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Mesopotamian and Jewish History

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David Dry

on 10 May 2018

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Transcript of Mesopotamian and Jewish History

Mesopotamian History
When Anu the Sublime and Bel, the lords of Heaven and earth, who decreed the fate of the land, assigned to Marduk, the over-ruling son of Ea, God of righteousness, dominion over earthly man, and made him great among the Igigi, they called Babylon by its illustrious name, made it great on earth, and founded an everlasting kingdom in it, whose foundations are laid so solidly as those of heaven and earth; then the gods Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak; so that I should rule over the black-headed people like Shamash, and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind.

What can we say about Babylonian society from this passage?

6. If any one steal the property of a temple, he shall be put to death, and also the one who receives the stolen thing from him shall be put to death.

110. If a "sister of a god" open a tavern, or enter a tavern to drink, then shall this woman be burned to death.
Sumerians (3500- 2334 BC)

Hittites: (1500-1200 BCE)
-Indo-European (language group)
-Iron and War Chariot
102. If a merchant entrust capital to an agent (broker) for some investment, and the broker suffer a loss in the place to which he goes, he shall make good the capital to the merchant.

104. If a merchant give an agent corn, wool, oil, or any other goods to transport, the agent shall give a receipt for the amount, and compensate the merchant therefor. Then he shall obtain a receipt from the merchant for the amount that he gives the merchant.
195. If a son strike his father, his hands shall be hewn off.
196. If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out.
199. If he put out the eye of a man's slave, or break the bone of a man's slave, he shall pay one-half of its value.
209. If a man strike a free-born woman so that she lose her unborn child, he shall pay ten shekels for her loss.
210. If the woman die, his daughter shall be put to death.
213. If he strike the maid-servant of a man, and she lose her child, he shall pay two shekels in money.

What can we say about the family structure, gender, and legal principles in Mesopotamian civilization from this section of the code of Hammurabi?
Edict of Augustus,
Caesar Augustus, pontifex maximus, holding the tribunician power, proclaims: Since the nation of the Jews and Hyrcanus, their high priest, have been found grateful to the people of the Romans, not only in the present but also in the past, and particularly in the time of my father, Caesar, imperator, it seems good to me and to my advisory council, according to the oaths, by the will of the people of the Romans, that the Jews shall use their own customs in accordance with their ancestral law, just as they used to use them in the time of Hyrcanus, the high priest of their highest god; and that their sacred offerings shall be inviolable and shall be sent to Jerusalem and shall be paid to the financial officials of Jerusalem; and that they shall not give sureties for appearance in court on the Sabbath or on the day of preparation before it after the ninth hour. But if anyone is detected stealing their sacred books or their sacred monies, either from a synagogue or from a mens' apartment, he shall be considered sacrilegious and his property shall be brought into the public treasury of the Romans.

What do the Romans think of the Jews?
All their other customs, which are at once perverse and disgusting, owe their strength to their very badness. The most degraded out of other races, scorning their national beliefs, brought to them their contributions and presents. This augmented the wealth of the Jews, as also did the fact, that among themselves they are inflexibly honest and ever ready to shew compassion, though they regard the rest of mankind with all the hatred of enemies. They sit apart at meals, they sleep apart, and though, as a nation, they are singularly prone to lust, they abstain from intercourse with foreign women; among themselves nothing is unlawful. Circumcision was adopted by them as a mark of difference from other men. Those who come over to their religion adopt the practice, and have this lesson first instilled into them, to despise all gods, to disown their country, and set at nought parents, children, and brethren.

Tacitus (a roman)
The Histories
, Book V (c. 100 CE)
Destruction and Sacking of Jewish Temple in Jerusalem
Jewish History
Since many judges, in deciding cases, have addressed us in need of our decision, asking that they be informed what ought to be done with witnesses who are heretics, whether their testimony ought to be received or rejected, we therefore ordain that no heretic, nor even they who cherish the Jewish superstition, may offer testimony against orthodox Christians who are engaged in litigation, whether one or the other of the parties is an orthodox Christian.

Law Of Justinian (531 CE)

(1800 BC) Abraham and the Patriarchs
(539-332 BCE) Persian conquest of Babylon

Jacob von Konigshofen, "The Cremation of the Strasbourg Jews"

In the matter of this plague the Jews throughout the world were reviled and accused in all lands of having caused it through the poison which they are said to have put into the water and the wells-that is what they were accused......Thereupon they burnt the Jews in many towns and wrote of this affair to Strasbourg, Freiburg, and Basel in order that they too should burn their Jews. But the leaders in these three cities in whose hands the government lay did not believe that anything ought to be done to the Jews. However in Basel the citizens marched to the city-hall and compelled the council to take an oath that they would burn the Jews, and that they would allow no Jew to enter the city for the next two hundred years.

Thereupon the Jews were arrested in all these places and a conference was arranged to meet at Benfeld Alsace, February 8, 1349. The Bishop of Strasbourg [Berthold II], all the feudal lords of Alsace, and representatives of the three above mentioned cities came there. The deputies of the city of Strasbourg were asked what they were going to do with their Jews. They answered and said that they knew no evil of them. Then they asked the Strasbourgers why they had closed the wells and put away the buckets, and there was a great indignation and clamor against the deputies from Strasbourg. So finally the Bishop and the lords and the Imperial Cities agreed to do away with the Jews. The result was that they were burnt in many cities, and wherever they were expelled they were caught by the peasants and stabbed to death or drowned.

On Saturday . . . they burnt the Jews on a wooden platform in their cemetery. There were about two thousand people of them. Those who wanted to baptize themselves were spared. [Some say that about a thousand accepted baptism.] Many small children were taken out of the fire and baptized against the will of their fathers and mothers. And everything that was owed to the Jews was cancelled, and the Jews had to surrender all pledges and notes that they had taken for debts. The council, however, took the cash that the Jews possessed and divided it among the working-men proportionately. The money was indeed the thing that killed the Jews. If they had been poor and if the feudal lords had not been in debt to them, they would not have been burnt....
Mesopotamia cont.
And God spoke all these words, saying:

"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

You shall have no other gods before Me.

You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."

Exodus 20, 1-6
And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him;

Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again.

And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death.

Leviticus 24:19-21

What does this sound similar to that we have already read and in what ways?
My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west—
How can I find savour in food? How shall it be sweet to me?
How shall I render my vows and my bonds, while yet
Zion lieth beneath the fetter of Edom, and I in Arab chains?
A light thing would it seem to me to leave all the good things of Spain—
Seeing how precious in mine eyes to behold the dust of the desolate sanctuary.

Yehudah HaLevi (c. 1100)

What is this poem about?
Read the articles, identify what you feel are the most important things mentioned, and prepare to discuss them with the class.
Why do we study the Jewish people?
Framing History
Western Civilization
Political History
Walls of Babylon
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Family Hierarchy
Social Class
Phoenician Alphabet
1. Describe the item you are giving them.

2. Explain why you are giving this to them.

3. Talk about the role of the item/genre in America or in the area (i.e. the Asheville music scene, the role of sports in American life, nature in this area, etc.)

4. Try to think of something else you can add that would be useful to them (i.e. teach them some [appropriate] slang words they might need to know if they visit America, etc.)
Destruction of the Temple (70CE)
Under the Roman Rule
Standard of Ur
Akkadians: (2334- 2200 BC)
-Semitic Speakers (Language Group)
-Sargon the Great
-Social Structure
-Epic of Gilgamesh
Assyrians: (1300-612 BCE)

Chaldeans (Neo-Babylonians) (612-539 BCE)
-Nebuchadnezzar II
Purple Dye

(1200 BCE-1025 BCE) The Exodus from Egypt
(1025-922 BCE) Unified Monarchy
(922-722 BCE) Separate Kingdoms- Judah and Israel

(722 BCE) Conquest of Israel by Assyria
(586 BCE-539 BCE) Conquest of Judah by Babylon & the "Babylonian Captivity"

Jewish Scriptures
Chosen People
Cyrus: Return of Jews and temple rebuilt
(332-145 BCE) Conquest by Alexander the Great and rule by Seleucids
(145-63 BCE) Takeover of the Maccabees
(63 BC-136 CE) Roman Rule
Rabbinic Judaism
Middle Ages
Legal Standing
The "Other"
Bar Kochba Revolt (134-136 CE)
Religious and Cultural Tensions
Natural Economy
Commodity Economy
Babylonian Empire: (2000-1500 BCE)
-Astronomy and Mathematics
Sexagesimal System
Using a primary source
Full transcript