Cover image for According to the Law: Reading Ezra 9-10 as Christian Scripture By Csilla Saysell

According to the Law

Reading Ezra 9-10 as Christian Scripture

Csilla Saysell

BUY

$39.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-1-57506-703-2

270 pages
6" × 9"
2012

Journal of Theological Interpretation Supplements

According to the Law

Reading Ezra 9-10 as Christian Scripture

Csilla Saysell

Christian interpreters have struggled with the story of Ezra 9–10 for many reasons. Its apparent legalism and racism, as well as its advocacy of divorce as a solution for intermarriage, is unacceptable for many Christians, yet this incident is presented in implicitly positive terms, and the narrative forms a part of Scripture. What then should a Christian reader make of such a story, not least from the vantage point of the NT?

 

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
Christian interpreters have struggled with the story of Ezra 9–10 for many reasons. Its apparent legalism and racism, as well as its advocacy of divorce as a solution for intermarriage, is unacceptable for many Christians, yet this incident is presented in implicitly positive terms, and the narrative forms a part of Scripture. What then should a Christian reader make of such a story, not least from the vantage point of the NT?

The troubling aspects of the incident are considered in Part I through a detailed exegesis outlining the exiles’ legal reasoning, rooted in pentateuchal laws. Part II then discusses questions of a broader hermeneutical framework. Saysell suggests that prior Christian assumptions, such as the combination of scriptural authority and the primacy of narrative in interpretation, can lead to an unhelpful way of reading stories that takes them as examples to follow/avoid rather than invites engagement for the renewing of the mind (Rom 12:1–2). One also needs to consider how such a difficult question as intermarriage is handled in the rest of the canon (and in tradition), which put into perspective the solution offered and constrains the meaning of the primary text. Specifically, “the holy seed” rationale (Ezra 9:2), which gives rise to the charge of racism, is shown to have flourished briefly in the Second Temple Period but proved to be a dead end in the long run. A comparison with the NT treatment of a specific intermarriage crisis in 1 Cor 7:12–16, as well as with other, present-day solutions, can highlight what went wrong in the exilic reasoning and yet what constructive challenge the text as Scripture may hold for the Christian reader.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

ABBREVIATIONS

PART I

1 INTRODUCTION

2 ATTITUDES TO THE “LAW”

2.1 CHRISTIAN APPROACHES

2.2 JEWISH RESPONSES

2.3 CONCLUSION

3 THE CONTEXT OF EZRA 9–10

3.1 WIDER CONTEXT: NEHEMIAH 9

3.2 IMMEDIATE CONTEXT: EZRA 7–8

3.3 EZRA 9:1–2: THE CRISIS

3.4 CONCLUSION

4 THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE NATIONS

4.1 THE LIST OF NATIONS IN EZRA 9:1

4.2 ABOMINATIONS IN EZRA

4.3 THE IDENTITY OF THE “FOREIGN WOMEN”

4.4 A COMPARISON WITH NEH 13

4.5 CONCLUSION

5 ḤĒREM LAW AND EZRA 9–10

5.1 ENEMY ḤĒREM IN THE OT

5.2 PROPERTY ḤĒREM IN THE OT

5.3 DEDICATION AND DESTRUCTION

5.4 ENEMY ḤĒREM IN EZRA 9–10

5.5 ḤĒREM OF PROPERTY IN EZRA 10:8

5.6 CONCLUSION

6 HOLY SEED AND INTERMINGLING

6.1 “HOLY SEED”: A DISTINCT RATIONALE

6.2 THE BACKGROUND FOR THE HOLY SEED RATIONALE

6.3 SIMILAR DEVELOPMENTS IN JEWISH LITERATURE

6.4 NEW RATIONALE: WHY NEEDED?

6.5 CONCLUSION

7 PROFANATION AND IMPURITY

7.1 PURITY TERMINOLOGY

7.2 SACRILEGE IN EZRA 9–10?

7.3 THE STATUS OF THE “FOREIGN” WIVES: PROFANE OR IMPURE?

7.4 MAʿAL AND PURITY LANGUAGE IN NEH 13:23–31

7.5 CONCLUSION

8 CONCLUSION TO PART I

PART II

9 INTRODUCTION TO A CHRISTIAN READING OF EZRA 9–10

10 EZRA 9–10 IN CHRISTIAN INTERPRETATION

10.1 OT THEOLOGIES

10.2 EN COMMENTARIES

10.3 CONCLUSION

11 EZRA 9–10 IN JEWISH UNDERSTANDING

11.1 JEWISH PERSPECTIVES

11.2 ACCOUNTING FOR THE DIFFERENCE

11.3 CONCLUSION

12 CONSTRAINTS FROM CANON AND TRADITION

12.1 EZRA 9–10 IN THE CHRISTIAN CANON

12.2 LESSONS FROM TRADITION

12.3 CONCLUSION

13 NT PERSPECTIVE: 1 COR 7:12–16

13.1 JEWISH AND HELLENISTIC BACKGROUND

13.2 THE NATURE OF SANCTIFICATION

13.3 HOW SANCTIFICATION IS TRANSMITTED

13.4 THE PRECEDENT FOR PAUL’S THINKING

13.5 A CLASH OF LAWS: THE PRIORITIES

13.6 2 COR 6:14–7:1

13.7 CONCLUSION

14 INSIGHTS FROM ANTHROPOLOGY AND A CONTEMPORARY CASE STUDY

14.1 THE “HOLY SEED” RATIONALE: A HEDGE

14.2 THE FOCUS OF PROTECTION

14.3 A CASE STUDY AND COMPARISON

14.4 CONCLUSION

15 CONCLUSION

BIBLIOGRAPHY

INDEX OF BIBLICAL CITATIONS

INDEX OF AUTHORS AND SUBJECTS

Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list and be notified about new titles, journals and catalogs.