Friday, December 02, 2022

Lecture on the Judean Babylonian cuneiform archive

THE AL-YAHUDU ARCHIVE: Babylonian Tablets Unearth Insights into Judean Life in Exile. We shouldn’t rush to conclusions on details they do not reveal, expert says (Marcos Paseggi, Adventist Review).
Beyond what the Bible says, mentions of Judean life during the Babylonian exile have generally been scarce throughout history. All of that changed in 2014, when archaeologists discovered about two hundred tablets written in cuneiform script that reveal aspects of the life of Jews who lived in Babylon at the time of the exile.

On November 16, at the 2022 Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, United States, Assyriologist and expert in Mesopotamic archaeology George Heath-Whyte discussed what the ongoing translation of the tablets reveals, what it doesn’t say, and what conclusions we can and cannot derive from those findings.


The article gives a good summary of what the tablets do and do not tell us.

For many posts on the Babylonian-Jewish cuneiform archive of Al-Yahudu, start here and follow the links.

The tablets are unprovenanced. For most inscriptions, that should make us dubious whether they are genuine. I have taken cuneiform tablets to be an exception to this rule, since they seem prohibitively hard to forge. But that may no longer be true.

In any case, cuneiform specialists take this archive to be unambiguously genuine. The question is outside my expertise.

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