Les deux « pentateuques » d’Esdras
Abstract When Ezra was sent to Jerusalem by the Persian authorities, he brought about a kind of revolution: he broke with Samaria after a century of good relationships and declared the Samarian wives of Jews to be pagans and therefore unclean. His new political and religious line must have provoked major resistance among Yehud’s elite. As was often the practice in such circumstances, he therefore produced propaganda documents, in order to convince opinion leaders to rally to his cause. His scribes composed the Pentateuch, using a number of existing documents: an older story already including dtr and P components in the books of Genesis, Exodus and Numbers; ritual laws; and Deuteronomy, separated from the rest of the Deuteronomistic History. Leviticus and, within Leviticus, the expulsion of the scapegoat were put at the center of this literary construction, mirroring the expulsion of the “pagan” wives. The remaining parts of the Deuteronomistic History were edited at the same occasion and with a similar goal, forming a second “Pentateuch”.