The authenticity of the chronicler's account of the restoration of Israel in the light of Ezra & Nehemiah: a critical & historical study
For purposes of convenience the thesis is divided into four main sections. The first, on the Linguistic evidence, seeks to set forth and evaluate concisely the main arguments based on language against the authenticity of the Chronicler's narrative. Although the result is largely negative, the fact that these linguistic arguments have never been adequately attacked, so far as I know, apart from very summary treatment in some of the standard histories of the period, and that they have been made the primary basis for such sweeping indictments against the Chronicler's authenticity, makes. it seem only right that the evidence should be laid bare and its inadequacy, as a proof against the Chronicler's narrative, be revealed. The second section is more positive, and seeks to assemble concisely but comprehensively all the relevant sources of the Persian period which bear witness to the authenticity of the Chronicler's account. In the light of this evidence the documents of Ezr. -Neh. are examined and are f.)und to agree in form and content with other Persian parallels of the time. It is true that much of this material is not new. A good deal of it is quite old, some of it has been referred to, and in part quoted by, the standard works of Kittel, Sellin, Lods and Oesterley, etc. in their treatment of the period, but no attempt has been made to marshal the evidence in its completeness and to apply its concentrated testimony to the Hebrew account. In the third section we come to the main body of the thesis to which the first two sections are largely prolegomena. Here the salient episodes of the Chronicler's history of the Restoration are critically examined, and wherever possible conclusions have been drawn. Here again most of these conclusions are not new; indeed, many go back to the Chronicler himself. No studied attempt has been made to blaze new trails for the sake of originality. The fact can hardly be overstressed that the thesis is, in part at least, a sustained protest against the many blind trails with which past research has confused the subject. The main effort here has been to set forth throughout an unbiased statement of the evidence as it at present exists, with the purpose of making clear what stands firm and what does not in a field of study where diversity of opinions is extremely great. In the final section a very brief attempt is made to illustrate and evaluate the main trends of the Chronicler as an historian and to apply those trends to the problems of his Restoration history.It will be readily apparent that no attempt has been made to deal with all the problems which fall within the limits of the Chronicler's story. To do this would have carried the work far beyond all reasonable bounds, even if, in the present circumstances, it had been possible. But all the main controversial issues of the Chronicler's narrative gather round the question of Authenticity, and this is the chief reason for dealing with the subject under this main theme. Another reason for thus limiting the subject can be equally appreciated when one considers the extraordinary difficulties of sustained research under war conditions in a part of the world so isolated from all university libraries. It is because of this second reason that so few of the references and footnotes have the page or chapter given. This is especially the case with references to German authors.