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History in the Bible

Sep 17, 2017

After Sheshbazzar's failure, the second wave of returnees are led by the enigmatic figures of the supposed Davidic king Zerubbabel and the high-priest Joshua. Those returning spurn those who stayed behind, implying that the only real Jews are those who were exiled. Zerubbabel inexplicably disappears from the...


Sep 3, 2017

The Babylonian empire is rendered helpless when its king Nabonidus goes on a ten year holiday to Arabia. The best-ever benevolent autocrat, Cyrus the Great of Persia, has no trouble mounting a friendly takeover of the empire. Cyrus urges the Jews to return home under the mysterious Sheshbazzar. Cyrus is applauded...


Aug 20, 2017

Our most important sources for the Return are the books known as Ezra and Nehemiah in Catholic and Protestant bibles. The Jews have a single book, called Ezra. There a whole bunch of other books of Ezra, many to be found in Russian and Greek bibles. 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Latin Esdras, Esdras Alpha, the Greek...


Aug 6, 2017

In the book of Ezekiel God transforms from furious father to jealous husband. The prophet is commanded to protest against the Judeans with performance art. He has a few passages no-one can make head nor tail of. I also reluctantly tackle the book of Job, that most difficult of books.


Jul 23, 2017

In the first episode of series two, I begin with the Judeans in exile in Babylon. We move from the prophet Jeremiah to the prophet Ezekiel, and his crazy imagery, imagery that has inflamed Christian iconography for centuries. But not only Christians. Ezekiel is the father of Jewish mysticism, a movement which the rabbis...