Studies in Philology in Honour of Ronald James Williams


160 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 0-920168-06-X




Edited by Gerald E. Kadish and Geoffrey E. Freeman
Reviewed by Barry J. Edwards

Barry J. Edwards was a librarian with the Metro Toronto Library.


The present collection of nine studies in philology honours Professor Ronald James Williams upon his retirement in 1982 from active teaching in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Toronto. Highly regarded in scholarly circles as an Egyptologist and as a specialist in Old Testament Studies, Williams has excelled as well in Hellenistic Greek and in the Hamito-Semitic languages of the ancient Near East, including Hebrew, Akkadian, Syriac, Aramaic, Ugaritic, Coptic, and Ethiopic.

In this handsome Festschrift covering a wide spectrum of linguistic and literary topics, friends, colleagues and former students from five universities (Cambridge, Oxford, Chicago, Yale, and Toronto) pay tribute to a man known for both his personal scholarly attainments and his wide-ranging interests, but for acknowledged teaching ability as well. Included as an appendix is a bibliography of Professor Williams’ many books, reviews, and articles.

Most of the contributions in this volume are fairly short and concentrate on small points of interest to specialists in particular. The longest essay by far, “God, Fate and Free Will in Egyptian Wisdom Literature,” by Frank T. Miosi (Toronto), is more straightforward and can be read with profit by anyone with a more than superficial interest in the culture of Ancient Egypt.

The book has been handsomely produced but is rather overpriced at $39.95. While much of the high cost has gone into such luxuries as Professor Donald B. Redford’s fold-out plate illustrating an offering inscription of the heretic-king Akhenaten at Karnak, there are numerous passages as well in Greek, Coptic, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Syriac. Unfortunately, a fairly substantial number of misprints mar an otherwise outstanding publication.

While this book is more than adequate testimony to the high level of scholarship in Near Eastern Studies in Canada, its high cost and specialized content will no doubt limit its purchase to major reference collections.


“Studies in Philology in Honour of Ronald James Williams,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024,