On my old website devoted to exposing the phony scholarship of Zecharia Sitchin’s ancient astronaut nonsense, I had occasion to note how the meanings of certain Sumero-Akkadian words or glyphs supplied by by Sitchin were not only nonsense, but the Sumerians themselves had left behind the proof of my assertion in the form of their own bilingual dictionaries. Here’s a snippet from my open letter to Sitchin in this regard:
As noted above, the ancient Mesopotamian scribes created dictionaries. Lists of words are a common feature among the thousands of Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform tablets which have been discovered by archaeologists. Many are just groupings of common words, while others represent an inventory of the word meanings of the languages used in Mesopotamia. These “lexical lists”, as scholars call them, were indispensable to the 19th century scholars who deciphered the Sumerian and Akkadian texts, for they were used to compile modern dictionaries of these languages. Today all major lexical texts have been published in the multi-volume set, Materials for the Sumerian Lexicon, begun by Benno Landsberger in the 1930s. It is indeed a rare instance where ancient dictionaries of a dead language form the core of the modern dictionaries used by scholars of today. Such is the case for the ancient languages of Sumer and Akkad. Sadly, Mr. Sitchin neglects these resources.
This statement was in the context of challenging Sitchin’s understanding of “shem”, “shamu”, and “MU”. All of these terms are accounted for in LEXICAL LISTS – these bilingual dictionaries — and so we are able to know what the Sumerians and Akkadians themselves meant by these terms.
The purpose of this post is to direct anyone interested in these lists to a nice resource for understanding what they are (and to see that I’m not making up my reply to Sitchin). Here’s a link to a short article “What is a Lexical List?” found on the Digital Corpus of Cuneiform Lexical Texts (yes, there’s a website devoted to lexical lists!). You’ll find it interesting, unless you blindly follow Sitchin. Don’t click the link if that’s the case.