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Friday, November 11, 2005

Second Temple Essay/Historians

Here is an article from Bible and Interpretation which I really should plug by Diana Edelman summarising her new book. Here's the abstract (via Jim West):

It is hard see what benefit would have accrued from rebuilding the temple under either Cyrus or Darius while Jerusalem remained unoccupied and in ruins. How would either king have benefited from a pilgrimage site in a destroyed city in an underdeveloped, distant province? A summary of the main arguments made in D. Edelman, The Origins of the 'Second' Temple: Persian Imperial Policy and the Rebuilding of Yehud (London: Equinox, 2005).


One general line from the in particular stands out as something ALL biblical scholars should have to deal with PROPERLY: "Contemporary history-writing grouns its interpretation of events in chains of logical cause and effect that does not include God as an active agent or motivation."
Such practice is often lacking, is it not, among historians in biblical studies (virgin birth, resurrection, floating axe heads, a load of bodies rising up from tombs etc.)?

1 Comments:

Blogger J. B. Hood said...

James,

Interesting posts lately--haven't seen anything on ManUSA v Chelski, though. I missed the game myself--had to watch highlights in Russian, which was less than helpful.

Regarding the following:

[[One general line from the in particular stands out as something ALL biblical scholars should have to deal with PROPERLY: "Contemporary history-writing grouns its interpretation of events in chains of logical cause and effect that does not include God as an active agent or motivation."]]

I've lots of thoughts, lots of questions. 1) Seems this is often a valuable definition--much can be learned by unplugging our accrued religious perspectives and seeing Jesus (for example) as a first century Jew, in an imperial context, in the midst of revolutionary zeal, with a Scripture-informed ministry, etc., with real cause and effect. 2) I'm not sure of the context, but such sentiments often dwell in a symbiotic relationship with the assumption that there is only one proper way to do history. 3) I'll take the statement above as written--provided we note the first word, "contemporary", and deny this adjective the privileged status it is wont to attain. Otherwise, we trade in the tyranny of one [religious?] view of history for another [non-religious] view. 4) Many assume that such a view of history is devoid of faith or ideology; but faith--there is no God or that he is always ex machina, that we have no responsibility to factor in God's interests or actions, such faith still exists in the definition above...I just returned from post-Soviet Russia, still reeling from a culture where history was written in faith, yet quite apart from god, in fact completely hostile to all gods. In a world where history helps us explain our origins as well as our futures, helps provide us insight on our present lives, and always, always buttresses ideology, perhaps we should simply say that there is more than one way to do history...

November 14, 2005

 

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