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The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies Provides a comprehensive survey of Biblical scholarship in a variety of disciplines.

History (IV): The Return from Exile

The Persians put an end to the late Babylonian empire, and took its place, from 539 to 331 BCE. From royal sources we are not better informed than from the late Babylonian kings: royal inscriptions survive, but are not informative for us. The tradition of Babylonian chronicles continued, and when they survive, they offer concise but reliable information. Greek writers also survive, but their historical material is often suspect or clearly wrong. However, an outline history of the period is possible, and that puts in clearer perspective the Hebrew books from or alluding to this period. Dates for kings' reigns are again sure and precise.

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