Biblical Archaeology Review 27:3, May/June 2001

Where Was Abraham’s Ur? The Case for the Babylonian City

By Alan R. Millard

Hershel Shanks has reopened the debate raised long ago by Cyrus Gordon, about which Ur was Abraham’s.a Was the patriarch born in some northern Mesopotamian Ur rather than in Babylonia? I believe the case for identifying the Ur (of the Chaldees) in Genesis 11:28, 31 (compare with Nehemiah 9:7) with Ur, now Tell el-Muqayyar, in southern Babylonia, remains strong, although the available information precludes certainty. For our purposes, I assume that there was a man named Abraham and that the stories about him are very ancient.

A number of cuneiform texts mention several places named Ur, or something very like it, but most can be dismissed so far as Genesis is concerned:

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