Judeans in Babylonia

A Study of Deportees in the Sixth and Fifth Centuries BCE


In Judeans in Babylonia, Tero Alstola presents a comprehensive investigation of deportees in the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. By using cuneiform documents as his sources, he offers the first book-length social historical study of the Babylonian Exile, commonly regarded as a pivotal period in the development of Judaism.
The results are considered in the light of the wider Babylonian society and contrasted against a comparison group of Neirabian deportees. Studying texts from the cities and countryside and tracking developments over time, Alstola shows that there was notable diversity in the Judeans’ socio-economic status and integration into Babylonian society.
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Tero Alstola, Ph.D. (2017), Leiden University, is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires. His research interests cover digital humanities and the social history of Mesopotamia.
List of Figures and Tables
Conventions and Abbreviations xii
 1.1Aims and Relevance of This Study
 1.2Historical Background
  1.2.1 Political History
  1.2.2 Forced and Voluntary Migration in the Ancient Near East
  1.2.3 Deportations from Judah to Babylonia
  1.2.4 Babylonian Society
 1.3Babylonian Exile: Reception and Research History
  1.3.1 Reception History
  1.3.2 Research History
  1.4.1 The Hebrew Bible
  1.4.2 Cuneiform Sources Approach and Unprovenanced Artefacts Groups
  1.4.3 Archaeology
 1.5Identifying Foreigners in Babylonian Sources
  1.5.1 Naming Practices in Babylonia
  1.5.2 Yahwistic Names as the Criterion for Identifying Judeans
2Judean Royalty and Professionals in Babylon
 2.2German Excavations at Babylon
 2.3The Palace Archive of Nebuchadnezzar II
 2.4Foreign Royalty and Professionals in Babylon
 2.5Living Conditions in Babylon and Jehoiachin’s Amnesty
3Judean Merchants in Babylonia
 3.2Trade and Traders in Babylonia
 3.3Judean Royal Merchants in Sippar
  3.3.1 Sources
  3.3.2 Social Network
  3.3.3 Identity, Integration, and Socio-Economic Status
 3.4Other Judean Merchants in Babylonia
 3.5Conclusion: Long-Distance Trade and Judean Merchants
4Texts from Yāhūdu, Našar, and Their Surroundings
 4.2Geographical and Economic Environment
  4.2.1 The Location of Yāhūdu and Našar
  4.2.2 The Land-for-Service Sector – Economic Environment of the Texts
 4.3Text Groups and Their Protagonists
  4.3.1 Three or More Groups?
  4.3.2 Texts Pertaining to Rīmūt/Abī-ul-īde and Rīmūt/Samak-Yāma
  4.3.3 Texts Pertaining to Ahīqar, Son of Rīmūt
  4.3.4 Texts Pertaining to Bēl-ahhē-erība, Son of Nūr-Šamaš
  4.3.5 Scribes and Royal Administration in Našar
  4.3.6 Texts Relating to Yāhūdu Remarks Texts Relating to Yāhūdu Pertaining to Ahīqam/Rapā-Yāma and His Sons Administration in the Environs of Yāhūdu
  4.3.7 Texts from Āl-šarri
  4.3.8 Texts Pertaining to Zababa-šar-uṣur and Bīt-Abī-râm
  4.3.9 Loosely Connected and Isolated Texts
  4.3.10 Administrative Practices and the Origins of the Text Corpus
 4.4Judeans in Yāhūdu and Its Surroundings
5Judeans in the Murašû Archive
  5.1.1 The Murašû Archive
  5.1.2 Judeans in the Murašû Archive
  5.1.3 Seal Impressions
 5.2Yadi-Yāma and Pili-Yāma – Entrepreneurs or Representatives?
  5.2.1 Business Partners of the Murašûs?
  5.2.2 Yadi-Yāma and the Village of Bīt-Gērāya
  5.2.3 Pili-Yāma’s Transactions
  5.2.4 Yāhû-natan, Son of Yadi-Yāma
  5.2.5 Representatives of a Community of Farmers
 5.3Judean Landholders and the Land-for-Service Sector
  5.3.1 General Features
  5.3.2 Haṭru of the Sēpirusṭrus in the Murašû Archiveṭru of the Sēpirus (of the Troops)ṭrus and High-Ranking Sēpirus
  5.3.3 Large-Scale Landholding: Rahīm-il and His Family
  5.3.4 Other Judean Landholders
  5.3.5 Patterns of Judean Landholding
 5.4Judean Officials
 5.5Judean Witnesses
 5.6Socio-Economic Status
  5.6.1 The Framework of the Archive: The Land-for-Service Sector
  5.6.2 Taxation and Service Obligations
  5.6.3 Dependency and Freedom
  5.7.1 Seal Use
  5.7.2 Naming Practices
  5.7.3 Conclusion
6Judeans Outside the Main Archives
 6.3Royal Lands and the Land-for-Service Sector
 6.4Miscellaneous Texts
 6.5Seals of Exiles
7The Neirabian Community in Babylonia
 7.1Neirab of Syria and Neirab of Babylonia
 7.2The Archive and Its Socio-Economic Context
  7.2.1 The Protagonists of the Texts
  7.2.2 Promissory Notes for Barley
  7.2.3 Promissory Notes for Silver
  7.2.4 Diverse Documents
 8.1Sources – The Perspective of Babylonian Scribes
 8.2Resettlement and Organisation of Deportees
 8.3Social and Economic Aspects of Life in Babylonia
 8.6Identity and Integration
Research Data
Bibliographical Abbreviations
All interested in the history of Judaism, social history of the ancient Near East, and migration studies, including scholars in Biblical studies and Assyriology.
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