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Judaism, the First Phase
The Place of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Origins of Judaism
POD; Published: 8/26/2009
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6450-5
Price: $ 32.50
276 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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A fresh -- and potentially stunning -- look at Jewish origins, tracing the legacy of Ezra and Nehemiah

Most studies of how early Judaism related to the non-Jewish world and how others perceived it start no earlier than the Hellenistic period. Joseph Blenkinsopp argues that we must go further back, to the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and its temple and the liquidation of the political and religious infrastructure -- monarchy, priesthood, scribalism, prophecy -- which had sustained the Judean state for centuries. Judaism, the First Phase is a fresh -- and potentially stunning -- look at Jewish origins, tracing the legacy of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Philip R. Davies
University of Sheffield
"Joseph Blenkinsopp's argument that the roots of Jewish sectarianism can be traced back to the work of Ezra and Nehemiah is presented with typical clarity, incisiveness, and breadth of scholarship. No student of early Judaism will fail to learn much from the numerous insights of this book, which range from the relationship of Ezra 1-6 and Chronicles to the Hasmonean adoption of Nehemiah and the ideological roots of the Damascus Document. Blenkinsopp's unique combination of wide learning and elegant argumentation makes his scholarship pleasurable as well as instructive."
Ehud Ben Zvi
University of Alberta
"Blenkinsopp has written a major contribution to the study of the history of the Second Temple period. Recent years have seen much work and discussion on Ezra and Nehemiah. One of the many strengths of this particular volume is its wide historical perspective. Blenkinsopp roots Ezra and Nehemiah (and their group and ideas) within a general historical construction of the Second Temple period. He looks backward into roots such as Ezekiel and Babylonian settings and forward into later sectarianism and Maccabean ideas and policies.
Blenkinsopp's profound knowledge of biblical (and related) texts and their potential interrelationships is displayed prominently throughout the volume. The combination of thoughtful detailed analysis and an approach in which the 'big historical picture' is always at the center ensures that this book will be widely read and cited both by historians of the period and by scholars researching particular texts relevant to the period. The fact that the book is also an enjoyable read will facilitate its use by students and laypersons."