Article

Hittites

Billy Jean Collins

in Biblical Studies

ISBN: 9780195393361
Published online September 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195393361-0075
Hittites

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The Hittites are a civilization that ruled in Anatolia (the peninsula now occupied by the modern nation of Turkey) in the Late Bronze Age (c. 1670–1180 bce). In the 14th and 13th centuries, the Hittite kings controlled an empire that extended from the western coast of Anatolia to northern Syria, making them one of the superpowers of the ancient Near Eastern world. Speakers of the earliest attested Indo-European language, their libraries and archives have preserved thousands of documents—recorded on clay tablets using the cuneiform script—of political, historical, and religious significance. After the collapse of the Hittite state, small kingdoms in southern Anatolia and northern Syria that were once subject to the Hittite kings continued many of their traditions. Because of this legacy, these independent Iron Age kingdoms continued to be referred to as “Hittite” by their neighbors; in scholarly literature they are referred to as “Neo-Hittites.” Prior to their rediscovery at the beginning of the 20th century, the Hittites were known only through biblical references, which, among other things, listed them among the Canaanite tribes of Palestine. The nature of the connection of these biblical “Hittites” with the Bronze Age Hittite Empire and its Iron Age descendants has attracted the attention of biblical scholars. In addition, the numerous parallels between biblical and Hittite practices, beliefs, and traditions have underscored the importance of the Hittites for illuminating the prehistory of the Israelites.

Article.  6424 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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