The most important writers are Yoseh ben Yoseh, probably in the 6th century, chiefly known for his compositions for the day of Atonement, Eleazar Qalir, the founder of the payyetanic style, perhaps in the 7th century, Seadiah, and the Spanish school consisting of Joseph ibn Abitur (died in 970), Ibn Gabirol, Isaac Gayyath, Moses ben Ezra, Abraham ben Ezra and Judah ha-levi, who will be mentioned below; later, Moses ben Nahman and Isaac Luria the Kabbalist.'
23-26, the age is given as twenty-five, but twenty became usual and recurs in Ezra iii.
Note the curious old tradition that Ezra wrote out the law which had been burnt (2 Esdr. xiv.
In one passage, however (Ezra iv.
The Pentateuch (or Hexateuch) was finally completed in its present form at some time before 400 B.C. The latest parts of the Old Testament are the books of Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah (c. 330 B.C.), Ecclesiastes and Esther (3rd century) and Daniel, composed either in the 3rd century or according to some views as late as the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (c. 168 B.C.).
There is none on Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah.
The line is traced through biblical teachers to Ezra, the first of the Sopherim or scribes, who handed on the charge to the "men of the Great Synagogue," a much-discussed term for a body or succession of teachers inaugurated by Ezra.
His relative Abraham ben Ezra, generally called simply Ibn Ezra,4 was still more distinguished.
1141 at Lucena), a friend of Judah Ha-levi and of Moses ben Ezra, wrote Responsa and IIiddushin (annotations) on parts of the Talmud.
He wrote numerous translations, of Galen, Aristotle, Ilariri, IIunain ben Isaac and Maimonides, as well as several original works, a Sepher Anaq in imitation of Moses ben Ezra, and treatises on grammar and medicine (Rephuath geviyyah), but he is best known for his Talzkemoni, a diwan in the style of Ilariri's Magimat.
It was the theoretical eastern limit of the Jewish kingdom; for a long time it separated Assyria from the Khita or Hittites; it divided the eastern from the western satrapies of Persia (Ezra iv.
At this point we begin to encounter sulphur springs and bitter streams redolent with bitumen, a formation which reaches its climax at Hit, where a small stream (the " river of Ahava " of Ezra viii.
28), and also after the captivity (Ezra ii.
It contains in fact the history itself in two forms: (a) from the creation of man to the fall of Judah (Genesis-2 Kings), which is supplemented and continued further - (b) to the foundation of Judaism in the 5th century B.C. (Chronicles - Ezra-Nehemiah).
5), and must have identified themselves with the old stock (Ezra iv.
2 Sargon had removed Babylonians into the land of Hatti (Syria and Palestine), and in 715 B.C. among the colonists were tribes apparently of desert origin (Tamud, Hayapa, &c.); other settlements are ascribed to Esar-haddon and perhaps Assur-bani-pal (Ezra iv.
Longimanus (465-425), attracts attention because the famous Jewish reformers Ezra and Nehemiah flourished under a king of this name.
- The biblical history for the Persian period is contained in a new source - the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, whose standpoint and period are that of Chronicles, with which they are closely joined.
2 In addition to this, the Egyptian story of the priest Uza-hor at the court of Cambyses and Darius reflects a policy of religious tolerance which illustrates the biblical account of Ezra and Nehemiah (Brugsch, Gesch.
4 See Ezra And Nehemiah with bibliographical references, also T.
Nehemja (1909); and C. C. Torrey, Ezra Studies (1910).
An immense body of exiles is said to have returned at this time to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel, who was of Davidic descent, and the priest Jeshua or Joshua, the grandson of the murdered Seraiah (Ezra i.
The next historical notice is dated in the second year of Darius (520) when two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, came forward to kindle the Judaeans to new efforts, and in spite of opposition the work went steadily onwards, thanks to the favour of Darius, until the Temple was completed four years later (Ezra v.
So Haggai sees in Zerubbabel the representative of the 5 There is an obvious effort to preserve the continuity of tradition (a) in Ezra ii.
It is the work of rebuilding and reorganization, of social and of religious reforms, which we encounter in the last pages of biblical history, and in the records of Ezra and Nehemiah we stand in Jerusalem in the very centre of epoch-making events.
In this separation of the Judaeans from religious and social intercourse with their neighbours, the work of Ezra (q.v.) requires notice.
It is related that Ezra, the scribe and priest, returned to Jerusalem with priests and Levites, lay exiles, and a store of vessels for the Temple.
He was commissioned to inquire into the religious condition of the land and to disseminate the teaching of the Law to which he had devoted himself (Ezra vii.).
A special account is given of this reform (Ezra ix.
- The biblical history for the period in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah is exceptionally obscure, and it is doubtful how far the traditions can be trusted before we reach the reign of Artaxerxes (Ezra vii.
Artaxerxes accordingly instructed them to stop the work until he should give the necessary decree, and this was done by force (Ezra iv.
458 B.C.) that Ezra returned with a small body of exiles to promulgate the new laws he had brought and to set the Temple service in order.
The disaster which aroused Nehemiah's grief was scarcely the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., but a more recent one, and it has been conjectured that it followed the work of Ezra (in b above).
Next, since there are three distinct sources, for (a) above, and for the work of Nehemiah and of Ezra, implicit reliance cannot be placed upon the present sequence of narratives.
3); and if it is surprising that the Samaritans and other opponents, who had previously waited to address Artaxerxes (Ezra iv.
Some recent revolt, Ezra vii.
Tabeel in Ezra iv.
5-9, 19, and Ezra iv.
The account ascribed to the time of Darius, Ezra v.
Daniel, Esther, i Esdras, Josephus), the historical narratives are of the scantiest and vaguest until the time of Artaxerxes, when the account of a return (Ezra iv.
Seq.) and subsequently of Cyrus (Ezra i.-iii.).
Tradition concentrated upon Ezra and his age many events and changes of fundamental importance.
The objections against this very probable view undervalue Ezra iv.
18, not in Ezra iv.
The untrustworthy account of the return in the time of Cyrus (Ezra i.
Vii.), and the important return in the reign of Artaxerxes (Ezra iv.
With Nehemiah and Ezra we enter upon the era in which a new impulse gave to Jewish life and thought that form which became the characteristic orthodox Judaism.
The work represented in Nehemiah and Ezra, and put into action by the supporters of an exclusive Judaism, certainly won the day, and their hands have left their impress upon the historical traditions.