Book Chapter or Section
This book, which includes new translations of the old Babylonian laws of Hammurabi, is the second book by the author examining, from a historical Arabic linguistic perspective, a major Akkadian document. The first book offered new translations of three tablets from a literary work, the Epic of Gilgamesh, written in a late Babylonian language. The pioneering methodology used by the author to decipher the ancient Mesopotamian texts in both documents involves the primary utilization of old etymological Arabic manuscripts written by hundreds of accomplished scholars more than a thousand years ago. Using this methodology does not only provide more accurate, non-speculated, translations, and preserve the spirit and linguistic style of the original texts, but also provides more realistic phonetic values of the cuneiform signs. This would result in having more realistic overall text readings suitable to the one geographical and historical environment where these texts were produced, namely the greater Arabian Peninsula.
The text of the Hammurabi stele offers students of both Arabic and Assyriology a perfect and unique opportunity to identify the language and grammar of its ancient Arabic language. Its vocalizations of subjects, objects, verbs, and genitives are astonishingly identical to that of classical Arabic. The loose and sometimes “chaotic” placement of words in sentences is strikingly identical to that of pre-Islamic Arabic. In fact, the older the formal Akkadian language it seems the clearer its Arabic identity!
Offering a textbook reference value, the author provided the numbered, phonetic Latin transcription for each law right above its corresponding, numbered Arabic transcription. Furthermore, he translated the text of each law literally, into Arabic and English, to illustrate how its translation was concluded, and to preserve its overall linguistic style, accounting for every word in its actual text. For easier reading experience, a full subject guide to the laws of Hammurabi is provided. All reference entries from both the historical Arabic manuscripts and the modern dictionaries of Assyriology are also provided in the appendix. In his expanded introduction, the author discussed the layout, script, and language of the Hammurabi code stele in the Louvre, and through the evidence of Hammurabi’s own words in a key paragraph in his prologue, he offered the possible meanings of the nickname Hammurabi.
The Law Code of Hammurabi: Transliterated and Literally Translated from its Early Classical Arabic Language. Arabic Transliteration, Arabic and English Translations, Introduction, and Critique by Saad D. Abulhab. Blautop Publishing. 2017.