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THIS STUDY has its origins in a doctoral dissertation I completed at Harvard

University. I would like to express my gratitude to my dissertation advisor,

Professor Peter B. Machinist, for his constant encouragement and kindness.

His meticulous reading and his generous and consistently good advice have

been indispensable to my work. He is a shining example of the best in scholarship

and teaching.

Washington University in St. Louis granted a research leave in which

I was able to completely restructure this study and advance the argument

magnitudes further. Professor Shalom M. Paul, with his brilliant mastery

of biblical studies and Assyriology, provided inspiration and good counsel

during the difficult process of revision.

I would like to thank Harvard University and the National Foundation

for Jewish Culture for their support during my Ph.D. studies. I am grateful

for the support of Yad Hanadiv/Beracha Foundation and the Lady Davis

Fellowship Trust for funding a research leave at Hebrew University.

I would like to thank Rabbi Edward S. Romm for his technical assistance

during the preparation of the manuscript. I would also like to thank my

students Corey M. Helfand and Evan I. Weiner for checking the index for


Chapters of this manuscript were presented as lectures at Hebrew University,

Bar-Ilan University, and the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, as

well as at a number of community forums. I am grateful for the questions

and comments of the listeners.

This study has been greatly improved by suggestions from Gary A.

Anderson and Charles Donahue, Jr. Avi Hurvitz and David Weisberg provided

invaluable help.

Professor Gary Beckman generously provided assistance with the Hittite


Most of all, I would like to thank my parents, Sarah J. and Isadore

Barmash, for providing a home filled with boundless love and encouragement.