Erica Reiner (4 August 1924 – 31 December 2005) was an American Assyriologist and author. From 1974, she was Editor of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, which was published in 21 volumes over 55 years, being completed in 2011 after her death. Reiner was associated with the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago. Her work concentrated on developing the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, the basic reference work for understanding the Akkadian language, the predominant language of Mesopotamia from 2400 BC to 100 AD.
Early life and education
Reiner joined the Chicago faculty in 1956. Extensive documentation and planning for the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary had been underway at the university since 1921. Reiner, along with A. Leo Oppenheim, led the team after World War II to publish the first of what would be 21 volumes in 1956. She took over the project at Oppenheim's death in 1974; in total, she worked on the project for 44 years. Twenty volumes were released over 55 years.
Reiner was the John A. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor Emerita in the University's Oriental Institute, and the longtime Editor of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary (1974-1996). Among other accomplishments, Reiner was one of the few people in the world proficient in the Elamite language.
She wrote numerous books and articles. Upon her retirement in 1996, she continued to contribute to the Dictionary.
- Your Thwarts in Pieces, Your Mooring Rope Cut: Poetry from Babylonia and Assyria (1985)
- Astral Magic in Babylonia (1995)
Legacy and honors
- Guggenheim Fellow
- Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- Fellow of the American Philosophical Society
- Awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Leiden.
- Chicago Assyrian Dictionary (2011)
- "Erica Reiner", New York Times obituary, 22 January 2006