Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther: The Age to Rebuild

The first part of the lecture looks into the content of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah by following a structural outline, which encompasses both books: return from exile and rebuilding of the Jerusalemite Temple (Ezra 1,1-6,22), the components of Ezra’s mission (Torah/torah, Temple and the issue of mixed marriages: 7,1-10,44), rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem (Neh 1,1-7,73a), covenant renewal (7,73b-10,39) and the dedication of walls and further reforms (11,1-13,31). Further topics to be discussed include: the identity of the people of the land, mixed marriages, enslavement in Israel and the purpose of the unevenness between the two books, did the Chronicler write Ezra-Nehemiah. Key themes in both biblical books are also addressed. The second part of the book brings another exilic book in the limelight, specifically that of Esther. Succeeding this is an outline of the structure, content and literary features of the book, all major characters receive a special attention alongside with an elucidation of the genesis of the Purim feast. Further topics and questions to be discussed include: were Esther and Mordecai compromisers or loyal Jews, the Greek text of Esther and comedy in the Bible. The presentation of key themes is also among the issues tackled.