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Neo-Assyrian Prophecy and the Hebrew Bible: Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah


Previous generations of scholars believed that prophecy was unique to ancient Israel. However, recent archaeological discoveries reveal that numerous societies in the ancient Near East practiced prophecy. This study examines the similarities and differences between Neo-Assyrian and biblical prophecy, particularly focusing on the 7th c. BCE prophets Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, and discusses what implications these differences may have for our understanding of these prophets.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0077-0
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jul 12,2011
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 404
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0077-0
$95.00
$66.50

Previous generations of scholars believed that prophecy was unique to ancient Israel, but archaeological discoveries reveal that prophecy was widely practiced in the ancient Near East. This study examines the similarities and differences of Neo-Assyrian and biblical prophecy.

Recent scholarship has utilized Neo-Assyrian prophecy to illumine the issue of biblical prophecy. While these attempts have focused primarily on the role of the prophet, this study focuses on prophetic literature. Neo-Assyrian prophecy of the 7th century BCE reflects a specific socio-political locus of production. Monarchic patronage shaped the content and ideology of this prophecy, demonstrating that prophecy was a political institution in service to the Assyrian crown. Since the dating of this material is secure, it can serve as a benchmark for analyzing biblical material. Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, three books traditionally dated to the 7th century BCE, are where one would expect to find the greatest degree of correspondence between Assyrian and biblical prophecy assuming that both corpora were produced under a similar socio-political locus in the 7th century BCE. However, a detailed literary analysis highlights significant differences in ideology and genre adaptation in the biblical material suggesting a different socio-political locus of production and raising questions concerning when these books were written.

Previous generations of scholars believed that prophecy was unique to ancient Israel, but archaeological discoveries reveal that prophecy was widely practiced in the ancient Near East. This study examines the similarities and differences of Neo-Assyrian and biblical prophecy.

Recent scholarship has utilized Neo-Assyrian prophecy to illumine the issue of biblical prophecy. While these attempts have focused primarily on the role of the prophet, this study focuses on prophetic literature. Neo-Assyrian prophecy of the 7th century BCE reflects a specific socio-political locus of production. Monarchic patronage shaped the content and ideology of this prophecy, demonstrating that prophecy was a political institution in service to the Assyrian crown. Since the dating of this material is secure, it can serve as a benchmark for analyzing biblical material. Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, three books traditionally dated to the 7th century BCE, are where one would expect to find the greatest degree of correspondence between Assyrian and biblical prophecy assuming that both corpora were produced under a similar socio-political locus in the 7th century BCE. However, a detailed literary analysis highlights significant differences in ideology and genre adaptation in the biblical material suggesting a different socio-political locus of production and raising questions concerning when these books were written.

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Contributor Biography

Russell Mack

R. Russell Mack is an adjunct professor of Bible at Cincinnati Christian University. He holds an M.A. degree in OT Literature from Alliance Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and ANE Studies from Hebrew Union College. He was formerly an assistant pastor in the San Francisco Area.

  • Table of Contents (page 5)
  • Preface (page 11)
  • Acknowledgments (page 13)
  • Abbreviations (page 14)
  • Introduction (page 17)
  • 1 The Changing Landscape of Prophecy (page 19)
    • A Review of Recent Scholarship (page 20)
    • The Contribution of Comparative Studies (page 23)
    • The Problems With Comparative Studies (page 28)
  • 2 Review of Scholarship (page 31)
    • Assyrian Religion (page 32)
    • Genre Classification (page 33)
    • Deutero-Isaiah (page 34)
    • Holy War (page 36)
    • Imagery (page 36)
    • Prophets and Prophecy (page 37)
    • Royal Ideology (page 41)
    • True Versus False Prophecy (page 44)
    • Conclusion (page 45)
  • 3 Methodology of the Study (page 47)
    • Semiotics (page 47)
    • Structuralism (page 49)
    • Genre Theory (page 50)
    • Anthropology (page 53)
    • Marxist Literary Criticism (page 54)
    • New Historicism (page 55)
    • Reader Response Theory (page 56)
    • Comparative Analysis (page 57)
      • Underlying Assumptions (page 57)
      • The Method of Comparison (page 58)
    • Conclusion (page 61)
  • 4 Neo-Assyrian Prophecies (page 63)
    • Historical Background of the Oracles (page 63)
    • Physical Description of the Tablets (page 64)
    • The Oracles (page 65)
      • SAA 9 1.1 Issar-La-Tashiyat (page 65)
        • SAA 9 1.2 Sinqisha-amur (page 68)
        • SAA 9 1.3 Remutti-Allati (page 70)
        • SAA 9 1.4 Bayâ (page 71)
        • SAA 9 1.5 Ilussa-Amur (page 73)
        • SAA 9 1.6-7 Issar-Beli-Daini (page 74)
        • SAA 9 1.8 Ahat-Abisha (page 78)
        • SAA 9 1.9-1.10 La-Dagil-Ili (page 79)
      • SAA 9 2.1 Nabû-Hussanni (page 82)
        • SAA 9 2.2 Bayâ (page 83)
        • SAA 9 2.3 La-Dagil-ili (page 84)
        • SAA 9 2.4 Urkittu-Sharrat (page 88)
        • SAA 9 2.5 Sinqisha-Amur (page 91)
        • SAA 9 2.6 Unknown Prophet (page 93)
      • SAA 9 3.1 Introduction (page 94)
        • SAA 9 3.2 First —ulmu Oracle (page 96)
        • SAA 9 3.3 Second —ulmu Oracle (page 98)
        • SAA 9 3.4 The Meal of the Covenant (page 100)
        • SAA 9 3.5 Word of Ishtar of Arbela (page 102)
      • SAA 9 4 (page 107)
      • SAA 9 5 An Oracle to the Queen Mother (page 108)
      • SAA 9 6 An Oracle from Tashmetu-eresh of Arbela (page 110)
      • SAA 9 7 Prophecies for the Crown Prince Ashurbanipal (page 112)
      • SAA 9 8 Words Concerning the Elamites (page 116)
      • SAA 9 9 Words of Encouragement to Ashurbanipal (page 118)
      • SAA 9 10 Fragment of a Prophecy (page 120)
      • SAA 9 11 Report on a Vision and an Oracle to Ashurbanipal (page 121)
    • Summary Comments (page 122)
      • The Opening Lines (page 122)
      • The Closing Lines (page 125)
      • Divine Protector (page 128)
      • Divine Self-Identification Formula (page 129)
      • Encouragement Formula (page 140)
      • Enemy (page 141)
      • Imagery (page 141)
      • Kingship (page 143)
      • Piety (page 144)
      • Trust in Divine Word (page 145)
      • Universal Dominion (page 145)
      • Under Foot (page 145)
      • Victory Oracle (page 146)
    • Conclusions (page 146)
  • 5 Neo-Assyrian Prophecies in Supplemental Materials (page 151)
    • Prophecy in a Secondary Context (page 151)
      • Building Inscriptions (page 151)
      • Prism Inscriptions (page 153)
      • Letters to the King (page 155)
        • SAA 10 352 Letter from Mar-Issar (page 155)
        • LAS 317 Letter from Adad-ahu-iddina (page 156)
        • SAA 10 111 Letter from Bel-ushezib (page 157)
        • SAA 13 144 Letter from Nabû-resh-ishi (page 160)
        • SAA 10 284 Letter from Nabû-nadin-shumi (page 161)
        • ABL 1217 + CT 53 118; Letter from Nabû-rehtu-usiur CT 5317 + 107; CT 53 938 (page 162)
        • ABL 1217 + CT 53 118 (page 163)
        • CT 53 17 + 107 (page 164)
        • CT 53 938 (page 166)
        • Summary Comments (page 168)
      • Letters from the Deity (page 170)
        • SAA 3 41 Letter from Ashur to Shamshi-Adad V (page 170)
        • SAA 3 44 Ashurs Response to Ashurbanipals report on the Shamash-Shum-ukin War (page 172)
        • SAA 3 45 Ashurs Response to Ashurbanipals Report on the Elamite Wars (page 176)
        • SAA 3 46 Fragment of a Divine Letter (page 178)
        • SAA 3 47 Letter from Ninurta to an Assyrian King (page 179)
        • SAA 13 139 Bel Reconciles with Mulissu (page 181)
        • SAA 13 43 Gods at Your Gate (page 183)
      • Summary Comments (page 183)
        • Openings & Closings (page 184)
        • Divine Protection (page 184)
        • Divine Self-Identification Formula (page 184)
        • Encouragement Formula (page 184)
        • Enemy (page 185)
        • Kingship (page 185)
        • Piety (page 185)
        • Trust in Divine Word (page 185)
        • Universal dominion (page 185)
      • Dialogues Between Deities and People (page 186)
        • SAA 3 13 Dialogue Between Ashurbanipal and Nabû (page 186)
      • Conclusions (page 190)
  • 6 Nahum (page 193)
    • Date of Writing (page 194)
    • Historical Setting (page 199)
    • Analysis of the Book (page 200)
      • Nahum 1:1 (page 200)
      • Nahum 1:2-8 (page 203)
      • Nahum 1:9-10 (page 211)
      • Nahum 1:11-2:1 (page 212)
      • Nahum 2:2-14 (page 219)
      • Nahum 3:1-17 (page 228)
      • Nahum 3:18-19 (page 233)
    • Summary Comments (page 235)
      • Opening Lines (page 235)
      • Closing Lines (page 237)
      • Divine Anger (page 237)
      • Divine Protection (page 238)
      • Divine Self-Identification Formula (page 238)
        • Excursus … Divine Self-Identification Formula (page 238)
      • Enemy (page 241)
      • Encouragement Formula (page 242)
      • Imagery (page 242)
        • Excursus - Bird and Lion Imagery in the HB (page 243)
      • Kingship (page 244)
      • Piety (page 245)
      • Universal Dominion (page 245)
    • Conclusions (page 245)
  • 7 Habakkuk (page 251)
    • Date of Writing (page 251)
    • Historical Setting (page 256)
    • Analysis of the Book (page 256)
      • Habakkuk 1:1 (page 257)
      • Habakkuk 1:2-4 (page 257)
      • Habakkuk 1:5-11 (page 261)
      • Habakkuk 1:12-17 (page 264)
      • Habakkuk 2:1 (page 266)
      • Habakkuk 2:2-6 (page 266)
      • Habakkuk 2:6-8 (page 274)
      • Habakkuk 2:9-11 (page 274)
      • Habakkuk 2:12-14 (page 275)
      • Habakkuk 2:15-17 (page 276)
      • Habakkuk 2:18-20 (page 277)
      • Habakkuk 3:1-19 (page 279)
      • Habakkuk 3:16-19 (page 288)
    • Summary Comments (page 290)
      • Opening Lines (page 290)
      • Closing Lines (page 291)
      • Divine Anger (page 291)
      • Divine Protection (page 291)
      • Divine Self-Identification Formula (page 292)
      • Enemy (page 292)
      • Encouragement Formula (page 292)
      • Imagery (page 293)
      • Kingship (page 293)
      • Piety (page 294)
      • Trust in Divine Word (page 295)
      • Universal Dominion (page 295)
      • Victory Oracles (page 295)
    • Conclusions (page 295)
  • 8 Zephaniah (page 299)
    • Date of Writing (page 299)
    • Historical Setting (page 303)
    • Analysis of the Book (page 304)
      • Zephaniah 1:1 (page 304)
      • Zephaniah 1:2-6 (page 305)
      • Zephaniah 1:7-18 (page 308)
      • Zephaniah 2:1-4 (page 314)
      • Zephaniah 2:5-7 (page 316)
      • Zephaniah 2:8-11 (page 317)
      • Zephaniah 2:12 (page 319)
      • Zephaniah 2:13-15 (page 320)
      • Zephaniah 3:1-13 (page 322)
      • Zephaniah 3:14-20 (page 327)
    • Summary Comments (page 330)
      • Opening Lines (page 330)
      • Closing Lines (page 331)
      • Divine Anger (page 331)
      • Divine Protection (page 332)
      • Divine Self-Identification Formula (page 332)
      • Enemy (page 332)
      • Encouragement Formula (page 332)
      • Imagery (page 333)
      • Kingship (page 333)
      • Piety (page 334)
      • Trust in Divine Word (page 335)
      • Universal Dominion (page 335)
      • Victory Oracles (page 336)
    • Conclusions (page 337)
  • 9 Conclusions (page 341)
    • The Neo-Assyrian Prophetic Corpus (page 341)
      • The Content (page 341)
      • The Producers of the Neo-Assyrian Prophetic Corpus (page 343)
    • The Biblical Prophetic Corpus (page 344)
      • The Content (page 344)
      • The Producers of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (page 347)
  • Bibliography (page 359)
  • Scripture Index (page 395)
  • Author Index (page 401)
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