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Criticizing the King: The Development of an Akkadian Literary topos

Förderungszeitraum: April 2013 - März 2015
My thesis in Distant Worlds, titled Criticizing the King: The Development of an Akkadian Literary topos, is a study of vestiges of resistance to authority in the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian empires of the first millennium B.C. The project draws together a varied corpus of material, including wisdom texts, satire, prophecy, and “mirror of princes” literature. All of these texts have previously been studied in singular environments, but never analyzed in toto. Through a thorough and detailed literary analysis, the manuscript identifies thematic elements commonly utilized for the expression of discontent towards authority in the first millennium. The application of these literary tropes allows for an objective classification of a corpus of Mesopotamian “resistance” literature, within which a trajectory of increasingly fluid boundaries for freedom of expression can be discerned. Attention to the content of the texts, their authors (namely, court scribes), and their relationships to prevailing power structures can complicate the accepted picture of the political environment internal to the last great Mesopotamian empires. The project applies modern theoretical methods in order to better contextualize power dynamics in politically unstable and culturally fractured locales, while contributing to a burgeoning dialogue about the potential for contrarianism in ancient environments.

Dr. Jennifer Finn ist inzwischen als Assistant Professor of Ancient History an der Marquette University tätig.