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Title: Ezra and the second wilderness : the literary development of Ezra 7-10 and Nehemiah 8-10
Author: Yoo, Philip Young
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 9208
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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For many pre-modern and modern critics, the emergence of Ezra among the post-exilic Jerusalem community marks a significant event in the beginning stages of Judaism. Ezra’s promulgation of a “law of Moses,” bolstered by the theory of Persian imperial authorization, is often viewed as the moment at which the final form of the Pentateuch is published. The accounts contained in Ezra 7-10 and Nehemiah 8-10, however, continue to present historical and literary problems for the exegete. Compounding the difficulties for a reconstruction of Ezra’s activities, recent scholarship has raised questions concerning the viability of state-sanctioned support for the Pentateuch and revived skepticism on the historicity of Ezra and the reliability of the biblical witness. Still, the Ezra Memoir (EM) remains an important source that is shaped by the political, religious, and social worldview of post-exilic Yehud. This study incorporates two scholarly debates: on the one hand, the identification of EM and its supplemental layers; and on the other hand, the development of the Pentateuch up to this period. After the parameters of EM are identified in Ezra 7-10 and Nehemiah 8-10, this study supports EM’s use of Deuteronomic and Priestly literature but adds that EM also demonstrates significant literary connections to pentateuchal strands that are neither Deuteronomic nor Priestly. These strands are distinguished by the narrative and historical claims that are preserved in the classical pentateuchal documents. This study concludes that EM is a product of the Second Temple that anticipates the final form of the Pentateuch by collecting and integrating multiple presentations of the wilderness generation into a super-narrative that projects Ezra and the returnees as a second exodus and Sinai generation that supersedes their predecessors.
Supervisor: Williamson, Hugh Sponsor: Knox College ; Toronto ; Presbyterian Church in Canada ; Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies ; Oriel College ; University of Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biblical studies ; Judaism ; Ezra-Nehemiah ; second temple Judaism ; Pentateuch ; biblical interpretation