Archival Historiography in Jewish Antiquity

ISBN : 9780190918729

Laura Carlson Hasler
240 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Feb 2020
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The question of how the Bible received its unusual form has been a question addressed by scholars since critical study of the text began. Early attention focused on the Pentateuch and the Primary History. Archival Historiography in Jewish Antiquity argues that Ezra and Nehemiah, late texts sometimes overlooked in such discussions, reveal another piece of this longstanding puzzle. Laura Carlson Hasler suggests that the concept of archival historiography makes sense of Ezra and Nehemiah's unusual format and place in the Bible. Adapting the symbolic quality of ancient Near Eastern archives to their own purposes, the writers of these books found archiving an expression of religious and social power in a colonized context. Using the book of Esther as a comparative example, Carlson Hasler addresses literary disruption, a form unpalatable to modern readers, as an expected element of archival historiography. This book argues that archiving within the experience of trauma is more than sophisticated history writing, and in fact served to facilitate Judean recovery after the losses of exile.



Introduction: Ezra-Nehemiah as Mutilated History and Archival Historiography

1. A Tear in the Fabric of Time: The Archive in the Ancient Near East and Why it Matters

2. Archival Representations: Archive and Collection in the Narrative of Ezra-Nehemiah

3. These Were Their Number: Citations of Decrees, Letters, and Lists and Their Archival Implications

4. Resisting Oblivion: Archival Historiography in the Books of Esther

5. Reading Scriptures as Spaces: The Reconstitution of Communities through Archival Historiography

Epilogue: Remaking Archives and the Death of Spaces


About the author: 

Laura Carlson Hasler holds a PhD from Yale University and is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Jewish Studies and the Alvin H. Rosenfeld Chair of Hebrew Bible at Indiana University, Bloomington.

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