Persia and Torah: The Theory of Imperial Authorization of the Pentateuch
Publisher: Society of Biblical Literature | ISBN: 1589830156 | edition 2001 | PDF | 242 pages | 10,9 mb
In 1984, Peter Frei revived an old theory about the influence of the Persian Empire on the promulgation of Jewish law in the time of Ezra. 1 Citing ancient references to codifications of Egyptian law under Darius, Persian involvement in the founding of local cults in Asia Minor and at Elephantine in Upper Egypt, and Persian permission for the promulgation of Jewish legal texts in the biblical books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, Frei argued that the Persians authorized local legislation in various parts of the empire. Such “imperial authorization” created a federal arrangement by which the local communities gained a degree of legal autonomy while remaining under imperial rule. Thus he depicted Artaxerxes’ authorization of Ezra’s law book (Ezra 7), presumably the Pentateuch more or less, as an action typical of Persian, and only of Persian, policies.