SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

NME in 2000-1

From the School's Annual Report 2000-1

This year we welcomed Dr Nima Mina, formerly of the University of Utah, as Lecturer in Persian following the retirement of A H Morton. Professor Owen Wright decamped to the Department of Music after many years of distinguished services to Arabic and administration. The department was also sorry to lose Dr Christine Allison on the expiry of her British Academy Fellowship in Kurdish.

Andrew George, newly promoted to Professor of Babylonian, won the Kuwait-British Fellowship Society prize for Middle Eastern Studies, endowed by Abdullah Mubarak and judged by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies, for his translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh in Penguin Classics. He then spent three months at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität in Heidelberg as Visiting Professor in Assyriology.

Members of the department are getting accustomed to recovering long-lost languages. The highlight of the year’s research output was the appearance of the first of Professor Nicholas Sims-Williams’s proposed trilogy publishing for the first time Bactrian documents of the fourth-eighth centuries AD.

Bactrian, the ancient language of Afghanistan, was virtually unknown before the discovery of these documents, which were written on leather in a local variant of the Greek alphabet.

At the year’s close Professor Sims-Williams came to the end of his term of office as Head of Department. Professor George succeeds him.

This year’s publications include:

Bactrian Documents from Northern Afghanistan I: Legal and Economic Documents

Nicholas Sims-Williams - Azimuth, OUP

Israel and Ishmael: Studies on Jewish-Muslim Relations

Edited by Tudor Parfitt – Curzon Press

The Beta Israel in Ethiopia and Israel: Studies on the Ethiopian Jews

Edited by Tudor Parfitt – Curzon Press

Wisdom, Gods and Literature. Studies in Assyriology

Edited by Andrew George - Eisenbrauns