Assyriologist Enrique Jiménez receives Sofja Kovalevskaja Prize

Photo of Enrique Jiménez
Enrique Jiménez

Enrique Jiménez, co-director of the Cuneiform Commentaries Project at Yale, has received one of this year’s Sofja Kovalevskaja Prizes, awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Worth up to 1.65 million euros (approximately $1.97 million) over the course of five years, the Sofja Kovalevskaja Prize is one of Germany’s most prestigious awards for research. It is rarely awarded to scholars in the humanities. Jiménez plans to set up an independent research group at Ludwig-Maximilians-University to complete his project of making an easily accessible digitalized corpus of cuneiform texts.

Written on clay tablets with a wedge-shaped reed stylus, cuneiform is the oldest known form of writing and a major source of knowledge of the Ancient Near East. The vast majority of the texts discovered by archaeologists, and deposited in museums and other institutions, remain unpublished. At Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Jiménez and his colleagues will analyze a set of texts comprising approximately 10,000 verses, as well as 8,000 unpublished fragments of literary texts, which are now dispersed in museum collections throughout the world, and publish them in digital form.

Jiménez studied classical and Hebrew philology at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, and went on to specialize in Assyrian studies at various institutions, including Yale, where he contributed to the Cuneiform Commentaries Project. The goal of that project is to make commentaries from the first millennium B.C.E. in ancient Mesopotamia accessible for the first time to a broader audience of specialists and to the interested public by way of a new, interactive website.

Arts & Humanities