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Forgotten Scripts: Their Ongoing Discovery and Decipherment Book Review Summary

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Forgotten Scripts: Their Ongoing Discovery and Decipherment

The first edition of this book was published in 1968, the second in 1982. The inimitable Professor Gordon (1908-2001) calls on all his professional experience, which is second to none, in wartime cryptography, archaeology, and ancient languages to explain the recovery of the literature of the ancient Near East (ANE). His vast range of knowledge is brought to bear, explaining how scholars in the last two centuries have decrypted and translated Egyptian hieroglyphs, Old Persian, Sumero-Babylonian and Akkadian cuneiform, Hittite (Turkey), Ugaritic and Eblaite (Syria), and Cretan Linear A and B. The final chapter is a small anthology of these ancient texts from Egypt (a short story, a love poem, wisdom literature similar to the Hebrew Proverbs, and a letter to the dead), and from Akkadian, Ugaritic, and Hittite (some history, an administrative text, a marriage contract relevant to the time of Abraham, etc).

The professor brings the literary background and cultures of the ancient world from Greece through Canaan and Egypt and east to Persia into coherent but not over-ambitious relation. (It is interesting to speculate what he would have made of Professor Brian Sykes 'Seven Daughters of Eve' mitochondrial DNA thesis in his very recent genetic studies of ancient man in the Europe and the ANE.) He gives some small but significant examples of how related languages and cultures help us in translating the ancient Hebrew of the Old Testament, such as in the book of Ruth (the famous 'w-m' in ch.4,v.5, surely you know the one I mean).
The review of this Book prepared by Michael JR Jose








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Chapter Analysis of Forgotten Scripts: Their Ongoing Discovery and Decipherment

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Kind Of History

Time of history:    -   Ancient Greek Era    -   2000-0 BC    -   Ancient Egyptian Era Nationality?    -   MANKIND History of words/phrases?    -   Yes

Subjects of this Historical Account

Is the portrayal sympathetic?    -   Sympathetic From a certain profession/group?    -   bureaucracy Intelligence of subject of history:    -   Smart

Setting

Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   The 'stans    -   Iraq    -   Iran/Persia Africa    -   Yes Middle East?    -   Yes If applicable, liberal/conservative?    -   Historian is moderately liberal

Writing Style

How much gore?    -   1 () How fast-paced is the book?    -   3 () Accounts of torture and death?    -   no torture/death Book makes you feel...    -   thoughtful How much focus on stories of individuals?    -   Focuses mostly on the people/nation level How much romance?    -   2 () Minor characters feature lots of:    -   businessmen Pictures/Illustrations?    -   A lot Maps necessary?    -   Necessary maps provided Length of book    -   150-200 pages How much emphasis on small details?    -   10 ()

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Cyrus H. Gordon Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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