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A history of the Jewish people in the time of Jesus Christ .. (Volume 2 pt.3) online

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the Palestinians did. In the same manner as Palestinian
Judaism had formerly acted with respect to its literature, did
Hellenistic Judaism during our period also, freely handle and



§ 33. THE GKAECO-JEWISH LITERATURE. 177

enrich by additions works already canonical in Palestine.
This treatment had as a rule the same motives and objects as
the legendary embellishment of more ancient sacred history.
The only difference was, that in the case of books already
canonical, the legend was placed beside the Scripture text,
while in that of books not as yet received into the canon, it
was interpolated in the text itself.

The majority of those books which, though admitted by
the Hellenistic Jews into the collection of the Holy Scrip-
tures, originally made no claim to be esteemed as such, has
therefore been treated of by us elsewhere. We here group
together only (1) the revisions and completions of such books
as had in their more ancient forms become canonical in
Palestine (Ezra, Esther, Daniel, the Prayer of Manasseh [an
addition to 2 Chron. xxxiii.]), and (2) certain books, which .
from the first aspired to be regarded as Scripture, and which
entered as such into the Hellenistic collection of the Scriptures
(Baruch, the Epistle of Jeremiah).

1. The Grceh Ezra.

Besides the Greek translation of the Hebrew canonical
Book of Ezra, there is also a free Greek revision, differing
from the canonical Ezra partly by transpositions, partly by
interpolations. The exact relation between the two will
appear from the following survey of the composition of the
Greek Ezra : —

Chap. i. = 2 Chron.- xxxv.-xxxvi. :. Eestoration of the
temple worship under Josiah (639-609), and
history of the successors of Josiah down to the
destruction of the temple (588).

Chap. ii. l-14 = Ezra i. : Cyrus in the first year of
his reign (537) permits the return of the exiles

and delivers up the sacred vessels.
DIV. II. VOL. in. M



178 § 33. THE GRAECO-JEWISH LITEEATUIJE.

Chap. ii. 15-25= Ezra iv. 7—24: In consequence of
a complaint against the Jews, Artaxerxes forbids
(465-425) the continuance of the rebuilding of
(the temple and) the walls of Jerusalem.

Chap, iii.-v. 6 : independent : Zerubbabel obtains the
favour of Darius (521—485) and receives from
him permission for the return of the exiles.

Chap. V. 7-70 = Ezra ii. 1-iv. 5: A list of those
who returned with Zerubbabel, the operations of
Zerubbabel and the interruption of the building of
the temple in the time of Cyrus (536—529) till
the second year of Darius (520).

Chap, vi.— viL = Ezra v.— vL : Eesumption and com-
pletion of the rebuilding of the temple in the
sixth year of Darius (516).

Chap. viii. — ix. 36 = Ezra vii. — x. : Eeturn of Ezra
with a train of exiles in the seventh year of
Artaxerxes (458) ; commencement of Ezra's opera-
tions.

Chap. ix. 37-55 = Neh. vii. 73-viii. 13: Public
reading of the law by Ezra

According to this survey the reviser of the canonical
Ezra took in hand the following changes : 1. The portion
chap. iv. 7-24 of the canonical Ezra is removed to an earlier
place. 2. The portion chaps, iii.— v. 6 of the Greek Ezra is
interpolated from an unknown source. 3. The book opens
with 2 Chron. xxxv.— xxxvi. 4. Neh. vii. 73-viii. 13 is
added at the close. By the two first-named operations the
confusion partly begotten by the canonical Ezra is consider-
ably increased. For in this latter the portion chap. iv. 6—23
stands out of place. It belongs to a much later period, and
treats not of the interruption of the rebuilding of the temple,
but of an interruption in the building of the walls. The
editor of the Greek Ezra has indeed rescued this passage
from the connection in which it is incorrectly placed, but



§ 33. THE GRAECO- JEWISH LITERATURE. 179

only to transpose it to a position if possible still more
erroneous, taking at the same time the liberty of adding to
it by way of completion the interruption of the building of
the temple. Not however contented with this, he has also
interpolated the paragraph chaps, iii— v. 6, which transposes
us to the times of Darius, while subsequently (v. 7—70) the
times of Cyrus are again spoken of. Thus then the history
goes directly backwards ; first we have (ii. 15—25) Artaxerxes,
then (iii.— V. 6) Darius, and lastly (v. 7—70) Cyrus. And in
the last-named portion we are told in the most unembarrassed
manner that Zerubbabel returned with the exiles in the time
of Cyrus (comp. v. 8, 67—70), while previously it was
expressly stated that Zerubbabel received permission for their
return from the special favour of Darius. With respect to
the documents which were in the hands of our compiler only
two things remain to be noticed : 1 . That he did not translate
the canonical Ezra from the Hebrew (so Fritzsche and most
others), but compiled from the Septuagint (so rightly Keil,
Einl. 3rd ed. p. 704 sq.). 2. That he certainly discovered
beforehand the portion chaps, iii.— v. 6, since it stands in
direct opposition to the rest of the narrative. It seems
to be a Greek original and not a translation from the
Hebrew. The object of the whole compilation has been on
the whole correctly expressed by Bertholdt {Einl. iii. 1011):
" He intended to compile from older works a history of the
temple from the last epoch of the legal worship to its rebuild-
ing and the restoration of the prescribed ritual therein."
Evidently however he meant to give also still more concerning
Nehemiah, for the abrupt conclusion could not possibly have
been intentional. With respect to the date of the book, all
that can be said is, that it was already used by Josephus
{Antt. xi. 1-5).

Josephus in his account of the restoration of the theocracy
(Antt. xi. 1-5) entirely conforms to the course of this Greek
Ezra. For he brings what is contained in chaps, ii. 15-25 and
iii.-v. 6 of this book into the same position and the same order,



ISO § 33. THE GRAECO-JEWISII LITERATURE,

i.e. iiiteri)olatos it between the first and second chapters of tlie
canonical Ezra (Anti. xi. 2-3). In so doing however he does
not proceed without historical criticism, for he simply changes
Artaxerxes, who in the Greek Ezra is inserted in a quite
impossible place, into Cambyses, so as to restore the correct
order: Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius. He removes the further
historical stumbling-block of the Greek Ezra, of Cyrus re-
appearing after Darius, by doing away with Cyrus in this place
and making the return of the exiles first take place under
Darius. This indeed restores the correct order of the Persian
kings, but a narrative is thus concocted, which differs still
more widely from actual history than that of the Greek Ezra
itself.

Apparently this book was generally and from the first
used in the Christian Church also. Clemens Alex. Stmrn.
i. 21. 124: ''EvTuZda Zopo(3il3tX ao^Icf vixrjgag roiig co'Tayuviffrug
rvyyavsi 'rrapa Aapsiou wvjjffa/zsvoc dva/iCtiSiv 'lipovaaXri/j, xai fMsra
"Eadpa ilg rriv 'Trarputav yrjv dval^iuyvuat (can only refer to chaps.
iii. iv. of the Greek Ezra). Origenes, Comment, in Johann. vol.
vi. C. 1 (Lommatzsch, i. 174): Ka/ xard ro-jg "Esdpa ^povovg, ore
vf/.a T] dy.rihia rlv ohov xai rhv t')(6pov (BaaiXsa xal rag yvvaTy.ag,
d\iot7



Online LibraryEmil SchürerA history of the Jewish people in the time of Jesus Christ .. (Volume 2 pt.3) → online text (page 19 of 51)