Esthers Revenge at Susa: From Sennacherib to Ahasuerus

Hardcover | November 29, 2007

byStephanie Dalley

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Why are the names of the chief characters in the biblical Book of Esther those of Mesopotamian deities? Stephanie Dalley argues that the narrative reflects real happenings in seventh-century Assyria, where the widespread belief that revenge belongs to the gods explains why Assyrian kingsdescribed punitive campaigns as divine acts, leading to the mythologizing of certain historical events. Ashurbanipal's sack of Susa, led by the deities Ishtar and Marduk, underlies the Hebrew story of Esther, and that story contains traces of the cultic calendar of Ishtar-of-Nineveh. Dalley tracesthe way in which the long-term settlement of `lost tribes' in Assyria, revealed by the fruits of excavation in Iraq and Syria, inspired a blend of pagan and Jewish traditions.

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Why are the names of the chief characters in the biblical Book of Esther those of Mesopotamian deities? Stephanie Dalley argues that the narrative reflects real happenings in seventh-century Assyria, where the widespread belief that revenge belongs to the gods explains why Assyrian kingsdescribed punitive campaigns as divine acts, lead...

Stephanie Dalley is Senior Research Fellow in Assyriology at the Oriental Institute, University of Oxford.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:280 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.67 inPublished:November 29, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199216630

ISBN - 13:9780199216635

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Table of Contents

I. The Background in Assyrian History and Literature1. Kings Sargon and Sennacherib, father and son2. Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal, son and grandson of Sennacherib3. Troubles in Babylon and retribution in Susa4. Dissemination in Palestine and Egypt5. Some literature and its genres6. Ishtar-of-Nineveh and her feastsII. Transition to a Jewish Story7. Assyrian words, phrases, and customs in the Hebrew Book of Esther8. Links between seventh-century Assyria, the Hebrew story of Esther, and the kingdom of Adiabene9. From history into myth: evolution of a story