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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Provenance and Date.

1.

A general consensus sets the provenance of 1 Esdras in Egypt in the second century BCE (e.g. Eissfeldt 1966: 576). The basis for this conclusion is the nature of the Greek idiom in which the book is written, which has clear affinities with the language of the Papyri of the second century and some of the Apocrypha, particularly the books of Maccabees (see Myers 1974: 12–13; Talshir 1984 ), and the assumed literary affinities of the book to the canonical books of Esther and Daniel.

2.

Again, the two aspects of the work should be distinguished. It seems very plausible that the Greek translation was done in the second century BCE in Egypt; there is nothing to contradict this view and many reasons to support it. The original work should be dated earlier, but its date and provenance cannot be suggested with precision. The influence of the book of Esther on the story of the three guards (see 1 ESD 3:1–4:41 ) sets an upper date for its composition, whereas the affinity with the book of Daniel is of a general nature and rather doubtful. The historical reality and general cultural milieu of 1 Esdras seems to be that of the Hellenistic period, with no trace of the Hasmonean period. We would place the composition of 1 Esdras in the third century BCE, and its Greek translation in the second century, probably in Egypt.

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