Esarhaddon’s Succession Treaty as the Source for the Canon Formula in Deuteronomy 13:1
Bernard M. Levinson
University of Minnesota
Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 130, No. 3, pp. 337-347, 2010
The purpose of this study is to propose a Neo-Assyrian origin for the so-called “canon formula” found in Deut. 13:1 (LXX 12:32). Sections of Esarhaddon’s Succession Treaty, also known as the Vassal Treaties of Esarhaddon (VTE), have previously been recognized as a literary model for both the curses of Deut. 28 and the Deuteronomic series of three laws governing apostasy from a prophet or oneiromancer, a family member, or an entire city (Deut. 13:2–12). Here Levinson proposes a similar origin for the canon formula of Deut. 13:1, as part of Deuteronomy’s larger project of creative literary reworking. Levinson suggests that the adjuration to loyalty of the adê provided a literary model for the authors of Deut. 13. Those authors transformed the Neo-Assyrian formula requiring exclusive loyalty to the “word of Esarhaddon” (abutu ša Aššur-aḫu-iddina) into one that demanded fidelity to “the word” of Israel’s divine overlord, Yahweh, as proclaimed by Moses.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 12
Keywords: Esarhaddon’s Succession Treaty, Adê, apostasy series, canon formula, Neo-Assyrian literature, form - criticism, loyalty oath, Deuteronomy, literary history, reworking. Kanonformel, neuassyrische, Assurbanipal, Ashurbanipal, Die Assyrer in Palästina, Deut 13, Dtn 13, VTE, Deut 28, Dtn 28Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 28, 2011
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