Date of Ezra

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Sun Mar 4 20:46:07 EST 2001

>> I think I can show that the current book of Ezra dates to the early
>> rabbinical period along with the current version of Nehemiah and that the
>> current version of Chronicles is even later. (This is not to say that
>> or even many of the traditions are not earlier, but there has been
>> substantial work on these texts after the time of Josephus. If this is
>> correct then there is a grave problem of distinguishing just what is from
>> that period and what is earlier.)
>Ian, you may be able to show that to your satisfaction, but I seriously
>doubt if you will satisfy many other scholars. The *rabbinic* period?
>Post-Josephus? Hardly likely.

Christian, you have no standard to be able to say what is likely here or

But then, you know that what happened in the past is not a matter of
democracy, so I don't really care about those many other scholars. Yes,
*rabbinical* period for the last redaction I can identify -- and it was a
big job with regard to Ezra and Nehemiah, because the Vorlage to 1 Esdras
was carved up, the stuff about Zerubbabel was hacked off and the final
chapter was incorporated into Nehemiah.

Would you care to look at the paultry treatment by commentators of the Greek
version of Ezra, 1 Esdras (which is the version used by Josephus, who had
access to all the avilable Jewish literature), and tell me why it isn't even
read seriously by the commentators? Can you tell me why the Nehemiah memoir
is seen in linguistic analysis as having been written by a different person
from the rest of the work? Why is it that Josephus only knows the memoir?
Why he has the last chapter of 1 Esdras where one would expect it to be if
it were part of 1 Esdras and not part of Nehemiah?

We can't for example take naive arguments about the trustworthiness of the
Persian letters in Ezra sounding realistic when Garbini says that the writer
didn't have a clue about Persian Chancelry Aramaic (see his article on
Biblical Aramaic on my website:

(This is another one of those things I've been working with for a long time,
but if you look at some of my earlier posts which touch the subject you
might get a bit of my reasoning.)

Don't trust the analyses to other people. Try it out yourself. (Remember
that the first person to cite information about Ezra was in fact Josephus,
so there's no precedents for the MT Ezra.)


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