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Why Ezra and not Enoch? Rewriting the Script of the First Exile with the Hope for a Prompt Restoration of Zion’s Fortunes

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers seriously the delicate problem of pseudonymity, particularly because it is precisely on this point that "pseudorthodox" scholars continue to denounce deceitful intentions of our apocalyptic authors. But, why Ezra and not Enoch? In order to explore certain aspects of this issue author makes reference to the works of late Jean-Claude Picard. When we look at the reasons for the choice of Ezra's character in 4Ezra, perhaps what comes to mind is Theodore Bergren's threefold explanation: "Ezra was chosen as hero of the book by virtue of (a) his traditionally recognized role as restorer of Jewish worship, legal observance, and scripture after a threat by a foreign power, (b) his extreme piety, and (c) his status as a scribe". This is certainly true, even if it misses an equally important condition: (d) the conviction that Ezra lived during the epoch of Babylonian exile, between 587 and ca. 520bce.

Keywords: 4Ezra; Babylonian exile; Enoch; Ezra; Jean-Claude Picard; Jewish worship; legal observance; Zion's fortunes



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