Research Articles (Ancient Studies)

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    Researching the Septuagint in South Africa
    (AOSIS, 2021) Cook, Johann
    One could argue that the Septuagint is an African document. After all, Alexandria is regarded as the birthplace of the Septuagint – at least the original LXX, namely the Pentateuch. As is well known, the Aristeas letter, inter alia, tells the story of the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek after some Jews were forcibly removed from Palestine to Egypt by Ptolemy III and others emigrated for economic reasons (Wright 2015). But this is only one side of the story; there are a number of books that originated elsewhere. Tov mentions the Greek translation of Isaiah (Tov 2010:7). I have identified numerous examples of Jewish exegesis in LXXProverbs and I argued that LXXProv came into being in Palestine (Cook & Van der Kooij 2012:174). Be that as it may, what is clear is that the Septuagint is being extensively researched throughout Africa, including South Africa. The recent evidence of this ongoing research is the presentation of a number of international congresses with outcomes in the publications of the proceedings. The latest example is the online congress held on 05 and 06 September 2020. The proceedings of this conference together with the contributions of a number of prominent researchers are being published in the international series Vetus Testamentum Supplementum (VTS), entitled The Septuagint South of Alexandria. The volume is edited by Johann Cook and Gideon Kotzé.
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    Participatory detection of language barriers towards multilingual sustainability(ies) in Africa
    (MDPI, 2022-07-04) Litre, Gabriela; Hirsch, Fabrice; Caron, Patrick; Andrason, Alexander; Bonnardel, Nathalie; Fointiat, Valerie; Nekoto, Wilhelmina Onyothi; Abbott, Jade; Dobre, Cristiana; Dalboni, Juliana; Steuckardt, Agnes; Luxardo, Giancarlo; Bohbot, Herve
    After decades of political, economic, and scientific efforts, humanity has not gotten any closer to global sustainability. With less than a decade to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) deadline of the 2030 Agenda, we show that global development agendas may be getting lost in translation, from their initial formulation to their final implementation. Sustainability science does not “speak” most of the 2000 languages from Africa, where the lack of indigenous terminology hinders global efforts such as the COVID-19 pandemic fight. Sociolinguistics, social psychology, cognitive ergonomics, geography, environmental sciences, and artificial intelligence (AI) are all relevant disciplinary fields to uncover the “foreign language effect” that hinders the implementation of the SDGs in Africa. We make the case for detecting and addressing language barriers towards multilingual sustainability in Africa by (1) exploring the ”foreign language effect” among African decision-makers and recognising their alternative social representations about sustainability; and (2) detecting Western language stereotypes about sustainability. We propose rethinking SDG-related scientific notions through participatory natural language processing (NLP) and the study of African social representations of sustainability, thus enabling a more inclusive and efficient approach to “sustainability(ies)”.
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    From Ta-Kesh to Ta-Kush : the affordances of digital, haptic visualisation for heritage accessibility
    (2020-12) Smith, Kathryn; Roughley, Mark; Harris, Samantha; Wilkinson, Caroline; Palmer, Evelyn
    This paper describes the 3D facial depiction of a 2700-year-old mummy, Ta-Kush, stewarded by Maidstone Museum, UK, informed by new scientific and visual analysis which demanded a complete re-evaluation of her biography and presentation. The digital haptic reconstruction and visualisation workflow used to reconstruct her facial morphology is described, in the context of the multimodal and participatory approach taken by the museum in the complete redesign of the galleries in which the mummy is displayed. Informed by contemporary approaches to working with human remains in heritage spaces, we suggest that our virtual modelling methodology finds a logical conclusion in the presentation of the depiction both as a touch-object as well as a digital animation, and that this ‘digital unshelving’ enables the further rehumanization of Ta-Kush. Finally, we present and reflect upon visitor feedback, which suggests that audiences respond well to interpretive material in museums that utilizes cutting-edge, multimedia technologies.
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    “Lady of battle, his beloved spouse” : the relationship between the body of Inana/Ištar and her spheres of war and love from the Jemdet Nasr to the old Babylonian period
    (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht (GmbH & Co. KG), 2020) van Dijk-Coombes, Renate Marian
    Inana/Ištar is the Mesopotamian goddess of war and sexual love. These spheres are both fundamentally physical and corporeal, with the body playing an intrinsic role in both. This paper looks at how the body of Inana/Ištar manifests and is manifested by her two main spheres of influence from the Jemdet Nasr until the Old Babylonian Period. This is done by examining textual evidence, specifically royal inscriptions and mythological and religious compositions, and the visual repertoire. Similarities and differences in how these two types of sources expressed the role of the goddess’s body in relation to both spheres will be identified and analysed.
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    A serial verb construction with the verb alāku “go” in Canaano-Akkadian
    (Antiguo Oriente, 2019) Andrason, Alexander
    This paper examines the categorial status of Canaano-Akkadian biverbal sequences built around the motion verb alāku “go” and their possible inclusion in the category of Serial Verb Constructions (SVCs). The evidence demonstrates that SVCs with alāku can at best be categorized as non-canonical and their overall grammaticalization is low. As a result, Canaano-Akkadian may be viewed as the least advanced along the grammaticalization cline of verbal serialization posited for (North-West) Semitic languages.