Esarhaddon's succession treaty as the source for the canon formula in Deuteronomy 13:1

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The purpose of this study is to propose a Neo-Assyrian origin for the so-called "canon formula" found in Deut. 13:1 (LXX 12:32). Sections of Esarhaddon's Succession Treaty, also known as the Vassal Treaties of Esarhaddon (VTE), have previously been recognized as a literary model for both the curses of Deut. 28 and the Deuteronomic series of three laws governing apostasy from a prophet or oneiromancer, a family member, or an entire city (Deut. 13:2-12). Here I propose a similar origin for the canon formula of Deut. 13:1, as part of Deuteronomy's larger project of creative literary reworking. In what follows, I suggest that the adjuration to loyalty of the adê provided a literary model for the authors of Deut. 13. Those authors transformed the Neo-Assyrian formula requiring exclusive loyalty to the "word of Esarhaddon" (abutu ša Aššur-ah{combining caron below}ju-iddina) into one that demanded fidelity to "the word" of Israel's divine overlord, Yahweh, as proclaimed by Moses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-347
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Oriental Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010


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