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The Holy Seed Has Been Defiled: The Interethnic Marriage Dilemma in Ezra 9-10

£45.00

This book represents a postmodern interdisciplinary approach to understanding an ancient biblical socio-political situation. As such, it offers fresh perspectives on ways that interpretations of the Bible continue to reflect the ideologies of its interpreters.

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SKU: 978-1-907534-21-8

In the Book of Ezra —Nehemiah, Ezra commands Yehudite men to put away their foreign wives to avoid further defiling the ‘holy seed’. What is the meaning of this warning? Are Ezra’s words to be understood as a concern about race-mixing or is it emblematic of some more complex set of problems prevalent in the fledgling postexilic community? Ezra’s words, with their seemingly racialized thinking, have been influential in much political, religious and popular culture in the USA. It has been a backdrop for constructing racial reality for centuries, melding seemingly biblical ideologies with accepted European Enlightenment-era ideas about racial superiority and inferiority.

Willa Johnson combines archaeological data with social-scientific theory to argue for a new interpretation. In this anthropological and narratological analysis, Johnson views Ezra’s edict in the light of ancient Yehudite concerns over ethnicity, gender, sexuality and social class following the return from exile. In this context, she argues, the warning against intermarriage appears to be an effort to reconstitute identity in the aftermath of the cataclysmic political dominance by first the Babylonian and then the Persian empires.

This book represents a postmodern interdisciplinary approach to understanding an ancient biblical socio-political situation. As such, it offers fresh perspectives on ways that interpretations of the Bible continue to reflect the ideologies of its interpreters.

Additional information

Table of Contents

1 INTRODUCTION
Biblical Text through (An)Other’s Eyes
Identity and Analysis: Some Important Considerations

2 EXILE, TRAUMA, ETHNICITY AND PURITY: KEYS TO INTERMARRIAGE
Exile and Trauma
Trauma and its Aftermath
Ethnicity: A Vehicle for Economic Development
Purity amidst Postexilic Conditions
Economic Ramifications of Marriage in Persian Yehud

3 THE POSTEXILIC SOCIOPOLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENTS IN PERSIAN YEHUD
Experiences of Exile
Responses to the Exile
Yehud under the Achaemenid Empire’s Economy
Yehud in the ‘Beyond the River’ Province: Political
Autonomy, Economic Power, and Achaemenid Ruling Strategies 41
Autonomy and the Economy
Achaemenid Ruling Strategies and Yehudite Autonomy
Particularities of the ‘fathers’ houses’
father’s houses’
Reconstructing the Social Structure
Landownership and the ‘fathers’ houses’

4 MARRIAGE CUSTOMS IN THE HEBREW BIBLE AND ARAMAIC PAPYRI
Marriage Customs in Biblical Narratives
Economics and Gender in Hebrew Bible Marriage
Evidence from the Elephantine Marriage Documents

5 AN OTHER’S READINGS OF EZRA 9.1–10.18
An Anthropological Reading
The Ideological Reading

6 ETHNICITY IN PERSIAN YEHUD AND MISINFORMED AMERICAN CULTURE

Book information

Author
Willa M. Johnson
List Price
£45 / $75 / €55
Series
Hebrew Bible Monographs, 33
Scholars' Price
£22.50 / $37 / €27.50
ISBN 13 hardback
978-1-907534-21-8
Format
Hardback
Page Extent
ix + 134
Publication Date
September 2011
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