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About "thinking of Ezra and Nehemiah" historical narrative objectivity

Author: ZhangZhiDong
Tutor: ZhongZhiQing
School: Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Course: Comparative Literature and World Literature
Keywords: The Hebrew Bible Ezra-Nehemiah Ezra historical narrative objectivity
CLC: B971
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2013
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Abstract


In the Persian period of Jewish history the scribe and priest Ezra, according to Ezra-Nehemiah,which tells the latest Jewish history in The Hebrew Bible (hereafter as the Bible), led a certainnumber of Jews exiled in Babylon back to Jerusalem, and then carried out among the Jewry aseries of reforms. Ezra’s reforms are of a large and lasting impact upon latter development ofJudaism.There are three parts of historical narratives in the Bible, being that in the Torah, the Deuteronomichistory and the Chronicler’s history, with Ezra-Nehemiah belonging to the third part. This paperfirstly studies the traditions of earlier Biblical historical narrative through five aspects: selectionand exclusion of sources, structure organization, self-contradiction in narrative, repetition anddetails, and then observes the similarity and difference concerning the objectivity in the historicalnarrative about Ezra in Ezra-Nehemiah and in earlier Biblical historical narratives.It is found that the historical narrative about Ezra in Ezra-Nehemiah inherits the tradition of earlierBiblical historical narratives concerning selection and exclusion of sources, reworking oforganization, compilation of narratives of the same person or event from different sources,employment of repetition and treatment of details—all these works are carried out according to thetheological values of the author-redactor.Compared with earlier Biblical historical narratives, that about Ezra in Ezra-Nehemiah is,nevertheless, of a better objectivity due to a shorter time distance between the author-redactor andthe historical person and event, which enables the availability of a larger and more reliable sourceand limits, at the same time, the reshaping done by the author-redactor, who is of narrowertheological values, interests in fewer topics, being the temple and the Jewish people, and carriedout stricter source selection and exclusion and reshaping of organization.

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