This new perspective on Yehud has become widespread in biblical scholarship, but the ramifications of these changing assumptions are yet to be seen. The essays in this volume reflect many of these assumptions and contribute to the ongoing process of analyzing Yehud, but they also call into question the methodological issues embedded in these very assumptions. The first essay in this volume focuses on society and religion. Melody Knowles concentrates on pilgrimage, a key feature of Persian-period religion, treating pilgrimage as a religious practice as well as a social phenomenon.
The next pair of essays examines textuality and intertextuality. Richard Bautch explores the methodological bases of intertextuality, with suggestions about how these methods will influence Persian-period studies. Donald Polaski’s essay on power and writing advances the discussion about what texts existed at the end of the Persian period and how Yehud viewed those texts.
Taken together, these twelve chapters represent a range of studies that push forward new perspectives on Yehud. They treat a range of biblical genres and a variety of textual and historical problems. Several of the essays deal with issues of ideology and power, advancing the study of these concepts. Gender and ethnicity run throughout these chapters, treated in a more sophisticated manner than in earlier works. Economics and imperial politics inform the results of several of these chapters. Issues of empire and colonialism appear in most of the essays, with some moving toward explicitly postcolonial perspectives. Methods of social history, critical theory, and deconstruction also run throughout these approaches.
This book’s essays demonstrate how Persian-period studies can move forward to address these and other questions, building upon the work of the past and integrating a variety of new methods to produce a more fulsome picture of society and religion in Yehud.
Jon L. Berquist is professor of the Hebrew Bible since 2011. He also serves as President of Disciples Seminary Foundation (www.dsf.edu), the institution for theological education in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on the west coast, in partnership with CST. Dr. Berquist is an ordained minister with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He holds a B.A. from Northwest Christian College (Eugene, Oregon) and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tennessee).