This research attempts to demonstrate the likelihood that in the formulation of certain themes and motifs of the Book of Ezekiel, its author or redactor knew and used a contemporary Akkadian composition called the Poem of Erra. Twelve features shared by both works have been analyzed. These points of contact have been divided into two categories following a descending degree of probability. In the first category are four features which appear uniquely in the Book of Ezekiel. In the second category are eight features which are present in Ezekiel and in the rest of the Old Testament. The source of the first four features would most probably be extra-biblical, and more specifically the Poem of Erra. The source of the second category of motifs would be in antecedent Old Testament prophetic traditions. Nevertheless, the Poem of Erra might have influenced the formulation and presentation of some aspects of these motifs.
By virtue of the comparisons established in this research the book offers a detailed analysis of twelve features of the Poem of Erra thus contributing to a better understanding of this remarkable piece of Akkadian literature.
The survey of research on the Babylonian influence on the Book of Ezekiel offers a richly documented review of the over one hundred years old tradition of the interpretatio Babylonica of the Book of Ezekiel. The concluding section explores the particular poetic strategy used in the composition of a major theme and motifs of the Book of Ezekiel defined as literary emulation – creative synthesis of traditional material.
This research strikes one by the straightforwardness of this working hypothesis and the elegant solution it offers to the problems raided in this book. It has the marked advantage of bringing all the parallel to a single source – the relatively short Babylonian Poem of Erra. It offers guidelines and a demonstration of some principles of the comparative-contrastive approach, showing the considerable heuristic value but also the limitations of the comparative study of the Ancient Near Eastern literature.