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    The Invention of Cuneiform: Writing in Sumer (Paperback) Edited by Jean-Jacques Glassner, Translated by Zainab Bahrani, Translated by Marc Van De Mieroop


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    DescriptionAs the first known system of writing, the cuneiform symbols traced in Sumerian clay more than six millennia ago were once regarded as a simplistic and clumsy attempt to record in linear form the sounds of a spoken language. More recently, scholars have acknowledged that early Sumerian writing - far from being a primitive and flawed mechanism that would be "improved" by the Phoenicians and Greeks - in fact represented a complete written language system, not only meeting the daily needs of economic and government administration, but also providing a new means of understanding the world. In "The Invention of Cuneiform", Jean-Jacques Glassner offers a compelling introduction to this seminal era in human history. Returning to early Mesopotamian texts that have been little studied or poorly understood, he traces the development of writing from the earliest attempts to the sophisticated system of roughly 640 signs that comprised the Sumerian repertory by about 3200 B.C. Glassner further argues - with an occasional nod to Derrida - that the invention of writing had a deeper metaphysical significance. By bringing the divinely ordained spoken language under human control, Sumerians were able to "make invisibility visible," separating themselves from the divine order and creating a new model of power.

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    The Invention of Cuneiform
    Writing in Sumer
    Authors and contributors
    Edited by Jean-Jacques Glassner, Translated by Zainab Bahrani, Translated by Marc Van De Mieroop
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 288
    Width: 140 mm
    Height: 221 mm
    Thickness: 23 mm
    Weight: 318 g
    ISBN 13: 9780801887574
    ISBN 10: 0801887577

    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC E4L: LAN
    B&T Modifier: Region of Publication: 01
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: S1.5
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 01
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 01
    BIC subject category V2: CFL, HBAH
    BISAC V2.8: LAN009000
    Ingram Subject Code: LA
    Libri: I-LA
    Abridged Dewey: 930
    LC classification: DE
    B&T General Subject: 431
    BISAC V2.8: SOC003000
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 25690
    B&T Merchandise Category: UP
    BISAC V2.8: HIS002000
    B&T Approval Code: A14202000
    BISAC V2.8: FOR002000
    B&T Approval Code: A22820000
    DC22: 492.1, 499.95
    Illustrations note
    109 illustrations
    Imprint name
    Publication date
    01 December 2007
    Publication City/Country
    Baltimore, MD
    Author Information
    Jean-Jacques Glassner is a research director at the French National Center for Scientific Research. Zainab Bahrani is Edith Porada Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. Marc Van De Mieroop is a professor of history and Middle East and Asian languages and cultures at Columbia University.
    Review quote
    "The Invention of Cuneiform is the only book that presents the origin and early development of the world's first writing system to a non-specialist audience within the context of the discourses on language and representation current in the humanities today. The book is brilliant and deserves to reach a broad Anglophone readership." - Jerry Cooper, The Johns Hopkins University "Glassner does not content himself with giving the Sumerian invention its full measure. He renders an homage to all writing that makes reparation for numerous humiliations." - Le Monde "A strikingly original analysis of the origin of cuneiform writing." - Choice"