Abstract and Keywords
This chapter surveys the changing narrative voices and diverse literary materials contained in Ezra and Nehemiah. It details how these various components coalesce into a sharply focused argument to define the membership and religious practices of the post-exilic community. To illustrate this in detail, an intertextual study compares the use of holy war motifs (anxiety about chaos, a warring patron deity, herem, concern for purity, and covenant loyalty) in the Nehemiah memoir with their use in the book of Joshua. Then, using Pierre Bourdieu’s sociological work on symbolic language and the social field, Nehemiah’s nuanced usage of holy war is evaluated with respect to the author’s cultural capital and social and political context. The findings suggest that Nehemiah’s rhetorical strategies can be used to map the state of power relations and the social and cultural context of the author.
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