Saturday, January 31, 2015

How Jewish exiles lived in Babylonia


An exhibition shedding new light on the Jews who settled in Babylonia  in the 6th - 5th c. BCE is set to open at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem on 2 February, i24 News reports.

< Among the rare artifacts are 100 clay tablets from the Al-Yahudu archive (named after the city that the Judean exiles settled, in southern Iraq) which display evidence of the lives of the exiles.

The Al-Yahudu archive is a large archive of over 200 tablets, which surfaced on the antiquities market in the early 1970s, and is currently owned by two private collectors, according to museum's site.

Each small tablet contains texts written in cuneiform in the Akkadian language with sporadic writing in Aramaic and Paleo-Hebrew. Under the supervision of Prof. Wayne Horowitz, the tablets have now also been translated into Hebrew,
Complementing these artifacts are illustrations from the Medieval and Modern eras of the dramatic events.

Dr. Filip Vukosavović, the curator of the exhibition, explains that, “the Bible Lands Museum has had the opportunity to receive on loan the Al-Yahudu Tablets – approximately 100 Babylonian texts documenting the lives of the exiled Judeans in Babylon in the 6th-5th centuries BCE .”

“We now know so much,” Vukosavovic adds. “They were considered state dependents, paid taxes and followed Babylonian law. It was a multi-cultural society, since there were also groups exiled from other nations in addition to the Judeans.”

The Babylonian Empire"
The exhibition focuses on one of the people who is mentioned in the tablets, Haggai Ben Ahiqam, and tells the tragic story through his eyes.

Haggai’s great-grandfather, who was from Judah, was exiled to Babylon.

“Thanks to the tablets, we know a great deal about Haggai Ben Ahiqam’s father, four siblings, grandmother, grandfather and great-grandfather,” explains Vukosavovic. “We are going to show what really happened in Babylon behind the scenes, the way the people lived.”

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