Lecture 22 - The Restoration: 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah

author: Christine Hayes, Department of Religious Studies, Yale University
published: Feb. 16, 2011,   recorded: November 2006,   views: 3441

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This lecture continues the discussion of the psalms, and the genres and forms in which they appear, such as psalms of praise and thanksgiving, divine kingship, lament and petition, blessing and cursing, or wisdom. Another poetic book of the Bible is the Song of Songs, an erotic work the sexually explicit content of which has been piously reinterpreted over the centuries. The second half of the lecture turns to the period of the Restoration when the Judean exiles returned to what was now the province of Yehud under Cyrus, the Persian ruler. The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles refer to some of the events of this time as well as the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Ezra and Nehemiah are said to renew the Mosaic covenant with the Torah at its center, and to institute a number of social and religious reforms (including a universal ban on intermarriage that will ultimately fail) in order to consolidate the struggling community.

Reading assignment:

Bible: (1) Introduction to Ezra and Introduction to Nehemiah (JSB pp. 1666-71 and 1688-9) (2) Ezra 1-10; Nehemiah 10, 13 (3) "Reading Biblical Poetry" (JSB pp. 2097-2104) (4) "Historical and Geographical Background to the Bible" (JSB pp. 2055-2062)

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