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The Road Not Taken: Wellhausen And Assyriology

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Chapter Summary

To study the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament historically, one customarily assumes, requires studying also the other cultures of the region from which the Bible emerged, that is, the region of the ancient Near East. Historical study of the Bible, after all, in the sense of understanding the development of its ideas, institutions, and literary forms, precedes any real effort to recover and study the data of the rest of the ancient Near East. This chapter focuses on connection between the study of the Old Testament and the study of Mesopotamia, or, as the latter has been known since the middle of the 19th century, Assyriology. More specifically, it talks about German Biblical and Semitics scholar, Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918). Wellhausen and Assyriology, in sum, make up a complicated story and relationship. The story just related, of course, has significance well beyond the understanding of Wellhausen's own scholarly career and contributions.

Keywords: Assyriology; Hebrew Bible; Julius Wellhausen; Mesopotamia



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