viernes, 16 de octubre de 2009

Mario Liverani (Italia)

Mario Liverani (Roma, 1939) es un historiador italiano.
Está considerado uno de los principales especialistas de la historia antigua de Oriente. Es catedrático de Historia de Oriente Próximo en la Universidad de Roma La Sapienza. Fundador y director de la revista Vicino Oriente, miembro de la American Oriental Society, Accademia delle Scienze de Turín, y doctor Honoris Causa de la Universidad de Copenhage y de la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
Sus trabajos más célebres, a los que dedicó sobre todo los primeros años de su carrera, se centran en el estudio de las interrelaciones entre Mitani, los hititas y Egipto en la zona del Levante septentrional durante el Bronce Tardío. Aún así, su área de estudios tiene una gran amplitud, desde Sumer hasta el Imperio Persa o los garamantes.
Su trabajo El Antiguo Oriente: Historia, sociedad y economía es un compendio del conocimiento actual sobre el Cercano Oriente Antiguo, desde una óptica marxista, es decir que Liverani plantea una forma investigativa de las sociedades antiguas a través de la visión filosófica marxista como modo de explicar sus relaciones sociales.

Storia di Ugarit (1962)
Sargon di Akkad (1966)
L'origine de la città (1986)
Antico Oriente: Storia, società, economía (El Antiguo Oriente: Historia, sociedad y economía, Crítica, Barcelona, 1995)
Antico Oriente, 2002; M. Liverani, en la Rivista degli Studi Orientali, 40: pp. 267-277.
Relaciones internacionales en el Próximo Oriente Antiguo. 1600-1100 a.C (2003)
Myth And Politics In Ancient Near Eastern Historiography - Edición y notas introductorias de Marc Van De Mieroop y Zainab Bahrani.
Oltre la Bibbia: Storia antica di Israele (Más allá de la Biblia. Historia antigua de Israel, Crítica, Barcelona, 2005)

Experimental Historiography: How to Write a Solomonic Royal Inscription
by Mario Liverani (Università di Roma La Sapienza)

There are no extra-biblical sources mentioning the united kingdom of Judah and Israel, but maybe this is due to the fact that such sources never existed. In the 10th century BCE Jerusalem was so small that only a palace and a temple possibly existed (and even this becomes less probable if we adopt the low chronology suggested by Finkelstein). If we read critically but positively the biblical text we may suggest a kingdom of limited dimensions, whose limits were Shechem and Beersheba.

Oral tradition alone is not enough for explaining the transmission of historical memories from the 10th century to the much later age in which the texts were composed, maybe Josiah’s times. If there were stories, we should also explain how and why they became known. We find a good parallel in the legend of Sargon and Naram-Sin, composed in early-Babylonian times: the stories had their origin in inscriptions and monuments of the kings of Akkad preserved in the temple of Babylon. In this case it is possible for us to compare the monument which gave origin to the legends about a particular king and the texts. In the case of David and Solomon we do not have any monuments: therefore we have to postulate sources for the tales we read. Such ‘virtual’ sources should be compatible with known sources of the 10th-9th century BCE and, at the same time, their nature and content should be a plausible origin for our literary tradition.

Royal inscriptions commemorating founding and restoration of a temple are very likely to have been preserved in Jerusalem temple. The newly found Joash stele is a forgery, but nevertheless it remains plausible that such documents existed. Some elements of the literary tradition may be related to typical expressions of epigraphic texts:

the chronology of 40 years of reign for David and 40 years for Solomon. This figures tell us that there were no available data and that they may be derived from the rhetoric of inscriptions. The 7 years David spent in Hebron are just like the 7 years Idrimi of Alalakh had to wait before his success and a full-life reign (20 years, in the case of Idrimi). The history of succession in its final elaboration is late, but the idea that a king could have had to fight opposition in order to begin his reign could have been written in an inscription;
the topos of justice and wisdom. These are typical royal epithets, which might have been re-elaborated and interpreted in a moral sense in literary compositions;
the fact that the temple was not built by David. In epigraphic text the expression such as “what my father did not achieve, I achieved” are quite common. A sentence like this might have been the source for such a story.
The literary tradition about David and Solomon could be the expansion of little sentences and epithets attested in a royal inscription / some royal inscriptions which were preserved in the Jerusalem temple. Later, when the inscription(s) did not exist anymore, the historians had only the literary texts at their disposal. It is true that in the 10th century the inscriptions we have are very short, without any of the literary topoi mentioned before: but probably some information could be retrieved also from inscriptions of restorations, of the 9th or even the 8th century. As for the very detailed descriptions we find in the biblical text, such as those of the temple or of the Solomonic palace: the measures of the former were almost certainly those of the last phase of the first temple, while the latter clearly had the Persian palaces as its models.

Inscriptions, objects and places have a great relevance in generating stories, which are substantially theological. The historian should not try to distinguish what is false and what is true in these stories, but rather try to understand how a king of secondary importance has become the point of reference for a group of memories of great mythic and symbolic relevance.

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