Cover image for Identity in Persian Egypt: The Fate of the Yehudite Community of Elephantine By Bob Becking

Identity in Persian Egypt

The Fate of the Yehudite Community of Elephantine

Bob Becking

BUY

$79.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-1-57506-745-2

224 pages
6" × 9"
2020

Identity in Persian Egypt

The Fate of the Yehudite Community of Elephantine

Bob Becking

In this book, Bob Becking provides a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the origins, lives, and eventual fate of the Yehudites, or Judeans, at Elephantine, framed within the greater history of the rise and fall of the Persian Empire.

 

  • Description
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
In this book, Bob Becking provides a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the origins, lives, and eventual fate of the Yehudites, or Judeans, at Elephantine, framed within the greater history of the rise and fall of the Persian Empire.

The Yehudites were among those mercenaries recruited by the Persians to defend the southwestern border of the empire in the fifth century BCE. Becking argues that this group, whom some label as the first “Jews,” lived on the island of Elephantine in relative peace with other ethnic groups under the aegis of the pax persica. Drawing on Aramaic and Demotic texts discovered during excavations on the island and at Syene on the adjacent shore of the Nile, Becking finds evidence of intermarriage, trade cooperation, and even a limited acceptance of one another’s gods between the various ethnic groups at Elephantine. His analysis of the Elephantine Yehudites’ unorthodox form of Yahwism provides valuable insight into the group’s religious beliefs and practices.

An important contribution to the study of Yehudite life in the diaspora, this accessibly written and sweeping history enhances our understanding of the varieties of early Jewish life and how these contributed to the construction of Judaism.

Bob Becking is Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Humanities at Utrecht University.

Introduction

1 How Persian Power Entered Egypt

1.1 Egypt Before the Persians

1.2. Persia’s Rise to Power

1.3 Cambyses Came to Egypt

1.4 Darius’ Consolidation

1.5 ‘The Silver and the Ebony were brought from Egypt’ or: The Character of Persian Rule in Egypt

1.6 Who was Cambyses and what exactly is meant by the verb ‘to conquer’?

2 Yehudites at Elephantine: Provenance, Identity, and Religion

2.1 Jews, Judaeans, Judaeo-Arameans, or Yehudites?

2.2 How Did They Come to Egypt?

2.3 Religious Identity

2.4 Yehudite Identity in Elephantine

3 Multi-ethnic Elephantine: Some Remarks on Different Minor Ethnicities in a Persian Border Garrison

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Eastern Satrapies

3.3 Anatolia

3.4 Phoenicians

3.5 Philistine

3.6 The Aegean Sea

3.7 Various People

3.8 Conclusion and Prospect

4 Pax Persica: Cooperation, Cohabitation, and Acceptance

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Intermarriage

4.3 Salutations in Letters

4.4 Trade Contacts

4.5 Oaths and Other Deities

4.6 An Interreligious Figurine

4.7. Conclusions and Questions

5 Control through Education, Law, and Military Power

5.1 Introduction: Two Literary Texts

5.2 Aḥiqar as Scribal Propaganda

5.3 The Function of the Aramaic Version of the Behistun Inscription

5.4 Law

5.5 Military

5.6 An Inadequate Analogy

6 Disruptions of the Inter-Ethnic Solidarity

6.1 A Stone of Contention

6.2 A Conflict between Egyptians and Yehudites

6.3 Burglary in Times of Turmoil

6.4 The Crisis around the Demolition of the Temple of Yahô in Elephantine

6.5 Concluding Question

7 Khnum is Against us Since Hananiah has been in Egypt’ On Two Historical Movements in the Fifth Century BCE

7.1 From the oasis in the desert to the Land of the Pyramids (Papyrus Amherst 63)

7.2 The Egyptian Strive for Independence

8 Beyond the Final Curtain

8.1 Independent under Nepherites

8.2 The Fate of the Yehudites and other Minorities

8.3 Some Speculations

8.4 Conclusions

8.5 A Final Remark