It is unfortunate that the Babyloniaca has not survived intact, but
archaeologists, biblical and classical scholars deal with fragmentary
inscriptional, manuscript or literary sources all the time, and it is not necessary to
possess an entire original text to draw reasoned inferences.
I find the image of an unpaid Jewish scribe wandering through the smoke
and ashes of a fallen city to record the names of foreign functionaries
somewhat unconvincing, but this may be a subjective evaluation. The name lists
we see in Jer. 39 appear to be the product of a functioning bureaucracy
rather than what you suggest, and the Babylonian Chronicle style points to the
records of the victorious party. The Assyrian examples you mention also
come victorious parties with functioning bureaucracies.
The temple at Babylon had survived essentially intact from ancient times
into the Hellenistic period, and Berossus had a trove of detailed ancient
records at hand dating back to the period under consideration, moreso than
even the Jews in the immediate aftermath of the tragic fall of Jerusalem and
its temple. So why must we assume that an account of the Babylonian sack of
Jerusalem, written in Babylonian Chronicles historical style, was written
using Jewish rather than Babylonian sources on these events?
And what about Yehoyakhin and Amel-Merduk? Also in Berossus?
And what about Nebuzaradan rav hattabahim = Nabu-zer-iddin rab
nuhatimmu? Also in Berossus.
And who knows better than you how fragmentary what we have of Babyloniaca
is, and how it is known only in secondary and tertiary sources dating as
late as the Middle Ages.
Your claim "I see no reason why they could not
have found X there" which is a claim used extensively in your book is not
very convincing. Find me an autograph copy of Babylonaica and we'll be
able to start arguing about what is in it and what is not. Hold your use
of Berossus to the same evidentiary standards some would hold the Bible.
As for Bel-etir, I don't know how minor an official he was. (My copy of
Glassner is in the office and the Delitzsch I have here at home just
gives hatchmarks for his title (Bel-etir //// Babili). But He was
important enough to be subject of two literary
texts - a pseudoautobiography and an incantation (see SAA III no. 29, 30).
"Of what possible interest would it have been to a non-Babylonian that
etc.?" Why not? If I were a Judaen going into captivity I might be
interested knowing the name of the man who just sent me packing and had
just burnt my city and temple. I might especially be interested in his
identity were I a literate man who would write an account of the
And don't the Mesopotamian annals name minor characters among
their enemies? I'm thinking of, at the moment Nabu-gata-isbat, the
sinmagir of Shamash-shum-sinmagir of Shamash-shum-<WBR>ukin whom Assurbanipa
the skull of Nabu-bel-shumati. So if Assurbanipal would care about
Shamash-shum-Shamash-shum-<WBR>ukin's Sinmagir, why should a Judean scribe n
in a man of the same rank in the Babylonian army?
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