Jeremy M. Hutton, C. L. Crouch

Deuteronomy as a Translation of Assyrian Treaties

An »Optimal Translation« Approach

Volume 7 () / Issue 2, pp. 201-252 (52)
Published 07.01.2019

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This article evaluates claims that the relationship between the Vassal Treaty of Esarhaddon (VTE) and the book of Deuteronomy (especially chapter 28) can properly be called one of translation. We conduct this study by analyzing the translation style of the bilingual (Akkadian-Aramaic) Tell Fekheriyeh inscription using the theoretical paradigm of Optimal Translation. We argue that the relevant passages of Deuteronomy 28 – those that have been judged as most likely representing direct translation from Akkadian or indirect translation through Aramaic – do not, in fact, show any procedural similarities to the one extensive and definitive exemplar of Akkadian-to-Northwest Semitic translation from antiquity, namely, the Tell Fekheriyeh inscription. Although this conclusion does not rule out more refractory uses of Akkadian treaty texts, it suggests that Deuteronomy's reliance on prior texts was unlikely to have been limited to a single exemplar, and more likely to have been based on a variety of texts within the Akkadian and Northwest Semitic treaty traditions.

Jeremy M. Hutton Born 1976; 1998 BA in Theology and Philosophy, University of Notre Dame; 2002 AM in Hebrew Bible, Harvard University; 2005 PhD in Hebrew Bible and Northwest Semitics, Harvard University; since 2018 Professor of Classical Hebrew Language and Biblical Literature at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

C. L. Crouch Born 1982; 2004 BA in Religious Studies, Scripps College, CA; 2005 PGDip in Theology, University of Oxford; 2007 MPhil in Theology (Old Testament), University of Oxford; 2008 DPhil in Theology (Old Testament), University of Oxford; 2018–2021 David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, CA; currently Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and Ancient Judaism at Radboud University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.