In Reply to: Re: LAST FREAKING TRY posted by parhad on September 19, 2001 at 23:19:14:
: Thanks Jeff. I've got to prepare my side of the story. I don't want to embarrass the guy by emphasizing all his dumb comments. Any ideas?
Simo Parpola responds to Ross
Posted by Peter BetBasoo on Tuesday, 12 June 2001, at 10:00 a.m.
The following Letter from Dr. Simo Parpola, Assyriologist, to Kelley Ross, was forwarded to me by Dr. Parpola, who has given me permission to publish it.
For full information on the Ross affair, see here.
Dear Dr. Ross,
Two comments occasioned by your article, "Note on the modern Assyrians," which was brought to my attention by the Assyrian community of Los Angeles.
1. The way the ancient Assyrians treated their enemies (p. 3) did not differ significantly from the way enemies were treated in the contemporary world. Just read
Deut. 7, 12, and 20-21 to remind you of what the Lord God wanted the Israelites to do to the people inhabiting the promised land, or Book 6 of Josephus' Jewish
Wars for a sample of atrocities committed by the Romans. Brandmarking the ancient Assyrians as a particularly 'brutal' people was current a hundred years ago,
when attitudes towards the Assyrians were still largely conditioned by the Bible and by an inadequate understanding of the cuneiform sources. Today we have a
more balanced view of the things, and the focus of current research has long been on the cultural and intellectual achievements of the Assyrians, which are
2. Nobody denies the Jewish background of Christianity (p. 4). However, there are features in primitive Judaism and early Christianity that cannot be explained
without reference to Assyrian religion and royal ideology, which continued to exert significant influence on Hellenistic and Graeco-Roman religions (including
Gnosticism, primitive Christianity and Judaism) through late Antiquity. I have published several carefully documented articles and books on these subjects in recent
years. You can dismiss my work as 'baseless and totally ahistorical,' but I would like to remind you that, with no first-hand knowledge of the primary sources, you
are totally unqualified to express any serious opinion in the matter.
I do not know the reasons which led you to start this crusade of yours against Assyrians who take pride in their past, but I am alarmed by the lack of critical
judgment displayed by you. Do you really believe that you, a layman in matters Assyrian, are competent to tell a nation the ultimate truth about its history? I can only
hope that you show better discernment in your own trade. Believe me, the Assyrians can read the secondary literature on Assyria assembled by you as well as you,
and many of them know more about these things than you do.
Simo Parpola Professor of Assyriology, University of Helsinki Director, State Archives of Assyria Centre of Excellence
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