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1993-94 Annual Report

Robert Biggs

Robert Biggs has continued to emphasize ancient medicine, mainly Babylonian, in his research. He has completed a paper, "Conception, Contraception, and Abortion in Ancient Mesopotamia," in which he adduces evidence that suggests that there may have been a belief in ancient Mesopotamia (as there was among some Greek thinkers) that children were solely the offspring of their fathers, that is, that the mother's role was to provide a receptacle for the implantation of the man's seed and to bring the resulting child into the world. The paper includes discussion of possible contraceptive strategies (including breast-feeding) and use of plant products that inhibit contraception or induce abortion. He will also be contributing translations of Babylonian medical texts to a volume, The Context of Scripture, being edited by W. W. Hallo. Still in the realm of medicine, he has continued as Contributing Editor (for ancient Western Asia) for Society of Ancient Medicine Review. Other activities include preparation of Pre-Sargonic and Old Akkadian texts for Augusta McMahon's volume tentatively entitled The Early Dynastic-Akkadian Transition: The Evidence from Nippur (these are texts from the seventeenth and eighteenth seasons of excavations at Nippur).

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