Chicago Assyrian Dictionary

Individual volumes in The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (Gelb et al. 1956–2010; = CAD) are sometimes cited by letter (e.g., Š), sometimes by volume number (e.g., 17). Both formats are correct, in that they point readers to the volume in view, but SBL Press prefers the latter for reasons of economy.

For example, one might cite the entry for the word šamaškillu as follows:

CAD Š, part 1, 299–301.

However, it is much simpler to cite the volume and part by number:

CAD 17.1:299–301.

Several aspects of the latter citation are worth emphasizing:

  1. In an abbreviation + volume citation, no punctuation (e.g., comma) is used between the abbreviation and the volume number. This formatting is different from an abbreviation followed by only a page number (e.g., ANET, 319).
  1. When a volume has several parts (e.g., CAD 17 has three), use a period between the volume number and the part number.
  1. In a volume + page citation, use a colon between the volume and page numbers, with no space on either side of the colon.

Readers (or copy editors) wishing to consult CAD can do so easily, thanks to the Oriental Institute’s posting of all volumes online here.

Work Cited

Gelb, Ignace J., et al. 1956–2010. The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. 21 vols. Chicago: The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

3 thoughts on “Chicago Assyrian Dictionary

  1. I would note that some publishers (Eisenbrauns is among them) prefer the Assyriological handling of CAD citations, which is to avoid all punctuation but simply cite by the letter of the “alphabet” involved and page number, thus: CAD Š/1 296. This is easily parsed as vol. 1 of the Š volumes. Scholars tend to think about the volume by the phoneme/”alphabet” indicator, not by the volume number. To get to the latter, if you have the books on your shelf, in “alphabetic” order, you have to open the book to assure yourself that you’ve selected the correct volume (dependent, of course, on the nature of the citation). Citation by letter of the alphabet (B, G, Ḫ, etc.) avoids this entirely and is quite efficient.


    • Jim—Thank you for specifying and explaining the rationale for the Eisenbrauns citation preference, since it gives us occasion to remind readers that style is often not a matter of right versus wrong but merely preferred versus discouraged. SBL Press will retain our style preference, so that, as much as possible, we treat works across a variety of subdisciplines similarly and consistently. We appreciate having the chance to record the Eisenbrauns preference for CAD citations and hope that Eisenbrauns and other publishers will weigh in regarding other topics on this forum.


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