An Assyrian Tablet: More Exaggerated Connections

It’s right hard to read. Anyway

Canadian archeologists in Turkey have unearthed an ancient treaty written in cuneiform that could have served as a model for the biblical description of God’s covenant with the Israelites.

Why? And what evidence is there for such a bold claim?

The tablet, dating from about 670 BC, is a treaty between the powerful Assyrian king and his weaker vassal states, written in a highly formulaic language very similar in form and style to the story of Abraham’s covenant with God in the Hebrew Bible, says University of Toronto archeologist Timothy Harrison.

Oh so the Assyrian king’s treaty with his vassals from 670 is supposed to be like a covenant Abraham made with God over a thousand years earlier (following the chronology of Waltke)?

Although biblical scholarship differs, it is widely accepted that the Hebrew Bible was being assembled around the same time as this treaty, the seventh century BC. “Those documents … seem to reflect very closely the formulaic structure of these treaty documents,” he told about 50 guests at the residence of the Turkish ambassador Rafet Akgunay.

Ah… so Finkelstein’s chronology has been widely accepted. Well that’s good.

He was not necessarily saying the Hebrews copied the Assyrian text, substituting their own story about how God liberated them from slavery in Egypt on the condition that they worship only Him and follow his commandments. But it will be interesting for scholars to have this parallel document.

Wait, what? We jumped from the Assyrian text being like Abraham’s covenant to the Exodus? That was deft.

“The language in the (Assyrian) texts is (very similar) and now we have a treaty document just a few miles up the road from Jerusalem.” It was the first public announcement about the importance of the Ottawa-made tablet as Harrison tries to pitch an international consortium for creating a public park at Tell Tayinat, the archeological site in southeast Turkey.

Similar to what? And ‘Ottawa made tablet’????? I’m confused.

Harrison’s dig at Tell Tayinat revealed tens of thousands of items last summer, including the tablet. It measured 43×28 centimetres, with 650 and 700 tiny lines of script — and was smashed to pieces. Still, at least the pieces were all in one place. Dozens of similar smashed tablets were scattered. … Meanwhile, work will continue on the restoration and translation of the tablet.

If it hasn’t been thoroughly restored and translated, how can it be compared to vassal treaties as exemplified in the Bible?

More info please…

2 thoughts on “An Assyrian Tablet: More Exaggerated Connections

  1. Jona Lendering 10 Apr 2010 at 4:34 am

    You seem to complain about the exaggeration, but archaeologists always exaggerate. That’s why no one takes scholars/scientists seriously. You can regret that, but it’s a fact of life. Feel free to use this tool in the future:


  2. […] het noordwesten van Syrië (zoals deze) is goed voor wat overdreven interpretaties, waartegen wordt gewaarschuwd. De vraag “wie bezit het verleden?” komt weer eens op bij de discussie over het graf […]


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