Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Pearce and Wunsch (eds.), Documents of Judean Exiles and West Semites in Babylonia in the Collection of David Sofer

CORNELL CHRONICLE: New archive from Jewish Babylonian exile released.
In a major contribution to Biblical and Mesopotamian studies, the first extra-biblical archive from the exiled Judean community in Babylonia in the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. has been published as part of a series edited by Cornell professor David I. Owen.

“Documents of Judean Exiles and West Semites in Babylonia in the Collection of David Sofer” (CDL Press, 2014) by Laurie E. Pearce of the University of California, Berkeley, and Cornelia Wunsch of the University of London provides complete editions, translations, copies and photographs of 103 cuneiform texts from the David Sofer Collection and an extensive commentary on hundreds of new Judean personal names with Yahwistic elements.

“These names add substantially to our understanding of Judean religious beliefs during this formative period in the development of exilic Judaism,” says David I. Owen, editor-in-chief of the series “Cornell University Studies in Assyriology and Sumerology.” Owen is director of the Jonathan and Jeannette Rosen Ancient Near Eastern Studies Seminar and the Bernard and Jane Schapiro Professor of Ancient Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Emeritus in Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences.

This is an exciting development. It is very unusual to have substantial new literary sources for Babylonian (or any other kind of) Judaism of the Second Temple period.

UPDATE: Originally the title of this post gave the series editor as the volume editor. This has now been corrected. Apologies for the error.