Reviews - What do customers think about Documents from Old Testament Sources (Ancient Texts and Translations series)?
Provides other literature from the Old Testament period Feb 8, 2007
This is an amazing book that is well worth the purchase price for any of the translations found within it let alone all of them.
In this book, you will read:
-- The translated text of the Babylonian Flood story. By reading the text you can see the elements of the biblical flood story in another story written some one thousand years earlier. Where did the bible stories originally come from? Fortunately, this translation is but one of many in this book that will inspire thought and wonder.
-- The translated text of the Merneptah Stele. Put to stone in 1215 BCE the Merneptah Stele essentially tells the Egyptian version of a great campaign of conquest waged by the Pharoah Merneptah (son to Ramses II the Great...the traditionally reputed Pharoah of the biblical Exodus). Read properly, one could take this to be the original telling of the Egyptian version of the Exodus. See my review of Asimov's Guide to the Bible for more details.
-- The translated text of the Code of Hammurabi. Inscribed in 1750 or so BCE, it may well be the first recorded law code. This is significant because merely oral law codes only have the consistently and fairness their reciter imputes to them. The merger of the art of writing with the rendition of written law may well have been the inspiration for the axial age itself. See my review of Karen Armstrong's The Great Transformation and also Jack Goody's Writing and the Organization of Society for more details.
-- The Egyptian Tale of Two Brothers. This tale is significant for its many points of literary similarity to the tale of Potipher/Potiphera (Potipher's wife) in the biblical Joseph cycle in Genesis. Just how free were the original bible writers in the practice of their craft and if they were limited, why? This tale figures heavily according to Gary Greenburg in his book 101 Myths of the Bible for why their was indeed an Egyptian sojourn on the part of the Jewish people. Similarly the tale is used by James Hoffmeier in his book Israel in Egypt as support for his view of an Egyptian sojourn. Significantly, like their are American versions of foreign movies and foreign versions of American television shows, the bible's use of a pre existing Egyptian tale may be nothing more novel than the process of the mere cultural borrowing of one good story from another culture. Critically, this book gives you an opportunity to examine that original story.
-- The Assyrian and Babylonians accounts of the fall of Israel and Judah. First with the falling of Israel under Hoshea in 722 BCE by Sargon II and ultimately with the toppling of Judah under Zedekiah in 586 BCE by Nebuchadrezzar you can see the accounts as viewed by Israel and Judah's enemies.
As can be gleaned through these few examples, this is a wonderful book and well worth the time necessary to review it. Indeed, this book in one hand and a bible in the other may far outweigh the value of any other biblical revisionism book in print.
There is nothing like reviewing the primary data to make one really understand.