The mythology of the Old Testament tends to create a barrier to the right perspective needed to understand its context in the age of the Assyrian Empire. It is strangely ironic that the religious aura here given by traditon makes us take the facts in the wrong way, and we fail to realize what a remarkable period this way, and the equally remarkable string of prophets who arose in this age of empire and transtion. It almost seems like a 'secular' account is the better one to do the job! This short but incisive portrayal of the period leading up to the Exile is thus refreshing and might help to put the current association of the American religious right(llied with a new empire!)with this tradition in some perspective. They cannot do justice to what is one of the great flowerings of the Axial Age.