De Gruyter has introduced their new Journal of Ancient History with a free online version. The free online version will not last long. I found several of the articles abnormally interesting – none more interesting than Marc Van de Mieroop’s, “Recent Trends in the Study of Ancient Near Eastern History: Some Reflections,” Journal of Ancient History, 1:1, (May 2013 Online), 83–98. Here’s a sample.
There is thus an intimate connection between philology and history, which affects the practices and presentation of ancient Near Eastern history. On the one hand historical analyses regularly appear in what are primarily text editions. For example, the re-edition of the royal correspondence of Babylonian kings of the twenty-first century includes a radical reinterpretation of the role of Syrian nomads in the overthrow of their dynasty around 2000 BCE (Michalowski, Correspondence 2011). On the other hand, studies that present themselves as historical analyses habitually include philological editions of primary sources (e.g., Kleber 2008). This practice can impede communication between specialists on the ancient Near East and scholars of other periods of history. Because of the relatively small community of ancient Near East historians there are fewer syntheses of their scholarship than for other areas of ancient history and they have been less successful at passing on their new insights to a broader readership. The unfortunate effect is that when generalizing studies of topics in ancient history or world history appear, the information presented on the ancient Near East is often outdated.