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date: 28 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter surveys evidence from West Asian and Mesopotamian sources, focusing on texts written in Akkadian, Aramaic, Hebrew, and Hittite. Although modern scholarship distinguishes international treaties from domestic loyalty oaths, the difference is not recognized in ancient Near Eastern documents. Both types of agreements are discussed under five headings: relationships between treaties and other legal documents; the concept of the vassal treaty; forms; ratification; and covenants with gods. Each heading points to areas of ongoing research and discussion. These include the administration of oaths; difficulties in identifying vassal treaties; origin and development of treaty forms; and motivations for producing treaty documents. Among issues relevant to biblical studies are links between treaties and dynastic promises; categorization of biblical treaty texts; the role of sacrifice; and connections between covenants and vows.

Keywords: Apodictic, conveyance, contract, covenant, curse, loyalty oath, oath, treaty, vassal, vow

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