Friday, 23 January 2015
Judaism, the First Phase: the Place of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Origins of Judaism,
Joseph Blenkinsopp, Eerdmans, 2009, page 83
Looking in more detail at the Book of Ezra, Blenkinsopp wants to know who the returnees were. The list of names in Ezra 2 is his source. After noting that names are not always a completely safe indicator to the realities of politics or religios affilitation, he tells that:
This brief survey of the personal names of laymen and priests alerts us to the possibiliy that not all, and perhaps not many, of those who left Babylonia for Judah in the Persian period were descendants of the deportees of more than a century earlier, that not all were Jewish by birth, and that links between the 'golah' and the national past were more the product of ideology than either descent from common ancestors or cultural continuity.
But, astonishingly, they do represent themselves as the ininheritors of the ancestral Israelite traditions, to the exclusion of all other potential of actual claimants! Is this a diaspora in reverse, colonisation from the eastern diaspora back into the Land?