After destroying the First Temple in 586 BCE, the Babylonians deported a large portion of Judea’s population to Mesopotamia. Although no documents in Hebrew or Aramaic (which would have been written on parchment) pertaining to these Jews survive, a number of extant and more durable cuneiform tablets, written in the Babylonian language, refer or appear to refer to Jews. Laurie Pearce explains that Jews can be identified by names ending in -yah, which refers to the Tetragrammaton—as in the Hebrew versions of the names Jeremiah, Elijah, Isaiah, etc.
What Ancient Tablets Reveal about Jews in Babylonian Exile
Iran’s Elections Could Complicate U.S. Plans to Renew the Nuclear Deal
This week, after the International Atomic Energy Agency announced its suspicions that the Islamic Republic is hiding nuclear materials from its inspectors, the White House decided to lift some sanctions on Iranian oil, and still plans to forge ahead with nuclear negotiations. Meanwhile, Iran will hold its presidential elections next week. The exercise is not particularly democratic—the supreme leader approves the candidates in advance, and his minions have from time to time fixed the results—but neither is it entirely meaningless. While there are important differences among the candidates, not one can be dubbed a moderate, even by the standards of this brutal Islamist theocracy. Reuel Marc Gerecht explains why this matters: