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xviii + 468 pp.

£60 / $95 / €75
List Price

£29.50 / $34.50 / €32.50

A Commentary
Lisbeth S. Fried

Lisbeth Fried's commentary on Ezra is the first instalment of a projected two-volume commentary on Ezra–Nehemiah. It is the first full-length scholarly commentary on Ezra–Nehemiah to be written since 1988 and takes advantage of recent results in archaeology, of recent historical studies on the Persian Empire, and of recent studies of the influence of Hellenistic textual and legal traditions on Judean thought. It also draws extensively on the author’s own research into the mechanisms by which the Persian Empire dominated and controlled its subject populations.

The present volume includes a new translation of the Book of Ezra, plus annotations on each verse that compare and contrast the Greek, Latin and Syriac variations, including the text of Greek Esdras A. It also provides an extensive Introduction and chapter commentaries that discuss larger historical and literary issues.

Fried concludes that Ezra–Nehemiah was written as one book at the beginning of the Hellenistic period. Although written then, it was formed from earlier texts: an Ezra memoir, a letter to Ezra from Artaxerxes II, and a Nehemiah memoir. All of these have been heavily edited, however. Fried concludes that both Ezra and Nehemiah were Persian officials, Ezra a Persian episkopos, and Nehemiah a Persian governor, and that both acted with the goals of their Persian overlords in mind, not the goals of the subject Judean population. The Judean author, writing under Hellenic domination, transformed these men into Judean heroes in order to promote the novel idea of a long tradition of foreign imperial support for local institutions—cultic, legal and physical.

Fried's commentary promises to revolutionize how one reads the book of Ezra.

This is the first volume in a new series of substantial works, Critical Commentaries.

Lisbeth S. Fried is Visiting Scholar in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Series: Critical Commentaries
978-1-909697-75-1 hardback / 978-1-910928-26-4 paperback
Publication August 2015

Fried’s commentary builds on previous work with extensive attention to new developments, providing a fresh and stimulating examination of Ezra, its authors and their historical contexts. It deserves careful evaluation, while providing fodder for further narrative, rhetorical, and canonical, and theological methodologies. Timothy R. Escott, Journal of Hebrew Scriptures.

...a first-class work of scholarship. Yigal Levin, Bar-ilan University