I’ve been working on a footnote to a footnote and I ran across something that, depending on what it means, may be abnormally interesting. The left edge of KTU 1.19, part of the Aqhat legend, reads,
w . hndt . yṯb . lmspr
I suppose it translates something like, “And he shall return this (that?) to the recitation (story)” but I’m very open to other ideas. (See update below)
If we follow Pradee’s (2003/4), 136-7, 365, understanding of the demonstrative pronoun hndt, it is likely feminine.
But what is the antecedent of hndt? Something in the text of the tablet? The whole tablet? Remember it is on the edge of the tablet where some administrative texts have file summaries. But if Pardee is correct, the gender of hndt could be a problem. Something else?
I suppose one should compare this with the ritual instructions in KTU 1.4 V:42-43 and KTU 1.40:35-36a.
KTU 1.4 V:42-43
w ṯb . lmspr . . k tlakn ġlmm
And return to the recitation (story), when you (pl) send boys.
w ṯb . lmspr . m[šr]. mšr . bt . ugrt . w npy . gr / ḥmyt . ugrt . w[np]y . aṯt
And return to the recitation of “rectitude:” rectitude for the daughter of Ugarit and the well being of the foreigner (within) the walls of Ugarit and the wellbeing of the woman/wife.
Here I follow Pardee (2002), 80, 83. If you’re looking for a little controversy, see Del Olmo Lete, 149.
But w . hndt . yṯb . lmspr in KTU 1.19 isn’t in the imperative. Is it possible that mspr means something different here than in the other two examples? If it is relevant and I’m not sure it is, you might also want to look at spr hnd, “this document” in KTU 2:19:11. Just for the record, I doubt this is a file summary. But I’m not at all sire what it is. If anyone out there knows how to understand the left edge of KTU 1.19 or can direct me to some literature on the subject, I would be grateful.
Update: November 17, 2010
I’ve been thinking about this some more and have a somewhat different take on the subject. First, w . hndt . yṯb . lmspr is in the same physical location on the this tablet as is the colophon on KTU 1:17, also part of the Aqhat series. The reading order of the legend is generally taken to be KTU 1.17, KTU 1.18, KTU 1.19. If these three tablets were setting left edge out or up we would see Ilimalku’s colophon on the first, KTU 1.17, nothing of the edge of KTU 1.18 and our phrase on the same edge of KTU 1.19. If we take hndt to be the subject and translate if something like, “This (tablet) continues (returns to) the story,” really meaning, this tablet finishes the story, we can see the phrased as part of the scribal apparatus. If this is the case, then Pardee may well be wrong about the gender of hndt. So while not a file summary of the contents of the tablet, our phrase may still an archiving aid rather than an instruction to the reader.
Update: November 19, 2010
I have continued this discussion here.
Pardee, Dennis, Ritual and Cult at Ugarit, Writings from the Ancient World, Theodore J. Lewis, ed., Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2002
Pardee, Dennis, “Josef Tropper. Ugaritische Grammatik. 1056 pp. Münster, Ugarit-Verlag, 2000. (Alter Orient und Altes Testament 273),” Archiv für Orientforschung 50 (2003/2004), 1- 404 online version