Antiochus III’s decree for Jerusalem and the Persian decrees in ezra-nehemiah and LXX 1 Esdras

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Abstract

The article endorses the view that the royal decrees for the Jerusalem temple inserted in Ezra-Nehemiah (and First Esdras) are not genuine, and explores the historical conditions in which they were composed. It points to similarities between the topical content of Antiochus III’s decree issued in 200/198 BCE (Josephus, Ant. 12.138–144) and that of the Persian decrees, and argues that the latter were based on the former. They were composed in the context of the Maccabean crisis, when it was claimed that Jason cancelled the privileges (political and fiscal) which Antiochus had granted (2 Macc 4:7–15), as a legitimizing precedent to Antiochus’ decree. Moreover, the Persian decrees were used to explore the economic aspect of the relationship between the local community and imperial ruler in Hellenistic times (taxes and euergetism), and to provide a template for he ideal (Hellenistic) imperial king.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-329
Number of pages27
JournalJournal for the Study of Judaism
Volume52
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • 2 Maccabees
  • Antiochus III’s decree
  • Euergetism
  • Hasmonean dynasty
  • Persian Decrees

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