Thesis Abstract

Website Picture - Thesis

For those of you who are interested in knowing a little bit more about what my dissertation was about (you might regret it!), I’ve posted the abstract for the dissertation below.  The full dissertation will be available on T-Space (University of Toronto) by December.  My plan is to revise it and then publish it in the next year or two.

Abstract:

This study concludes that only three passages from Deuteronomy 28 have a close historical relationship with curses from the Succession Treaty or Loyalty Oath of Esarhaddon (EST): Deuteronomy 28:23-24 (EST 528-533), Deuteronomy 28:53-57 (EST 448-451), and, more tentatively, Deuteronomy 28:25a,26-33 (EST 419-430). A comparison of curses in multilingual texts shows that while some change can occur when curses are translated from one linguistic, cultural, or religious context to another, curses with a close historical relationship to each other are connected through clusters of concrete anchor points including cognate vocabulary, lexical equivalents, similar modes of expression, similar imagery, and shared subject matter. Based on the absence of clusters of concrete anchor points, significant differences in both content and subject matter, and the fact that these differences cannot be adequately explained by normal changes that occur when curses are translated from one linguistic, cultural, or religious context to another, EST 472-493 (=§56) and Deuteronomy 28:20-44, EST 418a-c and Deuteronomy 28:34-35, as well as most of the freestanding parallels between EST and Deuteronomy 28 cannot be said to have a close historical relationship with each other. Based on the fact that Deuteronomy 28:23-24 preserves an earlier form of the curses in EST 528-533 as well as on signs of interference from one or more mediating sources in Deuteronomy 28:27-29, the most likely explanations for the remaining parallels are a mediated non-vertical genetic relationship or a close common tradition. Based on evidence that Deuteronomy 28:25a,26 and 28:30-33 might not, in fact, have a close historical relationship with EST, the best explanation for the parallels between EST and Deuteronomy 28 is a close common tradition. Based on either possibility, attempts to interpret Deuteronomy 28 or the wider context of Urdeuteronomium on the basis of EST are generally misguided.

(c) Copyright by Mark Steven Francois 2017

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