Jeremy M. Hutton, C. L. Crouch
Deuteronomy as a Translation of Assyrian Treaties
An »Optimal Translation« Approach
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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.