By Zipora Talshir

ISBN-10: 0884140067

ISBN-13: 9780884140061

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Additional resources for I Esdras: from origin to translation

Sample text

Even i f we emend the king's name to Cambyses, in accord with historical truth - as indeed was done by Josephus (Ant. X I , §21) - the letter of complaint is still out of context: it is not attached to any event; we have not been told that the exiles have arrived back or begun to build - but the complaint has been submitted, and moreover to another king! There is nothing in I Esd that might alleviate this chronological difficulty and bridge the discrepancy in content since the verse parallel to Ezr 4:24 - I Esd 2:25 - loses its role as 58 a Wiederaufnahme in its new position.

In addition, the amount of material at our disposal to characterize the author of Ezr-Neh is severely limited. Once the lists and Nehemiah's memoirs (Neh 1-7; 11-13), the Aramaic source in Ezr (most of chapters 4; 5-6; 7) and perhaps also the story of Ezra (particularly the part couched in first person, Ezr 7-10) are excluded, not much is left to create an impression of the author's language, literary style or spiritual world. Here, perhaps, is the main difference between Chr and Ezr-Neh. The bulk of Chr bears the mark of a single, individual author, although that author copies entire chapters from his sources.

Among other things, the text in Bava Batra states that King Hezekiah and his companions (based on Prov 25:1) 'wrote' Isaiah, Proverbs, the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes; or that the men of the Great Assembly (referring to Neh 10) 'wrote' Ezekiel, the Twelve Minor Prophets, Daniel and Esther. Surely no Rabbinical authority could have attributed the composition of these books to Hezekiah etc. The meaning is: they committed the books to writing m their authoritative versions. Neither is it clear why any doubts are expressed concerning the statement of the barayta in regard to our books: ‫" עזרא כ ת ב ס פ ר ו ו י ח ס דברי ה י מ י ס עד לו‬Ezra wrote his book and the genealogies of Chronicles up to himself.

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I Esdras: from origin to translation by Zipora Talshir


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