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A COMMUNICATION FROM PROFESSOR HILPRECHT 

[Letter to Professor Lanman from Professor Hilprecht] 

807 Spbuoe Street, Philadelphia, January 15, 1908 

Professor Charles R. Lanman, 9 Farrar Street, Cambridge, Mass. 

Dear Professor Lanman: Referring to the letter addressed to me, 
dated April 18, 1906, by sixteen American orientalists (sent to me with 
your note dated AprU 25, 1906), published, with my reply of April 27, 1906 
and an introductory note by you in the October, 1907, issue of The 
American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, I inclose 
herewith copies of the following: 

1. My letter to the Board of Trustees of the University of Penn- 
sylvania, dated January 6, 1908, urging the full publication of all 
data in their possession and mine bearing upon the " Peters-Hilprecht 
Controversy." 

2. A letter to me dated January 8, 1908, embodying the minute of 
the Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania approving of the 
full publication by me. 

The report on the "Peters-Hilprecht Controversy" to the trustees of 
the University of Pennsylvania, by their Special Committee, dated June 
26, 1905, gave only a slight indication of the mass of material presented 
during the course of its investigation, but it is my intention as speedily 
as possible to publish all the matter, as indicated in my letter to the 
trustees, in a manner which I hope you and all your colleagues will con- 
sider " full and frank," and which will make it readily accessible to every- 
one interested in the controversy. My plans for the publication not 
being as yet fully matured, I am unable at this time to name a definite 
date of issue, but I believe it will be within two or at most three months. 
Surely I, more than anyone else, am now interested in not delaying the 
publication, and the inclosed statement (3) covering a summary of Dr. 
Peters' original suggestions as to the method of the investigation and of 
my comment thereon, indicate that from the first (January, 1905) I have 
not been an advocate of secrecy. 

Possibly it may later seem to me of advantage, in clearing up this 
matter, to request a committee of "your sixteen" to come here to look 
into the methods employed in dealing with the material from the Temple 
Library at Nippur possessed by the University of Pennsylvania. 

Kindly acquaint your fifteen colleagues with the contents of this 
communication and its inclosures, and may I not expect, as a matter of 

286 



A Communication fkom Professor Hilpreoht 287 

simple justice to me, that you will request the publication in full of all I 
send you in the next issue of The American Journal of Semitic Lan- 

QCAGES AND LITERATURES. 

Faithfully yours, 

H. V. HiLPRECHT 

{Three inclosures.) 

[Letter to the Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania 
from Professor Hilprecht] 

January 6, 1908 

To the Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania : 

Gentlemen: In view of the continued public and private agitation, 
both against the University and the undersigned head of its Assyriological 
Section, upon the subject of the so-called " Peters-Hilprecht Controversy," 
as evidenced in part by the letter addressed to me April 18, 1906, by six- 
teen American orientalists and published with my reply and an intro- 
ductory note in The American Journal of Semitic Languages and 
Literatures, October, 1907 (Vol. XXIV, No. 1, pp. 92-94 — copy submitted 
herewith), and by the preamble and resolution adopted on December 31, 
1907, in this city by The Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis, an 
official copy of which sent by its corresponding secretary has just reached 
me today (a copy of which is inclosed), I respectfully submit that it is my 
conviction that the report of your committee as made public in 1905 has 
not been generally accepted as satisfactory, because your proceedings 
were conducted in private and you have not made public the "pleadings " 
and testimony upon which it rests. 

I am further convinced that our absolute silence in the face of the 
continued attacks against me, and through me, against the University, is 
producing increasingly serious injury to the reputation of the University, 
as I know it is doing to my reputation as a scholar and a man, and I feel 
that the sufifeiing and constant mental strain to which I have been for 
more than two years subjected, by reason of the continued malicious 
attacks and insinuations against me, cannot be longer endured by me in 
silence with a preservation of my self-respect. I therefore respectfully 
request that you either, 

1. Cause the publication of all the correspondence, documents, and 
evidence bearing upon this matter, presented before and during the 
investigation conducted by your committee in the year 1905, together 
with extracts from Volume XX of Series A of The Babylonian Expedi- 
tion of the University of Pennsylvania, reviews and critiques thereon, 
and correspondence in your possession and mine, both before and since 
1905, bearing upon the controversy; or — 

2. Cause to be published all or such portions of the record of yoiur 
committee of investigation as you may deem proper, with permission to 



288 The American Journal of Semitic Languages 

me personally to make publication of all material bearing upon the mat- 
ter, as above indicated, of which you did not make use, in a personal 
supplemental statement to be issued by me relating to the matter; or — 
3. Permit me personally to make the entire publication and furnish 
me with that portion of the data possessed by you alone. 

Very respectfully yours, 

(Signed) H. V. Hilprecht 

P. S. While appreciating that you may not be in a position to deter- 
mine at once how this matter must be treated as to the details, pennit me 
to add that to me it seems necessary that you forthwith make public 
announcement (or permit me to do so), that publication of the full details 
of this matter will be made as speedily as possible. 

H. V. H. 

January 7, '08 

[Letter from Professor Betver, secretary of the Society of Biblical Lit- 
erature and Exegesis to Professor Hilprecht] 

Union Theological Seminary, 700 Park Avenue, New York 

January 4, 1908 
Professor H. V. Hilprecht, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 
Pa. 
Dear Sir: At a meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature and 
Exegesis, held in Philadelphia, December 31, 1907, the following pre- 
amble and resolution were adopted: 

Whereas, Charges reflecting on American oriental scholarship have been 
made against Professor H. V. Hilprecht: 

Resolved, That this Society shares the desire expressed by a number of 
American orientalists that a complete reply to these charges be made in the 
Journal of this Society or elsewhere. 

Yours truly, 

(Signed) Julius A. Bewer 

Corresponding Secretary 

[Letter from Mr. Edward Robins, assistant-secretary of the University 
of Pennsylvania, to Professor Hilprecht] 

University of Pennsylvania 
OflBce of the Secretary 

Philadelphia, January 8, 1908 
Dear Professor Hilprecht: I am instructed by the Trustees of the 
University to acknowledge the receipt of your letter to them, which was 
received on January 7, a few hours before the stated meeting of the Cor- 
poration. 



A Communication from Professor Hilprecht 289 

Your letter was read to the Board, and I was instructed to send you 
a copy of the minute showing the action thereupon taken. It is as 
follows : 

A communication from Professor Hilprecht, dated January 6, 1908, upon 
the subject-matter of the so-called "Peters-Hilprecht Controversy,'' having 
been submitted to the Board, it was, after a full consideration of the subject — 

Resolved, That the Board approved of Professor Hilprecht's proposal to 
publish the entire correspondence, documents, and evidence bearing upnn the 
question, and that any information in the possession of the University which 
he may call for be furnished to him. 

Very respectfully yours, 

Edward Robins 
Assistant-Secretary 

[Document No. 3, accompanying letter to Professor Charles R. Lanman, 
Cambridge, Mass., dated January 15, 1908] 

Philadelphia, January 15, 1908 

Dr. John P. Peters, in presenting (by means of two documents, one 
dated January 11, 1905, and one undated, but sent to Philadelphia 
shortly prior to that date), his "suspicions" or charfjes against me, sug- 
gested that the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania conduct "a 
full investigation and one which goes beyond the mere asking Professor 
Hilprecht about these mistakes," by making use of the knowledge and 
abilities of members of their staff, namely, Messrs. Fisher, Clay, Kanke, 
and Jastrow. He further stated that to his surprise, the subject-matter 
of his communications was already more widely known than he had sup- 
posed, "and the very worst is believed" — that a proposition had been 
made to publish the whole matter at a meeting held in Boston at the end 
of December, 1904, and publish it in the papers. This he had opposed, 
urging the "asking for an investigation on the part of the Trustees." 

Dr. Peters continued, "I believe that it must be a thorough and 
searching investigation, but in the best interest of science, as well as of 
the University, if such an investigation is made, it should not be pub- 
lished. Such publication would be a great scandal and would only do 
injury;" adding, "I am doing everything in my power to prevent it from 
being published, or to prevent an unfair and unjust judgment being made 
in advance." 

The two documents above referred to were placed in my hands, with 
the request to answer them, about January 20, 1905, and in returning 
them on January 24, 1905, 1 made to the Provost of the University the 
following requests: 

1. That at your earliest convenience you call an extra session of the entire 
Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, before which both Rev. 
Dr. John P. Peters, as my accuser, and I, as defendant, be summoned. 



290 The Amebican Journal of Semitic Languages 

2. That the two documents referred to above, in their present form, be 
read in the presence of the entire assembly. 

3. That in addition, Rev. Dr. John P. Peters be asked to explain what 
precisely he means by these charges preferred against me, and that a steno- 
graphical record be kept of his answers. 

i. That I then be authorized to answer these charges in the presence of 
this entire assembly, and that a stenographical record be kept also of my 
answers. 

5. That afterwards both Rev. Dr. John P. Peters and I be informed in 
writing of the charges, answers, and findings in this case by the Board of 
Trustees. 

6. That, contrary to the threefold proposal of Rev. Dr. John P. Peters, on 
p. 4 of his letter of January 11. referred to above ("to prevent publication "), 
the results, as obtained by the Board, be given the widest publicity, and in 
order to protect me against similar attacks hinted at in Dr. Peters' letter, I, 
in particular, be allowed to publish: 

a) The two documents of said Rev. Dr. John P. Peters, 

b) The stenographical records of his and my answers, 

c) The result of the investigation by your Board. 

H. V. HiLPBECHT