Tuesday, 3 February 2015
Judaism, the First Phase: the Place of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Origins of Judaism,
Joseph Blenkinsopp, Eerdmans, 2009, page 145
The acid test of such a program and policies has to be whether they worked. Blenkinsopp is doubtful:
Though the ideal in Ezekiel 44:9 was never lost from sight, and continued to be recognised as a characteristic of Jewish belief and practice, there are indications that the creation of a ritually self-segregating commonwealth, the goal pursued by both Ezra and Nehemiah, was not an unqualified success.
The repetition of several of the Ezra events and themes in Nehemiah alone suggests that it did not stick even in the short term. Blenkinsopp concludes:
Taking in the broader picture, the remarkable demographic expansion of the Jewish people between the Achaemenids and the Romans would remain inexplicable if the goal pursued by Ezra and Nehemiah had remained the only available option.