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date: 22 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

As the books of Ezra and Nehemiah employ literary modes and genres to reconstruct the past, they construct and promote a distinct definition of community. The variety of modes and genres perform literary functions such as characterization and plot development even as they enact ideological ones by promoting attitudes about key social markers. Working through sections of the books in order, this chapter examines the modes of direct, dramatic, and documentary narrative in connection with genres such as prayer, list, genealogy, and “memoir,” to see the ways in which the books construe their religion and their community anew in the Persian period. The accounts of the rebuilding of the temple and wall construct a vision of the Diaspora community working together with Yehud, supported by their powerful God who is using the Persian imperium to enact the divine way in the world.

Keywords: Ezra, Nehemiah, temple, torah, the Diaspora, Jerusalem, Yehud, mode, genre, ideology

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