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Akkadian Wisdom literature


Admission requirements

This class can be taken in fulfilment of the requirements of both the MA and the Research MA program in Classics and Ancient Civilizations (track Assyriology), with differential requirements. It is open to exchange and study abroad students who meet the requirements.

Knowledge of Akkadian is required to take this course. If you are not sure that you meet this requirement, please contact the instructor at


Many of the finest works of Akkadian literature have been lumped together under the rubric “wisdom”. This is an unwieldy category used by modern scholars to describe a broad range of texts, from debates to political counsel, clever sayings, hymns, and meditations on the meaning of life and human suffering. What binds these texts is their common effort to make sense of of the human experience. They do so in very different ways, using different literary forms and expressing different philosophical perspectives. Their historical and cultural
Together, we will read a number of these texts in Akkadian. We will do so with an eye for their historical context, purpose, perspective, and use of language. Readings of texts in Akkadian will be supplemented by reading secondary literature on these texts and on broader theoretical issues. In addition to helping us appreciate the Akkadian texts individually, our readings will also lead us to revisit again and again the “wisdom” category: does it work, and if not, what should we replace it with?

Course objectives

  • Become familiar with corpus of Akkadian wisdom literature

  • Develop the ability to work with Akkadian wisdom texts in the original language

  • Students will develop their philological skills, practice their ability to process and discuss primary and secondary Assyriological evidence, and situate Akkadian texts in a broader theoretical perspective, and produce a research paper.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


50% research paper
25% presentation
25% participation in and preparation for seminar meetings


The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


If the overall grade is unsatisfactory, the paper may be revised following consultation with the instructor.

Inspection and feedback

Students will be given feedback and evaluation soon after completing the relevant course component. Students are invited to discuss their grades with the instructor.

Reading list

Readings will be made available to the students.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal


Not applicable.