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Ezra’s Vision of the Lady: the Form and Function of a Turning Point

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Chapter Summary

The problems of incoherence within 4Ezra are reflected in both form and content. The terms on which the seer's questions are raised at the beginning do not appear to be the terms on which questions are addressed in the end. In first three episodes, Ezra's searching questions, which lead to an impasse in communication between him and angel Uriel, result in little more than notes of despair that result from Ezra's lack of understanding. Most interpreters agree that the central fourth episode, Ezra's encounter with the mourning woman who transforms into a beautiful city, presents the turning point with respect to 4Ezra's spectrum of ideas. It is here that this chapter finds its focus, while asking the following questions: Is there a shift in this episode; when precisely can such a shift be discerned; whom does this shift involve; and how does it contribute to overall argument of the work?

Keywords: 4Ezra; angel Uriel; lack of understanding; mourning woman



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