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Re: orion Aram Naharajim; 1QM ii,10

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>From batsch@club-internet.fr Mon May 18 09:17:29 1998
Date: Sat, 09 May 1998 11:04:00 +0100
From: Christophe Batsch <batsch@club-internet.fr>
Reply-To: orion@mscc.huji.ac.il
To: orion@mscc.huji.ac.il
Subject: Re: orion Nahar Naharaym

Simone Venturini <simoven@mobilia.it> ecrit :
>> Can someone tell me what does refer aram-naharaym in 11QT II,10? It
>> corresponds, as in the BH, to the northern part of Mesopotamia, or what
>> else?

>puis corrige :

>> The passage is not in 11QT II,10, but in 11QM ii,10.
>c'est en effet une excellente question
>quiconque est capable d'expliquer  quel Etat contemporain s'appliquent
>les allusions des deux premires colonnes de 1QM serait ipso facto
>capable de dater le document dans sa forme finale.
>En tout etat de cause, peu probable qu'il s'agisse de la Mesopotamie (du
>nord ou du sud) ; toute allusion au nord d'Israel doit alors dsigner
>les Seleucides.

Christophe Batsch
doctorant EPHE V. La Sorbonne, Paris

014 367 65 63


I^m late, but ...

"aram naharajim" - translated vague as "Mesopotamia" in LXX [1] is to be
defined as "Aram of the river-region" (of the middle Euphrates),
unfortunately not as "Aram of the two rivers" (Euphrates and Tigris). It
refers to the Egyptian term "Naharina" and to "Na^rima" in the Tall-al^
Amarnah correspondence and therefore it seems to be a pseudonym of the
ancient kingdom of Mari with its political and cultural capital Charran [2]
on the territory of later Mitanni and Chatti.

A transformation of the term into the 1st c. BC defines a. naharajim as
northern Coele-Syria [3], Commagene (?) and Osrhoene with Edessa as its

During the trade wars between Rome and Parthia (53-39/6 BC) this region was
controlled by Pacorus, son of the Parthian king of kings Orodes II (57-38
BC). This Pacorus [4] was an idol to Syrian patriots as well as to the
martial Zadokides in Palestine and carrier of their hopes of restoration of
the Maccabean kingdom during the Parthian offensive of 40/39 BC [5]. He was
killed in the Battle of Gindaros [6] in 38 BC against the Roman pre-commando
of Ventidius Bassus in the early stage of Mark Antony^s finally disastrous
expedition against the Parthians in 39/36 BC.

The background of a. naharajim in 1QM ii,10 now seems to reflect an
ante-Parthian position of the redaction, the result of the lost hopes of a
2nd Parthian military intervention in Palestine in the late 30th and early
20th of the 1st c. BC. Following this trail the growing hate is founded in
the "friendly" Roman politics by Orodes II^s follower Phraates IV (38-02 BC)
and the renewal of Sulla^s nonaggression treaty ("amicitia") with Parthia by
Octavian in 20 BC, the guessed terminus a quo for the composition (but not
for the sources) of the War Scroll [7].

However, in the end we^re all beginners, for nobody knows the real
intentions of the 1QM-redaction. Perhaps there were none at all ...

[1] cf. Ge 24:10; De 23:5; Ps 60:2; Judges 3:8
[2] Carrhae; biblical Haran; c.f. "the Mager" in Herodot His i,101; iii,61
[3] north of the line Antiocheia - Tadmon (Palmyra)
[4] cf. i.e. JosBell 1.248,253,259,261,263,317; JosAnt 14.330,337,342,348;
15.11; 20.69,242; Plutarch Antony 34
[5] here: HP King Antigonos 40/39 BC, the last Hasmonaean king
[6] on the Silk Road between Antiocheia and Zeugma
[7] 1QM, 1Q33, 4Q471 and 4Q491-7 are paleographic dated as Herodian (late
1st c. BC- early 1st c. CE)