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The Origins of the ‘Second’ Temple (2006)

The Origins of the 'Second' Temple

2006 | 456 Pages | ISBN: 1845530179 | PDF | 5 MB

Darius I, King of Persia, claims to have accomplished many deeds in the early years of his reign, but was one of them the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem? The editor who added the date to the books of Haggai and Zechariah thought so, and the author of Ezra 1-6 then relied on his dates when writing his account of the rebuilding process. The genealogical information contained in the book of Nehemiah, however, suggests otherwise; it indicates that Zerubbabel and Nehemiah were either contemporaries, or a generation apart in age, not some 65 years apart. Thus, either Zerubabbel and the temple rebuilding needs to be moved to the reign of Artaxerxes I, or Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the city walls needs to be moved to the reign of Darius I. In this ground-breaking volume, the argument is made that the temple was built during the reign of Artaxerxes I. The editor of Haggai and Zechariah mistakenly set the event under Darius I because he was influenced by both a desire to show the fulfillment of inherited prophecy and by Darius’ widely circulated autobiography of his rise to power. In light of the settlement patterns in Yehud during the Persian period, it is proposed that Artaxerxes I instituted a master plan to incorporate Yehud into the Persian road, postal, and military systems. The rebuilding of the temple was a minor part of the larger plan that provided soldiers stationed in the fortress in Jerusalem and civilians living in the new provincial seat with a place to worship their native god while also providing a place to store taxes and monies collected on behalf of the Persian administration. Diana Edelman is a senior lecturer in the Dept. of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield. Her research has focused on the King Saul in history and tradition, Israelite religion during the time of the monarchy, and now is centering on the emergence of Judaism in the Persian period with the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. She is the author of King Saul in the Historiography of Judah (Sheffield Academic Press, 1991) and editor of The Fabric of History: Text, Artifact and Israel’s Past (Sheffield Academic Press, 1991), You Shall not Abhor an Edomite for He is your Brother: Edom and Seir in History and Tradition (Scholars Press, 1995) and The Triumph of Elohim: From Yahwisms to Judaisms (Kok Pharos 1995; reprinted by Eerdmans).

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