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How Should We Contextualize Pseudepigrapha? Imitation And Emulation In 4 Ezra

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on 4 Ezra, a post-70 C.E. text that pseudepigraphically attributes itself to Ezra, who is said to have just experienced the destruction of the First Temple. It explains the pseudepigraphic claims of 4 Ezra by situating it within the context of practices of the emulation and imitation of the sage and the struggle to overcome destruction by recovering a perfect, holy and idealized past. "Ezra" in 4 Ezra is associated with a renewed presentation of the law to the returnees from Babylon, and is also linked to the re-establishment of temple worship. However, that is not the only relationship with the temple that is preserved in Ezra-Nehemiah along with other traditions from the Second Temple period. Ezra participates in the ambivalence with which the newly formed Second Temple Judeans greeted the establishment of the new Temple as is found in Ezra 3:10-12.

Keywords: 4 Ezra; Babylon; emulation; Ezra-Nehemiah; imitation; pseudepigrapha; Second Temple period; temple worship



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