An evaluation of the cumulative value of the theories regarding the temporal priority of either Ezra or Nehemiah

  • David Gidney

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    This thesis addresses the long discussed issue of the dating of Ezra's arrival in Jerusalem. It recognises that there is little new evidence to add to the discussion, but considers the evidence from a new perspective, as an overview. The work addresses the inter-relationship of the different issues that are regularly considered. The author recognises that none of the issues under investigation are conclusive, or even particularly persuasive. However, when all the issues are considered together, the author contends that certain mutual exclusivities exist between the conclusions in different sections of the thesis. These require that Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in 458 BCE.

    The thesis addresses the issues arising from literary structure. text, and from external or indirect evidence. The individual points in these areas are covered in three chapters, but in independent sections. A brief summary of the conclusions of each section, and how they interrelate with the other sections, is then included at the end of each chapter.

    Chapter one deals with introductory issues, thus clearing the ground for actual debate within the following three chapters. The chapter also indicates background issues, which the thesis does not attempt to resolve. particularly the original position of Nehemiah chapter 8. The work continues with the position that a definite location for Nehemiah chapter 8 cannot be determined at present.

    Chapter five then draws all the conclusions together, and draws out the implications from comparing individual and independent conclusions. It then suggests which of the dates for Ezra's arrival in Jerusalem are least probable, and by implication. which is most probable from an overview of all the sections. The author contends that recent work on the subject has been focusing too much on the individual sections, so that the larger picture has not been appreciated.
    Date of Award1997
    Original languageEnglish

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