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Re: [ANE-2] Re: Origins of the Book of Kings

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  • RUSSELLGMIRKIN@aol.com
    Tory, I do not think that your theory that the entirety of this fragment is of Greek origin is correct, but rather that Berossus drew on both Greek and
    Message 1 of 67 , Jul 2, 2009
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      Tory,

      I do not think that your theory that the entirety of this fragment is of
      Greek origin is correct, but rather that Berossus drew on both Greek and
      cuneiform sources here. A Greek literary source for some of this material is
      obvious for the tradition relating to the city of Tarsus: the creation of a
      temple to Hercules with brass pillars recording his great deeds, the
      etiology of Tarsus as an Assyrian foundation. There is clearly some confusion
      between these alleged pillars of Hercules at Tarsus and identical brass
      pillars containing his great deeds in the temple of Hercules at Tartessos /
      Gadira at the Straits of Gibraltar (see Strabo).

      But once this offending material is removed, the remainder conforms more
      closely to Assyrian records than your posting suggests. In the main account
      of the cilician campaign, we read that Sennacherib "invaded the land of the
      Cilicians" and that he "left a statue of himself in the battlefield [not at
      Tarsus] and ordered that an account of his courage and heroic deeds be
      inscribed in Chaldean script for future generations." This portion before the
      digression on Tarsus agrees well with Assyrian accounts. Really the only
      added detail we have is the presence of Greeks in Cilicia - Abydenus FGrH
      685 F5 mentions Greek warships.

      Now let us consider Berossus' source for Sennacherib's Cilician campaign.
      The only Greek tradition about Sennacherib outside of Berossus that I
      recall is an account of his campaign against Egypt at Herodotus, Histories
      2.141, and this source was Egyptian, not Greek, presumably (as elsewhere) from
      written sources translated (paraphrased) by Egyptian priests. So I think we
      can discount your fanciful notion that "He [Berossus] knew something of
      this campaign most probably from floating Greek traditions since what 'he
      reports' clearly did not come from an Assyrian text..." Kindly provide some
      sort of evidence for these "floating Greek traditions" you invoke, how they
      arrived at Babylon, and how they managed to convey so much accurate
      information about an obscure Assyrian campaign through a period of 400 years.

      Leaving that theory aside, we should instead consider the possibility that
      Sennacherib's Cilician campaign derived from a cuneiform source. Edgecomb,
      you and I are all in agreement that Berossus did not comb through the
      ruins of Nineveh. The research methods of Berossus are well known: he pored
      through the extensive library at Babylon, where he served as priest and had
      access to the many texts surviving there. So I think it safe to say that he
      found an account of Sennacherib's campaign in the temple library. Really,
      the only question is whether this was his usual source, the Babylonian
      Chronicles, or some other literary source. Now the immediately preceding
      account of the three year reign of Belibos (Bel-ibni) is taken almost word for
      word from the Babylonian Chronicles, which would favor a continued reliance
      on the same source. This is an economical solution. The Babylonian
      Chronicles recorded the reigns of both Babylonian and Assyrian kings, depending
      on who ruled Babylonia at the time. But since Sennacherib did not rule over
      Babylonia during the entirety of his reign, the Babylonian Chronicle
      reported his reign twice, first for 704-703 CE and then for 688-681 BCE, with
      the Cilician campaign in the interval when Babylonia was under local rule.
      So this favors a different cuneiform source for the reign of Sennacherib
      preserved in the temple library, and ultimately deriving from Assyrian records
      which likely had once existed in inscriptional form. The role of the
      Ionians in the Cilician affair is an important detail preserved only here;
      compare Sargon's interactions with the adventurer Yamani (whose name is cognate
      with Yavan/Ionian) only a few years earlier. Note that Berossus also
      reported on Sennacherib's campaign against Jerusalem in 701 BCE (FGrH 680 F7a =
      Josephus, Antiquities 10.20) which also fell outside the period of
      Sennacherib's reign covered by the Babylonian chronicle, so it seems certain that
      Berossus drew on an additional source or sources deriving from Assyrian
      records for Sennacherib's reign - unless you want to also ascribe this episode
      in Berossus to "floating Greek traditions."

      Regarding your statement that "the biblical authors knew this period of
      Assyrian history in more vivid detail than did Berossus (e.g., they knew the
      titles held by Neo-Assyrian magnates; turtanu, rab-saqe, rab-sa-eris)."

      (1) How do you reconcile your statement about what detail Berossus did or
      did not contain with your earlier statement that his "work is completely
      lost"?
      (2) Would you please provide evidence that the biblical authors understood
      these as Assyrian titles rather than misunderstood them as proper names?

      Best regards,
      Russell Gmirkin

      Dear Russell,

      I think it is obvious by reading the fragments attributed to the
      Babyloniaca of Berossus that he did not know nor publish _any_ inscription of
      Sennacherib for the following details: the Assyrian king hastened to Cilicia in
      person at the head of his army; he defeated Greeks/Ionians whose invasion of
      Cilicia was the reason for his hurried march; he built a city after the
      model of Babylon; he gave the city the name Tarsus (Tharsin); he built a
      "temple of Sandes who is Heracles"; and before leaving the region he had a
      memorial statue of himself set up on the battle field. None of this is found in
      the inscriptions of Sennacherib.

      First, contrary to Berossus Sennacherib did not march to Cilicia. He sent
      a general against the prefect of Illubru, Kirua, who was charged with
      inciting the people of Hilakku (Cilicia) to revolt in 696. Second, there were no
      Greeks/Ionians involved. Third, he already calls the city of Tarus Tarus
      in his inscription (URU Tar-zi/Ta-ar-First, contrary to Berossus Sennacherib
      did not march to Cilicia. He sent a general against the prefect of Illubru,
      Kirua, who was charged with inciting the people of Hilakku (Cilicia) to
      revolt in 696. Second, there were no Greeks/Ionians involved. Third, he
      already calls the city of Tarus Tarus in his inscription (URU Tar-zi/Ta-ar-<WBR>

      The only specific detail about the Cilician campaign in Berossus that
      seems to agree with the cuneiform record is the mention of a memorial stela
      erected after the conclusion of the war, but Berossus gets his facts wrong
      again. He has it that the stela was set up in Tarsus but Sennacherib plainly
      states that it was put in Illubru after he had Kirua flayed in Nineveh.

      Furthermore, Kevin P. Edgecomb is correct that Berossus could not possibly
      have seen Sennacherib'Furthermore, Kevin P. Edgecomb is correct that
      Berossus could not possibly have seen Sennacherib'<WBR>s inscriptions in Nineveh.
      But one has to assume that with regards to the Cilician campaign whatever
      Sennacherib ordered inscribed on a provincial stela left in Illubru (not
      Tarsus) the account would not have

      So what S. M. Burstein writes in SANE 1/5 (1978), p. 24, n. 79, that "If
      the parenthetical 'so he reports' in book three section 2a and 'he said' in
      2b derive from Berossus' original account, then he apparently claimed to be
      citing a text of Sennacherib as his source for this campaign," is just
      total nonsense when one looks at the facts. Berossus didn't obtain any of his
      information about the episode of 696 from an authentic contemporary
      cuneiform record of the Assyrian campaign. He knew something of this campaign most
      probably from floating Greek traditions since what "he reports" clearly
      did not come from an Assyrian text Sennacherib did not leave in Tarsus.

      I therefore must disagree with you that Berossus "drew upon," as you say,
      a cuneiform source in this particular case. This and other examples show
      that he didn't know 9th-7th century Assyrian history very well, even at the
      very point when Assyria was dominating Babylonia (e.g., Sennacherib was not
      succeeded by a brother which is what Berossus reports in book three). The
      biblical authors knew this period of Assyrian history in more vivid detail
      than did Berossus (e.g., they knew the titles held by Neo-Assyrian magnates;
      turtanu, rab-saqe, rab-sa-eris)I therefore must disagree with you that
      Berossus "drew upon," as you say, a cuneiform source in this particular case.
      This and other examples show that he didn't know 9th-7th century Assyrian his

      Regards,
      Tory Thorpe
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    • RUSSELLGMIRKIN@aol.com
      The episodes you mention predate the Babylonian Chronicles and do not involve the Mesopotamian empires. Russell Gmirkin There may be historical material in
      Message 67 of 67 , Jul 17, 2009
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        The episodes you mention predate the Babylonian Chronicles and do not
        involve the Mesopotamian empires.

        Russell Gmirkin

        There may be historical material in Kings not derived from the Babylonian
        chronicles.

        Ahab was described as going to fight the King of Aram in Ramath Gilead
        east of the Jordan River (Ramath Gilead was supposed to be the birthplace of
        Elijah the Tishbite). This would have been near the land of the Moabites.
        Ahab was killed in the battle.

        The Moabite stela claimed Mesha killed the son of Omri and took land from
        Israel. Mesha of Moab may have sided with Aram at Ramath Gilead and used
        the Aramaen victory to temporarily displace Israel as claimed in his stela.

        2Kings 1:1 After Ahab's death, Moab rebelled against Israel.

        In Kings 3 Israel claimed Mesha and Moab who used to be subservient had
        rebelled and afterward Israel entered Moab with a large force attacking from
        the direction of Edom to the south instead of Aram to the north put down
        the rebellion.

        Was this history in Kings II not from Berossus?

        David Q. Hall




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