The abolition of intermarriage in Ezra 10 and the ethnic identity of the postexilic Judean community : a hermeneutic study

Paulo, Bonifacio (2014-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The present study seeks to examine the abolition of intermarriage according to Ezra 10 by asking the question as to what were the compelling reasons for such a social crisis, and to demonstrate its possible implications to ethnic identity in the postexilic Judean community. In order to accomplish this purpose, the researcher has chosen to use an integrated method which allows him to bring different exegetical approaches into dialogue, bearing in mind that the canonical narratives are an outcome of a long process of redaction of both oral and written traditions done by different editors from different socio-historical contexts. It is through this method that this research highlights the following outcomes: first, from a canonical point of view, the final editors understood the exilic experience as an objective outcome of the intermarriage phenomenon which led the Israelites into a complete loss of their group identity, namely – being a Yahwistic community, and it was, therefore, the responsibility of the returnees to avoid, at any cost, letting history repeat itself. Second, the phenomenon of intermarriage in the Hebrew Bible has to be approached from a diachronic perspective. Unlike the patriarchal and deuteronomistic traditions in which intermarriage was about morality and apostasy respectively, in the context of the postexilic community this topic was all about purity – a strong zeal for temple and worship, as particularly witnessed in the priestly tradition. Third, from the fact that these canonical narratives took shape in socio-historical settings where, in addition to the religious factor, there were also other reasons such as political and socio-economic, which contributed significantly not only to the dismissal of those intermarriages, but also to the negotiation of a group identity of the Second Temple addressee. In other words, in response to those socio-historical circumstances, the returnees were compelled to divorce and dismiss their foreign wives and, at the same time, they were shaping their group identity, which came to be known as Judaism.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie poog om die verbod op ondertrouery soos uitgebeeld in Esra 10 te ondersoek deur te vra wat die dwingende redes vir so 'n sosiale krisis was, en om die moontlike implikasies vir etniese identiteit in die posteksiliese Judese gemeenskap te demonstreer. Ten einde hierdie doel te bereik, het die navorser gekies om 'n geïntegreerde metode waarin verskillende eksegetiese benaderings in gesprek gebring word, te gebruik, terwyl in gedagte hou word dat die kanonieke verhale die uitkoms was van 'n lang proses van redaksie van beide mondelinge en geskrewe tradisies, deur verskillende redakteurs uit verskillende sosio-historiese kontekste. Dit is deur middel van hierdie metode dat die navorsing die volgende uitkomste beklemtoon: eerstens, vanuit 'n kanonieke oogpunt, het die finale redakteurs die ballingskapservaring as 'n objektiewe uitkoms van die ondertrouery verstaan wat die Israeliete tot 'n volledige verlies van hul groepsidentiteit as Jahwistiese gemeenskap gelei het, en dit was dus die verantwoordelikheid van die teruggekeerdes om ten alle koste te vermy dat die geskiedenis homself herhaal. Tweedens, die verskynsel van ondertrouery in die Hebreeuse Bybel moet ook vanuit 'n diachroniese perspektief benader word. In teenstelling met die patriargale en deuteronomistiese tradisies waarin ondertrouery oor die boeg van onderskeidelik moraliteit en godsdienstige afvalligheid verstaan is, handel dit in die konteks van die posteksiliese gemeenskap eerder oor reinheid – 'n sterk ywer vir tempel en die erediens soos veral met die priesterlike tradisie geassosieer. Derdens, vanweë die feit dat hierdie kanoniese verhale vorm aangeneem het in sosio-historiese omstandighede waarin, benewens die godsdienstige faktor, daar ook ander faktore, soos die politieke en sosio-ekonomiese, ‘n belangrike rol gespeel het, het hierdie verhale aansienlik bygedra nie net tot die verbod op ondertrouery nie, maar ook tot die onderhandeling van die groepsidentiteit van die Tweede Tempel gemeenskap. Met ander woorde, in reaksie op die sosio-historiese omstandighede, was die teruggekeerdes verplig om te skei en hul vreemde vroue te ontslaan, terwyl hul terselfdertyd bygedra het tot die vorming van ‘n groepsidentiteit wat bekendstaan as Judaïsme.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96038
This item appears in the following collections: