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date: 29 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Biblical scholars today recognize the long Persian period (550–332 bce) as the time when an early form of the biblical text approached canonical status. Yhwh religion—at least in its elite form—evolved from a tradition largely based on temple and kingship into one framed by control of a sacred text. While the title of this essay could imply that only Yehud (Judea) is of relevance to Yhwh religion and the historical books of the Bible, this period should be understood in international terms. New textual evidence for previously unknown Yahwist communities in Babylonia and Idumea are a case in point. Elites in Yhwh-worshiping communities situated across the Persian Empire from Egypt to Persia, and not just in Yehud or Shomron (Samaria), communicated with each other. The biblical books written or set in the Persian period developed within this international context, one that included debate over claims to be the true “Israel.”

Keywords: curating, diaspora, Elephantine, exile, Jerusalem, Judah, Persia, Ramat Raḥel, Samaria, Yahwism

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