The Mystery of the Ten Lost Tribes: A Critical Survey of Historical and Archaeological Records relating to the People of Israel in Exile in Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia up to ca. 300 BCE
Author: Ziva Shavitsky
Date Of Publication: Jan 2012
There have been many legends and traditions regarding the ten lost tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. This book draws upon extensive discoveries and information published regarding the movement of the People of Israel and Judah from Davidic times to the dawn of the Hellenistic period. The author has tested the biblical records against archaeological evidence, testimony and inscriptions found in Syria, Assyria, Babylon and Persia. In very many cases, the inscriptions excavated in these places coincide almost word for word with the biblical record.
The early chapters also investigate evidence of migrations and movement by people to neighbouring countries by reason of seeking sanctuary, trade, marriage or in times of famine. Evidence has been found supporting the theory that many of the Northern Captives joined the tribes of the South who continued to live independently until the destruction of the First Temple. Hence it is not just a matter of investigating the transfer of captives out of Judah and the Northern Kingdom but also additional evidence found in the Bible or documents that bear evidence to Jewish people who lived, traded or served in various capacities in other lands. There is also some clear indication that many of the later captives joined their brethren who had been exiled to other lands earlier. The later chapters mention some traditions and legends that exist among many tribes that to this day trace their origins to the Exiles who belonged to the twelve tribes of Israel and Judah.
Ziva Shavitsky is a Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature. She is a former Director of The Centre for Jewish History and Culture at the University of Melbourne. Her areas of teaching and research cover Biblical Literature as well as modern Hebrew Language and Literature. Her publications include articles and chapters dealing with Biblical topics and Modern Hebrew authors. She has also co-authored a Lexicon based on the commentary of Ibn Ezra. She has been President of The Australian Association of Jewish Studies as well as co-editor of the Australian Journal for Jewish Studies.
“In The Mystery of the Ten Lost Tribes, Ziva Shavitsky takes us on a fascinating and unusual journey. Strikingly, this book deals with Jews in exile from the early times of the Davidic dynasty down to the Community of the return. We are accustomed to [studying] the growth of Jewish Diasporas from the Persian period [onwards], but Shavitsky’s focus on the earlier times provides fresh insights. We learn about Jews in Aram, we find their traces in Assyrian monuments, and in cuneiform documents, in the Temple of Elephantini in Egypt. Intriguingly, her research proceeds as a conversation between the biblical documents, the Ancient Near Eastern sources, and the archaeological record. The picture she draws so competently will captivate all scholars of Ancient Israel. This work opens up and highlights a neglected dimension of the history of the Jewish people in the early first millennium. Its contribution is most significant.”
– Michael E. Stone, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
“In this one-volume work, well written in a lively and enthusiastic manner, Ziva Shavitsky engages the reader in a search for ancient Jewish communities who lived outside Israel. Straddling several disciplines – biblical studies, Near Eastern studies and archaeology – Shavitsky carefully sifts both textual evidence and material culture to reveal a fascinating story of the Jews in exile before the end of the Achaemenid Empire. It is the chronological focus of this narrative that makes the story so fascinating. Beginning with the Davidic period, we are at once drawn into a multitude of cultural interactions between the southern Levant and the neighbouring lands. As such, we are treated not only to a story of the ancient Israelites in exile, but are also provided with snapshots of ancient Near Eastern history.”
– Antonio Sagona, Professor of Archaeology, The University of Melbourne
"This is a book by someone who loves the [Hebrew] language. The book is in English, but only a Hebrew scholar could have written."
– Sam Lipski, former editor The Australian Jewish News
''In the heart of this volume, the author provides both a valuable summary of the biblical narrative, tracing the destruction of Israel and Judah at the hands of the Assyrians and Babylonians, and an analysis of the Mesopotamian textual sources that note individuals with personal names thought to be Israelite.''
- Ira Spar, The Historian, 75:1, 127-128.
Price Uk Gbp: 39.99
Price Us Usd: 59.99
Sample pdf (including Table of Contents)