Sennacherib at the Gates of Jerusalem

Story, History and Historiography


Sennacherib and his ill-fated siege of Jerusalem fascinated the ancient world. Twelve scholars—in Hebrew Bible, Assyriology, archaeology, Egyptology, Classics, Aramaic, Rabbinic and Christian literatures—examine how and why the Sennacherib story was told and re-told in more than a dozen cultures for over a thousand years. From Akkadian to Arabic, stories and legends about Sennacherib became the first vernacular tales of the imperial world. These essays address outstanding historical issues of the campaign and the sources, and press on to expose the stories’ theological and cultural roles in inner-cultural dialogues, ethnic origin stories, and morality tales. This book is the first of its kind for readers seeking out historical and historiographic bridges between the ancient and late antique worlds. "This work will undoubtedly serve as an important resource on the Assyrian attack on Jerusalem in 701..." Song-Mi Suzie Park, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Horizons in Biblical Theology
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Biographical Note

Isaac Kalimi, Ph.D. (1990), Gutenberg Forschungsprofessor, Hebräische Bibel und Geschichte Israels, Evng.-Theologische Fakultät, Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, Deutschland. He has published numerous books and articles in English, German and Hebrew, including Das Chronikbuch und seine Chronik: Zur Entstehung und Rezeption eines biblischen Buches (Herder 2013) and The Reshaping of Ancient Israelite History in Chronicles (Eisenbrauns, 2005, reprinted 2012). Seth Richardson Ph.D. (Columbia University, 2002) is the Managing Editor of the Journal of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Texts from the Late Old Babylonian Period (ASOR, 2010), editor of Rebellions and Peripheries in the Cuneiform World (AOS, 2010), and has published more than two dozen scholarly articles on the political and intellectual history of the ancient Near East.

Review Quote

"this collection is in its own way [...] an anthology of modern scholarly 'memory' [of the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib]." – Philip Davies, University of Sheffield, in: The Expository Times 126 (11)

Table of contents

1. Isaac Kalimi & Seth Richardson Sennacherib at the Gates of Jerusalem (701 B.C.E.): Story, History and Historiography: An Introduction Part One: "I will defend this City to Save It" 2. Isaac Kalimi Sennacherib’s Campaign to Judah: The Chronicler’s View Compared with his ‘Biblical’ Sources 3. Mordechai Cogan Cross-examining the Assyrian Witnesses to Sennacherib’s Third Campaign: Assessing the Limits of Historical Reconstruction 4. David Ussishkin Sennacherib’s Campaign to Judah: The Archaeological Perspective with an Emphasis on Lachish and Jerusalem 5. Jeremy Pope Beyond the Broken Reed: Kushite Intervention and the Limits of l’histoire événementielle Part Two: "The Weapon of Aššur" 6. Eckart Frahm Family Matters: Psychohistorical Reflections on Sennacherib and His Times 7. Mario Fales The Road to Judah: 701 B.C.E. in the Context of Sennacherib’s Political-Military Strategy 8. Peter Dubovský Sennacherib’s Invasion of the Levant through the Eyes of Assyrian Intelligence Services Part Three: Nachleben 9. Tawny Holm Memories of Sennacherib in Aramaic Tradition 10. Gerbern S. Oegema Sennacherib’s Campaign and its Reception in the Time of the Second Temple 11. Rivka Ulmer Sennacherib in Midrashic and Related Literature: Inscribing History in Midrash 12. Joseph Verheyden The Devil in Person, The Devil in Disguise: Looking for King Sennacherib in Early Christian Literature 13. Seth Richardson The First ‘World Event’: Sennacherib at Jerusalem


Scholars, students and general readers in ancient history, comparative literature, and the cultures of the ancient Near East.