While several studies have suggested that the date of Ezra and Nehemiah
consequently should be pushed into the Hellenistic period, Lee's work pushes back against this trend by trying to establish the historical plausibility of key components of Ezra's mission.
He argues against the position of Ezra and Nehemiah
, taking issue specifically with their view that the nation is best protected through purity codes.
Whatever these criteria were, numerous works written after Ezra and Nehemiah
, that we know as the apocrypha, were included in the Alexandrian canon.
Blenkinsopp's new book explores the origins of Judaism and the place of Ezra and Nehemiah
in its formation.
This, of course, is a far cry from the coercive mass-divorce from non-Jewish spouses imposed by Ezra and Nehemiah
on part of the Jerusalem population.
It goes back to the time of Ezra and Nehemiah
when, upon their return to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile, they were compelled to address the stark reality of assimilation.
He explores the torah, the identity of those who produced and canonized the Hebrew Bible and shaped its interpretation, the role and impact of Second Isaiah, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah
, the root of Jewish apocalyptic literature, the possible origins of the Exodus story, the mechanics of table fellowship in Diaspora Judaism, and the ethical systems of the Hebrew Bible and the Athenian tragedians in light of their social and political structures.
First, it is not a particularly novel suggestion to say that the tension between the Ezra and Nehemiah
accounts (not to mention the Zerubbabel ones) reflect competing memories or accounts from competing interest groups.
The description of Jerusalem as a locus of the pilgrimage holidays in Ezra and Nehemiah
points either to the sanctity of the city or to the view held by the author of these books that Jerusalem ought to be regarded as holy.
He analyzes the contexts and contents of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah
, showing how their statements supported the divorce of foreign wives by Israelites at the time, and examines Israelite society and its attitudes about the protection of women, social as well as religious.
The narrative bridges the generations of Zerubbabel and Jeshua with those of Ezra and Nehemiah
by paralleling the central role of the people.
As one can perceive from the title of part one, its contributors are wrestling with the problem of the correspondence of biblical accounts, primarily found in Ezra and Nehemiah
, with the scanty archaeological data from Yehud and elsewhere in the Levant.
Topics include the legacy of historical-critical discourse and its tools, its approaches and the emancipation of women, its limitations, imagination as a resource in the development interpretation, postcolonialism and the practice of history, feminist hermeneutics and the rhetorical "full-turn" in biblical interpretation, the relationship of Fiorenza and Robbins, the orders given by Joshua, interpreting Sarah and Hagar, Vashti for African and South African women, Lamentations and the Book of Ruth, the absence of feminist criticism of Ezra and Nehemiah
, textual-rhetorical analysis and the diminished role of women, Philippians and Paul, and the role of the Bride, Jerusalem.
8:9 makes Ezra and Nehemiah
contemporaries although they were not.
situates the book in the era of Ezra and Nehemiah
and understands it as a critique of the negative attitude in postexilic Judah toward foreigners and as a critique of an ultraconservative interpretation of "scripture" (especially the Pentateuch) in the service of power.