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Paul A. Delnero

Associate Professor of Assyriology

Department of Near Eastern Studies
Johns Hopkins University
Gilman 122
3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

Telephone:  (410) 516-7498

Academic Background: Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania.

Research Interests: Assyriology

Paul Delnero is an Assyriologist who specializes in the history, culture, and society of Ancient Mesopotamia, with a particular emphasis on the study of the Sumerian language and its grammar. His dissertation, “Variation in Sumerian Literary Compositions: A Case Study Based on the Decad,” was written on the subject of textual variation in duplicates of Sumerian literary narratives. The primary aims of this work were to answer fundamental questions pertaining to how and why scribes were trained in antiquity, and to develop a text-critical methodology for editing Sumerian literary compositions that takes into account the means by which the sources for these texts were produced. Specifically, the role of memorization in scribal training and the errors in recall that occurred while copying from memory were identified as one of the most common causes of textual variation in the duplicates of these texts. This topic is treated in the article "Memorization and the Transmission of S umerian Literature" (Journal of Near Eastern Studies 2012). 

In addition to a book entitled The Textual Criticism of Sumerian Literature (Journal of Cuneiform Studies Supplemental Series 3, 2012), Delnero has also written articles on the topics of the Sumerian verbal elements mu-ni- and mi-ni-, the conjugation prefixes im-ma- and im-mi-, and the pre-verbal pronominal element /n/, as well as the place of Sumerian literary extract tablets in the training of scribes, and the function of the so-called "literary catalogues" in archiving collections of Sumerian texts in antiquity. His current project is a study of Sumerian cultic, liturgical texts and the political and cultural roles of ritual in Mesopotamia at the beginning of the second millennium BCE.

His publications include: "Sumerian Literary Catalogues and the Scribal Curriculum" in Zeitschrift für Assyriologie; "Sumerian Extract Tablets and Scribal Education" in the Journal of Cuneiform Studies; "The Sumerian Verbal Prefixes im-ma- and im-mi-," in the Proceedings of the 53th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Moscow-Saint Petersburg, July 2007; and "Literary Archives in the Second Millennium BCE World" for the proceedings of "Archives and Libraries in the Ancient World," a conference organized by the Center for Identity Formation in Copenhagen in November, 2009.

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