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Assurbanipal and the Bible

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  • victor avigdor hurowitz
    Dear ANE colleagues and friends, On Sunday I will be heading for Paris and the Rencontre assyriologique so will be out of ANE range for a week or so. But
    Message 1 of 15 , Jul 3, 2009
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      Dear ANE colleagues and friends,
      On Sunday I will be heading for Paris and the Rencontre assyriologique so
      will be out of ANE range for a week or so. But before taking off, and
      before shutting down shop for Shabbat I'd like to share a thought or two
      from my recent work which may be relevant to the issues debated so
      passionately on ANE-2 over the past week if not since the list's inception
      over a decade a go.

      I am presently studying the so-called Rassam Prism of Assurbanipal, a
      1302 line text known since the second half of the 19th century and
      major source for Assurbanipal's career. As I read
      it and work on it (I'm doing a literary analysis) I can't help thinking of
      what it means or could mean for biblical studies and biblists.
      First of all, apart from characters and places known from the Bible, there
      are all sorts of
      "parallels", especially in the account of Asb's campaign against the
      Arabs, his ninth girru. The parallels are in treaty language and how ideas
      of treaties or loyalty oaths and
      the language associated with them are identical to stuff we find in the
      Book of Deuteronomy and DTR and elsewhere as well. But there are various
      other "parallels" elsewhere and related to other topics. When I encounter
      things like this, many of them well known to ANE scholars, I can't help
      but conclude that the Bible or, rather parts of it, are from the same
      world as this text, and hardly some fabrication of a much later period. At
      the same time I feel that were assyriologists to be more familiar with
      Biblical Hebrew and style they'd have a finer literary appreciation of
      their documents (but that's for another harrangue).

      But more important, it is well known and quite obvious that the Rassam
      Prism with all its detailed descriptions would not meet the standard of
      accurate history demanded of the Bible. Chronology has been thrown out the
      window as we know by comparing the numbering of campaigns in this text
      with the same campaigns in parallel texts, some of which are the source of
      this one. The campaigns are ordered geographically and chronology would be
      a detriment to the message of the author. Along with the abandoment of
      strict chronolgy events merge into each other and "cause and
      effect" become distorted.

      Also, it is well known that
      this text, no less than many other Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions is an
      "ideological" composition meant to aggrandize and idealize the divinely
      selected and quasi divine king of Assyria who can do no wrong, and if he
      did he won't write about it. And, getting back to the early topic, lots
      of stuff is discussed in the light of treaty violation or observance.
      In every possible this text suffers from the problems detected in the
      Bible.

      But then I ask, suppose we had only this text and were unaware of its
      parallels and its precedents and we didn't understand the assyrian
      royal ideology which informs it? How would an historian read it? Would not
      he
      be like Olmstead and turn it into history by turning poetry into prose and
      paraphrase? Or would he not be like John Bright or someone of a
      previous generation, pre-sea change and minimalist vs. maximalist, writes
      Biblical history by simply recounting events and trying to make a
      comprimise if he found an inconsistency or contradiction? Maybe he'd be a
      bit more sophisticated, maybe a bit
      less, but one thing is absolutely certain - no sane person would throw the
      prism away or ignore its historical content and say "it's tendentious and
      therefore worthless". Assyriologist have the advantage of having access to
      parallel texts, to other versions of events to help determine what is
      credible and
      what is not, but suppose they didn't? Wouldn't it be foolish to abandon
      history writing and throw away the sources or cast aspersions on them.

      So
      why hold the Bible to a higher standard. I fully admit that the Bible is
      different in many, many aspects from our Assyrian writings and proper
      ways of studying it must be found, or as my late mentor Hayim Tadmor might
      have said, deciphering its code. But just as only a fool would throw away
      the Rassam Prism only a fool would shut the Bible. The Bible may be an
      egg which needs unscrambling, but that only means that the historians task
      in picking out the information from the presentation, is all the more
      difficult, but our lack of ability should not prejudice our estimation of
      the document itself.

      And on those thoughts I beg your forgiveness for my letting of steam and
      venting a bit of spleen, wish my colleagues in Mat AmurriKI a eZEN.HUL on
      the 4th, of the seventh and hope to see some of you in Paris (or in
      Jerusalem in August).
      Shabbat shalom,
      Victor Hurowitz
      BGU
    • Robert M Whiting
      I think you re missing the point, Victor. If the Rassam prism was all we knew of Assurbanipal, then we would account him the same degree of credibility that
      Message 2 of 15 , Jul 3, 2009
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        I think you're missing the point, Victor. If the Rassam prism was all we
        knew of Assurbanipal, then we would account him the same degree of
        credibility that we give to the Arthurian legends, Homer's account of the
        Trojan War, Plato's account of Atlantis, large parts of the Hebrew Bible,
        and other uncorroborated evidence of antiquity. No one says that these
        things need be discarded out of hand. They are certainly subject to study
        as witnesses of the past and to validation through text-critical methods
        and internal consistency. But an uncorroborated witness is still testis
        unus and not the kind of thing to bet the farm on.

        It is only the fact that we have multiple sources, contemporary with his
        lifetime, that makes Assurbanipal a three-dimensional character. Without
        these, the Rassam prism would just be a nice story about someone who may
        or may not have actually existed, but we still wouldn't ignore it.

        Bob Whiting
        whiting@...

        On Fri, 3 Jul 2009, victor avigdor hurowitz wrote:

        > Dear ANE colleagues and friends,
        > On Sunday I will be heading for Paris and the Rencontre assyriologique so
        > will be out of ANE range for a week or so. But before taking off, and
        > before shutting down shop for Shabbat I'd like to share a thought or two
        > from my recent work which may be relevant to the issues debated so
        > passionately on ANE-2 over the past week if not since the list's inception
        > over a decade a go.
        >
        > I am presently studying the so-called Rassam Prism of Assurbanipal, a
        > 1302 line text known since the second half of the 19th century and
        > major source for Assurbanipal's career. As I read
        > it and work on it (I'm doing a literary analysis) I can't help thinking of
        > what it means or could mean for biblical studies and biblists.
        > First of all, apart from characters and places known from the Bible, there
        > are all sorts of
        > "parallels", especially in the account of Asb's campaign against the
        > Arabs, his ninth girru. The parallels are in treaty language and how ideas
        > of treaties or loyalty oaths and
        > the language associated with them are identical to stuff we find in the
        > Book of Deuteronomy and DTR and elsewhere as well. But there are various
        > other "parallels" elsewhere and related to other topics. When I encounter
        > things like this, many of them well known to ANE scholars, I can't help
        > but conclude that the Bible or, rather parts of it, are from the same
        > world as this text, and hardly some fabrication of a much later period. At
        > the same time I feel that were assyriologists to be more familiar with
        > Biblical Hebrew and style they'd have a finer literary appreciation of
        > their documents (but that's for another harrangue).
        >
        > But more important, it is well known and quite obvious that the Rassam
        > Prism with all its detailed descriptions would not meet the standard of
        > accurate history demanded of the Bible. Chronology has been thrown out the
        > window as we know by comparing the numbering of campaigns in this text
        > with the same campaigns in parallel texts, some of which are the source of
        > this one. The campaigns are ordered geographically and chronology would be
        > a detriment to the message of the author. Along with the abandoment of
        > strict chronolgy events merge into each other and "cause and
        > effect" become distorted.
        >
        > Also, it is well known that
        > this text, no less than many other Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions is an
        > "ideological" composition meant to aggrandize and idealize the divinely
        > selected and quasi divine king of Assyria who can do no wrong, and if he
        > did he won't write about it. And, getting back to the early topic, lots
        > of stuff is discussed in the light of treaty violation or observance.
        > In every possible this text suffers from the problems detected in the
        > Bible.
        >
        > But then I ask, suppose we had only this text and were unaware of its
        > parallels and its precedents and we didn't understand the assyrian
        > royal ideology which informs it? How would an historian read it? Would not
        > he
        > be like Olmstead and turn it into history by turning poetry into prose and
        > paraphrase? Or would he not be like John Bright or someone of a
        > previous generation, pre-sea change and minimalist vs. maximalist, writes
        > Biblical history by simply recounting events and trying to make a
        > comprimise if he found an inconsistency or contradiction? Maybe he'd be a
        > bit more sophisticated, maybe a bit
        > less, but one thing is absolutely certain - no sane person would throw the
        > prism away or ignore its historical content and say "it's tendentious and
        > therefore worthless". Assyriologist have the advantage of having access to
        > parallel texts, to other versions of events to help determine what is
        > credible and
        > what is not, but suppose they didn't? Wouldn't it be foolish to abandon
        > history writing and throw away the sources or cast aspersions on them.
        >
        > So
        > why hold the Bible to a higher standard. I fully admit that the Bible is
        > different in many, many aspects from our Assyrian writings and proper
        > ways of studying it must be found, or as my late mentor Hayim Tadmor might
        > have said, deciphering its code. But just as only a fool would throw away
        > the Rassam Prism only a fool would shut the Bible. The Bible may be an
        > egg which needs unscrambling, but that only means that the historians task
        > in picking out the information from the presentation, is all the more
        > difficult, but our lack of ability should not prejudice our estimation of
        > the document itself.
        >
        > And on those thoughts I beg your forgiveness for my letting of steam and
        > venting a bit of spleen, wish my colleagues in Mat AmurriKI a eZEN.HUL on
        > the 4th, of the seventh and hope to see some of you in Paris (or in
        > Jerusalem in August).
        > Shabbat shalom,
        > Victor Hurowitz
        > BGU
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
      • victor avigdor hurowitz
        Robert, I don t think I m missing the point. My point is your last sentence, i.e. were our only source the Rassam Prism we would not ignore it. I add that
        Message 3 of 15 , Jul 3, 2009
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          Robert,
          I don't think I'm missing the point. My point is your last sentence,
          i.e. were our only source the Rassam Prism we would not ignore it. I add
          that anyone who would ignore it would be foolish.

          I might add as well that my
          feeling is that it is close to the Bible in so many things, and because
          there are other sources validating aspects of the Prism we should be ill
          inclined to dismiss out of hand the Bible which resembles it. The Bible
          contains the "same" type of literature as the Rasam Prism so if I use the
          Rassam Prism for history I should be able to use parts of the Bible in the
          same way (add as many caveats and reservations as you find necesary, but I
          hope yuo get my point)
          See you in Paris? Victor Hurowitz
          BGU



          On Fri, 3 Jul 2009, Robert M Whiting wrote:

          > I think you're missing the point, Victor. If the Rassam prism was all we
          > knew of Assurbanipal, then we would account him the same degree of
          > credibility that we give to the Arthurian legends, Homer's account of the
          > Trojan War, Plato's account of Atlantis, large parts of the Hebrew Bible,
          > and other uncorroborated evidence of antiquity. No one says that these
          > things need be discarded out of hand. They are certainly subject to study
          > as witnesses of the past and to validation through text-critical methods
          > and internal consistency. But an uncorroborated witness is still testis
          > unus and not the kind of thing to bet the farm on.
          >
          > It is only the fact that we have multiple sources, contemporary with his
          > lifetime, that makes Assurbanipal a three-dimensional character. Without
          > these, the Rassam prism would just be a nice story about someone who may
          > or may not have actually existed, but we still wouldn't ignore it.
          >
          > Bob Whiting
          > whiting@...
          >
          > On Fri, 3 Jul 2009, victor avigdor hurowitz wrote:
          >
          > > Dear ANE colleagues and friends,
          > > On Sunday I will be heading for Paris and the Rencontre assyriologique so
          > > will be out of ANE range for a week or so. But before taking off, and
          > > before shutting down shop for Shabbat I'd like to share a thought or two
          > > from my recent work which may be relevant to the issues debated so
          > > passionately on ANE-2 over the past week if not since the list's inception
          > > over a decade a go.
          > >
          > > I am presently studying the so-called Rassam Prism of Assurbanipal, a
          > > 1302 line text known since the second half of the 19th century and
          > > major source for Assurbanipal's career. As I read
          > > it and work on it (I'm doing a literary analysis) I can't help thinking of
          > > what it means or could mean for biblical studies and biblists.
          > > First of all, apart from characters and places known from the Bible, there
          > > are all sorts of
          > > "parallels", especially in the account of Asb's campaign against the
          > > Arabs, his ninth girru. The parallels are in treaty language and how ideas
          > > of treaties or loyalty oaths and
          > > the language associated with them are identical to stuff we find in the
          > > Book of Deuteronomy and DTR and elsewhere as well. But there are various
          > > other "parallels" elsewhere and related to other topics. When I encounter
          > > things like this, many of them well known to ANE scholars, I can't help
          > > but conclude that the Bible or, rather parts of it, are from the same
          > > world as this text, and hardly some fabrication of a much later period. At
          > > the same time I feel that were assyriologists to be more familiar with
          > > Biblical Hebrew and style they'd have a finer literary appreciation of
          > > their documents (but that's for another harrangue).
          > >
          > > But more important, it is well known and quite obvious that the Rassam
          > > Prism with all its detailed descriptions would not meet the standard of
          > > accurate history demanded of the Bible. Chronology has been thrown out the
          > > window as we know by comparing the numbering of campaigns in this text
          > > with the same campaigns in parallel texts, some of which are the source of
          > > this one. The campaigns are ordered geographically and chronology would be
          > > a detriment to the message of the author. Along with the abandoment of
          > > strict chronolgy events merge into each other and "cause and
          > > effect" become distorted.
          > >
          > > Also, it is well known that
          > > this text, no less than many other Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions is an
          > > "ideological" composition meant to aggrandize and idealize the divinely
          > > selected and quasi divine king of Assyria who can do no wrong, and if he
          > > did he won't write about it. And, getting back to the early topic, lots
          > > of stuff is discussed in the light of treaty violation or observance.
          > > In every possible this text suffers from the problems detected in the
          > > Bible.
          > >
          > > But then I ask, suppose we had only this text and were unaware of its
          > > parallels and its precedents and we didn't understand the assyrian
          > > royal ideology which informs it? How would an historian read it? Would not
          > > he
          > > be like Olmstead and turn it into history by turning poetry into prose and
          > > paraphrase? Or would he not be like John Bright or someone of a
          > > previous generation, pre-sea change and minimalist vs. maximalist, writes
          > > Biblical history by simply recounting events and trying to make a
          > > comprimise if he found an inconsistency or contradiction? Maybe he'd be a
          > > bit more sophisticated, maybe a bit
          > > less, but one thing is absolutely certain - no sane person would throw the
          > > prism away or ignore its historical content and say "it's tendentious and
          > > therefore worthless". Assyriologist have the advantage of having access to
          > > parallel texts, to other versions of events to help determine what is
          > > credible and
          > > what is not, but suppose they didn't? Wouldn't it be foolish to abandon
          > > history writing and throw away the sources or cast aspersions on them.
          > >
          > > So
          > > why hold the Bible to a higher standard. I fully admit that the Bible is
          > > different in many, many aspects from our Assyrian writings and proper
          > > ways of studying it must be found, or as my late mentor Hayim Tadmor might
          > > have said, deciphering its code. But just as only a fool would throw away
          > > the Rassam Prism only a fool would shut the Bible. The Bible may be an
          > > egg which needs unscrambling, but that only means that the historians task
          > > in picking out the information from the presentation, is all the more
          > > difficult, but our lack of ability should not prejudice our estimation of
          > > the document itself.
          > >
          > > And on those thoughts I beg your forgiveness for my letting of steam and
          > > venting a bit of spleen, wish my colleagues in Mat AmurriKI a eZEN.HUL on
          > > the 4th, of the seventh and hope to see some of you in Paris (or in
          > > Jerusalem in August).
          > > Shabbat shalom,
          > > Victor Hurowitz
          > > BGU
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > ------------------------------------
          > >
          > > Yahoo! Groups Links
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
        • Trudy Kawami
          If I might interject a visual parallel - We have lots of images of Assurbanipal created in his lifetime. But do they show us what he looked like? No, they show
          Message 4 of 15 , Jul 3, 2009
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            If I might interject a visual parallel -

            We have lots of images of Assurbanipal created in his lifetime. But do
            they show us what he looked like? No, they show us what he wanted to
            look like. Just as stone reliefs are not photographs, inscriptions
            (whether on clay or stone or whatever) are not video grabs of what
            happened. Both the reliefs and the inscriptions are artifacts of human
            agency and thus need to be considered as much as possible in the context
            of their time. In the visual arts there is never just one level of
            meaning, and I am sure that it is the same for literary arts.



            When we consider writings or images that are clearly copies of the
            "originals," we are then looking through at least 3 filters - those of
            our 21 century selves, those of the copier(s)/editor/redactor and those
            of the time at which the "original" was created. In the visual arts it
            is like trying to identify the regional styles of Roman ms drawings on
            the basis of their later versions in Romanesque & Gothic mss. We don't
            throw out the medieval mss but we must be very careful in what we
            assume.

            Trudy Kawami



            ________________________________

            From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
            Robert M Whiting
            Sent: Friday, July 03, 2009 11:04 AM
            To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Assurbanipal and the Bible

            I think you're missing the point, Victor. If the Rassam prism was all we

            knew of Assurbanipal, then we would account him the same degree of
            credibility that we give to the Arthurian legends, Homer's account of
            the
            Trojan War, Plato's account of Atlantis, large parts of the Hebrew
            Bible,
            and other uncorroborated evidence of antiquity. No one says that these
            things need be discarded out of hand. They are certainly subject to
            study
            as witnesses of the past and to validation through text-critical methods

            and internal consistency. But an uncorroborated witness is still testis
            unus and not the kind of thing to bet the farm on.

            It is only the fact that we have multiple sources, contemporary with his

            lifetime, that makes Assurbanipal a three-dimensional character. Without

            these, the Rassam prism would just be a nice story about someone who may

            or may not have actually existed, but we still wouldn't ignore it.

            Bob Whiting
            whiting@... <mailto:whiting%40cc.helsinki.fi>

            On Fri, 3 Jul 2009, victor avigdor hurowitz wrote:

            > Dear ANE colleagues and friends,
            > On Sunday I will be heading for Paris and the Rencontre assyriologique
            so
            > will be out of ANE range for a week or so. But before taking off, and
            > before shutting down shop for Shabbat I'd like to share a thought or
            two
            > from my recent work which may be relevant to the issues debated so
            > passionately on ANE-2 over the past week if not since the list's
            inception
            > over a decade a go.
            >
            > I am presently studying the so-called Rassam Prism of Assurbanipal, a
            > 1302 line text known since the second half of the 19th century and
            > major source for Assurbanipal's career. As I read
            > it and work on it (I'm doing a literary analysis) I can't help
            thinking of
            > what it means or could mean for biblical studies and biblists.
            > First of all, apart from characters and places known from the Bible,
            there
            > are all sorts of
            > "parallels", especially in the account of Asb's campaign against the
            > Arabs, his ninth girru. The parallels are in treaty language and how
            ideas
            > of treaties or loyalty oaths and
            > the language associated with them are identical to stuff we find in
            the
            > Book of Deuteronomy and DTR and elsewhere as well. But there are
            various
            > other "parallels" elsewhere and related to other topics. When I
            encounter
            > things like this, many of them well known to ANE scholars, I can't
            help
            > but conclude that the Bible or, rather parts of it, are from the same
            > world as this text, and hardly some fabrication of a much later
            period. At
            > the same time I feel that were assyriologists to be more familiar with
            > Biblical Hebrew and style they'd have a finer literary appreciation of
            > their documents (but that's for another harrangue).
            >
            > But more important, it is well known and quite obvious that the Rassam
            > Prism with all its detailed descriptions would not meet the standard
            of
            > accurate history demanded of the Bible. Chronology has been thrown out
            the
            > window as we know by comparing the numbering of campaigns in this text
            > with the same campaigns in parallel texts, some of which are the
            source of
            > this one. The campaigns are ordered geographically and chronology
            would be
            > a detriment to the message of the author. Along with the abandoment of
            > strict chronolgy events merge into each other and "cause and
            > effect" become distorted.
            >
            > Also, it is well known that
            > this text, no less than many other Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions is
            an
            > "ideological" composition meant to aggrandize and idealize the
            divinely
            > selected and quasi divine king of Assyria who can do no wrong, and if
            he
            > did he won't write about it. And, getting back to the early topic,
            lots
            > of stuff is discussed in the light of treaty violation or observance.
            > In every possible this text suffers from the problems detected in the
            > Bible.
            >
            > But then I ask, suppose we had only this text and were unaware of its
            > parallels and its precedents and we didn't understand the assyrian
            > royal ideology which informs it? How would an historian read it? Would
            not
            > he
            > be like Olmstead and turn it into history by turning poetry into prose
            and
            > paraphrase? Or would he not be like John Bright or someone of a
            > previous generation, pre-sea change and minimalist vs. maximalist,
            writes
            > Biblical history by simply recounting events and trying to make a
            > comprimise if he found an inconsistency or contradiction? Maybe he'd
            be a
            > bit more sophisticated, maybe a bit
            > less, but one thing is absolutely certain - no sane person would throw
            the
            > prism away or ignore its historical content and say "it's tendentious
            and
            > therefore worthless". Assyriologist have the advantage of having
            access to
            > parallel texts, to other versions of events to help determine what is
            > credible and
            > what is not, but suppose they didn't? Wouldn't it be foolish to
            abandon
            > history writing and throw away the sources or cast aspersions on them.
            >
            > So
            > why hold the Bible to a higher standard. I fully admit that the Bible
            is
            > different in many, many aspects from our Assyrian writings and proper
            > ways of studying it must be found, or as my late mentor Hayim Tadmor
            might
            > have said, deciphering its code. But just as only a fool would throw
            away
            > the Rassam Prism only a fool would shut the Bible. The Bible may be an
            > egg which needs unscrambling, but that only means that the historians
            task
            > in picking out the information from the presentation, is all the more
            > difficult, but our lack of ability should not prejudice our estimation
            of
            > the document itself.
            >
            > And on those thoughts I beg your forgiveness for my letting of steam
            and
            > venting a bit of spleen, wish my colleagues in Mat AmurriKI a eZEN.HUL
            on
            > the 4th, of the seventh and hope to see some of you in Paris (or in
            > Jerusalem in August).
            > Shabbat shalom,
            > Victor Hurowitz
            > BGU
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > ------------------------------------
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Niels Peter Lemche
            It is only close to the few lines at the beginning of this story about Hezekiah and Sennacherib. It should never be overlooked that the major part of the
            Message 5 of 15 , Jul 3, 2009
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              It is only close to the few lines at the beginning of this story about Hezekiah and Sennacherib. It should never be overlooked that the major part of the biblical version seems to be spin offs of the historiographer. And it says a lot about how this historiographer (and his colleagues) worked.

              Niels Peter Lemche




              -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
              Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af victor avigdor hurowitz
              Sendt: den 3 juli 2009 17:23
              Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
              Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Assurbanipal and the Bible

              Robert,
              I don't think I'm missing the point. My point is your last sentence,
              i.e. were our only source the Rassam Prism we would not ignore it. I add
              that anyone who would ignore it would be foolish.

              I might add as well that my
              feeling is that it is close to the Bible in so many things, and because
              there are other sources validating aspects of the Prism we should be ill
              inclined to dismiss out of hand the Bible which resembles it. The Bible
              contains the "same" type of literature as the Rasam Prism so if I use the
              Rassam Prism for history I should be able to use parts of the Bible in the
              same way (add as many caveats and reservations as you find necesary, but I
              hope yuo get my point)
              See you in Paris? Victor Hurowitz
              BGU
            • victor avigdor hurowitz
              What, O Sage Niels do Hezeqiah and Sennacherib have to do with Assurbanipal and his Rassam Prism (Borger s edition A?) Victor
              Message 6 of 15 , Jul 3, 2009
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                What, O Sage Niels do Hezeqiah and Sennacherib have to do with
                Assurbanipal and his Rassam Prism (Borger's edition A?)
                Victor



                On Fri, 3 Jul 2009, Niels Peter Lemche wrote:

                > It is only close to the few lines at the beginning of this story about Hezekiah and Sennacherib. It should never be overlooked that the major part of the biblical version seems to be spin offs of the historiographer. And it says a lot about how this historiographer (and his colleagues) worked.
                >
                > Niels Peter Lemche
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
                > Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af victor avigdor hurowitz
                > Sendt: den 3 juli 2009 17:23
                > Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                > Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Assurbanipal and the Bible
                >
                > Robert,
                > I don't think I'm missing the point. My point is your last sentence,
                > i.e. were our only source the Rassam Prism we would not ignore it. I add
                > that anyone who would ignore it would be foolish.
                >
                > I might add as well that my
                > feeling is that it is close to the Bible in so many things, and because
                > there are other sources validating aspects of the Prism we should be ill
                > inclined to dismiss out of hand the Bible which resembles it. The Bible
                > contains the "same" type of literature as the Rasam Prism so if I use the
                > Rassam Prism for history I should be able to use parts of the Bible in the
                > same way (add as many caveats and reservations as you find necesary, but I
                > hope yuo get my point)
                > See you in Paris? Victor Hurowitz
                > BGU
                >
                >
              • victor avigdor hurowitz
                Trudy, A word is worth a thousand pictures! BTW it is just as important to an historian to know what an ancient artist wanted the people he portrayed to look
                Message 7 of 15 , Jul 3, 2009
                • 0 Attachment
                  Trudy,
                  A word is worth a thousand pictures!

                  BTW it is just as important to an historian to know what an ancient artist
                  wanted the people he portrayed to look like as what they really did. It
                  may even be more important, especially since the subject of the portrait
                  may never have been seen in public and the image which will portray him
                  tothe public is the idealized one made by the artist. Can I understand the
                  history of the 20th century if I know nothing of Soviet (and
                  American) propoganda? A lie is also a fact.
                  Victor



                  On Fri, 3 Jul 2009, Trudy Kawami wrote:

                  > If I might interject a visual parallel -
                  >
                  > We have lots of images of Assurbanipal created in his lifetime. But do
                  > they show us what he looked like? No, they show us what he wanted to
                  > look like. Just as stone reliefs are not photographs, inscriptions
                  > (whether on clay or stone or whatever) are not video grabs of what
                  > happened. Both the reliefs and the inscriptions are artifacts of human
                  > agency and thus need to be considered as much as possible in the context
                  > of their time. In the visual arts there is never just one level of
                  > meaning, and I am sure that it is the same for literary arts.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > When we consider writings or images that are clearly copies of the
                  > "originals," we are then looking through at least 3 filters - those of
                  > our 21 century selves, those of the copier(s)/editor/redactor and those
                  > of the time at which the "original" was created. In the visual arts it
                  > is like trying to identify the regional styles of Roman ms drawings on
                  > the basis of their later versions in Romanesque & Gothic mss. We don't
                  > throw out the medieval mss but we must be very careful in what we
                  > assume.
                  >
                  > Trudy Kawami
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > ________________________________
                  >
                  > From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                  > Robert M Whiting
                  > Sent: Friday, July 03, 2009 11:04 AM
                  > To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Assurbanipal and the Bible
                  >
                  > I think you're missing the point, Victor. If the Rassam prism was all we
                  >
                  > knew of Assurbanipal, then we would account him the same degree of
                  > credibility that we give to the Arthurian legends, Homer's account of
                  > the
                  > Trojan War, Plato's account of Atlantis, large parts of the Hebrew
                  > Bible,
                  > and other uncorroborated evidence of antiquity. No one says that these
                  > things need be discarded out of hand. They are certainly subject to
                  > study
                  > as witnesses of the past and to validation through text-critical methods
                  >
                  > and internal consistency. But an uncorroborated witness is still testis
                  > unus and not the kind of thing to bet the farm on.
                  >
                  > It is only the fact that we have multiple sources, contemporary with his
                  >
                  > lifetime, that makes Assurbanipal a three-dimensional character. Without
                  >
                  > these, the Rassam prism would just be a nice story about someone who may
                  >
                  > or may not have actually existed, but we still wouldn't ignore it.
                  >
                  > Bob Whiting
                  > whiting@... <mailto:whiting%40cc.helsinki.fi>
                  >
                  > On Fri, 3 Jul 2009, victor avigdor hurowitz wrote:
                  >
                  > > Dear ANE colleagues and friends,
                  > > On Sunday I will be heading for Paris and the Rencontre assyriologique
                  > so
                  > > will be out of ANE range for a week or so. But before taking off, and
                  > > before shutting down shop for Shabbat I'd like to share a thought or
                  > two
                  > > from my recent work which may be relevant to the issues debated so
                  > > passionately on ANE-2 over the past week if not since the list's
                  > inception
                  > > over a decade a go.
                  > >
                  > > I am presently studying the so-called Rassam Prism of Assurbanipal, a
                  > > 1302 line text known since the second half of the 19th century and
                  > > major source for Assurbanipal's career. As I read
                  > > it and work on it (I'm doing a literary analysis) I can't help
                  > thinking of
                  > > what it means or could mean for biblical studies and biblists.
                  > > First of all, apart from characters and places known from the Bible,
                  > there
                  > > are all sorts of
                  > > "parallels", especially in the account of Asb's campaign against the
                  > > Arabs, his ninth girru. The parallels are in treaty language and how
                  > ideas
                  > > of treaties or loyalty oaths and
                  > > the language associated with them are identical to stuff we find in
                  > the
                  > > Book of Deuteronomy and DTR and elsewhere as well. But there are
                  > various
                  > > other "parallels" elsewhere and related to other topics. When I
                  > encounter
                  > > things like this, many of them well known to ANE scholars, I can't
                  > help
                  > > but conclude that the Bible or, rather parts of it, are from the same
                  > > world as this text, and hardly some fabrication of a much later
                  > period. At
                  > > the same time I feel that were assyriologists to be more familiar with
                  > > Biblical Hebrew and style they'd have a finer literary appreciation of
                  > > their documents (but that's for another harrangue).
                  > >
                  > > But more important, it is well known and quite obvious that the Rassam
                  > > Prism with all its detailed descriptions would not meet the standard
                  > of
                  > > accurate history demanded of the Bible. Chronology has been thrown out
                  > the
                  > > window as we know by comparing the numbering of campaigns in this text
                  > > with the same campaigns in parallel texts, some of which are the
                  > source of
                  > > this one. The campaigns are ordered geographically and chronology
                  > would be
                  > > a detriment to the message of the author. Along with the abandoment of
                  > > strict chronolgy events merge into each other and "cause and
                  > > effect" become distorted.
                  > >
                  > > Also, it is well known that
                  > > this text, no less than many other Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions is
                  > an
                  > > "ideological" composition meant to aggrandize and idealize the
                  > divinely
                  > > selected and quasi divine king of Assyria who can do no wrong, and if
                  > he
                  > > did he won't write about it. And, getting back to the early topic,
                  > lots
                  > > of stuff is discussed in the light of treaty violation or observance.
                  > > In every possible this text suffers from the problems detected in the
                  > > Bible.
                  > >
                  > > But then I ask, suppose we had only this text and were unaware of its
                  > > parallels and its precedents and we didn't understand the assyrian
                  > > royal ideology which informs it? How would an historian read it? Would
                  > not
                  > > he
                  > > be like Olmstead and turn it into history by turning poetry into prose
                  > and
                  > > paraphrase? Or would he not be like John Bright or someone of a
                  > > previous generation, pre-sea change and minimalist vs. maximalist,
                  > writes
                  > > Biblical history by simply recounting events and trying to make a
                  > > comprimise if he found an inconsistency or contradiction? Maybe he'd
                  > be a
                  > > bit more sophisticated, maybe a bit
                  > > less, but one thing is absolutely certain - no sane person would throw
                  > the
                  > > prism away or ignore its historical content and say "it's tendentious
                  > and
                  > > therefore worthless". Assyriologist have the advantage of having
                  > access to
                  > > parallel texts, to other versions of events to help determine what is
                  > > credible and
                  > > what is not, but suppose they didn't? Wouldn't it be foolish to
                  > abandon
                  > > history writing and throw away the sources or cast aspersions on them.
                  > >
                  > > So
                  > > why hold the Bible to a higher standard. I fully admit that the Bible
                  > is
                  > > different in many, many aspects from our Assyrian writings and proper
                  > > ways of studying it must be found, or as my late mentor Hayim Tadmor
                  > might
                  > > have said, deciphering its code. But just as only a fool would throw
                  > away
                  > > the Rassam Prism only a fool would shut the Bible. The Bible may be an
                  > > egg which needs unscrambling, but that only means that the historians
                  > task
                  > > in picking out the information from the presentation, is all the more
                  > > difficult, but our lack of ability should not prejudice our estimation
                  > of
                  > > the document itself.
                  > >
                  > > And on those thoughts I beg your forgiveness for my letting of steam
                  > and
                  > > venting a bit of spleen, wish my colleagues in Mat AmurriKI a eZEN.HUL
                  > on
                  > > the 4th, of the seventh and hope to see some of you in Paris (or in
                  > > Jerusalem in August).
                  > > Shabbat shalom,
                  > > Victor Hurowitz
                  > > BGU
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > ------------------------------------
                  > >
                  > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                • Trudy Kawami
                  Alas, Victor, it was not the artist who determined the portrait, it was the patron, just like in the Renaissance. He who pays the piper calls the tune. Trudy
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jul 3, 2009
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Alas, Victor, it was not the artist who determined the portrait, it was
                    the patron, just like in the Renaissance. He who pays the piper calls
                    the tune.

                    Trudy Kawami



                    ________________________________

                    From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                    victor avigdor hurowitz
                    Sent: Friday, July 03, 2009 12:00 PM
                    To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Assurbanipal and the Bible








                    Trudy,
                    A word is worth a thousand pictures!

                    BTW it is just as important to an historian to know what an ancient
                    artist
                    wanted the people he portrayed to look like as what they really did. It
                    may even be more important, especially since the subject of the portrait
                    may never have been seen in public and the image which will portray him
                    tothe public is the idealized one made by the artist. Can I understand
                    the
                    history of the 20th century if I know nothing of Soviet (and
                    American) propoganda? A lie is also a fact.
                    Victor

                    On Fri, 3 Jul 2009, Trudy Kawami wrote:

                    > If I might interject a visual parallel -
                    >
                    > We have lots of images of Assurbanipal created in his lifetime. But do
                    > they show us what he looked like? No, they show us what he wanted to
                    > look like. Just as stone reliefs are not photographs, inscriptions
                    > (whether on clay or stone or whatever) are not video grabs of what
                    > happened. Both the reliefs and the inscriptions are artifacts of human
                    > agency and thus need to be considered as much as possible in the
                    context
                    > of their time. In the visual arts there is never just one level of
                    > meaning, and I am sure that it is the same for literary arts.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > When we consider writings or images that are clearly copies of the
                    > "originals," we are then looking through at least 3 filters - those of
                    > our 21 century selves, those of the copier(s)/editor/redactor and
                    those
                    > of the time at which the "original" was created. In the visual arts it
                    > is like trying to identify the regional styles of Roman ms drawings on
                    > the basis of their later versions in Romanesque & Gothic mss. We don't
                    > throw out the medieval mss but we must be very careful in what we
                    > assume.
                    >
                    > Trudy Kawami
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > ________________________________
                    >
                    > From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                    [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com> ] On
                    Behalf Of
                    > Robert M Whiting
                    > Sent: Friday, July 03, 2009 11:04 AM
                    > To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
                    > Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Assurbanipal and the Bible
                    >
                    > I think you're missing the point, Victor. If the Rassam prism was all
                    we
                    >
                    > knew of Assurbanipal, then we would account him the same degree of
                    > credibility that we give to the Arthurian legends, Homer's account of
                    > the
                    > Trojan War, Plato's account of Atlantis, large parts of the Hebrew
                    > Bible,
                    > and other uncorroborated evidence of antiquity. No one says that these

                    > things need be discarded out of hand. They are certainly subject to
                    > study
                    > as witnesses of the past and to validation through text-critical
                    methods
                    >
                    > and internal consistency. But an uncorroborated witness is still
                    testis
                    > unus and not the kind of thing to bet the farm on.
                    >
                    > It is only the fact that we have multiple sources, contemporary with
                    his
                    >
                    > lifetime, that makes Assurbanipal a three-dimensional character.
                    Without
                    >
                    > these, the Rassam prism would just be a nice story about someone who
                    may
                    >
                    > or may not have actually existed, but we still wouldn't ignore it.
                    >
                    > Bob Whiting
                    > whiting@... <mailto:whiting%40cc.helsinki.fi>
                    <mailto:whiting%40cc.helsinki.fi>
                    >
                    > On Fri, 3 Jul 2009, victor avigdor hurowitz wrote:
                    >
                    > > Dear ANE colleagues and friends,
                    > > On Sunday I will be heading for Paris and the Rencontre
                    assyriologique
                    > so
                    > > will be out of ANE range for a week or so. But before taking off,
                    and
                    > > before shutting down shop for Shabbat I'd like to share a thought or
                    > two
                    > > from my recent work which may be relevant to the issues debated so
                    > > passionately on ANE-2 over the past week if not since the list's
                    > inception
                    > > over a decade a go.
                    > >
                    > > I am presently studying the so-called Rassam Prism of Assurbanipal,
                    a
                    > > 1302 line text known since the second half of the 19th century and
                    > > major source for Assurbanipal's career. As I read
                    > > it and work on it (I'm doing a literary analysis) I can't help
                    > thinking of
                    > > what it means or could mean for biblical studies and biblists.
                    > > First of all, apart from characters and places known from the Bible,
                    > there
                    > > are all sorts of
                    > > "parallels", especially in the account of Asb's campaign against the
                    > > Arabs, his ninth girru. The parallels are in treaty language and how
                    > ideas
                    > > of treaties or loyalty oaths and
                    > > the language associated with them are identical to stuff we find in
                    > the
                    > > Book of Deuteronomy and DTR and elsewhere as well. But there are
                    > various
                    > > other "parallels" elsewhere and related to other topics. When I
                    > encounter
                    > > things like this, many of them well known to ANE scholars, I can't
                    > help
                    > > but conclude that the Bible or, rather parts of it, are from the
                    same
                    > > world as this text, and hardly some fabrication of a much later
                    > period. At
                    > > the same time I feel that were assyriologists to be more familiar
                    with
                    > > Biblical Hebrew and style they'd have a finer literary appreciation
                    of
                    > > their documents (but that's for another harrangue).
                    > >
                    > > But more important, it is well known and quite obvious that the
                    Rassam
                    > > Prism with all its detailed descriptions would not meet the standard
                    > of
                    > > accurate history demanded of the Bible. Chronology has been thrown
                    out
                    > the
                    > > window as we know by comparing the numbering of campaigns in this
                    text
                    > > with the same campaigns in parallel texts, some of which are the
                    > source of
                    > > this one. The campaigns are ordered geographically and chronology
                    > would be
                    > > a detriment to the message of the author. Along with the abandoment
                    of
                    > > strict chronolgy events merge into each other and "cause and
                    > > effect" become distorted.
                    > >
                    > > Also, it is well known that
                    > > this text, no less than many other Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions
                    is
                    > an
                    > > "ideological" composition meant to aggrandize and idealize the
                    > divinely
                    > > selected and quasi divine king of Assyria who can do no wrong, and
                    if
                    > he
                    > > did he won't write about it. And, getting back to the early topic,
                    > lots
                    > > of stuff is discussed in the light of treaty violation or
                    observance.
                    > > In every possible this text suffers from the problems detected in
                    the
                    > > Bible.
                    > >
                    > > But then I ask, suppose we had only this text and were unaware of
                    its
                    > > parallels and its precedents and we didn't understand the assyrian
                    > > royal ideology which informs it? How would an historian read it?
                    Would
                    > not
                    > > he
                    > > be like Olmstead and turn it into history by turning poetry into
                    prose
                    > and
                    > > paraphrase? Or would he not be like John Bright or someone of a
                    > > previous generation, pre-sea change and minimalist vs. maximalist,
                    > writes
                    > > Biblical history by simply recounting events and trying to make a
                    > > comprimise if he found an inconsistency or contradiction? Maybe he'd
                    > be a
                    > > bit more sophisticated, maybe a bit
                    > > less, but one thing is absolutely certain - no sane person would
                    throw
                    > the
                    > > prism away or ignore its historical content and say "it's
                    tendentious
                    > and
                    > > therefore worthless". Assyriologist have the advantage of having
                    > access to
                    > > parallel texts, to other versions of events to help determine what
                    is
                    > > credible and
                    > > what is not, but suppose they didn't? Wouldn't it be foolish to
                    > abandon
                    > > history writing and throw away the sources or cast aspersions on
                    them.
                    > >
                    > > So
                    > > why hold the Bible to a higher standard. I fully admit that the
                    Bible
                    > is
                    > > different in many, many aspects from our Assyrian writings and
                    proper
                    > > ways of studying it must be found, or as my late mentor Hayim Tadmor
                    > might
                    > > have said, deciphering its code. But just as only a fool would throw
                    > away
                    > > the Rassam Prism only a fool would shut the Bible. The Bible may be
                    an
                    > > egg which needs unscrambling, but that only means that the
                    historians
                    > task
                    > > in picking out the information from the presentation, is all the
                    more
                    > > difficult, but our lack of ability should not prejudice our
                    estimation
                    > of
                    > > the document itself.
                    > >
                    > > And on those thoughts I beg your forgiveness for my letting of steam
                    > and
                    > > venting a bit of spleen, wish my colleagues in Mat AmurriKI a
                    eZEN.HUL
                    > on
                    > > the 4th, of the seventh and hope to see some of you in Paris (or in
                    > > Jerusalem in August).
                    > > Shabbat shalom,
                    > > Victor Hurowitz
                    > > BGU
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > ------------------------------------
                    > >
                    > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                    >





                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • zmbq
                    Trudy, While the persor ordering the portrait may want it to be inaccurate (muscular, better looking beard, or whatever the trend was at that time), there s no
                    Message 9 of 15 , Jul 3, 2009
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Trudy,

                      While the persor ordering the portrait may want it to be inaccurate (muscular, better looking beard, or whatever the trend was at that time), there's no point in having a protrait that doesn't look anything like the actual person. The portrait must be similar, otherwise it's someone else's portrait.

                      Itay Zandbank.

                      --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "Trudy Kawami" <tkawami@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Alas, Victor, it was not the artist who determined the portrait, it was
                      > the patron, just like in the Renaissance. He who pays the piper calls
                      > the tune.
                      >
                      > Trudy Kawami
                    • Graham Hagens
                      ... Perhaps not the farm; but I don t believe that this statement is very accurate. In a recent post, Thomas Thompson stated that one must have evidence to
                      Message 10 of 15 , Jul 3, 2009
                      • 0 Attachment
                        --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, Robert M Whiting <whiting@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > (in part) ... If the Rassam prism was all we
                        > knew of Assurbanipal, then we would account him the same degree of
                        > credibility that we give to the Arthurian legends, Homer's account >of the Trojan War, Plato's account of Atlantis, large parts of the >Hebrew Bible, and other uncorroborated evidence of antiquity. No >one says that these things need be discarded out of hand. They are >certainly subject to study as witnesses of the past and to >validation through text-critical methods and internal consistency. But an uncorroborated witness is still testis unus and not the kind of thing to bet the farm on.

                        Perhaps not the farm; but I don't believe that this statement is very accurate.

                        In a recent post, Thomas Thompson stated that one must have evidence to write history. Quite so: but the quality of evidence is not always of uniformly high quality. It is all too easy, and tempting, for competent historians to compose and market very readable histories using uncorroborated data; and in fact this happens all the time.

                        A few years ago John Brinkman expressed concern about the large quantity of single source Assyrian and Babylonian material used in historical reconstruction. He wrote: "If we did not use this material we would not have a history [of that period]." (from memory; the reference is in my files somewhere). Single source data form an integral part of many popular histories such as those of Olmstead, Saggs etc. None of those works contains a disclaimer indicating that certain portions are to be compared to the myths and romances to which you refer.

                        Graham Hagens
                      • Niels Peter Lemche
                        Yes there is, if you are following a canon of art that demands how you should look like. The portrait as a real endeavour to depict a person may be quite late,
                        Message 11 of 15 , Jul 4, 2009
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Yes there is, if you are following a canon of art that demands how you should look like. The portrait as a real endeavour to depict a person may be quite late, and the ability might be lost again, as seen in early medieval art.

                          I suppose that (but Trudy probably knows the sources better than I do) that there is quite a discussion about this in classical art. If in doubt, I can refer to the many pictorial representations of Homer, not changing for centuries although the oldest ones would be two or three hundred years younger than the poet.

                          The Egyptian canon of art is probably also worth studying.

                          Niels Peter Lemche

                          PS: Some of this may have to do with magic, the face not being the primary point of recognance. This is a quite modern idea. It also explains Shakespeare's play on this as well as a comedy like Cosi fan tutte.




                          -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
                          Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af zmbq
                          Sendt: den 3 juli 2009 21:25
                          Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                          Emne: [ANE-2] Re: Assurbanipal and the Bible

                          Trudy,

                          While the persor ordering the portrait may want it to be inaccurate (muscular, better looking beard, or whatever the trend was at that time), there's no point in having a protrait that doesn't look anything like the actual person. The portrait must be similar, otherwise it's someone else's portrait.

                          Itay Zandbank.

                          --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "Trudy Kawami" <tkawami@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Alas, Victor, it was not the artist who determined the portrait, it was
                          > the patron, just like in the Renaissance. He who pays the piper calls
                          > the tune.
                          >
                          > Trudy Kawami




                          ------------------------------------

                          Yahoo! Groups Links
                        • Niels Peter Lemche
                          Liverani said the same a long time before, in one of his articles from the 1970s about Hittite historiography: That students of ancient history are lazy
                          Message 12 of 15 , Jul 4, 2009
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Liverani said the same a long time before, in one of his articles from the 1970s about Hittite historiography: That students of ancient history are lazy people, who adopt an ancient source as if it is history, and only paraphrases it.

                            It is available in English in the little volume including a few of his articles by Equinox a few years ago.

                            Niels Peter Lemche



                            -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
                            Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af Graham Hagens
                            Sendt: den 4 juli 2009 03:33
                            Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                            Emne: [ANE-2] Re: Assurbanipal and the Bible

                            --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, Robert M Whiting <whiting@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > (in part) ... If the Rassam prism was all we
                            > knew of Assurbanipal, then we would account him the same degree of
                            > credibility that we give to the Arthurian legends, Homer's account >of the Trojan War, Plato's account of Atlantis, large parts of the >Hebrew Bible, and other uncorroborated evidence of antiquity. No >one says that these things need be discarded out of hand. They are >certainly subject to study as witnesses of the past and to >validation through text-critical methods and internal consistency. But an uncorroborated witness is still testis unus and not the kind of thing to bet the farm on.

                            Perhaps not the farm; but I don't believe that this statement is very accurate.

                            In a recent post, Thomas Thompson stated that one must have evidence to write history. Quite so: but the quality of evidence is not always of uniformly high quality. It is all too easy, and tempting, for competent historians to compose and market very readable histories using uncorroborated data; and in fact this happens all the time.

                            A few years ago John Brinkman expressed concern about the large quantity of single source Assyrian and Babylonian material used in historical reconstruction. He wrote: "If we did not use this material we would not have a history [of that period]." (from memory; the reference is in my files somewhere). Single source data form an integral part of many popular histories such as those of Olmstead, Saggs etc. None of those works contains a disclaimer indicating that certain portions are to be compared to the myths and romances to which you refer.

                            Graham Hagens



                            ------------------------------------

                            Yahoo! Groups Links
                          • Marc Cooper
                            Sad to say, Liverani was right. I regularly do a source exercise with my students concerning Caesar s victory over Pharnaces which is associated with the
                            Message 13 of 15 , Jul 4, 2009
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                              Sad to say, Liverani was right. I regularly do a source exercise with my students concerning Caesar's victory over Pharnaces which is associated with the phrase, "I came, I saw, I conquered." Most studens conclude, after reading all of the ancient sources, that Caesar never said it, though some cannot give up a good quip. Still, all of my students realize that the historicity of the statement is at least questionable. Then I give the students textbook descriptions of the Battle of Zela, and they are surprised to find that Roman historians either cite one of the sources or just give the phrase as if Caesar had written it himself. In fact, Caesar's own description of the battle does not mention the famous phrase which only appears 150 years after the events.

                              Marc Cooper
                              Missouri State

                              --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "Niels Peter Lemche" <npl@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Liverani said the same a long time before, in one of his articles from the 1970s about Hittite historiography: That students of ancient history are lazy people, who adopt an ancient source as if it is history, and only paraphrases it.
                              >
                              > It is available in English in the little volume including a few of his articles by Equinox a few years ago.
                              >
                              > Niels Peter Lemche
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
                              > Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af Graham Hagens
                              > Sendt: den 4 juli 2009 03:33
                              > Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                              > Emne: [ANE-2] Re: Assurbanipal and the Bible
                              >
                              > --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, Robert M Whiting <whiting@> wrote:
                              > >
                              > > (in part) ... If the Rassam prism was all we
                              > > knew of Assurbanipal, then we would account him the same degree of
                              > > credibility that we give to the Arthurian legends, Homer's account >of the Trojan War, Plato's account of Atlantis, large parts of the >Hebrew Bible, and other uncorroborated evidence of antiquity. No >one says that these things need be discarded out of hand. They are >certainly subject to study as witnesses of the past and to >validation through text-critical methods and internal consistency. But an uncorroborated witness is still testis unus and not the kind of thing to bet the farm on.
                              >
                              > Perhaps not the farm; but I don't believe that this statement is very accurate.
                              >
                              > In a recent post, Thomas Thompson stated that one must have evidence to write history. Quite so: but the quality of evidence is not always of uniformly high quality. It is all too easy, and tempting, for competent historians to compose and market very readable histories using uncorroborated data; and in fact this happens all the time.
                              >
                              > A few years ago John Brinkman expressed concern about the large quantity of single source Assyrian and Babylonian material used in historical reconstruction. He wrote: "If we did not use this material we would not have a history [of that period]." (from memory; the reference is in my files somewhere). Single source data form an integral part of many popular histories such as those of Olmstead, Saggs etc. None of those works contains a disclaimer indicating that certain portions are to be compared to the myths and romances to which you refer.
                              >
                              > Graham Hagens
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > ------------------------------------
                              >
                              > Yahoo! Groups Links
                              >
                            • richfaussette
                              ... says that these things need be discarded out of hand. They are ... through text-critical methods and internal consistency. But an uncorroborated witness
                              Message 14 of 15 , Jul 10, 2009
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                                --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com> , "Graham
                                Hagens" <rgrahamh@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com> , Robert M
                                Whiting <whiting@> wrote:
                                > >
                                > > (in part) ... If the Rassam prism was all we
                                > > knew of Assurbanipal, then we would account him the same degree of
                                > > credibility that we give to the Arthurian legends, Homer's account
                                >of the Trojan War, Plato's account of Atlantis, large parts of the
                                >Hebrew Bible, and other uncorroborated evidence of antiquity. No >one
                                says that these things need be discarded out of hand. They are
                                >certainly subject to study as witnesses of the past and to >validation
                                through text-critical methods and internal consistency. But an
                                uncorroborated witness is still testis unus and not the kind of thing to
                                bet the farm on.
                                >
                                > Perhaps not the farm; but I don't believe that this statement is very
                                accurate.
                                >
                                > In a recent post, Thomas Thompson stated that one must have evidence
                                to write history. Quite so: but the quality of evidence is not always
                                of uniformly high quality. It is all too easy, and tempting, for
                                competent historians to compose and market very readable histories using
                                uncorroborated data; and in fact this happens all the time...
                                >
                                > Graham Hagens


                                Have you considered that the biblical history is a concocted history of
                                - known historical scenarios and circumstances - in which each and every
                                possible historical scenario is presented - not to record past events -
                                but to provide behavioral outcomes and guide future historical
                                navigation by an ethnic diaspora?

                                And if not, why not?

                                Regards,
                                Rich Faussette
                                NYC











                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Graham Hagens
                                ...   ... Of course.  That is what historical fiction is all about. Shakespeare s Henry V contains profound insights into the human condition. It s just
                                Message 15 of 15 , Jul 18, 2009
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                                  --- On Fri, 7/10/09, richfaussette <RFaussette@...> wrote:
                                   
                                  >> In a recent post, Thomas Thompson stated that one must have evidence
                                  >>to write history. Quite so: but the quality of evidence is not always
                                  >>of uniformly high quality. It is all too easy, and tempting, for
                                  >>competent historians to compose and market very readable histories using
                                  >>uncorroborated data; and in fact this happens all the time...
                                  >
                                  > Graham Hagens

                                  >Have you considered that the biblical history is a concocted history of
                                  >- known historical scenarios and circumstances - in which each and every
                                  >possible historical scenario is presented - not to record past events -
                                  >but to provide behavioral outcomes and guide future historical
                                  >navigation by an ethnic diaspora?

                                  >And if not, why not?

                                  Of course.  That is what 'historical fiction' is all about.
                                  Shakespeare's Henry V contains profound insights into the human condition.
                                  It's just not a very faithful rendition of the Battle of Agincourt.
                                  Both 'objective historicity' (whatever that may mean), and 'interpretive historiography' (ditto) are worthy disciplines.  Part of our problem is that we frequently get the two confused.
                                  Modern authors of historical fiction don't make this job any easier either as they try harder than ever to get the 'facts' right. 
                                   
                                  Graham Hagens




                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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