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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1996-97 Annual Report

Individual Scholarship


Richard Beal

Richard H. Beal spent much of his time proofreading, copyediting, and in other ways preparing the third fascicle of the Hittite Dictionary's P volume for publication. This fascicle will probably be considerably larger than previous fascicles. It will begin with the word pattar and will run through the end of the letter P. A disk containing the finished manuscript was handed over to the publisher's compositor in the middle of December. It is due to appear in the early fall. In addition to this, Beal has been reading entries from the next volume, Sh, to Professor Güterbock, now almost blind, for his invaluable comments, gleaned from some seventy years of experience reading Hittite. His comments are then noted. Minor things are entered directly into the computer manuscript, while Beal takes substantial matters to Professor Hoffner to be hammered out. Meanwhile, he has also been doing a certain amount of copyediting on the texts that he has been reading to Professor Güterbock; this will make the job quicker when these dictionary articles return to his desk.

Beal's translation of a series of oracle questions has appeared in the first volume of Context of Scripture, edited by William Hallo of Yale. These are questions to the gods and the gods' answers. The question, often quite complicated, is presented for approval or disapproval and the god is asked to answer in a specified language (that of extispicy, augury, or symbols on a board). The particular group of questions that was translated for this volume involves ascertaining whether or not the king will be safe while cooped up for the cold and snowy Anatolian winter. It asks about such things as assassination, disease, and also road accidents. If the gods indicate that something will be a problem, they are then asked by process of elimination to chose a way of averting the danger - wintering in a different city, giving careful instruction to chariot drivers, or buying off a hostile deity. Interestingly, in the course of determining which deity was angry and in need of propitiating, it was found that it was none of the previously known deities, but an unknown deity. This shows how new gods are discovered in a polytheistic religion and is one reason that the Hittites came to talk of their pantheon as "The thousand gods of Hatti." A translation of the Ten Year Annals of Hittite king Mursili II is nearing completion for the next volume of Context of Scripture.

In January Beal and his wife JoAnn Scurlock visited most of the towns of Rajasthan, India and surrounding provinces. The intention was to extend their ever-growing slide library of Islamic civilization to some of the many monuments of the Indian subcontinent. In addition to the well-known sites of Delhi, Agra, and Fatehpur Sikri, lesser known centers such as Ajmer and Tonk were visited. The borrowings from Hindu styles by the Moslems of Ahmedabad and the borrowings from Moslem styles by the Hindu rulers of Rajasthan were particularly fascinating.

Revised: July 30, 2007

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