Dating the Pentateuch- Genesis and Ezra
mc2499 at mclink.it
Mon Mar 13 15:18:49 EST 2000
Responding to Jonathan's comments:
>> It is more likely that the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the
>> Hittites, etc. no longer
>> existed in Ezra's time, and that basing himself on what was
>> written in the Torah, he is
>> using these peoples as a metaphor for the non-Jews then living in Judah.
>I agree with this.
The problem is: was there ever such a list of "Canaanite" peoples? We know
the Hittites fit like a square peg in a round hole. Perizzites doesn't make
sense and the best etymology I've seen is that of Garbini who argues that
Perizzites is a form of the name Peleset ["I filistei", Milano 1997, pp.
85-86], showing that there is no root PRZ bearing idea of "village" and
that the term seems only used for Perizzites. Any evidence in the epigraphy
for any of these "Canaanite" groups?
If not, one can probably not make any historical conclusions based on the
information. It could easily be a late mishmash based on mangled traditions.
>I do not share the understanding of Ezra that the commentators on
>Ezra-Nehemiah have had. I survey temple-palace relations during the
>Achaemenid period in Babylon, Asia Minor, and Egypt. I conclude that Ezra's
>mission is entirely consistent with Persian policy, but I understand his
>mission differently from most.
But it would seem that you assume that mission and that character. Do you
actually provide some evidence that there was such a person or is it taken
as granted, Liz?
>As an historical character, he did not have the
>impact on Judah that Nehemiah did. The bulk of the book attributed to him I
>think is midrash on his historical mission.
It's hard to believe that someone apparently of direct Zadokite descent
(brother of Yeshua!?, so apparently around a couple of generations before
Nehemiah), who brought about the purification of the Hebrew people and gave
them the law, would not have had the impact necessary for him to be
>One reason for suggesting Ezra is not historical is the lack of outside
>references to him in Maccabees, Ben Sira, etc. I don't think there was any
>reason for him to have been mentioned there.
You seem against the current trying to make Ezra of little account!
>The book of Ezra-Nehemiah is
>one book. It was probably known as the book of Nehemiah, and Ezra simply a
>character in it.
which was put together after Josephus's time: Reading Josephus and he knows
both a Nehemiah book and an Ezra book. You'll note that his Ezra book
follows closely the contents of 1 Esdras including the location of Ezra's
reading of the law. It is not in his Nehemiah book. In fact his Nehemiah
book ends less than half way through the canonical book and it is after
that point that the canonical book has the law reading. This ostensibly
puts the construction of the Ezra-Nehemiah complex as we have it
(I can argue on literary grounds that the Vorlage to 1 Esdras was written
before canonical Ezra and was the source for the latter.)
>I think the book of Ezra-Nehemiah as we have it was redacted during the
>reign of Darius III, 335-333, no earlier and no later.
I can't see the letter to Aristobulus at the beginning of 2 Maccabees,
which talks about Nehemiah building the temple (1:18b), being written after
the Nehemiah tradition being settled.
I would also refer people to the Garbini article on my site regarding
"Biblical Aramaic" in which he argues that the Aramaic of Ezra doesn't
represent an Aramaic of a particular era, but was a pastiche written by
someone attempting simulate Persian chancelry Aramaic, and therefore wrote
long after the Persian period, though having access to materials from the
Persian era. The indications are that the text was first written in Hebrew
and at a later stage partially translated into ye olde Aramaic, causing
some interesting errors.
>I have applied to give a talk on this at SBL in the fall. But in any case,
>it is in my dissertation, which will be available on microfilm after May 11.
mc2499 at mclink.it
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