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I agree with you that Mesopotamian culture could have, and did, reach the
Land of Israel before the advent of Hellenism (whatever that may be).
Biblical scholars of a comparative bent have been looking for borrowings
and influences for over a century. My own opinion is that the
Assyrian-Persian period, which was a time of cultural commensulism in the
near east, would be a good period to for massive flow of
Mesopotamian culture to the west, as western culture flowed eastward.
The channels of transmission were the Assyrian administrative network and
the Aramaic language. BOth of these were taken over by the successor
Bbylonian and Persian empires.
BUT, everything requires evidence, and unless a
document of astronomic content and Mesopotamian background can be
produced from the pre-Hellenistic Land of Israel the connections of which
you speak can only be theoretical. I share your wishful thinking!
On Sun, 13 Oct 1996, Chaim Milikowsky wrote:
> On Sun, 13 Oct 1996, Seth L Sanders wrote:
> > As David Pingree's appendix to the latter article shows, there is nothing
> > exceptional in this: the Hellenistic world inherited Mesopotamian
> > astronomy and astrology, and as we find inmany cases, the Qumran
> > covenanters were a part of the Hellenistic world.
> The term Hellenistic can of course be used as a general term for the
> period after Alexander the Great and then the "Hellenistic world" is
> everything that happened after that. More generally, though the term
> implies some sort of fusion, mixture, cohabitation of cultures, and I am
> not quite sure why we need to assume that Mesopotamian culture had to come
> to Qumran by means of the Hellenistic world. Is it not possible that
> Babylonian culture directly influenced Palestine? The fact the
> astrological texts of later period that survived are in Greek does not
> mean that there could not have been many other such texts in Phoenician,
> Hebrew, etc?
> Chaim Milikowsky
> Talmud, Bar Ilan