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Approaching Yehud: New Approaches to the Study of the Persian Period (Society of Biblical Literature Semeia Studies) Paperback – November 14, 2007

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Product Details

  • Series: Semeia Studies (Book 50)
  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Society of Biblical Literature (November 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589831454
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589831452
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 1.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,643,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The book is an important one because it summons readers to much unlearning and relearning about the Bible. The unlearning concerns the historical positivism in which most progressives are schooled. The relearning involves seeing, as against a static view of scripture, that the Bible is a generative, intentionally constructive tradition that is a response to particular historical crises that jeopardized the identity of the community. The generative, constructive quality of the text is on exhibit everywhere in this collection of essays. --Walter Brueggemann, Christian Century

About the Author

Jon L. Berquist is Executive Editor for Biblical Studies at Westminster John Knox Press in Louisville, Kentucky. His writings on the Persian period include Judaism in Persia's Shadow: A Social and Historical Approach. In recent years, he has also taught at New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. Galishoff on April 14, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There has been great interest in the study of the exilic and post-exilic periods, especially the Achmaemenid period (553-330 BCE). Despite the efforts of numerous noted scholars, much of this period as regards Israel remains a mystery shrouded in the silence little extrabiblical texts and controversy over interpretation of the restoration books of Ezra-Nehemiah; Haggai-Zachariah and Chronicles. This period is important because it is believed to be the formative period of what would eventually become Second Temple Judaism upon which Christ made his appearance. There is some understanding of the political and social policies of the Persians. Likewise, there is historical information available from Persian sources but little if any addresses the historical and theological concerns we have regarding the people of Israel in the golah and in the Persian territory of Yehud. There has been some vague consensus on a few issues such as the nature and number of deportees during 588-586, the extent of depopulation and devastation of the land and the composition of the returnees' and survivors generations later. There are also theories from historical and literary criticism concerning the redaction or collection of many of the texts of the OT during this period. Despite some advances, a comprehensive and accepted picture of Israel during this time has been elusive and has opened up many avenues of investigation, many of which are speculative.

Approaching Yehud, edited by Jon Berquist and published by the Society of Biblical Literature, proposes to address new methods and avenues of approach to the study of Yehud. It is a collection of diverse essays of variable quality that address a few important points but many simply miss the mark.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Truth teller on February 23, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read Berquist's "Judiasm in Persia's Shadow" in the 90s and it was relatively interesting. His current book is a bust. While a few articles are written by familiar writers (like the always informative Melody Knowles) other articles are chuck full of meaningless, meandering post-Marxist, Gottwald type fare. Samples of some of these:
Ruiz: "That being the case, Exek 20:32 can be recognized- through a post-colonial optic- as an expression of destitution, Perez Firmat's second stage of exilic adaptation, in which 'the awareness of displacement crushes the fantasy of rootedness.'" (p129)
Marbury: "Similar to the sociopolitical liminality of the marginally subjugated strange/foreign women in Yehud, a comparable spatial and temporal liminality is produced in the discourse of the text." (p178)
Koosed: "However, beginning with the linquistic theories of Saussure, tanslated into psychoanalysis by Lacan, and furthered in philosophy and literary criticism by Barthes and Derrida, the stability of language and identity has been undermined." (p183). Another amazing bit of non-Biblical analysis is her remark: "...I am not only a woman but a biblical scholar- another aspect of my identity sometimes in concert and sometimes in conflict with my sexual identity." (p184)
After reading stuff like this, I regretted not having dined in a Persian restuarant while discussing useful scholarly literature.
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