During the General Meeting of the 59th Rencontre in Ghent, a proposal was made to grant Burkhart Kienast honorary membership of the IAA. The proposal was approved and it is with great enthusiasm that the International Association for Assyriology welcomes Burkhart Kienast as its latest honorary member.
In his dedication in the Kienast Festschrift*, Gebhart Selz shows that Burkhart Kienast has devoted his life to Assyriology. His first interests as a scholar lay with Arabic grammar and Islamic art . He then went on to study Ancient Oriental Philology, Semitic Languages and History of Classical Law at Heidelberg University. There he was awarded the degress of Dr. Phil. in July 1956 for his work on the publication and analysis of letters and legal documents from Kaneš from the beginning of the second millennium BC. He has worked at the Leopold-Wenger-Institute for the History of Classical Law at the University of Munich, at the Vorderasiatischen Museum and as Research Associate with the Assyrian Dictionary Project.
Kienast has also accomplished very important work abroad. From May 1961 to April 1963, he was involved with the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut in Baghdad, and in the winter of 1961/1962 participated in the famous Uruk excavations.
Kienast became Professor at the University of Erlangen-Nurnberg in 1966 and Chair of Altorientalische Philologie at The University of Freiburg in 1973. He retired in 1994.
As Selz stated in Kienast’s Festschrift:
Nur wenige Gelehrte besitze heute noch, wie Burkhart Kienast, die Fähigkeit mehr als drei Jahrtausende der Menschheitsgeschichte in jenem Großraum zwischen Palästina, Syrien, und Anatolien, Sowie von Mesopotamien bis nach Iran hinein kompetent zu behandeln.
* Selz, G.J. (2003). Festschrift für Burkhart Kienast. Zu seinem 70. Geburtstage. dargebracht von Freunden, Schülern und Kollegen. Munster: Ugarit-Verlag.