Restoration,a new Temple, and the emergence of Judaism: 539-400

I. Return of the exiles: 539 - 450

A. Complications: in Judah

1. The exiles comprised only about 10% of the population of Judah

2. The elite vs. everybody else: an impoverished and depopulated nation

3. With the exiles, Zerubabel, Jehoiachin's grandson and last survivor of the Davidic monarchy

a. He vanishes from the record after 516

4. Could only return as Persian governor

5. How to rebuild the Temple?

B. Complications: outside Judah

1. Two sizable communities of Jewish exiles in Babylonia and Egypt

2. For the first time, who is a Jew?

3. In Egypt, a competing Temple

4. Samaria lays claims to Jewish inheritance; builds temple on Mt. Gerizim

C. What kind of Temple?

1. Much smaller than previously

2. Did not have the religious artifacts of the first: the Ark, decorative treasures like the huge bowl called the "sea" used for priestly ablutions

3. These deficiencies corrected later in the Roman period under Herod the Great

II. Ezra (ca. 458): "a scribe skilled in the law of Moses"

A. Arrived with copy of the law and a Persian commission to establish judges to teach and enforce it

1. Which law? The Torah, P, or some in-between compilation?

2. Quotations in the Bible don't correspond to the Torah we now have

3. Ban on intermarriage much more strict than in current Torah

B. Goal: to constitute a legal and moral community based on the religious system of the Torah

III. Nehemiah (a bit later): the great builder

A. Rebuilt the gates and walls of Jerusalem

B. Repopulated Jerusalem with building lottery

C. Enforced ban on intermarriage

D. Forbade dispersal of religious priests and shrines to countryside

IV. The emergence of Judaism: Crisis of identity

A. Who is a Jew?

1. Birth

a. All citizens enrolled under Nehemiah

b. Ban on intermarriage

c. Mechanisms for conversion

2. Adherence to Torah

a. Observance of Sabbath

b. Dietary laws

c. Ban on worship of foreign deities

d. Development of written Torah to know what laws to follow

3. Worship in or loyalty to Jerusalem Temple

a. Tithe to support Temple and priests required

b. Expectation of attendance at pilgrimage festivals

B. How does a Jew worship G-d?

1. Regular service of worship developed for the Temple

2. Synagogues for prayer and study outside of Jerusalem

3. Pilgrimage festivals allow one to reconnect with ancestral land

C. Development of synagogues

1. Loss of Hebrew as a spoken language

a. gradual replacement with Aramaic (and Greek after 330's)