by Tero Alstola
This blog post is a summary of Tero Alstola’s recent article “Judean Merchants in Babylonia and Their Participation in Long-Distance Trade” in Die Welt des Orients 47 (2017), pp. 25–51. https://doi.org/10.13109/wdor.2017.47.1.25.
The Babylonian exile of Judeans does not equal to enslavement and miserable conditions in a foreign land. The available sources attest to remarkable diversity within the deported population: although the majority of Judeans worked as small farmers, some of them lived in cities, enjoyed a good socio-economic status, and were integrated into Babylonian society. Judean merchants are an example of exiles who did relatively well in Babylonia. Continue reading Trading in the Babylonian Exile
By Tero Alstola
What connects ancient Judean exiles with the San Francisco Bay Area? The answer is the University of California Berkeley and Dr Laurie E. Pearce, one of the leading scholars in the study of the Babylonian exile of Judeans. In her recent book (Documents of Judean Exiles and West Semites in Babylonia in the Collection of David Sofer, Bethesda: CDL, 2014) co-authored with Cornelia Wunsch, Pearce published hundred documents from mid-first millennium BCE Babylonia pertaining to Judean exiles. These clay tablets are economic documents such as contracts and promissory notes that provide us with information on the everyday lives of the Judean community living in Al-Yahudu, “Town of Judah”, and its surroundings. Continue reading Studying Ancient Judeans by San Francisco Bay
by Tero Alstola
After a long siege, Jerusalem fell to the Babylonian forces in 597 BCE. King Jehoiachin and upper classes, the supporters of the rebellion against their Babylonian overlords, were taken captive and deported to Babylonia. The city was plundered, heavy tribute was carried to the temples and palaces of Babylon and a new vassal king was placed on the throne in Jerusalem. Another rebellion ten years later resulted in the collapse of Judean society at the same time, when Judean deportees were resettled in Babylonian towns and countryside. Perhaps a century later, some descendants of these deportees were able to return to Judah and claim a high status in the slowly recovering society. Continue reading Investigating the Babylonian Exile: When Old Testament Studies Is Not Enough