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Judeans in Babylonia: A Study of Deportees in the Sixth and Fifth Centuries BCE

Tero Alstola defended his thesis on 21 December 2017

Tero Alstola
21 December 2017
Leiden Repository

The dissertation investigates the life of Judean deportees in Babylonia in the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. The results from the study of Judeans are placed in the wider context of Babylonian society and are evaluated by using a group of Neirabian deportees as a point of comparison. The sources of this study consist of 289 clay tablets written in Akkadian cuneiform, such as promissory notes, leases, receipts, and lists. The dissertation shows that there was considerable diversity in the deportees’ socio-economic status and integration into Babylonian society. The majority of deportees were settled in the countryside and integrated into the land-for-service system, which was aimed at increasing agricultural output and providing the state with labour, soldiers, and tax income. In addition, foreign professionals were employed in cities, and the worlds of commerce and royal administration were open to some deportees. A relatively small number of deportees were donated to Babylonian temples. The Babylonian practice of settling deportees in ethnically homogenous rural communities supported the survival of their culture and traditions in the countryside. Adoption of Babylonian names and culture was faster among those Judeans who lived in cities and were in regular contact with the native population.


Prof. dr. C. Waerzeggers

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