The Amarna Letters consist of diplomatic correspondence of Canaanite and other rulers with the Egyptian Pharaoh. Dating to the 14th century B.C., these letters are primary source material for the political and military situation of Canaan and the ancient Near East roughly in the age of Moses and the Exodus. This translation, by Assyriologist and Amarna expert William Moran, is the standard English edition, with introduction, extensive notes, and commentary. This work is an essential resource for the study of the Egyptian New Kingdom as well as of Syria-Palestine in the late Bronze Age. It will be of interest both to scholars of the ancient Near East and to students of the Bible.
“This importance derives mainly from the rich evidence they provide for the social and political history of Syria and Palestine in the fourteenth century b.c. They may, therefore, be read as a kind of preface to biblical history, and it is for this reason, above all, that they have been, and continue to be, the subject of the most diligent inquiry and reflection. Indeed, one can safely predict that as long as the Bible retains in our culture its unique importance, the Amarna letters will command the serious attention of historian and exegete.” (Page ix)
“As subsequent discoveries made clear, the Amarna letters reflect a cosmopolitan culture, a ‘cuneiform culture,’ that throughout most of the second millennium b.c. extended from the mountains to the east of Assyria and Babylonia, across the Fertile Crescent, over into Asia Minor.” (Page ix)
“With the exception of EA 15 (Assyrian), EA 24 (Hurrian), and EA 31–32 (Hittite),35 the language of the Amarna letters is Babylonian, but for the most part it is a Babylonian profoundly different from that of the previous international age.” (Page xix)
“By the middle of the third millennium b.c. not only had cuneiform writing been introduced into Syria, but already at that early date, as the celebrated discoveries at ancient Ebla have shown, it was being used in a breadth of application and with a sophistication rivaling those of the great centers in Sumer and Akkad.30 By the first quarter of the second millennium b.c. knowledge of cuneiform writing had spread far and wide, and Babylonian had become the principal language of a cosmopolitan culture.” (Page xviii)