of Letters]
- Baines, "Egyptian Letters of the New Kingdom"
- * Carr, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart 1-14, 47-61
Due: Paper topics and texts

Nov 10 Problem of Persuasive Texts: Royal Inscriptions

Sources: Kadesh Inscription of Ramses, Merneptah Stela, Piye Stela (Egyptian), Sargon, Rim-Sin, Hammurapi, Iahdun-Lim, Shamshi-Ilu, Sennacherib (Akkadian), Mesha Inscription (Moabite), Azatiwada, Yehawmilk (Phoenician)
Analysis: - Judge, “The Rhetoric of Inscriptions”
- * Hoskisson & Boswell, “Neo-Assyrian Rhetoric: The Example of the Third Campaign of Sennacherib (704-681 BC),” RBBG 65-78
- * Carr, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart 63-65, 71-77, 106-109

Nov 17 Problem of Persuasive Texts: Rituals

Sources: Installation Ritual from Emar (Akkadian), Daily Ritual of Amun-Re (Egyptian), Rites of Vintage (Ugaritic), Marseilles Tariff (Punic)
Instructions to Priests and Temple Officials (Hittite)
* Leviticus 1, 6, 9-10, 16 (Hebrew)
- Watts, “Ritual Rhetoric in ANE Texts” ANGR
- * Carr, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart 177-214
Due: Paper thesis, bibliography and outline

Dec 1 Problem of Persuasive Texts: Scriptures

Sources: * Genesis 1-3, Judges 4-5, Proverbs 31 (Hebrew)
Analysis: - Kugel, The Bible As It Was, 17-24, 53-82
- Trible, God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality, 72-143
- * Carr, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart 273-97

Dec 8
1-5 p
Paper presentations  
Dec 19 Research Papers Due  

Course Bibliography: Comparative Rhetoric, Theories of Rhetoric & Religion, Ancient Rhetoric, Primary Texts (starred * items are on reserve in Bird Library; for the abbreviations RBBG and ANGR, see the section on Comparative Rhetoric)

Comparative Rhetoric:

  • * Kennedy, George A. Comparative Rhetoric: An Historical and Cross-Cultural Introduction. New York: Oxford, 1998.
  • Hauser, Gerard A. "Philosophy and Rhetoric: An Abbreviated History of an Evolving Identity." Philosophy and Religion 40 (2007), 1-14.
  • * Lipson, Carol S. and Roberta A. Binkley (eds.). Rhetoric Before and Beyond the Greeks. Albany: SUNY Press, 2004. (= RBBG)
  • * Lipson, Carol S. and Roberta A. Binkley (eds.). Ancient Non-Greek Rhetorics. West Lafayette, IN: Parlor, 2009. (= ANGR)

Theories of Rhetoric and Religion:

  • Aristotle. Rhetoric. Translated by J. H. Freese. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1926.
  • Bakhtin, Mikhail M. The Dialogic Imagination. Ed. M. Holquist. Austin: U. of Texas, 1981.
  • Burke, Kenneth. A Rhetoric of Motives. Berkeley: U. of California, 1969 [1950].
  • Burke, Kenneth. The Rhetoric of Religion: Studies in Logology. Berkeley: U. of California, 1970 [1961].
  • Combrink, H.J. Bernard. “The Rhetoric of Sacred Scripture.” In S.E. Porter and T.H. Olbricht (eds.), Rhetoric, Scripture and Theology (JSNTS 131; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996), pp. 102-123.
  • Jost, Walter and Wendy Olmstead (eds.). Rhetorical Invention and Religious Inquiry. New Haven: Yale, 2000.
  • Kennedy, George A. Classical Rhetoric and its Christian and Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times. Chapel Hill, NC: U. of North Carolina Press, 1999.
  • O'Banion, John D. Reorienting Rhetoric: the Dialectic of List and Story. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992.
  • Ong, Walter J. Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. London: Methuen, 1982.
  • Pernot, Laurent. “The Rhetoric of Religion.” Rhetorica 24/3 (2006): 235–254.
  • de Romilly, Jacqueline. Magic and Rhetoric in Ancient Greece. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1975.
  • Schüssler Fiorenza, Elisabeth. Rhetoric and Ethic: The Politics of Biblical Studies. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1999.

Studies of Ancient Rhetoric:

  • Baines, John. "Egyptian Letters of the New Kingdom as Evidence for Religious Practice." Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions 1 (2001), 1-31.
  • Barton, John. "History and Rhetoric in the Prophets." In The Bible as Rhetoric: Studies in Biblical Persuasion and Credibility. Ed. M. Warner. London: Routledge, 1990. 51-64.
  • Beard, Mary. "Writing and Religion." In Religions of the Ancient World: a Guide. Ed. S. I. Johnston. Camrbdige, MA: Belknap, 2004. 127-38.
  • Beaulieu, Paul-Alain. "Histories: Mesopotamia." In Religions of the Ancient World: a Guide. Ed. S. I. Johnston. Camrbdige, MA: Belknap, 2004. 165-72.
  • Binkley, Roberta A. “The Rhetoric of Origins and the Other: Reading the Ancient Figure of Enheduanna,” RBBG 47-63.
  • Binkley, Roberta A. “The Gendering of Prophetic Discourse: Women and Prophecy in the Ancient Near East.” ANGR 67-93.
  • Brown, Peter R. L. Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity: Towards a Christian Empire. Madison, WI: U. of Wisconsin Press, 1992.
  • * Carr, David M. Writing on the Tablet of the Heart: Origins of Scripture and Literature. New York: Oxford, 2005.
  • Charney, Davida H. “Performativity and Persuasion in the Hebrew Book of Psalms: A Rhetorical Analysis of Psalms 116 and 22.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 40/3 (2010), 247-68.
  • Collins, John J. "Israel." In Religions of the Ancient World: a Guide. Ed. S. I. Johnston. Camrbdige, MA: Belknap, 2004. 181-88.
  • Dozeman, Thomas B. “OT Rhetorical Criticism.” Anchor Bible Dictionary. Ed. D. N. Freedman. New York: Doubleday, 1992. 5:712-15.
  • Duke, Rodney K. The Persuasive Appeal of the Chronicler. A Rhetorical Analysis. Journal for the study of the Old Testament. Supplement series 88. Sheffield: Almond, 1990.
  • Duke, Rodney K. "The Strategic Use of the Enthymeme and Example in the Argumentation of the Book of Chronicles." In Rhetorical Argumentation in Biblical Texts, ed. A. Eriksson, T. H. Olbricht, and W. Ubelacker. Harrisburg: Trinity, 2002. 127-140.
  • Enos, Richard Leo. “The Art of Rhetoric at Rhodes: An Eastern Rival to the Athenian Representation of Classical Rhetoric,” RBBG 183-96.
  • Foster, Robert L. and David M. Howard (eds.), My Words Are Lovely: Studies in the Rhetoric of the Psalms. Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 467; New York, London: T & T Clark, 2008.
  • Fox, Michael V. “Ancient Egyptian Rhetoric.” Rhetorica 1 (1983) 9-22.
  • Gitay, Y. Prophecy and Persuasion: A Study of Isaiah 40-48. Bonn: Linguistica Biblica, 1981.
  • Hallo, William H. "The Birth of Rhetoric." RBBG 24-46.
  • Hess, Richard S. “Smitten Ants Bite Back: Rhetorical Forms in the Amarna Correspondence from Shechem.” Verse in Ancient Near Eastern Prose. Ed. J. C. de Moor and W. G. E. Watson. Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1993. 95-111
  • Hoskisson, Paul Y. and and Grant M. Boswell, “Neo-Assyrian Rhetoric: The Example of the Third Campaign of Sennacherib (704-681 BC),” RBBG 65-78.
  • Howard, D. M. “Rhetorical Criticism in Biblical Studies.” Bulletin for Biblical Research 4 (1994) 87-104.
  • Hutto, David. "Ancient Egyptian Rhetoric in the Old and Middle Kingdoms." Rhetorica 20/3 (2002) 213-33.
  • Johnston, Sarah Iles. "Magic." In Religions of the Ancient World: a Guide. Ed. S. I. Johnston. Camrbdige, MA: Belknap, 2004. 139-52.
  • Judge, Edwin A. “The Rhetoric of Inscriptions.” Handbook of Classical Rhetoric in the Hellenistic Period, 330 B.C. – A.D. 400. Ed. S. E. Porter. Leiden: Brill, 1997. 808.
  • Katz, Stephen B. “The Hebrew Bible as Another, Jewish Sophistic: A Genesis of Absence and Desire in Ancient Rhetoric.” ANGR 125-50.
  • Lenchak, Timothy A. "Choose Life!": A Rhetorical-Critical Investigation of Deuteronomy 28,69-30,20. Analecta Biblica 129. Rome: Pontificio Instituto Biblico, 1993.
  • Lipson, Carol S. “Ancient Egyptian Rhetoric: It All Comes Down to Maat,” RBBG 79-97.
  • Lipson, Carol S. “Rhetoric and Identity: A Study of Ancient Egyptian Non-Royal Tombs and Tomb Autobiographies.” ANGR 94-124.
  • McComiskey, Bruce. “Laws, Works, and the End of Days: Rhetorics of Identification, Distinction, and Persuasion in Miqşat Ma'aśeh ha-Torah (Dead Sea Scroll 4QMMT).” Rhetoric Review 29/3 (2010), 221-38.
  • Metzger, David. “Pentateuchal Rhetoric and the Voice of the Aaronides,” RBBG 165-81.
  • Metzger, David and Stephen B. Katz. "The “Place” of Rhetoric in Aggadic Midrash." College English 72 (2010), 638-53.
  • Mifsud, Mari Lee. "Storytelling as Soul-Tuning: The Ancient Rhetoric of Valmiki's Ramayana." ANGR 223-39.
  • Moran, William L. “UET 6, 402: Persuasion in the Plain Style.” Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Studies 22 (1993) 113-120.
  • Newsom, Carol A. “Kenneth Burke Meets the Teacher of Righteousness: Rhetorical Strategies in the Hodayot and the Serek Ha-Yahad.” In H. W. Attridge, J, J. Collins, and T. H. Tobin, S.J. (eds.), Of Scribes and Scrolls: Studies on the Hebrew Bible, Intertestamental Judaism, and Christian Origins presented to John Strugnell. College Theology Society Resources in Religion 5. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1990. Pp. 121-131.
  • Niditch, Susan. Oral World and Written Word: Ancient Israelite Literature. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1996.
  • O’Connor, M. “The Rhetoric of the Kilamuwa Inscription.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 226 (April 1977) 15-29.
  • Patrick, Dale and Allan Scult. Rhetoric and Biblical Interpretation. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement 82. Sheffield: Almond, 1990.
  • Patrick, Dale. The Rhetoric of Revelation in the Hebrew Bible. Overtures to Biblical Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1999.
  • Poster, Carol. "The Economy of Letter Writing in Graeco-Roman Antiquity." In Rhetorical Argumentation in Biblical Texts, ed. A. Eriksson, T. H. Olbricht, and W. Ubelacker. Harrisburg: Trinity, 2002. 112-124.
  • Redford, Donald. “Scribe and Speaker.” In Ehud ben Zvi and Michael H. Floyd [eds.], Writings and Speech in Israelite and Ancient Near Eastern Prophecy. SBL Symposium. Atlanta: SBL, 2000. 145-218.
  • Renz, Thomas. The Rhetorical Function of the Book of Ezekiel. Leiden: Brill, 1999.
  • Romilly, J. de. Magic and Rhetoric in Ancient Greece. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1975.
  • Sanders, Seth. The Invention of Hebrew. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois, 2009.
  • Schniedewind, William H. “Orality and Literacy in Ancient Israel.” Religious Studies Review 26/4 (2000) 327-32.
  • Swearingen, C. Jan. “Song to Speech: The Origins of Early Epitaphia in Ancient Near Eastern Women’s Lamentations,” RBBG 213-25.
  • Sweeney, Deborah. “Law, Rhetoric, and Gender in Ramesside Egypt,” RBBG 99-113.
  • Thomas, Rosalind. Literacy and Orality in Ancient Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
  • Trible, Phyllis. God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality. Overtures to Biblical Theology Series. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1978.
  • Trible, Phyllis. Rhetorical Criticism: Context, Method and the Book of Jonah. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1994.
  • Watts, James W. Reading Law: The Rhetorical Shaping of the Pentateuch. Biblical Seminar 59. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999.
  • Watts, James W. Ritual and Rhetoric in Leviticus: From Sacrifice to Scripture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  • Watts, James W. “Story-List-Sanction: A Cross-Cultural Strategy of Ancient Persuasian,” RBBG 197-212.
  • Watts, James W. “The Three Dimensions of Scriptures,” Postscripts 2/2 (2006), 135-59.
  • Watts, James W. “Oracular Rhetoric,” Perspectives in Religious Studies 35 (2008): 185-95.
  • Watts, James W. “Ritual Rhetoric in Ancient Near Eastern Texts,” ANGR 39-66.
  • Watts, James W. “Ancient Iconic Texts and the Scholarly Expertise,” Postscripts 6 (2010): forthcoming in 2011.
  • Wills, John. “Speaking Arenas of Ancient Mesopotamia.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 56 (1970) 398-405.
  • Wright, David P. "Syria and Canaan." In Religions of the Ancient World: a Guide. Ed. S. I. Johnston. Camrbdige, MA: Belknap, 2004. 173-80.
  • Zaeske, Susan. "Unveiling Esther as a Pragmatic Radical Rhetoric." Philosophy and Rhetoric 33 (2000), 193-220.
  • Zulick, Margaret D. “The Active Force of Hearing: The Ancient Hebrew Language of Persuasion.” Rhetorica 10 (1992) 367-80.

Ancient Near Eastern Texts in Translation (grouped by original language) :

Multi-cultural anthologies:

  • * Hallo, W. W. and K. L. Younger, Jr., eds. The Context of Scripture: Canonical Compositions, Monumental Inscriptions, and Archival Documents from the Biblical World. 3 vols. Leiden: Brill, 1997, 2000, 2002.
  • Chevalas, Mark W., ed. The Ancient Near East: Historical Sources in Translation. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006.


  • Black, Jeremy, Graham Cunningham, Eleanor Robson, and Gábor Zólyomi, The Literature of Ancient Sumer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Jacobsen, Thorkild. The Harps that once ...: Sumerian poetry in translation. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987.
  • Vanstiphout, Herman. Epics of Sumerian Kings: The Matter of Aratta. SBL Writings from the Ancient World 20. Atlanta: SBL, 2003.
  • ONLINE: The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature


  • * Foster, Benjamin R. Before the Muses: An Anthology of Akkadian Literature. 2 vols. Bethesda, MD: CDL Press, 1993.
  • Foster, Benjamin R. From Distant Days: Myths, Tales and Poetry of Ancient Mesopotamia. Bethesda, MD: CDL Press, 1995.
  • Bryce, Trevor. Letters of the Great Kings of the Ancient Near East: the Royal Correspondence of the Late Bronze Age. London/New York: Routledge, 2003.
  • Glassner, Jean-Jacques. Mesopotamian Chronicles. SBL Writings from the Ancient World 19. Atlanta: SBL, 2004.
  • Luukko, Mikko and Greta van Buylaere. The Political Correspondence of Esarhaddon. State Archives of Assyria XVI. Helskinki: Helsinki University Press, 2002.
  • Michalowski, Piotr. Letters from Early Mesopotamia. SBL Writings from the Ancient World 3. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993.
  • Nissinen, Martti. Prophets and Prophecy in the Ancient Near East. SBL Writings from the Ancient World 12. Atlanta: SBL, 2003.
  • Roth, Martha T. Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor. SBL Writings from the Ancient World 6. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1995.


  • Beckman, Gary. Hittite Diplomatic Texts. SBL Writings from the Ancient World 7. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1996.
  • Hoffner, Harry A., Jr. Hittite Myths. SBL Writings from the Ancient World 2. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1990.
  • Singer, Ithamar. Hittite Prayers. SBL Writings from the Ancient World 11. Atlanta: SBL, 2002.


  • Parker, Simon B. Ugaritic Narrative Poetry. SBL Writings from the Ancient World 9. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1997.
  • Pardee, Simon. Ritual and Cult at Ugarit. SBL Writings from the Ancient World 10. Atlanta: SBL, 2002.
  • Wyatt, N. Religious Texts from Ugarit. Biblical Seminar 53. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998.


  • * Lichtheim, Miriam. Ancient Egyptian Literature. 3 vols. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973, 1976, 1980.
  • Foster, John L. Ancient Egyptian Literature: An Anthology. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001.
  • Foster, John L. Hymns, Prayers and Songs: An Anthology of Ancient Egyptian Lyric Poetry. SBL Writings from the Ancient World 8. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1995.
  • Simpson, William Kelly. The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, Stelae, Autobiographies, and Poetry. New Haven: Yale, 2003.
  • Frood, Elizabeth. Biographical Texts from Ramessid Egypt. SBL Writings from the Ancient World 26. Atlanta: SBL, 2007.
  • Moran, William L. The Amarna Letters. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992.
  • Murnane, William J. Texts from the Amarna Period in Egypt. SBL Writings from the Ancient World 5. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1995.
  • Ritner, Robert K. The Libyan Anarchy: Inscriptions from Egypt's Third Intermediate Period. SBL Writings from the Ancient World 21. Atlanta: SBL, 2009.
  • Wente, Edward. Letters from Ancient Egypt. SBL Writings from the Ancient World 1. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1990.
  • ONLINE: Ancient Egyptian texts and papyri

Hebrew, Aramaic & Greek:

  • Lindenberger, James M. Ancient Aramaic and Hebrew Letters. 2nd. ed. SBL Writings from the Ancient World 14. Atlanta: SBL, 2003.
  • Smelik, Klaas A. D. Writings from Ancient Israel: A Handbook of Historical and Religious Documents. Ediburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1991.
  • ONLINE: Common English Bible (Bible)
  • ONLINE: Perseus Digital Library (Greco-Roman)
  • Charlesworth, James H., ed. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. 2 vols. Garden City: Doubleday, 1983.
  • García Martínez, Florentino and Wilfred G.E. Watson.The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: the Qumran Texts in English. Leiden: Brill, 1994.
  • Vermès, Géza, ed. & tr. The Complete Dead Sea scrolls in English. New York: Penguin, 1997.
  • Kugel, James L. The Bible As It Was. Cambridge: Belknap, 1997.

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