Flight and Freedom in the Ancient Near East


Freedom as a value is older than Greece, as evidence from the Ancient Near East shows us through this book. Snell first looks at words for freedom in the Ancient Near East. Then he examines archival texts to see how runaways expressed their interest in freedom in Mesopotamian history. He next examines what elites said about flight and freedom in edicts, legal collections, and treaties. He devotes a chapter to flight in literature and story. He studies freedom in Israel by looking at Biblical terminology and then practice in narratives and legal collections. In a final chapter Snell traces the descent of ideas about freedom among Jews, Greeks and Christians, and Muslims, concluding that the devotion to freedom may be nearly a human universal.

Biographical Note

Daniel C. Snell, Ph.D. (1975) in Near Eastern Languages, Yale University, is Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. He has published several books on Ancient Near Eastern social and economic history.


Scholars in the field of the Ancient Near East, the Bible, and of the history of Freedom in the Western tradition.