Nebuchadnezzar: from Myth to History

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Nebuchadnezzar: From Myth to History

The name Nebuchadnezzar has never left the minds of historians, however the absolute absence of archeological evidence that would point to his existence seems staggering. Had he really existed and constructed a metropolis at least closely resembling the descriptions of Herodotus, Berossus, or even the Bible, then the ruins of his palaces should certainly be visible in the vicinity of modern day Baghdad – the site of ancient Babylon. Yet, the only thing visible there was an immense desert with a large dusty mound that the Arabs traditionally call Babil. Accepting this Babil as the remnants of ancient Babylon was a difficult task even for the more lenient critics. It was not a few researchers, that when arriving in Baghdad for the first time, were disappointed to see only a solitary mountain of bricks covered in ancient inscriptions that had to date not been translated. In light of the situation many rational scholars used the argument of silence in order to doubt the existence of that character mentioned in the book of Daniel. The simple fact that as of then no evidence of Nebuchadnezzar’s existence had been discovered was enough for some to erase him from history. Such is the case today with the denial of the existence of Abraham, Moses, and other people from Biblical history.

The existence of Nebuchadnezzar is still persistently negated despite recent archeological discoveries in the Middle East, the rise of new sciences like Assyriology and Papyrology. In his old age, Ernest Renan, who was a Hebrew professor, and an intransigent critic of Biblical history initiated an analysis on the History of the Peoples of Israel. In this analysis Renan neglected to reevaluate Semitic studies based on new archeological findings and even refused to accept certain Assyrilogical declarations and dissuaded the Louvre from acquiring cuneiform inscriptions found in Nineveh and Tel el Amarna. Nebuchadnezzar and Archeology

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