Reallexikon der Assyriologie (RlA)

Founded by Erich Ebeling and Bruno Meissner, with the first volume published by de Gruyter in 1928, the Reallexikon der Assyriologie has long since established itself as a standard reference work in studies of the ancient Near East. According to the de Gruyter website, “The coverage of the Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie embraces those ancient Near Eastern cultures which used the cuneiform script (Mesopotamia, North Syria and Anatolia) together with neighbouring regions in the 4th to the 1st millennia B.C.” (see further here).

It is helpful for authors citing RlA to note several things. First, the title of the work was Reallexikon der Assyriologie for the first two volumes, but volumes 3 and following bear the title Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie. SBL Press uses the original title as the basis for its abbreviation and thus also in abbreviation lists.

Second, RlA is not yet complete. It is planned to appear in sixteen volumes; as of the time of this post, publication has progressed only through volume 14 (part 1–2 of volume 15 is scheduled for publication in November 2016).

Thus, a full bibliographical entry for RlA should be given as follows:

Ebeling, Erich, et al., eds. Reallexikon der Assyriologie. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1928–.

If RlA is included only in an abbreviations list, the format is slightly different (in order to juxtapose the abbreviation and title):

RlA Reallexikon der Assyriologie. Edited by Erich Ebeling et al. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1928–.

Using the author-date citation system with a work whose publication stretches across a number of years poses special challenges. If the publication is complete and one can list a beginning and ending year, one has the option of using the complete date range (1964–1976 for TDNT) or the publication year for the specific volume (1965 for TDNT vol. 3; see SBLHS §6.5.12). If a work is still in the process of being published, such as RlA, then the best approach is to list the date of the individual volume being cited.

Thus, an article from volume 1 cited using the author-date system would be entered in the bibliography as follows (assuming that RlA is included in an abbreviations list):

Unger, Eckhard. 1928. “Akkad.” RlA 1:62.

A further complication arises with volumes 3 and later: all these volumes were published in parts and thus extended across multiple years. Although one might opt to use the latest date for a given volume (i.e., when it was complete), de Gruyter lists all the years as copyright dates, so the correct approach is to list all the years for a given volume. Thus, the article on the levirate practice would be cited as follows:

Skaist, Aaron. 1980–1983. “Levirat.” RlA 6:605–8.

SBL Press discourages the practice of citing any part publication individually once the entire volume has been published, such as:

Skaist, Aaron. 1980. “Levirat.” RlA 6.7–8:605–8.

The following list provides the dates to be used with completed RlA volumes:

1               1928
2               1938
3               1957–1971
4               1972–1975
5               1976–1980
6               1980–1983
7               1987–1990
8               1993–1997
9               1998–2001
10             2003–2005
11             2006–2008
12             2009–2011
13             2011–2013
14             2014–2016

One thought on “Reallexikon der Assyriologie (RlA)

  1. […] RlA: The Reallexikon der Assyriologie is planned to include sixteen volumes, fifteen of which are scheduled to be published by the end of 2017. All articles are signed and thus should be referenced by author, title, and source. Although the articles themselves are written in German, English, or French, the headwords are all in German and should be cited in that form. For additional background on RlA, see the blog post here. […]


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