William McGrath

Resurgent Babylon: A Cultural and Intellectual History of the Second Dynasty of Isin

University of Toronto

Paul-Alain Beaulieu

This Ph.D dissertation is a study of the Isin II dynasty, a Middle Babylonian dynasty consisting of eleven kings who ruled from 1157-1026 B.C. As a chapter in the history of what is sometimes termed the ‘most famous city of antiquity,’ replete with intrigue though it is, it remains opaque and relatively understudied. Building on the admirable study of Post-Kassite political history conducted by J.A. Brinkman in 1968, an updated discussion of this history will be provided with an emphasis on textual evidence which has become available since that time.

As point of departure, my research will take a holistic approach charting important developments in the social, religious and literary domains which distinguish the Isin II period. A particular focus will be on the production of literature, the intellectual history of the period, and the phenomenon of ‘canonization’. I will seek to frame lasting developments in the scholarly praxis of Mesopotamia as an outgrowth of a major religio-political reorganization occurring in Babylon at this time. More specifically, my work will posit that the re-establishment of native rule in the city of Babylon, together with the re-installment of the city-god to his temple in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar I, led to a resurgence of Babylonian power and prestige that would have formative effects on cuneiform culture for the next one thousand years.