Saturday, June 03, 2017

Ezekiel and Babylonian scribal culture

DR. LAURIE PIERCE: Ezekiel: A Jewish Priest and a Babylonian Intellectual (
Ezekiel, a priest born, raised, and educated in Judah, lived and prophesied much of his adult life in Babylonia in contact with cuneiform scholars and scribes. Ezekiel’s use of Akkadian loanwords,[1] his allusions to masterpieces of cuneiform literature (such as the Gilgamesh Epic), and his understanding of Babylonian cosmology all attest to his rather complete integration into the cultural milieu of Babylon.
Ezekiel is a strange character. The picture he presents of the priesthood of the First Temple is somewhat different from that in the Priestly source of the Pentateuch. I think this may be partly because P purged elements from the tradition which Ezekiel preserves. But it makes perfect sense that some of his strangeness comes from the influence of Babylonian scribal (and therefore literary and mythological) traditions.

Past PaleoJudaica posts on the Babylonian-Judean cuneiform tables of (āl-)Yāḫūdu are here and links. Past posts involving Babylonian scribal traditions are collected here. Seth Sanders's new book, From Adapa to Enoch is also relevant.