Documents of Judean Exiles and West Semites in Babylonia in the Collection of David Sofer (CUSAS 28)
The publication by Laurie E. Pearce and Cornelia Wunsch of the first, extra-biblical, archival source from the exiled Judean community in Babylonia in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE represents a major contribution to both Mesopotamian and Biblical studies. The volume provides complete editions, translations, copies and outstanding photographs of 103 cuneiform texts from the David Sofer Collection along with an extensive commentary on the hundreds of new personal names with Yahwistic elements that add substantially to our understanding of Judean religious beliefs during this formative period in the development of exilic Judaism. The new documents provide us with new insights into the social and economic life of the Judeans (along with others groups forcibly settled in Mesopotamia by Nebuchadnezzar II) in their own community of Al Yahudu (Jewtown) and their interrelationships with and assimilation to their West Semitic and Babylonian neighbors. The comprehensive analysis and discussion of the new data by the authors offer many additions and insights into the hitherto limited knowledge of this community, the naming practices of immigrant groups over several generations, and, by implication, how other exiles in Babylonia might have been influenced by similar experiences after being forcibly resettled in a foreign environment. This is an essential resource not only for Assyriologists, archaeologists and historians but particularly for biblical scholars interested in the history of Judaism in its Mesopotamian context.