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Durham e-Theses
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Reading Ezra 9-10 as Christian Scripture

SZECHY, CSILLA (2009) Reading Ezra 9-10 as Christian Scripture. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This dissertation examines Christian attitudes to the Law through the story of Ezra 9-10 and its Torah interpretation, in dialogue with Jewish exegetical tradition, and offers a framework for reading this difficult text from a Christian perspective.

The first part of the dissertation juxtaposes some Christian and Jewish approaches to the Law in order to set the scene, followed by the examination of both the wider and the more immediate context of Ezra 9-10. The exegesis focuses primarily on Ezra 9:1-2 and addresses questions such as the pentateuchal source for the nations list in v.1 and the meaning of the ‘abominations’ associated with them, as well as the role the ancient herem law might have played in the solution offered to the exiles’ problem. Further, the dissertation considers ‘the holy seed’ rationale for the ban on intermarriages in v.2, its possible legal background and internal logic. Jewish perspectives are drawn into the task of interpretation as appropriate throughout and the Ezran solution is also compared to the similar incident in Neh 13:23-31.

The second part of the dissertation assesses the difficulties Christian interpreters often have with the story of Ezra 9-10 and then maps out ways in which various considerations may contribute to a larger Christian framework for reading a difficult text such as Ezra 9-10. I argue that Jewish approaches may create awareness of implicit Christian assumptions, that canon and tradition place constraints on difficult OT texts which need to be spelt out and that analogous NT text(s) can highlight continuities and discontinuities between Old and New Testament. Further, I suggest that insights from fields outside biblical interpretation such as those from anthropology, as well as contemporary answers to analogous problems may put an ancient story and the difficulties connected to it into perspective.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Jewish-Christian dialogue, Law, holy seed, herem, purity
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2009
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:29 Oct 2009 12:10

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