This primer for is intended for the beginning student. It introduces the language and literature of ancient Ugarit and provides some historical and social contexts. As the student advances in the study of Ugaritic language and literature, it will be necessary to learn to use the plethora of scholarly resources now available.
The pedagogy of this primer is guided by two questions. The first is what does the modern student of Ugaritic know when they come to learn Ugaritic and how can we build on that? The second is what would an ancient Ugaritic scribe have known and how would the Ugaritic language reflect it? The first question contextualizes the study of Ugaritic from the modern student's perspective. The second question contextualizes Ugarit from the ancient scribe's perspective.
We began this primer from the practical experience of teaching. Typically, the student who studies Ugaritic knows Hebrew. This is certainly the case for the students from the Claremont School of Theology, Fuller Seminary, and UCLA who were used as guinea pigs for this primer. At UCLA, there have also been students whose main languages were Akkadian, Hurrian, Hittite, and Egyptian. With this in mind, the primer does not presume knowledge of Hebrew or Akkadian; however, the more Semitic languages that a student brings to the study of the Ugaritic language, the easier it will be to begin to understand the Ugaritic texts.