Babylonien und seine Nachbam in neu- und spatbabylonischer Zeit: Wissenschaftliches Kolloquium aus Anlass des 75. Geburtstags von Joachim Oelsner, Jena, 2. und 3. Marz 2007. Edited by MANFRED KREBERNIK and HANS NEUMANN. Alter Orient und Altes Testament, vol. 369. Munster: UGARIT-VERLAG, 2014. Pp. vii + 338, illus. [euro]91.
The book under review publishes essays from a colloquium held in celebration of Dr. Joachim Oelsner's seventy-fifth birthday. In addition to a brief foreword and updated bibliography of Oelsner's work (that is, updated from the bibliography in his Festschrift), this volume has twelve submissions. It ends with detailed indices of names (gods, people, and places), foreign words, and topics.
U. Becker's paper is a selective review of the literature on the famous lines in Ezra 7:12-26, highlighting the debates over the understanding of that passage as a historical source or simply as a literary narrative. While it is not quite original work, I personally find summaries like this useful. It provides a point-of-entry for students and scholars trying to get a handle on a knotty issue grounded in disciplinespecific literature. J. Everling's submission is the publication of BM 22022, a brief text from the time of Alexander IV mentioning rations for workers repairing the Esagila temple. The article has an appendix with all known cuneiform texts dated to Alexander IV, listed in chronological order.
A. Fuchs lays out the evidence we have for the rise to power of Nabopolassar and tries to fit it together in a way that links the chronology to the often sparsely informative sources. This will be a useful resource for future researchers', although the title of this work ("Die unglaubliche Geburt des neubabylonischen Reiches... ") is quite misleading and unfortunate--there is almost nothing unglaublich about the rise of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty. M. Jursa's submission on violence in Neo-Babylonian texts, giving the usual warnings about the limitations of what the evidence can tell us, points to the literature on microhistory as a way to elucidate his subject matter. He grounds his analysis in the idea that most of our information on violence will come from situations that contrast with the "normal." In doing so he highlights particular types of violence: that committed between social orders (usually lower upon higher or violence against state or temple officials, as both challenge the social order); how violence in the city, which...