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Why Nabonidus? Excavating Traditions From Qumran, The Hebrew Bible, And Neo-Babylonian Sources

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Chapter Summary

The longstanding suspicion of scholars that Daniel 4 was originally a narrative about Nabonidus received additional support from the discovery of 4Q242 Prayer of Nabonidus. These texts are evidence both for the complexity of the Danielic tradition and creativity of its authors, as they appropriated and recycled useful elements, combining them with usable bits and pieces from other literary and oral traditions to produce new compositions. This chapter examines this process with the texts that were associated with Nabonidus, for in addition to the Jewish narratives, there is also an extensive neo-Babylonian literature, including both Nabonidus' own self-presentation in his inscriptions and literary representations of Nabonidus by his enemies. The narratives originating about Nabonidus in proto-Daniel continued to be creatively adapted for diaspora Jews, incorporating new traditions and blending new narrative elements over a period of several centuries.

Keywords: Danielic tradition; Hebrew Bible; Jewish Nabonidus literature; neo-Babylonian literature; Qumran



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