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A Critical Reading of Ezra’s Memoir

  • Korean Journal of Old Testament Studies
  • Abbr : KJOTS
  • 2024, 30(1), pp.141-165
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Old Testament Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Christian Theology

So Hyeong-Geun 1

1서울신학대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper is to examine the historical Ezra through the Ezra’s Memoir(Ezra 7-10; Neh 8) in the Book of Ezra-Nehemiah, and critically investigate the status of historical Ezra and his Torah reading. And it is to reveal what the Torah in Ezra’s hand(Ezra 7:14) is. So I came to the following conculsion: Ezra, who was sent to Jerusalem in Judah as a priest and scribe, came to the difficult conclusion that he was a descendant of the Zadokite high priests. However, there does not seem to be a problem with the historicity of Ezra coming to Judah and Jerusalem with the permission of the Persian king. Since there was a precedent(Udjahorresnet and Histiaeus) during the reign of Darius I, the possibility can be left open. The text of Artaxerxes' decree(Ezra 7:12-26) in Ezra's Memoir is a mixture of the hands of the author and editor, as early and later expressions of Aramaic pronominal suffixes alternate, and in the Persian king's decree the use of the term 'Israel' is inappropriate, and the content of the decree to give 1/3 of the entire annual income of 'Abar-Nahala' as Ezra requests is also an excessive exaggeration. Additionally, the golah who came to the Yehud region with Ezra are almost identical to the golah group (Ezra 2) who returned with Zerubbabel, this is intended to let people know that they are the only legitimate heirs of Judah. Furthermor, the Ezra’s prayer(Ezra 9) appears to have been written by an author who was already familiar with the tradition of the Deuteronomic tradition and the tradition of the priestly documents. In Neh 8, which deals with Ezra’s Torah reading, there is hebrew ‘Migdal Etz’(=wooden pulpit) which cannot be recognized as Ezra or Nehemiah. The “wooden pulpit” appears to be the prototype of a synagogue, and the text of Nehemiah can also be inferred to be from the late Persian or Hellenistic period. Lastly, the ‘Torah’ in the “hand” of Ezra is not in the form of the Pentateuch as it is today, and appears to be the unfinished traditions and materials of the Pentateuch.

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