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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1994-95 Annual Report

Individual Scholarship


Martha T. Roth

Martha T. Roth's research activities continue to focus on the law and legal institutions of ancient Mesopotamia. Much of the year was spent reading and correcting proofs for her book, Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor (Society of Biblical Literature Writings from the Ancient World 6), which appeared in June 1995. The volume presents her Sumerian transliterations, Babylonian and Assyrian transcriptions, and English translations of eleven cuneiform law collections from Mesopotamia; also included is a new English translation of the Hittite Laws contributed by Harry Hoffner. In March 1995, Roth participated in a conference on ancient law held at the University of California, Berkeley, cosponsored by the Robbins Law Collection (Berkeley) and the Chicago-Kent College of Law. The conference initiated a dialogue between philologists and historians engaged in primary law studies in a number of ancient and pre-modern cultures-Mesopotamia, Egypt, biblical Israel, Athens, and China, and in Islamic, Roman, canon, and barbarian law-and legal scholars interested in analyzing and comparing the results of the textual studies. The proceedings of the conference, including Roth's contribution "Mesopotamian Legal Traditions and the Laws of Hammurabi," will be published in two issues of the Chicago-Kent Law Review . The year ended with Roth offering a course on Mesopotamian Law at the University of Chicago Law School during the spring quarter.

In a three-part symposium on the Genesis story of the binding of Isaac, cosponsored by Jewish Studies and the Chicago Humanities Institute, Roth presented a paper in December 1994 on "Sacrifice and Substitution in Mesopotamia," in which she drew attention to the Mesopotamian "substitute" rituals as background for the substitution of the ram for the intended victim, Isaac, in the Biblical narrative. In a completely different forum, the Linguistic Anthropology Colloquium, she presented "On Translating Akkadian Texts" as a discussant to a paper on translating ancient and colonial Maya texts.

As Ancient Near East Section Chair, Roth was responsible for the Ancient Near Eastern program at the American Oriental Society Meetings held in Salt Lake City, Utah, in March 1995. The year also saw the publication of her articles, "The Neo-Babylonian Widow," Journal of Cuneiform Studies 43-45 (1991-93 [published 1994]) 1-26, and "The Neo-Babylonian Family and Household," Canadian Society for Mesopotamian Studies Bulletin 28 (1994) 19-29. Throughout the 1994/95 academic year, Martha Roth continued her editorial duties for the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary (see separate report), her teaching, and her other university service commitments.

Revised: February 7, 2007

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