Babylon

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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John2
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Re: Babylon

Post by John2 »

Regarding your feeble 6th century BCE population of Judah population posts -

Finkelstein gives the combined population if Israel and Judah as 400,000 in the eighth century BCE, before the Assyrians crushed Israel.
I'm not sure what you are driving at here, but Bedford discusses the various estimates for the population of Judah (including everyone I've noted so far) in footnote 4 on pages 43-44 of Temple Restoration in Early Achaemenid Judah and gives Finkelstein's (and Broshi's) estimate as 132,000:
M. Broshi and I. Finkelstein, "The Population of Palestine in Iron Age II," BASOR (1992) 47-60, estimate the population of Iron Age II Palestine to be c. 400,000, with c. 132,000 living in Judea (including the Shephelah).

https://books.google.com/books?id=MOd32 ... ia&f=false
And in Confronting the Past: Archaeological and Historical Essays on Ancient Israel their number is said to be 110,000 (perhaps when not including the Shephelah):
Broshi and Finkelstein acknowledge that they had access to unpublished material and oral information from surveyors and excavators and that Finkelstein himself was involved in major surveys in southern Ephraim and Judah, which encourages us to accept their 400,000 figure as an educated estimate, a calculation on which to base a working hypothesis ... According to their reckoning, Judah had a population of 110,000 and Israel of 225,000 (or 350,000 if Transjordanian Gilead is included), for a combined total of 335,000 (or 460,000). These numbers, based only on archaeological data, have provided a baseline figure that, for some scholars, informs the contents of what constitutes "historical sense" in evaluating records of events in Judah in 701 BCE.

https://books.google.com/books?id=oYear ... in&f=false


I wouldn't mind reading their article. These numbers appear to conflict with the 75,000 Finkelstein and Silberman give above (and noted in footnote 12 in The Three Religions below). Maybe Finkelstein and Broshi think the population of Judah had decreased to 75,000 after 701 BCE (but if so, I wonder how/if they discuss the influx of refugees to Judah from Israel after 721 BCE, which, in any event, is another issue I need to look into more).

https://books.google.com/books?id=cJ2uY ... on&f=false
You know in spite of all you gained, you still have to stand out in the pouring rain.
John2
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Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Babylon

Post by John2 »

This page mentions the issue of a population decrease in Judah after the fall of Israel and might answer my question about Finkelstein's numbers.
Judea's population, which before the collapse of the north had been low, grew 500% to 120,000. This means, the previous size of Judea before the reign of Ahaz had been about 24,000 people in the south with 96,000 coming as refugees from the north (about 1/3rd of the total of the previous population). This would suggest that the population of Judea was less than 1/20th that of the northern kingdom. During the 10th century it would have been still smaller.

But the enormous population after the fall of Israel did not last. The Assyrian campaign against Hezekiah, and the plague with which it was associated (Hezekiah himself narrowly escaped) reduced the population by nearly 50,000, so that by the end of the monarchy, Judah's population, based fairly accurately upon surveys at the time, was about 75,000, with 20% of it (about 15,000) living in Jerusalem.

http://religion.wikia.com/wiki/History_ ... _and_Judah
You know in spite of all you gained, you still have to stand out in the pouring rain.
John2
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Re: Babylon

Post by John2 »

It's looking like 75,000 is the number that many people like, but given such a wide range I'm inclined to keep Faust's comment (and Lipschits' research) in mind and think of it as being c. 100,000.
... counting ancient populations is a dangerous endeavor. Even calculating the number of inhabitants of a single site is unreliable and results in a margin of error of some 400 percent ... Therefore, it is impossible to study an entire region where there are numerous unknown variables. The specific figures are quite meaningless. What can be studied, and even this very cautiously, is demographic trends ...

The most detailed attempt to calculate the population of ancient Judah in the Persian period was conducted by Lipschits (2003a; 2003b; 2005). Lipschits concluded that the population of Judah in the seventh century was 108,000, and the population of Yehud in the Persian period was 30,125 (i.e., about 28 percent of the population of Iron Age Judah; 2003a, 364; 2003b, 304; 2005, 270).

https://books.google.com/books?id=NcnPA ... or&f=false
You know in spite of all you gained, you still have to stand out in the pouring rain.
John2
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Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Babylon

Post by John2 »

I'm feeling ready for Neusner's books (thanks again for the recommendation, DC) and I like his description of Babylon.
From the earliest times, the flow of water was controlled for agricultural purposes by an elaborate system of canals, sluices, dams, embankments, and dikes. Variation in relative level between Tigris and Euphrates made it easy to lead water from the Euphrates to the Tigris in the Babylonian region. Because of spring flooding, the water could not be allowed merely to inundate the land, as in Egypt, but had to be controlled within the river banks by levees. An ancient, elaborate canal system irrigated arid areas, drained water-logged zones, and washed away excessive salinity in the soil.

Natural prosperity resulting from fertile, alluvial soil and abundant water was, moreover, greatly enhanced by the geographical advantages of Babylonia. Numerous trade routes centered in the relatively thin neck of land between the Tigris and Euphrates at Babylon-Seleucia-Ctesiphon ... The rivers were navigable for hundreds of miles, though with difficulty during the spring floods, and upstream navigation was not ever possible because of the swift current ... the only really convenient crossing place was at Babylon, for here the extent of marshland was somewhat reduced, and the flat and firm steppe provided a useful east-west route. Further, the passes of the Zagros mountains led naturally to the south, where movement was easier, rather than through mountainous Armenia. Thus the Seleucia-Ctesiphon region was particularly important as the junction of east-west, and north, north-east, and southern routes. From the most ancient times, one city after another grew up in succession within a limited area, each serving in its time as emporium and entrepot for great commercial routes.

https://books.google.com/books?id=sM9LA ... nt&f=false
I'd always wondered why those cities were built in that particular spot. Now I know. And here is a map of the Chebar Canal:

http://www.jesuswalk.com/rebuild/maps/j ... 76x300.jpg
You know in spite of all you gained, you still have to stand out in the pouring rain.
semiopen
Posts: 471
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Re: Babylon

Post by semiopen »

John2 wrote: Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:11 pm It's looking like 75,000 is the number that many people like, but given such a wide range I'm inclined to keep Faust's comment (and Lipschits' research) in mind and think of it as being c. 100,000.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I've already noted that yours is worthless.

Your Lipschitz fragment is an estimate from the end of the Iron age.

Time_periods_in_the_Palestine_region dates the Iron age in Palestine from 1000 to 732 BCE, so the 108,000 is not from the time of the Babylonian exile.

I guess that's one of the reasons many people think you are an imbecile.
John2
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Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Babylon

Post by John2 »

I appreciate your feedback, semiopen, but I don't understand your harsh tone and put downs. I at least feel like I know more now than I did when I started this thread, however imbecilic you or others are finding the process.
You know in spite of all you gained, you still have to stand out in the pouring rain.
John2
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Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Babylon

Post by John2 »

Your above link didn't work, but I looked up the page and see that there is a box for the Bronze Age and Iron Age I (3300-1000 BC), then a box for Iron Age IIA + B (1000-732 BCE) followed by a box for Iron Age IIC (732-539 BC).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_peri ... ine_region
You know in spite of all you gained, you still have to stand out in the pouring rain.
John2
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Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Babylon

Post by John2 »

This book looks great and I'm posting a link to it here so I can remember to read more of it later (if that's okay).

By the Irrigation Canals of Babylon: Approaches to the Study of the Exile edited by Ahn and Middlemas:

https://books.google.com/books?id=VeZGA ... le&f=false

And while I linked to it upthread, I also want to read more of Judah and the Judeans in the Neo-Babylonian Period edited by Lipschits and Blenkinsopp (which also looks great) and am putting the link to it here for easier access.

https://books.google.com/books?id=R65fh ... ns&f=false
You know in spite of all you gained, you still have to stand out in the pouring rain.
John2
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Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Babylon

Post by John2 »

Note from Albertz in By the Irrigation Canals of Babylon (pg. 27):
In order to estimate the long-lasting traumatic impact of [the exile], one should remember that many books of the Hebrew address and tackle this subject matter: the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Samuel, and Kings, as well the prophetic book of Jeremiah lead the exile and try to explain it. In Ezekiel, the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonians constitutes the center of the whole book (Ezek 24). In the book of Isaiah, the humiliation and elevation of Zion has become the main topic. The Book of the Four (Hosea, Amos, Micah, Zephaniah) describes the exiles of Israel and Judah after the eighth century as a sequence of judgments of divine purification. Lamentations and many of the Psalms complain about the destruction of Jerusalem and Judah (Lam 1-5; Pss 74, 79; 80), and Ps 89, the lament about the loss of the Davidic kingdom, is positioned at the turning point of the book of Psalms. In the books of the Pentateuch the exile twice constitutes the threatening future horizon (Lev 26; Deut 28; 32). Of course, in the books of Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah the exile is the central topic. And even in late books like Daniel, Tobit, and Judith the traumatic experience of the exile is still mirrored. Thus, about 70 percent of the Hebrew Bible tackles the questions of how the catastrophe of the exile was possible and what Israel can learn from it. Without the impact of this catastrophe, the Hebrew Bible would have received a completely different shape.
And somewhere along the line I picked up that Nahum is thought by some to have been from Assyria, and in any event it is where his supposed tomb is located.
Little is known about Nahum's personal history. His name means "comforter," and he was from the town of Alqosh (Nahum 1:1), which scholars have attempted to identify with several cities, including the modern Alqosh in northern Iraq and Capharnaum of northern Galilee ...

Nahum's writings could be taken as prophecy or as history. One account suggests that his writings are a prophecy written in about 615 BC, just before the downfall of Assyria, while another account suggests that he wrote this passage as liturgy just after its downfall in 612 BC ...

The tomb of Nahum is supposedly inside the synagogue at Alqosh, although there are other places outside Iraq which also lay claim to being the original "Elkosh" from which Nahum hailed. Alqosh was abandoned by its Jewish population in 1948, when they were expelled, and the synagogue that purportedly houses the tomb is now in a poor structural state, to the extent that the tomb itself is in danger of destruction. The tomb underwent basic repairs in 1796. When all Jews were compelled to flee Alqosh in 1948, the iron keys to the tomb were handed to an Assyrian man by the name of Sami Jajouhana. Few Jews visit the historic site, yet Jajouhana continues to keep the promise he made with his Jewish friends, and looks after the tomb. A team of US/UK construction engineers, led by Huw Thomas, is currently planning ways to save the building and the tomb. Money had been allocated for proposed renovation in 2008. The tomb is currently in disrepair and may be threatened by the rise of ISIS in Iraq.

Two other possible burial sites mentioned in historical accounts are Elkesi, near Ramah in the Galilee and Elcesei in the West Bank.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nahum
The ancient synagogue in Alqosh reportedly contains the tomb of the prophet Nahum, who correctly prophesied the end of the Assyrian Empire, although Nahum's bones have been relocated to a nearby church. It was common for Iraqi Jews to make a pilgrimage to Alqosh during Shavuot. “He who has not made the pilgrimage to Nahum’s tomb has not yet known real pleasure,” was a common saying.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alqosh
It's interesting to "go back" to Nahum's time, since I'm more familiar with the later Nahum Pesher, and this article has some nice pictures of the tomb:
... the circumstances that have conspired against what is believed by many to be the resting place of Nahum, a holy man from the seventh century B.C., illustrate the challenges that conservationists face in salvaging architectural riches in conflict zones.

Even by ancient standards, Nahum's life is poorly documented—it's not even certain where he's buried (a village south of Jerusalem also lays claim to him). His supposed prediction of the downfall of the Assyrian Empire more than 2,000 years ago, however, has earned him the reverence of Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Yazidis who have venerated his tomb for hundreds of years.

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/201 ... -collapse/
You know in spite of all you gained, you still have to stand out in the pouring rain.
John2
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Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Babylon

Post by John2 »

Note from Barstad in Judah and the Judeans in the Neo-Babylonian Period (pages 11-14):
In Mesopotamia proper, barely, beer, and sesame oil were produced, and only toward the west and the north was it possible to grow grapes (for wine) and olive oil. In Judah the olive industry prospered in the late Iron age ...

In the sixth century B.C.E., Babylon was prospering, and there was no shortage of food from the countryside to feed the large urban population. Wine and olive oil, on the other hand, were much-sought-after luxury goods, available only to the rich. Yet we cannot know for certain whether wine and oil were actually brought to Mesopotamia from Judah. Not much has been published on Neo-Babylonian long-distance trade ...

Scholars have hardly shown any interest in the history and culture of the large majority of the population that actually remained in Judah after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. The sharp distinction made between "before and after 586" has overshadowed the fact that we are dealing with a continuous culture.

Obviously, we should not belittle the several deportations. What we must renounce, however, is the claim that these deportations affected life in Palestine the way earlier generations of scholars believed. The Judah left behind by the Babylonians was not a desolate and empty country lying in ruins until the Jews miraculously arrived back under Cyrus. After the fall of Jerusalem, Judah made up another cog in the great economic wheels of the Neo-Babylonian empire, and life went on after 586 pretty much in the same way that it did before the arrival of Nebuchadnezzar's armies.
You know in spite of all you gained, you still have to stand out in the pouring rain.
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