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Adapa Translation

June 16, 2008

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been trying to get a translation of “Adapa and the South Wind” together to use this summer. I finished a draft earlier today, and the translation is here (updated 6/30/08).

I’d love to hear people’s thoughts but keep a couple things in mind:

  1. This translation is for use with folks who have probably never read a Mesopotamian myth before.
  2. This translation is for undergrads in a general humanities seminar.
  3. This translation is the first reading in the class and will be later followed by “Inanna’s Descent” and The Gilgamesh Epic. Hence, the notes trying to help introduce deities to the students.
  4. I’m not an Assyriologist. I’m just a Northwest Semiticist with an inferiority complex.

Other than that, have at it.

Update (6/30/08): Thanks for all your suggestions folks. I’ve encorporated improvements into the recently updated translation.

  1. June 18, 2008 10:56 pm


    I very much like the flow of your translation. My problem is that to provide a meaningful critique I’d need to work my way through the text myself and that just isn’t going to happen any time soon.

  2. June 21, 2008 6:48 pm

    A couple thoughts.

    First, vizier might be a good word to footnote.

    Secondly, there is something going on on the line that begins “With the cooks he performs” Missing parentheses? Missing slash?

    Thirdly, a notation question. The parentheses are confusing. Are they present in the original text, or are they added editorially? If the latter, I’d say they should be in square brackets, IMHO.

    Take these comments for what they are worth.

  3. June 22, 2008 10:42 am

    Duane, thanks for the comment.

    Metallurge, thanks for the comments as well. “Vizier” is exactly the kind of word I like to throw at them — they’re at university, we use big words 😉

    I was trying different ideas for the cook line — it seems I left a few extra words in.

    In all the translations they’ll be reading for the class, parentheses will indicate additional words needed for English translations while square brackets indicate reconstructions. However, I’m hoping that folks ask the question you did. The disorientation with be helpful for later reorientation.

    Thanks again folks! Keep more comments coming!

  4. Erik permalink
    June 24, 2008 9:20 am

    bottom of 2nd page, should that be a “They will look at each other and smile” future-ish, rather than present-ish (or is it a scribal doubling sort of dealy)


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