Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Projects: The CAD [updated Sept 10, 2008]

The Assyrian Dictionary Project, now drawing to an end, postdates the founding of the Oriental Institute by only two years, having commenced in 1921. Among projects at the Oriental Institute it has a particularly well documented published history. Jay Gelb's Introduction on pages vii-xiii of The Assyrian Dictionary, Volume 1: A, Part I (Chicago, 1964) provides a concise history of the project and its antecedents in the world of lexicography to that point. A short popular article by Matt Stolper, The Assyrian Dictionary at Seventy, appeared in The Oriental Institute News and Notes, No. 129, May-June 1991, reframed the history to that point:

In effect, the Dictionary itself has had a career, in scholarship. When it was thirty-five years old, like a junior scholar at the peak of his powers, it produced its first volume and began to learn from its public mistakes. Now, at seventy, after a career of vigorous debate with the Assyriological community, it has some of the characteristics of an eminent senior scholar: set, sometimes old-fashioned ways of expression, coupled with such attributes of maturity as an immensely complex and subtle understanding of the material and its interrelationship. Constant reflection and re-evaluation, leading sometimes to refinement of older views, sometimes to acknowledgment of uncertainty, and often to wholly new insights about the words, the texts that carry the words and the historical moments that produced the texts.

Most recently, Erica Reiner's reflection on the history of the CAD after her retirement, An adventure of great dimension : the launching of the Chicago Assyrian dictionary (Philadelphia, 2002) [and available online], is an attempt at a history of the project as it was drawing to a close.

Addendum [3 February 2008]: The University of Chicago has published an Audio/Video podcast of:

Chicago Assyrian Dictionary: The Final Chapter
Martha Roth, Ph.D., Professor of Assyriology and Dean of Humanities, discusses the final volume of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, a comprehensive lexicon of ancient Akkadian dialects 86 years in the making. Roth has served as Editor-in-Charge of the project for the past 11 years.

Addendum [10 September 2008]: This video is now available on Youtube:

There, additionally, are many journalistic accounts of and comments on the CAD, notably Israel Shenker's piece Akkadians Had A Word for It in the May 21, 1978, Sunday New York Times Book Review [available online for a fee], republished as the essay A Gaggle of Dictionaries in his collection Harmless drudges : wizards of language--ancient, medieval and modern (Bronxville, 1979).

As a part of its enlightened policy of providing online versions of its publications free-of-charge, the Oriental Institut Publicatons Department has made several volumes of the CAD available online - others are in process and for the moment are still only available in print. The catalogue of the CAD is here. At the time of writing L, P. R. T, and T (Tet) are available online.

Gelb's Introduction includes a convenient list of Dictionary worker's up to that point. Following are the names listed there with links, when they are available to the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative's Who's Who in Cuneiform Studies

Resident Staff:
Aro, Jussi
Balkan, Kemal
Biggs, Robert D
Brinkman, John A..
Cameron, George Glenn
Castellino, Giorgio
Chiera, Edward
Civil, Miguel
Dubberstein, Waldo H.
Feigin, Samuel I.
Geers, Friedrich Wilhelm
Gelb, Ignace Jay
Grayson, A. Kirk
Güterbock, Hans Gustav
Hallo, William W.
Hallock, Richard Treadwell
Harris, Rivkah
Heidel, Alexander
Jacobsen, Thorkild
Kienast, Burkhard
Kilmer, Anne Draffkorn
Kramer, Samuel Noah
Kupper, Jean-Robert
Læssøe, Jørgen
Landsberger, Benno
Leichty, Erle V.
Luckenbill, Daniel David
Maynard, John A.
Moran, William Lambert
Oppenheim, Adolf Leo
Piepkorn, Arthur
Poebel, Arno
Price, Ira M.
Reiner, Erica
Rowton, Michael B.
Sachs, Abraham
Sage, Robert L.
Salonen, Armas
Schmitz, Alfred
Schaffer, Aaron
Sjöberg, Ake
Stuneck, Maude A.
Sweet, Ronald F. G.
Walther, Arnold
Wilson, James V. Kinnier

Non-Resident Collaborators
David, Martin
Denner, Josef
Dossin, Georges
Dougherty, Raymond P.
Ebeling, Erich
Eilers, Wilhelm
Falkenstein, Adam
Gadd, C. J.
Langdon, S.
Lewy, Julius
Meek, T. J.
Meissner, Bruno
Mercer. S. A. B.
Moore, Ellen W.
Ravn, O.
Shawe, Joseph
Scholtz, Rudolf
Schott, Albert
von Soden, Wolfram
Steinmetzer, Franz
Waterman, Leroy

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