jacob lauinger

Jacob Lauinger

Associate Professor, Assyriology

Gilman 130A
Personal Website


Jacob Lauinger is an Assyriologist who focuses on Akkadian cuneiform texts of the first and second millennium B.C with an interest in peripheral (i.e. extra-Mesopotamian) dialects of Akkadian. He received his B.A. in classical art and archaeology from Princeton University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Assyriology from the University of Chicago. His research focuses on the social, legal, and economic history of the ancient Near East and, in particular, on approaching cuneiform tablets from both philological and archaeological perspectives in order to better define the social contexts in which they were written, used, and stored. In this regard, he is fortunate to serve as the epigrapher for two archeological excavations, Koç University’s Tell Atchana (Alalah) Excavations and the University of Toronto’s Tayinat Archaeological Project.

Currently, Jacob is directing the project “Cuneiform from Canaan: Lemmatization, Annotation, and Electronic Publication of the Canaanite Cuneiform Texts from Tell el-Amarna, Egypt,” funded by a Catalyst Award from JHU. This project aims to tag the linguistic and extra-linguistic data of the Canaanite Amarna letters and make them freely available via the Oracc (Openly Rich Annotated Cuneiform Corpus) workspace.

Before coming to Johns Hopkins, Jacob was the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Research Fellow at Corpus Christi, University of Cambridge (2009-2010) and an Assistant Professor in the History Department at Roanoke College (2007-2009).

Ancient Near Eastern legal systems, peripheral Akkadian, publication of cuneiform epigraphic material from Late Bronze Age Alalah/Tell Atchana and Neo-Assyrian Kullaniya/Tell Tayinat.

Undergraduate Courses

Ancient Empires

Diplomacy and Conflict in the Ancient Middle East

Law in the Ancient Middle East

Graduate Courses

Akkadian Divination and Ritual Texts

Akkadian Historical Texts

Akkadian Letters

Akkadian Literary Texts

Akkadian Treaties and Diplomatic Texts

Akkadian Wisdom Literature

Amarna Letters

Elementary Akkadian

Near Eastern History Seminar, II (ca. 2000 – 323 BC)

Peripheral Akkadian

Jacob recently published a book on Alalah and the kingdom of Yamhad, a polity that controlled north-western Syria from approximately 1800-1600 BC. The book, Following the Man of Yamhad: Settlement and Territory at Old Babylonian Alalah, CHANE 75 (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2015) focuses on cuneiform records from Alalah attesting to the purchase and exchange of entire towns and seeks to embed this economic practice within the social and political context of the time. Another volume, Texts and Contexts: The Circulation and Transmission of Cuneiform Texts in Social Space, edited with fellow Hopkins Assyriologist Prof. Paul Delnero, explores the different social, cultural, and historical contexts in which cuneiform texts circulated in order to elucidate the different functions texts could serve in the ancient Near East.

Recent articles include a review article, “Approaching Ancient Near Eastern Treaties, Laws, and Covenants,” that is forthcoming in the Journal of the American Oriental Society; “Iqqur īpuš at Tell Tayinat,” forthcoming in the Journal of Cuneiform Studies; “A Stele of Sargon II at Tell Tayinat,” co-authored with Stephen Batiuk, Zeitschrift für Assyriologie 105 (2015); “Witnessing at Old Babylonian Alalah: A New Level VII Witness List from the Koç University Excavations at Tell Atchana/Alalah,” Revue d’Assyriologie 108 (2014); “The Neo-Assyrian adê: Treaty, Oath, or Something Else?” Zeitschrift für altorientalische und biblische Rechtsgeschichte 19 (2013); “Esarhaddon’s Succession Treaty at Tell Tayinat: Text and Commentary,” Journal of Cuneiform Studies 64 (2012); “An Excavated Dossier of Cuneiform Tablets from Level VII Alalah?” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 362 (2011); and “Some Preliminary Thoughts on the Tablet Collection in Building XVI from Tell Tayinat,” Journal of the Canadian Society for Mesopotamian Studies, 6 (2011). Jacob has presented papers on these and other aspects of his research at national conferences in the United States and Europe and as invited lectures in the US as well as Australia, Canada, Germany, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.