Israelites and Judaeans in the Neo-Assyrian Documentation (732-602 b.c.e.): An overview of the sources and a socio-historical assessment

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Abstract

The core of the meager documentation of Israelite and Judaean exiles and their descendants in Assyria consists almost entirely of individuals bearing Yahwistic names and their blood relatives. The statistical sample of 72 individuals obtained from this documentation, with bearers of Yahwistic names constituting no fewer than 54%, is probably not optimally representative. On the other hand, bearers of Yahwistic names in a sizable comparative sample from Israel and Judah (from ca. 800 to 701 b.c.e.) before and during the deportations (i.e., 732-701 b.c.e.) constitute only 43%. This article closes this gap by extending the pool of Israelites-Judaeans in Assyria by 29 additional individuals. The expanded sample of 101 individuals has only about 43% bearers of Yahwistic names. Admittedly, most of these new members are characterized by lower degreees of plausibility than those of the original core documention. Nevertheless, very few have doubtful relevance. On the whole, the addition of these individuals does not significantly alter the socioeconomic profile of the entire sample. This article attempts to shed light on the survival of the Israelites-Judaeans as a distinct group in Mesopotamia. There is some evidence that members of the Israelites-Judaeans residing in Assyria and upper Mesopotamia were among the Assyrians who emigrated or were forcibly brought to Babylonia after the breakdown of the Assyrian Empire.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-189
Number of pages31
JournalBulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
Volume374
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2015

Keywords

  • Exiles
  • Israelites
  • Judaeans
  • Neo-Assyrian
  • Texts

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