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Volkswagen Fellowship Symposium. "Approaching a Critique of Mesopotamian Reason" - 21-22/04/2017, Cambridge (MA, USA)



The workshop collects data from various spaces, times, and textual genres in order to investigate the distinctive aspects of high-level ancient Mesopotamian thinking. Special attention will be given to underlying assumptions and prevailing paradigms. Although the results will still be preliminary to a large extent, such an in-depth investigation of ancient cognitive practices will facilitate our understanding of ancient sources within and beyond Mesopotamian culture.


FECHA/ DATE/DATA: 21-22/04/2017


LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Barker Center, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, USA)


ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Gösta Gabriel (Harvard University / Universität Göttingen)


INFO: web -


INSCRIPCIÓN/REGISTRATION/REGISTRAZIONE:  Se ruega enviar un email a /please contact /sono pregati di inviare una e-mail a


PROGRAMA/PROGRAM/PROGRAMMA:  Disponible también en PDF/also available in PDF/anche disponibile in PDF 


Friday, April 21
Barker Center, Room 133

3:30 pm

Session 1: Critique
3:45 pm
The Critical Potential of Order and Disorder: The Flood and Other Cases
Gösta Gabriel – Harvard University / Universität Göttingen

4:30 pm
The Reluctant en of Inana or the Persona of Gilgamesh from the Perspective of Babylonian Political Philosophy
Piotr Steinkeller – Harvard University

5:15 pm
Coffee break

6:00 pm
William James Hall, Room 105
Keynote Lecture
Theses on Babylonian Philosophy
Marc Van De Mieroop – Columbia University

Saturday, April 22
Barker Center, Room 133

Session 2: Reasoning I – Part I
9:30 am
The Reconciliation of Angry Gods: A Revision of the Šuillas
Tzvi Abusch – Brandeis University

10:15 am
Coffee break

Session 2: Reasoning I – Part II
10:45 am
Arguing One’s Case in Akkadian Disputation Poems
Enrique Jiménez – Universidad Complutense de Madrid

11:30 am
Reasoning and Representing: Babylonian Astronomical Models
Francesca Rochberg – UC Berkeley

12:15 pm
Lunch Break

Session 3: Reasoning II
1:15 pm
After Babel–Bibel Babble: Language, Translation, and Commentary in Cuneiform Scribal Practice
Jay Crisostomo – University of Michigan

2:00 pm
The Perils of Omnisignificance: Language and Reason in Mesopotamian Hermeneutics
Eckart Frahm – Yale University

2:45 pm
Final discussion and closing remarks

This symposium is made possible by the generous support of the Volkswagen Foundation.




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