I think this grammar is very helpful in that it provides transliterations and a very good glossary (both weaknesses in Schniedewind, even though he provides Hebrew cognates in his glossary). It’s also very thorough. However, a couple things have jumped out at me over the first few weeks of using it in a class. First, there is no table which transliterates the cuneiform signs. The student who wishes to make use of the cuneiform script on the hand-drawn copies of the tablets (pp. 98–156) must supplement their research with Schniedewind, Gordon, or Segert, or, as the foreword suggests, compare the facsimiles with the transcriptions in order to create their own chart. This seems like an unnecessary step. Most frustratingly, however, the texts for translation start with the long mythological texts and then progress toward the abecedaries at the very end, placing the texts in the opposite order that most (read: all) students are moving. This in and of itself is no big deal, except for the fact that the textual notes do not repeat themselves; so the further into the texts you get, the fewer notes you find, meaning the students starting off at the back of the book have few, if any, notes, while the students finishing up at the front have dozens. This kind of pedagogy seems counter-intuitive to me. Has anyone else had similar concerns, or found a better way to go through the book?
February 14, 2011