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Title: Scribal culture and the composition of Deuteronomy 28 : intertextuality, influence and the Aramaic curse tradition
Author: Quick, Laura Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 3287
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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It is often noted that Deuteronomy 28 seems to parallel portions of a Neo-Assyrian treaty, 'The Succession Treaty of Esarhaddon', known as EST. However, while there are undeniably points of similarity between Deuteronomy 28 and EST, affinities to Deuteronomy 28 may also be found in curses from Old Aramaic epigraphs of the first-millennium. In this thesis I consider the relationship of Deuteronomy 28 to the curse traditions of the ancient Near East. I argue that the crux of the issue is the linguistic means of the transmission of these ancient Near Eastern curse traditions to Deuteronomy. Consideration of this is then the prerequisite to a study of the cultural means of transmission: treatments of this problem must encompass a far broader range of materials than hitherto considered, including the Old Aramaic inscriptions. My primary aim in this context is to ascertain whether we may characterize the relation of all these texts to Deuteronomy as one of influence or of intertextuality - terminological categories which I introduce in order to clarify the exact nature of the problem with more precision than that of previous studies. Ultimately it will be found that Deuteronomy 28 reflects a complex interplay between Mesopotamian and Levantine traditions, against previous interpreters who had referred Deuteronomy 28 to an exclusively Mesopotamian horizon. Nevertheless, we cannot consider this interplay to have stemmed from the influence of any one Old Aramaic or Mesopotamian text such as EST in terms of a direct literary connection. Rather, as putative Aramaic vectors of mediation must be posited between the Mesopotamian tradition and Deuteronomy due to the linguistic competence of Judaean scribes in the late monarchic period, this must be understood as a relationship of intertextuality. While the specific literary (or ritual) Vorlage is thus unreconstructable in terms of the documentary evidence, we can nevertheless hypothesize what the Northwest Semitic curse tradition from which this Vorlage was a part may have looked like, based upon the textual traditions to which we do have access - and this tradition is reflected in Deuteronomy 28.
Supervisor: Barton, John Sponsor: Clarendon Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Transmission of texts--History--To 1500 ; Manuscripts ; Aramaic ; Blessing and cursing in the Bible