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Jakobson V. Assyriological Database (Basic Requirements) // Manuscripta Orientalia. Vol. 6, No 1, March 2000. P. 45-48.


In my previous articles, methods of creating a computerised card-index or, more accurately, a group of interlinked card-indexes on the history of cuneiform law were discussed. The notion of a concept as a semantic unit which allows one to create formal descriptions of legal texts in natural language was in particular formulated. Such semantic units are always interconnected, forming a “tree” or “matryoshka” of concepts. In other words, the semantic field of virtually any concept can be divided into a certain number of levels, each of which is an independent concept. On the other hand, almost every concept can be viewed as a level of the semantic field of a larger concept. With the aid of a computer, all levels can be investigated in consecutive order (“matryoshka”) and depicted graphically (the “tree”). This allows one to discover links between concepts which are far from obvious and sometimes even unexpected.

Such a “conceptual” approach to the text has often permitted researchers to introduce important clarifications even without the use of a computer. Some examples of interpreting the Laws of Hammurabi with the aid of this methodology were cited in the previous article. Here we give an example of how this methodology allows one to understand correctly the very structure of those Laws…

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Keywords


the Laws of Hammurabi
Manuscripta Orientalia, selected papers

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