The books of Ezra-Nehemiah and 1 Esdras tell the story of the Judean return from exile in Babylon, of rebuilding the temple, and of creating a new community in Zion. For scholars and students trying to understand the Second Temple period, there are no other contemporary narratives available, giving these books prime importance. In Was 1 Esdras First? world-renowned scholars fully discuss, without arriving at a consensus, the relationship between Ezra-Nehemiah and 1 Esdras. In addition, they delve into these books' dates and methods of composition, the sources used, their respective historical and social milieus, their original languages, and their authority and status in antiquity. This collection adds to our understanding of the history of Second Temple Judah, the formation of early Judaism, and the processes by which biblical books were composed. The contributors are Lisbeth S. Fried, Deirdre N. Fulton and Gary N. Knoppers, Lester L. Grabbe, Adrian Schenker, Bob Becking, Kristin De Troyer, Juha Pakkala, Zipora Talshir, James C. VanderKam, Jacob L. Wright, Sebastian Grätz, Paul B. Harvey Jr., Sylvie Honigman, Sara Japhet, Ralph W. Klein, and H. G. M. Williamson.
Lisbeth S. Fried is Visiting Scholar at the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and in the Department of Near Eastern Studies of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is the author of over fifty articles as well as of The Priest and the Great King: Temple-Palace Relations in the Persian Empire (Eisenbrauns, 2004).
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