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* JUN241910 *





[* JUN 24 1910 *)






Copyright 1910 By
Charles C. Toreey

Published January 1910

Composed and Printed By

The University of Chicago Press

Chicago, Illinois, U. S. A.


D.C.L., F.R.S., K.C.I.E.



Thirteen years ago, in 1896, I published a pamphlet entitled
The Composition and Historical Valne of Ezra-Xehcmiah, which
appeared in Giessen as one of the Beihefte of the Zeitschrift filr
die aWestamcntliche W issenschaft . It presented in concise form
certain conclusions which I had reached a year or two previously,
in studying the so-called ''Apocryphal Ezra," or First Esdras.
At alDout the same time when I was carrying on my investigations
appeared the articles of Sir Henry Howorth, in the Academy
(see the references given on p. 16), the pamphlets of Hoonacker
and Kosters,' and the more elaborate treatise of Eduard Meyer
(see below). My own conclusions were formulated before I had
seen any of these publications, and differed widely from each and
all of them at almost every point. I found myself in agreement
with Howorth, however, in his important contention that "I
Esdras" represents the old Greek translation of Chron.-
Ezr.-Neh. ; and with Kosters in his argument (previously set
forth, less completely, by Schrader and others) that the Biblical
account of the return of exiles from Babylonia to Jerusalem in
the time of Cyrus is untrustworthy.

The conclusions reached and stated in my pamphlet have been
adopted, in general, by H. P. Smith in his Old Testament History,
and by Kent in his Studenfs Old Testament, but in each case
with little or no discussion of the questions involved. So far as
I know, the booklet has never been reviewed or estimated in print,
except in four brief German notices, to three of which I have
occasion to refer in the present volume. It has been mentioned
or quoted in a few places, generally in such a way as to show that
it had not been read, but only looked at here and there. Siegfried,
in the tolerably long list of monographs given in the preface to
his Commentary on Ezra-Nehemiah (1901), does not include it.
Driver, Introduction to the Old Testament, names it in his list of
monographs, but otherwise takes no notice of it, even when
discussing the questions with which it is chiefly concerned.

'Van Hoonacker, N4Mmie et Esdras (1890); ^6h4mie en Van 20 d'
Artaxerxes I et Esdras en Van 7 d' Artaxerxes II (1892); Zorobabel et le
second Temple (1892); and Kosters, Herstel van Israel in het Perzische
Tijdvak (1894), German trans, by Basedow in 1895.


viii Preface

One or two scholars were sufficiently impressed by the book
to express themselves with emphasis. Thus Klostermann, in
the article "Esra und Nehemia" in Hauck's Reulencyclopddie,^
vol. V, p. 501, remarks: "Zuletzt ist zu erwahnen weniger der
Kosters in der Ersetzung der Ueberlieferung durch tibelberatene
Phantasie tiberbietende Torrey, Composition and historical value
of Ezra-Nehemia, Giessen 181)6, als vielmehr Ed. Meyer, Die
Entstehung des Judentums, u. s. w."" It is true that such a
revolutionary treatise as mine could make no favorable impression
on those who had not the time to examine it carefully, or on those
who cannot be relied on to distinguish a sound argument from
an unsound one. I must admit, also, that this first publication
was in its plan not very well fitted to make converts. It pre-
sented the whole argument in condensed form, leaving many
steps merely indicated in a few words, or covered by an assertion,
where it was taken for granted that the reader could see for
himself the facts and processes which had only been hinted at.
But things which are self-evident to one who has himself worked
through a large part of the material are often less plain to others.
Moreover, an essay which flatly contradicts most of the funda-
mental tenets of modern Old Testament science in its field (and
that a very important field) has every presumption against it,
especially when it is presented by one who is unknown as an
investigator in this sphere. It is only natural to decide, at the
first glance, that the new conclusions cannot possibly be right,
and need not be seriously considered. I believe, however, that the
main arguments offered in my ComposUion of Ezra-Nehemiah are
sure to be cogent for any one who has studied the material closely
enough to be able to follow them through. The question of the
general acceptance of the conclusions presented there and here
is only a question of time.

The preceding briefer investigation seemed chiefly destructive.
The author, whose principal tasks and interests are not in the Old

^Similarly, Ed. Konig, in the article ''Ezra and Nehemiah " in the
Standard Bible Dictionary (1909), p. 247, writes: "The trustworthiness of the
documents and memoirs which have been used in the books of Ezra-Nehemiah
has been demonstrated at length, especially by Eduard Meyer, Die Entsteh-
ung des Judentums, 1896, by whom the extreme views presented in C. C.
Torrey's Composition and Historical Value of Ezra-Nehemiah are shown to
be without critical foundation." Which of the two treatises was without
critical foundation will be evident, I think, to those who read the successive
chapters of the present volume, especially chapter vi.

Preface ix

Testament field, had not then the opportunity to carry it out
further, but hoped that some other investigator would see that
what it involved was not the mere matter of a few passages, or
even of a few incidents in the life of the Jewish people, but a
thoroughgoing revision of the existing notions of the history of
their national growth in the Persian period, their institutions,
and their religious ideas. Whoever had proceeded thus far could
hardly fail to perceive also how the later part of the Old Testa-
ment itself, and the story of the community in Jerusalem, had
now for the first time become comprehensible and self -consistent.
No such coadjutor appeared, however; hence at last the present
work, every chapter of which is constructive.

This attempt to sketch the history of the Jews in the Persian
period, culminating in the last chapter of the book, differs from
all preceding ones in several fundamental particulars. It recog-
nizes for the first time the extent of the Chronicler's independent
handiwork. That he must be regarded as the sole author of the
Ezra story, of all the book of Nehemiah after chapter (3, and of
the Artaxerxes letter in Ezra 7, is here demonstrated conclusively.
The nature and purpose of his work are also discovered and
set forth. It is not the production of a Levitical historian of
small ability and large bias (as it is usually regarded), but a
great undertaking with a single very definite aim well executed,
an elaborate and timely championing of the Jewish sacred insti-
tutions, especially in opposition to the Samaritans; very interesting
and very important, but by no means to be used as a source for
the history of Israel under Persian rule. Its author is, demon-
strably, not a mere editor, but a writer possessed of a rich and vig-
orous imagination, which he here exercised to the full. Another
important point of difference concerns the use made of the
Chronicler's inde[)endent work, that is, all of his narrative which
we are unable to control from other sources. It is here shown
that every part of it either lies directly in the line of his main
purpose or else bears other marks characteristic of his own
creations; and it is accordingly left entirely out of account in
portraying the course of the history. There was no return of
exiles, no scribe-potentate Ezra, no law brought from Babylonia,
no wholesale expulsion of Gentile wives and children. The book
of Ezra-Nehemiah does not furnish us the date of the coni[)leti(Mi
of the Pentateuch.

X Preface

But the theory here set forth marks a new departure not only
in its treatment of the Chronicler, but still more in the point of
view from which it estimates the later writings and writers of the
Old Testament. It is customary to measure them, one and all,
by the Chronicler's "Ezra," and their words are everywhere
given an interpretation to correspond. It would be much fairer
to take as the standard the Second Isaiah, the prophets and
teachers of the restoration period, and those who wrote the best
part of the Psalter, giving their utterances the broad interpreta-
tion which I have indicated, and to which they are fully entitled.
These were philosophers and poets who in their conception of
God and man surpassed all the other sages of the ancient world,
one of their number, moreover, being incomparably the profound-
est thinker and most eloquent writer in all the Old Testament ;
men busied with the greatest concerns of human life, not with
the petty interests attributed to them by our commentators. The
seed sown by their predecessors of the Hebrew monarchy did not
die, nor did the plant which sprung from it dwindle and grow
sickly, while the Jews remained in their land; it prospered
mightily and brought forth abundantly. Jesus of Nazareth was
the true child of his people, the best fruit of a sublime religious
growth which in modern times has been sadly misunderstood.
The story of the religion of Israel, from Deuteronomy down to
the time of the Roman rule, is not a story of deterioration, but
one of advance. Moreover, Judaism grew up in Judea, it was not
transplanted from foreign soil. The fact of the Dispersion,
as is here shown for the first time, exercised a tremendous
influence all through the Persian period and thereafter, and its
main effect on the Jews of the home-land was broadening and
salutary. The messianic and universal interpretation of the
Second Isaiah which is found in the Gospels is the only correct
one. To put the whole matter in a few words : both the history
of Israel after the fall of the kingdom, and the exegesis of the
literature of that period, which have been written during the past
generation have been built on a false foundation derived from
the Chronicler's work, and need to be completely revised. To
give the first sketch of such a historical reconstruction is the
chief purpose of the present volume, and especially of the last
chapter, which attempts to use impartially for that purpose all
the trustworthy evidence which we possess.

Preface xi

The contributions incidentally made to the science of Old
Testament literature will probably also be found interesting: the
proof of the fact that ''First Esdras" is a rescued fragment of
the old Grreek translation of Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah, not an
apocryphal writing; the light thrown on some of the versions of
these books, especially the demonstration of the true character of
the much misunderstood and misused Lucianic recension, the
proof that our "canonical" Greek translation is that of Theodotion,
the publication for the first time of a part of the Hexaplar text
of Nehemiah, and the dethronement of Codex B from the high
place which it has so long held without right; the first presenta-
tion of the Story of the Three Youths in its original character
and extent, with the demonstration that it was written in Aramaic;
the recovery, for the "canonical" Old Testament, of the lost
chapter which originally followed the first chapter of Ezra, and
the attempted restoration of its Hebrew text, rendered back from
the Greek; the manifold evidence given to show that among the
Jews of Jerusalem in the Greek period it was commonly believed
that Darius Hystaspis (supposed by them to be a Median king,
and called "Darius the Mede") immediately preceded Cyrus;
the conclusive proof that the Aramaic documents in Ezra all date
from the Greek period; the restoration of the primitive form of
the long-debated Ezra story, by the transposition of a single
block of narrative belonging to a section which ever since the
second century B.C. has been recognized as in some way out of
place; and other less important matters. The author also hopes
that some of the observations relating to text and versions may
stimulate to a more serious pursuit of this branch of scientific
investigation. If the historical and literary study of the Old
Testament books is still in its childhood, the critical study of the
Hebrew text may truly be said to be in its infancy. Textual
emendation based on conjecture is usually mistaken, and that
based on the evidence of versions is in most cases precarious at
least; for the massoretic text is likely to be right even where it is
contradicted by the other witnesses,^ and the testimony of the latter

^In the vast majority of cases, the version only seems to contradict the
Hebrew, but does not in reality. Regardinj^ the relative excellence of the
massoretic text, the writer may refer to his "Notes on the Aramaic Part of
Daniel"' (Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences,
Vol. XV, 1909), in which some new evidence in support of our traditional
Hebrew is offered.

xii Preface

is very easily misunderstood. The writer is himself conscious of
many shortcomings and foolish performances in this field, and
does not suppose that the text-critical attempts made in the
present volume are free from blunders. Great pains have been
taken, however, to find out the character and history, not only of
the texts which are being scrutinized, but also of those by the aid
of which it is proposed to emend. Lack of acumen may be
excused ; the unpardonable sin is that of criticising without any
careful attention to the materials of criticism. The way in which
the best known and oftenest quoted of our modern commentators
and editors hack away at a faultless Hebrew text, on the ground
of Greek readings which they have not carefully examined, found
in translations with whose character they do not concern them-
selves and of the nature and conditions of whose literary trans-
mission they have hardly an idea, is nothing short of appalling.
And yet this is what passes for "text-criticism" at the present
day. A good many instances of the kind receive mention in the
following pages, mostly in footnotes. The influence of this hasty
and unscientific mode of procedure in dealing with the text has
been working great harm in all the other branches of Old
Testament study.

Most of the chapters of this book have already appeared in
print, but in places where their circulation has of necessity been
quite limited. They are not mere reprints, but in nearly every
case have undergone revision. In the American Journal of
Semitic Languages, published under the auspices of the University
of Chicago, appeared chapters I (Oct., 1906), II (Jan., 1907),
III (Apr., 1907), V (Oct., 1907), VI (Apr., 1908), VII (Jan.,
1909 and Apr., 1909), and VIII (July, 1909). Chapter IV
appeared in Vol. II of the Studies in Memory of Wiltiam Rainey
Harper, published at the same University early in 1908. Chapter
IX appears here for the first time.

It is a pleasure to take this opportunity to express my gratitude
to the members of the Semitic and Old Testament Faculty of the
University of Chicago and to the Manager of the University
Press, for their encouragement and generous assistance, without
which the volume would hardly have been written.

Attention is called to the Addenda and Corrigenda at the end
of the book.

Grindelwald, Switzerland
September 1, 1909



Preface vi


I. Portions of First Esdras andNehemiah in the Syro-Hexa-

PLAR Version 1

II. The Nature AND Origin of "First Esdras" .... 11
I. The Two Recensions of the Ezra History . . . 11
II. Past and Present Theories Regarding the " Apocry-
phal" Book 12

III. The Nature of First Esdras 18

IV. The Origin of Our Two Recensions .... 30

III. The Story of the Three Youths 37

I. Origin of the Story 37

II. Translation 50

III. The Interpolator's Additions 56

IV. The Apparatus for the Textual Criticism of Chronicles-

Ezra-Nehemiah 62

I. Nature of the Text-Critical Problem .... 63
II. Theodotion the Author of Our "Canonical" Greek

Version of Chron.-Ezr.-Neh 66

III. The Two Main Types of the Text .... 82

1. First Esdras ......... 82

2. The Standard Text of the Second Century a. d. 87

IV. Notes on Manuscripts and Versions .... 90

1. The Superiority of the A Manuscripts to

Those of the B Group 91

2. Hexaplar MSS of Chron.-Ezr.-Neh. ... 96

3. The Versions Made from Origen's " Septua-

gint" 99

4. The Two Main Branches of the Greek Tradi-

tion 101

5. The Syrian Tradition, the Lucian Recension

and Our L Text 105

V. The Critical Process in Restoring the Semitic Text 113

V. The First Chapter of Ezra in its Original Form and

Setting 115

The Restored Hebrew Text (the Chronicler's Narra-
tive of the Return from the Exile) .... 120

Translation 132

Note A, the "Seventy Years" of Exile . . . 135

Note B, the Name Sheshbazzar 136

Note C, the Number of the Temple- Vessels . . 138

xiv Table of Contents


VI. The Aramaic Portions of Ezra 140

I. The Character of the "Official Documents" in Ezra 140

1. The Prevaihng View 142

2. A Literary Habit of Ancient Narrators . . 145

3. The Tendency of the Documents . . . 150
II. The Chronicler's Part in the Aramaic Portions . 157

III. The Aramaic of the Book of Ezra 161

IV. Proper Names and Foreign Words .... 166

1. Proper Names 166

2. The Foreign Words 173

V. TheHistory of the Text of 4:6-11 178

VI. The Text of the Passages ....... 183

Samaritan Intrigues Against the Building of

the Temple 184

Ezra's Credentials 196

Translation 199

VII. The Chronicler as Editor and as Independent Narrator . .208

I. The Chronicler's Main Purpose 208

II. The Chronicler as Editor 213

1. In the Books of Chronicles . . . . . 213

2. In Ezra-Nehemiah 223

III. The Chronicler as Independent Narrator . . . 227

1. The Sources, Real and Imaginary, in I and II

Chron 227

2. The Chronicler's Characteristics as a Narrator 231
5. The "Ezra Memoirs" 238

4. The Chronicler's Narrative of Nehemiah . 248

VIII. The Ezra Story in Its Original Sequence 252

The Account of the Expedition 265

The Reading of the Law 268

The Expulsion of the Gentile Wives .... 270
The Covenant Against Gentile Marriages and in

Support of the Clergy 274

Note A, on Ezr. 10:44 .^ 278

Note B, on Neh. 9:4 f 279

Note C, The Lacuna in Neh. 9:5 280

NoteD, onNeh. 10:lf 282

IX. The Exile and the Restoration 285

I. Prevailing Misconceptions ..'... 285

II. The Deportation to Babylonia 290

III. The Beginning of the Hebrew Dispersion . . . 293

IV. The Reviving of Jerusalem 297

V. The Renewal of the Worship 301

1. Untrustworthy Narratives 301

2. Conditions at the Time of Haggai and

Zechariah 303

Table of Contents xv


IX. The Exile and the Restoration — Continued:

VI. General Summary, 586 to 444 B.C. . . . . 305

VII. The Religious Development 307

VIII. Jewish Temples of the Dispersion 315

IX. The High Priests of the Second Temple . . . 319

X. The Rivalry with the Samaritans 321

XI. The Date of Nehemiah 333

Chronological Table 337

Addenda and Corrigenda 339

Indices 341


In the years 61G and 617 A. d., Paul of Telia made at Alexan-
dria his Syriac translation of the old Greek version of the Old
Testament. The Greek text which he translated was one of great
historical importance, namely, that which constituted the "Septu-
agint" column in Origen's Hexapla. It is quite possible that
the Hexapla itself was in existence at that time (presumably at
Caesarea) ; but, however that may be, it is pretty certain that old
manuscripts transcribed directly from the original — and some of
them doubtless collated again with it, to insure the greatest pos-
sible accuracy — were to be had in Alexandria. One or more of
these supposedly faithful copies formed the basis of PauFs labors.
His rendering was a closely literal one, and its characteristics are
now pretty well known.' Every part of the Greek is reproduced
as exactly as possible, and in such a uniform and self-consistent
manner as to render this translation very easily recognizable,
wherever specimens of it are found.

The history of the manuscript transmission of this "Syro-
Hexaplar" version is a comparatively brief one, as might have
been expected. Although often copied, at least in part, it was
not as generally or as carefully preserved as the Peshitto. A
number of manuscripts containing longer or shorter portions of it
are now known to be extant. Of these, the most important by
far is the great Milan codex, published in fac-simile by Ceriani
in 1874 {Codex Syro-Hexaplaris; published as Vol. VII of his
Monumenta sacra et pi'ofana). This contains the translation of
the second half of the Greek Bible ; a twin codex containing the
first half, and no doubt originally forming the first volume of this
same manuscript, was in existence as late as the sixteenth cen-
tury, when it was in the possession of Andreas Du Maes (Masius)
of Amsterdam. As is well known, it has since then mysteriously
disappeared. The Maes codex was a torso, to be sure, lacking

' See the account of this version in Swete's Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek,
pp. 112-14, and the literature cited on p. 116.


2 Ezra Studies

both the beginning and the end; but in its original extent it com-
bined with the Milan codex to form a whole which probably
included all of the version of Paul of Telia.

In regard to one or two of the books included in this transla-
tion there are still uncertainties waiting to be cleared up. This
is especially true of the Ezra books, namely I Esdras (the "apoc-
ryphal" Ezra) and II Esdras (including both the "canonical"
Ezra and Nehemiah). Just what was the disposition of these
books in Origen's Hexapla ? What did Paul's Syriac translation
from the "Septuagint" column contain at this point? What
portion of the Syro-Hexaplar version of these books is still extant,
and what may be learned from it ?

In the Peshitto version, the Ezra books are lacking. The
Chronicler's history of Israel, Chron.-Ezra-Neh., did not form a
part of the old Syriac Bible. The same considerations which led
the Jews to append this book to their sacred writings at a very
late date, making it follow even Daniel and Esther, caused its
complete exclusion from the Edessene canon. Syriac versions of
the Ezra history are therefore rare.

First Esdras is extant, in more or less complete form, in several
Syriac manuscripts, all of which appear to contain the translation
of Paul of Telia. The manuscript which furnished the text of
this book for the London Polyglot (see also Lagarde, Lihri veteris
testamenti apocryphi sijriace, p. xxiv) has a title at the beginning
which says that the version of the book is "that of the Seventy" :
_fci.a^> j^aJ^ialiAiiD ^\ jJoio . j^-pi.? )-«^rO \^h^ . Similar words
occur in a subscription at the end (Lagarde, ibid, p. xxvi) ; and
the same formula, again, begins and closes the extracts which I
publish here for the first time (see below). These words, wher-
ever they appear in a Syriac manuscript, refer to the Hexaplar
translation. They stand in the superscription of the book of
Tobit, in the London Polyglot ; while in the Ussher codex there
is a marginal note at vii, 11 which says that the book is thus far
transcribed "from a Septuagint manuscript": 1' ^ ' "^^ ^ l^^ ^
(Lagarde, ibid., p. xii). In either case, whether in Tobit or in
I Esdras, examination of the character of the version shows that
it is indeed that of the bishop Paul.

First Esdras, then, stood in Origen's "LXX" column. This
we should suppose, from other evidence, to have been the case.
We know not only that the book had a place in his canon, but

First Esdras and Nehemiah in the Syro-Hexaplar 3

also that he — in agreement with the church tradition — believed
it to have the right of priority over the form adopted in the Jewish
canon. And Origen was certainly not ignorant of the fact, so
widely ignored in modern times, that "I Esdras" is nothing else
than a very respectable translation of a Hebrew- Aramaic version
of the Ezra history.

The status of "Second Esdras" in the Hcxapla and in Paul's
translation cannot be demonstrated absolutely, with the evidence
now available, though a tolerable degree of certainty can be

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