Homeland and Exile: Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honour of Bustenay Oded. Edited by Gershon Galil, Mark Geller, and Alan Millard. Supplements to Vetus Testamentum, vol. 140. Leiden: Brill, 2009. Pp. xxiv + 643. $262.
This volume honors Bustenay Oded on his seventy-fifth birthday. Oded retired from the University of Haifa in 2002 after teaching there since 1966, but his long career as a leading scholar of the history of ancient Israel has continued well past his retirement and includes his work, The Early History of the Babylonian Exile (8th-6th Centuries B.C.E.) (Haifa: Pardes, 2010 [Hebrew]). This collective volume in his honor offers thirty contributions that include some new text editions or revised interpretations and many valuable perspectives on solving various problems or reframing certain issues in the fields of Hebrew Bible and ancient Near Eastern Studies.
The book begins with a short preface of two pages, followed by a bibliography of Oded's work. There is, unfortunately, no general introduction to the volume, an omitted feature that some readers will lament as a missed opportunity by the editors to provide context and perspective on the contributions individually and as a whole. The rest of the book is divided into two parts: Part one, "Ancient Near Eastern Studies," with fourteen chapters, and part two, "Biblical Studies," with sixteen chapters. Contributions in each part appear in the alphabetical order of the authors' last names.
Part one begins with a contribution by B. Becking (pp. 3-12), in which he gives a new interpretation of the seven-line Moabite inscription from Bet Har'os (first edited in S. Ahituv, "A New Moabite Inscription," ISMA 2 : 3-10). Also in this section are two text editions: B. Faist's edition of a new Neo-Assyrian sale document featuring an Elamite deporteee (pp. 59-69), and J. Novotny and G. Van Buylaere's edition of Sin-sarru-iskun's Cylinder B, an inscription recording this king's restoration of a temple (probably Ezida) in Calah (pp. 215-43). Matters concerning the Assyrian military or administration are treated by F. M. Fales ("The Assyrian Words for '[Foot] Soldier'," pp. 71-94); G. Galil ("Appropriation of Land by Officials in the Neo-Assyrian Period," pp. 95-119); and S. C. Melville ("A New Look at the End of the Assyrian Empire," pp. 179-201). The latter contribution explores the stagnation of Assyrian military strategies and the failure of the Assyrian state to adapt to...