Yoram Cohen

Visiting Research Scholar, Spring & Summer 2020

Yoram Cohen earned his PhD at Harvard (2003). He is a full professor at Tel Aviv University, The Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures. His research concentrates on three main domains: The History of Bronze Age Syria, ANE Wisdom Literature, and Intellectual History of the ANE.

The History of Bronze Age Syria

The city of Emar has stood at the center of his research. Together with Prof. Lorenzo d’Alfonso he has suggested a chronological scheme of the city, which is of considerable importance to the chronology and history of the ancient Near East.  He has recently contributed a major article regarding the historical geography of Syria under Hittite rule. The article appeared in “The Brill Handbook of Hittite Geography and Landscape”, which supplements and naturally supersedes Gurney’s and Garstang’s 1959 classic “The Geography of the Hittite Empire”

Ancient Near Eastern Wisdom Literature

Since the publication of his 2013 book Wisdom from the Late Bronze Age, he has written several contributions on the subject of Babylonian wisdom literature. He has demonstrated the potential in exploring the relationship between Mesopotamian wisdom literature and other expressions of wisdom in the Eastern basin of the Mediterranean.

The Intellectual History of the ANE

In a forthcoming monograph, which is dedicated to the šumma immeru omen collection along with many related texts, Cohen provides the scholarly community with the first full edition of the omens throughout their many textual manifestations (Old Babylonian, Western Periphery [Emar and Hattuša], Neo-Assyrian, and Late Babylonian [Uruk and Babylon]). The monograph includes editions of manuscripts (previously un-edited or only partly edited) from the Yale Babylonian Collection, the British Museum, and the Vorderasiatische Museum, Berlin. Alongside the editions, he has contextualized the textual production of the omens, placing them within the wider circle of intellectuals, who were devoted to produce knowledge crucial for the ANE royal courts. Thus, the book offers not only a textual and philological investigation of primary sources, but also an analysis of textual development and change across the centuries within the learned milieu of diviners and scholars.

 Recent Publications

Y. Cohen, (Forthcoming) The šumma immeru Omen Series: A Study of Textual Transmission.

Y. Cohen, 2013, ‘Problems in the History and Chronology of Emar’, Kaskal, 10, pp. 281-94.

Y. Cohen 2015, ‘The Wages of a Prostitute: Two Instructions from the Wisdom Composition “Hear the Advice” and an Excursus on Ezekiel 16, 33’, Semitica, 57, pp. 43-55.

Y. Cohen, 2015, ‘A Letter from the Governor of Emar to the Governor of Suhu Concerning a River Ordeal’, Journal Asiatique, 303, pp. 175–180.

Y. Cohen, 2017, ‘Parallel Hurrian and Hittite šumma izbu Omens from Hattuša and Corresponding Akkadian Omens’, Altorientalische Forschungen, 44, 9–18.

Y. Cohen, 2017, ‘An Assyrian Teacher at Ugarit? A New Reading of the Colophon of Šimâ Milka (‘Hear the Advice’) from the Maison aux Tablettes’, Bibliotheca Orientalis, 74, cols. 274–283.

Y. Cohen & Anor, N., 2018, ‘Akkadian Oil Omens from Hattuša’, Journal of Near Eastern Studies

Y. Cohen, 2017, ‘The Historical Geography of Hittite Syria.’ The Brill Handbook of Hittite Geography and Landscape, edited by L. Ullmann and M. Weeden, Leiden: Brill, cols. 295–310.

Y. Cohen, 2016, ‘Sheep Anatomical Terminology in the šumma immeru Omen Series and Additional Texts.’ Divination as Science: A workshop conducted during the 60th Recontre Assyriologique Internationale, Warsaw 2014, edited by J. Fincke. Winona Lake IND: Eisenbrauns, pp. 79-92.

Y. Cohen, 2018, ‘Why Wisdom: Copying, Studying and Collecting Wisdom Literature in the Cuneiform World’, Teaching Morality in Antiquity, edited by T. Oshima. Leipzig.