6 12 2010

… from Deane Galbraith’s Biblical Studies Carnival 57:

Lester Grabbe turned 65 on Nov 5 (which dates him, contrary to popular rumor, well after the Persian period).

One rarely gets a “laugh out loud moment” when reading a biblical studies carnival, which makes this statement a most fitting birthday tribute to a man who has provided me with “laugh out loud moments” even in his scholarly publications themselves. Indeed, I would like to share Lester Grabbe’s hilarious introduction to an essay that he wrote, entitled “The Law of Moses in the Ezra Tradition: More Virtual Than Real?”, which is found on pp91-113 of Persia and Torah: The Theory of Imperial Authorization of the Pentateuch (ed. James Watts; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2001):

When you read the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther and Daniel, you could be forgiven for thinking that at the time of the Persian Empire, the Jews had really taken over the joint. You can hardly turn around without stepping on a Jewish minister, governor, advisor, favorite of the emperor, and even the odd queen. Yehud seems to have been the most esteemed province in the entire Persian Empire, on which was lavished constant attention, a stream of favorable decrees, and great quantities of precious metal… The text stops short of making one of the Persian kings Jewish, but never fear! A scholarly theory shall soon fill this gap. Don’t be at all surprised if in the future Cyrus is discovered to be a Benjaminite; Darius, a worshiper or YHWH; and Xerxes, circumcised on the eighth day.

If only biblical studies were always so amusing.



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