Diaspora comes from the Greek verb meaning “to sow over” (speiro + dia). Implemented during the Greco-Roman period to repopulate war-torn cities or uninhabitable poleis by starting over, the practice can be traced back to the Neo-Assyrians and Neo-Babylonians. With two levels of assistance, individual and collective, land was distributed for retired military with roads, buildings, and infrastructure financed by the empire. In due course, the hope was for each polis to become a social, economic, and geopolitical contributor of the empire. This concept is not incompatible with the exile golah/galut (Hebrew, singular/plural). The key difference, however, is in the telos, that is, the Diaspora becomes home but in exile—there is a longing to return to the homeland. In the deep structure, golah/galut is understood as national punishment for sin. Without an end to the forced migration, living in exile was understood as living in condemnation. This precept changed across three generations in Babylon. Regions in which Judeans either involuntarily or voluntarily migrated—whether on the other side of the Jordan River, in Mesopotamia, on the coastlands or Egypt, or across the vast terrains of the Mediterranean basin—would also become home.

Modern scholarship of the exile consists of three major historical periods and one transitional phase (first, transitional, second, and currently third [see Ahn, Exile as Forced Migrations, 2011]). In the second major period, a group of minimalist European biblical scholars revived C. C. Torrey’s theory on the Exile and postexilic periods. They misrepresented his view on the exile, however, erroneously claiming that Torrey suggested that the exile never occurred. They then coupled this precept with Hans Barstad’s “myth of the empty land” (1996) that placed Second Isaiah in Judah, not in the Babylonian exile, adding that the exile clearly was a mythopoeic, a historical construct since there was no narrative on the period. Only a minority in the upper and skilled classes of the people was actually “deported” to Babylon, and life continued without any serious disruption since the majority of the people were farmers. Thus, it was a myth to think that the land was empty when in fact, it was still populated. This insight on the land being populated is an important progressive contribution. Even a cursory reading, however, suggests that a nation that loses its economists, politicians, scribes, educators, skilled workers, and artisans will not be undisrupted. Furthermore, the problem rests in reframing exile, which has been heavily theological, as “deportation.” The term was debated without full uniformity before launching and impacting the field. The application of the term to the Judeans of the sixth century B.C.E. was ill thought. “Deport” or “deportation” in political, social, legal debates, and other media denote “deporting illegal immigrants.” The construct then suggests that the Judeans were in their land “illegally.” Being “deported” to Babylon carries an undesirable double meaning. Some scholars have desperately tried to justify the usage of the term by going back to the Oxford English Dictionary. Going backward is not the solution. The term should no longer refer to the experience of forced migration or exile. The proper nomenclature is “to displace” or “to dislocate.” In 2008, in the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), the Exile-Forced Migrations in Biblical Literature Consultation (now Group) was created to address these and other issues. In 2011 the same scholars formed the International (SBL) counterpart, Forced-Return Migrations in Biblical Literature. As a first correction, “forced migration,” a term accepted and advanced by social scientists and migration studies experts, replaces “deportation” when referring to the Exile or the sixth century B.C.E. Second, the al-Yahdu text, an extrabiblical artifact that attests to a Judean ethnic enclave in Babylon, shows the displacement and resettlement of people from the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Even without this discovery, however, the sociological approach uncovers new data to help reconstruct the historical generations in the sixth to the fifth centuries B.C.E. Forced migration studies, which take into account theories of migration, reasons for such force, and analyses of displaced peoples, seek to identify factors or forces that cause involuntary movements of peoples. Forced migration produces a host of structural problems: urban redevelopment, population structure, redistribution policies, and regional redevelopment as well as challenges to identity and ethnicity. With identifiable typologies in Diaspora studies—such as victim Diaspora, labor diaspora, trade Diaspora, imperial Diaspora, and cultural Diaspora, to name a few—forced migration studies and Diaspora studies become the future on most aspects of exile in the Hebrew Bible, Intertestamental literature, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and New Testament studies.

Diaspora Consciousness.

A salient feature of Diaspora or forced migration consciousness—that dislocation and identity play a complex and significant relationship—rests in preserving and passing down the unapologetic individual and collective human experiences of displacement and resettlement for future generations. Diaspora studies is truly global in nature, bridging and cutting across scores of major and minor issues and concerns, which are often hidden or veiled in communities that have experienced involuntary or voluntary forced migration. The examination of geopolitics, hybridity, nomadism, creolization, and symbols—including the interpreting of sacred texts—are involved. There is much complexity since phenomenology is involved. From searching for a home in a state of homelessness to seeking out welcome and acceptance in new habitual place of residence, the chief questions are: Will “we” be fully accepted? And one day, can we also become hosts?


Life in the Diaspora is markedly different because of two primary agents: age and socioeconomics. Specifically, dispersal from and the degree of longing for home, collective myth and memory about past heroes and how they lived and survived in similar circumstances, the development of a return migration plan, ethnocentrism, sympathy for other displaced and resettled communities, and the acceptance of pluralism due to experience of exclusionism are all broadly sociological and anthropological in nature. Inasmuch as history repeats, so do social structures. The Chinese Diaspora in Colombia, the Indian Diaspora in Kenya, Caribbeans in New York, the British Sikh Diaspora, Iraqi Kurdish Diaspora, Estonian Diaspora, Armenian Diaspora, Iranian immigrants in Sweden, or the comparative study of Korean, German, and Polish forced migrant communities in the Russian Far East, among other empirically driven studies, provide relevant parallels to help clarify and reconstruct the dislocated Judeans in Babylon, Egypt, or the coastlands, the Essenes by the Dead Sea, or first-century Jews scattered across the Mediterranean basin and beyond. In fact, as advanced and technologically sophisticated as society has become, human emotions and responses to displacement and resettlement have not changed all that much, if any. Pain remains pain. Experiencing discrimination is discrimination. The simple joys and happiness of one community—birth of a child, marriage, and achievements—are causes for celebration in ancient and contemporary communities. Yet, a displaced and resettled community’s coping mechanism for combating hardship is none other than hard work that we witness in immigrant families coupled with prayer (see Jer 29).


The web of influences that truly matter, in the constitution of the old and new merging together as new culture (Geertz 1973) occurred as a direct consequence of the geopolitical shift from Jerusalem to Babylon. The first-generation Judeo-Babylonians experienced “there” and “here.” In the social construction of reality (Berger and Luckmann 1966), the “dramaturgical” (Goffman 1959) was found in the solidarity of the community living outside national time and space in order to live within it (Clifford 1997).

Several studies that integrate cultural studies, biblical studies, and the Diaspora or forced migration studies have since been in circulation. They are John Collins’s Between Athens and Jerusalem (1999), John Barclay’s Negotiating Diaspora (2004), and John Ahn’s Exile as Forced Migrations (2011). These works deal with issues of assimilation-acculturation, generation-unit, and integrative-oppositional as cultural and countercultural. Interestingly, most contemporary Diaspora studies begin by descriptively pointing to the historical memory of the Judean exile to Babylon in the sixth century B.C.E. However, the consciousness that gave rise to the Diaspora is said to be 587 B.C.E., the destruction of the Temple, and the loss of Judah as a nation. This is an error. In the first place, the sovereignty of Judah was relinquished by Jehoiachin in 597 B.C.E., not 587. The balance of the “Davidic Covenant” and Zion theology in complete jeopardy, the decision to give up the throne for the sake of saving lives, and the difficult choice between colonialism or elimination of a nation all create a completely different picture and a starting point of Diaspora consciousness. In addition, the destruction of the Temple as the genesis of Diaspora consciousness must fade into the shadow of the pathos of losing innocent infants and children—dashed and violently killed against the rock or the wall of Jerusalem—the symbol that was supposed to protect was reversed and used as a weapon of destruction. As the synecdoche for the loss of an entire generation (Ps 137:8–9), these needed historical references help contemporary Diaspora scholars to focus on the people, not an edifice, transcending Cliffordian “there” and “here,” the spatial and temporal makers create a new third space, between the nation-state and “traveling cultures.”

Textual Witnesses.

The memory of Diaspora consciousness is found in Genesis 3 and 4. Adam and Eve are displaced from the garden of Eden as punishment. In the ensuing generation, after fratricide of his brother Abel, Cain is marked and forced to migrate. The primeval history ascends to Babel/Babylon (Gen 11) only to be scattered. And from there, a new generational narrative sequence begins, cast in three generations—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with the fourth-generation Joseph Diaspora novella added later on (Gen 12—50). Exodus is precisely about a new generation, a new leader in Moses, whose Sargonlike birth is redeemed from the waters; then he too experiences forced migration until he is called to return to the land and lead his people out of Egypt. The first-generation Israelites’ wandering in the wilderness is seen as a punishment for disobedience and refusing to enter the Promised Land. The same potential misappropriation lies before the second-generation Israelites. The key episode is sparked by the second-generation Gadites and Reubenites requesting land, permanent residence on the Transjordan. Moses’s interpretation for their request on the other side of the Jordan is seen as a serious threat to the promise. He rejects the initial proposal. With conflict and tension rising, the Gadites and Reubenites make a counterproposal, namely, that they will in fact traverse and help all Israel claim land in the Cisjordan. When each tribe has settled down, then, they would return home, to the other side, to their wives, children, and material goods. Moses agrees and blesses them (Num 32). This chapter is one of the most important yet least understood chapters in the book of Numbers. This narrative may be a retrospection, from the period of third- or fourth-generation Judeo-Babylonians seriously questioning and justifying to turn to Yehud (Judah) in order to return home.

The prophets (Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah) predict (vaticinium ex eventu) or warn of forced migration for sin and return migration as God’s purpose. The Wisdom Tradition, Job, and Qoheleth reading through the lenses of Judah’s experience of forced migration in sixth century B.C.E. finds echoes in the Apocrypha: Tobit, 1 Esdras, Prayer of Azariah, Bel and the Dragon, Song of the Three Children, Susanna, Judith, and the Letter of Aristeas, all pertaining to coping with hardships and challenges of life and rebuilding lives in the Diaspora. The Damascus Document (CD) opens with a reference to the 390 years since Nebuchadnezzar, which is immediately followed by a marker to one generation, meaning “twenty years.” The context behind this community’s document is voluntary displacement rather than forced migration to Babylon. This group neither sought refuge in Egypt nor experienced forced migration to Babylon but escaped to the coastlands or Damascus. Today we would call such people “refugees.” If this is an earlier form of the disciple’s manual that was fully developed and extended in the Qumran Rule of the Community (1QS), this group may have been the forerunner to the Essenes who voluntarily lived in displacement and resettlement in Qumran. Echoed in 1 and 2 Peter, the sojourners or foreigners are considered second- or third-, or fourth-generation Christians. They experience marginalization from society but are nevertheless encouraged to live in the hope of their priesthood and calling until the Lord’s return. Indeed, identity is shaped and reformed in, through, and by the experience of the Diaspora.

Identity in the Diaspora.

Diaspora identity is marked by a historical memory and generational consciousness. The root of uprootedness and dispersal occurred in 597 B.C.E. with the first wave of forced migrants. King Jehoiachin, his royal family, his officials, the upper class and skilled laborers, the warriors or military class, priests, prophets, and scribes experienced Derivative Forced Migrations (DFM), a geopolitical, cartographical realignment when the Neo-Babylonian Empire conquered Judah to increase its border. The first wave of Judeans is identified as development-induced displaced persons (DIDPs) for Babylonian economic gain. Displaced and resettled in “ethnic enclaves” (contrast to ghettos with no economic output), the Judeans re-established war-torn and dilapidated cities through corvée labor on primary, secondary, and tertiary irrigation canals of Babylon. Through “chain migration” (same ethnic group from the same location) in 587 and 582, these Judeans experienced “Purposive Forced Migration” (PFM). The purpose of PFM could be profit driven (Uganda, 1972), culture oriented (Cambodia, 1975–1979), religious persecution, (North Ireland, 1969), security of a dominating nation (the Kurds, 1980), for punishment (the Chechens after World War II), and revenge (Rwanda-Burundi, 1962). Internally displaced persons (IDPs), everyday common “people of the land,” were also forced to move from the periphery of the empire to the center. Interestingly, the Hebrew Bible is silent on the 582 B.C.E. group. Perhaps this was due to their unaccepted hybridity as Samaritan-Judeans. Intermarriage likely began as early as post-587 B.C.E. for individual and communal survival. Under Gedaliah’s leadership at Mizpah, the people of the land continued to sustain and generate some form of economic viability by contributing to Babylon, producing an abundance of summer fruits, wine, and balsam. When Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, led a small but well organized anti-Babylonian group of ten men to murder Gedaliah, this economic and political colonialism ended. For whatever reason, the Judeo-Babylonian tradents—ironically, given their own hybridity—rejected and did not record the experience of this particular displaced and resettled group in Babylon. On the contrary, their 582 counterpart—the group that voluntarily fled to Egypt with Johanan and other leaders, including Jeremiah—experienced “Responsive Forced Migration” (RFM), a voluntary forced migration as a response to natural or human threats. Then, there were others that likely sought refuge in the north, in particular the coastlands or Damascus (CD), but more research is needed on this important group.

The total of “seventy-years” in Babylon represents three and a half generations, marked as three or four generations. These basic factors must now be accounted for when examining Diaspora studies. Once resettled in the Babylon, generational consciousness fully developed. In fact, the threefold generation of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is no accident. To this paradigm, the fourth generation, in the form of a continuing Diaspora novella, Joseph, like Esther, who succeeds through assimilation and eventually benefits all of society, was added. The book of Daniel also stresses issues of assimilation and acculturation, education and food, music and culture, traditions and customs, arriving at individual and communal success through intermarriage (Joseph and Esther) or possibly living as eunuchs (Daniel and his three friends). Identity formation, addressing the polarities of home/homelessness, insider/outsider, power/powerless, success/failure, and center/periphery are pertinent literary themes but also sociological issues in everyday life for displaced persons. The final form in the four-generation framework is clearly a generational consciousness that eventually split between those who remained in Babylon as home from those who returned to Yehud/Judah to start over.

Each generation responds to its experience of forced migration without dismissing the previous generation. There is layering of those experiences. The first generation experienced complex lament (Ps 137). The transitional 1.5 generation (i.e., those who were teenagers or preteens when taken to Babylon, like Daniel and his three friends or Ezekiel; in the New Testament, between the first-generation apostles and the second-generation Christians or the Gospel authors, Paul functions as a transitional 1.5 generation) discovered golah hope through pro-active hard work and prayer (Jer 29). It is this important transitional generation that functions as a bridge to the future. The second generation become the beneficiaries as new creation, crystallizing monotheism (Isa 43)—though there were significant differences between those who were born to the patricians of the 597 B.C.E. group from those who were born to the plebeians of 587/582 B.C.E. group. There was a further distinctiveness between those who were born to the 1.5 generation, who joined the patricians but with a stronger sense of their religious and ethnic identity. By the third generation, those who made it in Babylon would come to define home on the other side of the Jordan, like the Gadites and Rubenites (Num 32), in Babylon. However, for the underclass that never experienced hope or new creation, they welcomed, envisioned, and embraced Second Isaiah’s grand utopian vision for turn to Yehud/Judah. This suffering community was represented by their suffering servant. The fourth generation would establish itself, finally finding by dreaming in Persia, eventually becoming investors and landholders as some are recorded in the Murashu documents.

In contrast, from the perspective of the Judeans or Judahites who also experienced Derivative Forced Migrations (DFM) because of cartographical realignment, an exile-less exile, their situation remained static and pessimistic. Their experience lacks any progress, deemed and codified as “punishment down to the third or fourth generation” (Exod 20:5; Deut 5:9).

Through the Diaspora.

Studies on assimilation theory as it pertains to second-generation communities show three lines of trajectory. The first is a “straight-line” (or the bumpy-line assimilation) that leads to the majority. The second is “downward” that leads to the underclass. The third theory also leads upward to the majority but with a greater awareness of one’s ethnicity and cultural ethos. In our second-generation Judeo-Babylonian context, the children born to the upper class of the 597 group were the ones who assimilated into the mainstream majority. They are identified as “Israel.” The second generation born to the parents of the 587 and the 582 groups, more commonly known as the “people of the land,” assimilated into the underclass as “Jacob.” And last, the second generation born to the considerably younger 1.5 generation, also assimilated upward but with deeper consciousness of their ethnicity and religious zeal. They are called or identified as “I belong to the LORD” group (Isa 48:1.5; see Isa 44:5).

In Isaiah 43:1 Jacob and Israel are immediately noticed. Isaiah 44:5 identifies the third aforementioned group. Each of the three groups’ distinctive voice is unmistakably marked by the proximal demonstrative zh. Indeed, one group says “I am the Lord’s,” one group (this one) calls itself by the name of Jacob (41:21; 45:19; 48:20; 49:26 [60:16]; 58:1, 14; 59:20), and yet another group (this one) says that it will write on his hand the LORD’s and take the name Israel (45:17, 25; 46:13; 49:3; 56:8; 63:7, 16; 66:20). The problem of “Israel-Jacob” in the book of Isaiah has been critically examined since 1989. This study has now extended into the book of Chronicles. And although a recent study by Reinhard Kratz suggests that “Israel” is more a theological nuance than a historical one, Kratz did not demarcate sociologically whether Jacob-Israel is one monolithic community or two distinctive and separate groups.

Consistently in Second Isaiah (Isa 40–55), where both Jacob and Israel appear together, there are subtle but noticeable differences. For example, “Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel,” (41:14); “he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel” (43:1); “did not call upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel” (43:22); “Therefore I profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse and Israel to reproaches” (43:28); “But hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel my chosen!” (44:1); “the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel” (44:23); “Jacob my servant, Israel my chosen ( 45:4); “O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and who came…from the loins of Judah” (48:1); “And now the LORD says, who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him” (49:5); and “raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors preserved of Israel” (49:6). In Second Isaiah, the verbs attributed to Jacob are inferior to those that predicate Israel. Jacob needs to be brought back to God; he is part of Israel but Israel is never a part of Jacob. Jacob must be redeemed and transformed, whereas Israel is consistently chosen. Jacob will then be glorified in Israel. Jacob will leave Babylon with shouts of joy (48:20).

Within the second-generation Judeo-Babylonian community, as preserved in Isaiah 48:1, we have three distinctive groups: “Hear this, O house of Jacob, the ones who call themselves Israel, and they (that) come forth from the waters of Judah, and the ones who adjure by the name of the Lord.” To substantiate this, in Isaiah 43:1, we also notice “Jacob,” “Israel,” and the “I have called you by name” groups. Then, in v. 7, we unmistakably see the three different verbs of creation to distinguish and demarcate each group that forms the collective second generation Judeo-Babylonian community: I created him [Jacob], I formed him [Israel], and surely, I made him [Name of Yahweh group].

What is most interesting about the third group is that although they are acknowledged and identified as “I belong to the LORD,” in contrast to Jacob and Israel, in Isaiah 40:27; 41:8, 14; 42:24; and 49:5, this group eventually drops out, leaving a Jacob-Israel dichotomy.

By the Diaspora.

The Jeremianic vision for a prosperous community (Jer 29) saw fruition in “Israel.” This likely became the model for return migrations to recreate Yehud/Judah through “Jacob,” who needs to integrate with those in the land. Clearly, a punctuated, singular mass movement of peoples would create a host of social and distribution problems. The first return migration is said to have occurred under Sheshbazzar in 538 B.C.E., the second return migration under Joshua and Zerubbabel in 520 B.C.E., and the third return migration, under Nehemiah in ca. 445–420 B.C.E. Nehemiah ushers in a new period of reform by rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem—how symbolic. Through synocecism, the binding together of forced resettlement of peoples, and seisachtheia, a one-time debt forgiveness program, socioeconomic reform would take place inside the city wall, possibly creating a new class-boundary. But the more pressing issue and question has been: where does Ezra fit in? Traditionally, two Persian governors in one location are not possible. Scholarly debate on Nehemiah arriving before Ezra was prominent until recent times, where now, some suggest that Ezra precedes Nehemiah, arriving in Yehud/Judah with a significant number of return migrants. Some scholars have even suggested that Ezra arrived between 433 and 432 B.C.E. when Nehemiah provisionally returned to Persia. A possible reconstruction may be as follows:

First Return Migration: Sheshbazzar in 538 B.C.E.

  • ■ Edict of Cyrus, re-establish Yehud
  • ■ Ezra 1:5–11; 5:13–15
  • ■ Begins to build the temple, but abandons the project (economic)

Second Return Migration: Joshua (Jeshua) and Zerubbabel in 520 B.C.E.

Third Return Migration: Ezra 458 B.C.E.

  • ■ Artaxerxes I 465–424/3
  • ■ Torah was fixed and became the law of the land
  • ■ Intermarriage forbidden
  • ■ Segregation exclusivist theology—ethnic cleansing

Fourth Return Migration: Nehemiah in 445–430 B.C.E.

  • ■ Artaxerxes I
  • ■ Nehemiah as full governor
  • Synoecism “binding together”—forced resettlement of peoples and seisachtheia σεισάχθεια “one time cancellation of all debt” (sixth century B.C.E. Athens—Solon)
  • ■ Walls of Jerusalem refortified
  • ■ Strict Sabbath observance
  • ■ Economic division established by the wall

Another important question is why Cyrus would proclaim an edict of emancipation. To a list of possibilities, my suggestion is overpopulation, or more specifically, that of the underclass probably outnumbering the upper and skilled merchant classes. Cyrus inherited from Nabonidus the economic downfall and overpopulation from forced migrations left unattended. Cyrus’s edict would reestablish the Babylonian-Persian economy by displacing and resettling unwanted and unskilled laborers cloaked in humanitarian gesture. However, what would motivate successful Judeo-Babylonians/Persian to make the trip back? What would make them finance the expensive and arduous trip? The construction of the temple and religiosity are not sufficient. The likelihood of reclaiming ancestral land, possibly cultivating and leasing it, and finally returning home to Babylon is a working hypothesis. And so, through gradual repeated return migrations for all displaced and resettled peoples in Babylon to Yehud/Judah, a return to former economic prosperity would be achieved for all parties involved.

The return migration from 538 to 520 B.C.E. may be seen as a period of “temporary return migration” as opposed to the “permanent return migrations” of 520, 458, and 445 B.C.E. In other words, those who arrived with Sheshbazzar may have simply turned to claim their ancestral land in order to return home, to Babylon, mirroring the preference of the Gadites and Reubenites in Numbers 32. Without leadership and infrastructure in contrast to the experience of leaders of the 597 group of exiles, this “early” postexilic or return migrations period saw socioeconomic and theopolitical disarray, causing high inflation and unwanted socioreligious problems. Yehud was a mess and this period may be a time of high complaint, a time of the wilderness-wandering period, with masses calling for return to Egypt (Babylon).

Clearly, the most troublesome return migration is Ezra’s. Under his leadership, the call to remove all marriages to foreign wives and children borders ethnic cleansing. There is no redemptive value in such an act. To frame his initiative as a “covenant” according to the law is a reminder of injustice and extremism, though justified in some circles. In my opinion, this is the “sin of exile” in the Hebrew Bible. Ezra is no Moses. The voices of opposition, Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah found support from just two Levites, Meshullam and Shabbethai. Their opposition is preserved. The book of Ruth is also a powerful rejoinder. The chiastic structure of Genesis 1225, where the center of the Abrahamic cycle is the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael, reflecting Ezra 910 is another witness preserved, codified in the very law that Ezra spoke of, and passed down as a protest and what not to do for future generations.


From the perspective of those who lived in the new center, Babylon (Persia), the return of migrants to Yehud/Judah is starting anew. They would come to experience what they missed out on in Babylon: hope, new creation, and home. Developed in, through, and by the Diaspora, the lasting expressions of forced migrations and Diaspora are found in scripture and prayer. The authority of the king (597 B.C.E.) dramatically shifted to the authority of the text, giving rise to canonical consciousness or scripturalization. The loss of that generation against the wall, further symbolized by the destruction of the temple (587 B.C.E.) took external sacrifice and transformed it inwardly, to prayer, for healing, outcry, and personal expressions of faith and doubt—facing Jerusalem three times a day, remembering those dates 597, 587, and 582 B.C.E., as Daniel observed and practiced. Shifting to Second Temple Judaism, Jesus too, would teach his disciples how to pray. With this Davidic king’s displacement in ca. 33 C.E., and his early followers scattered, with Damascus entering the scene again, the loss of lives and the destruction of the Temple (70 C.E.) precipitates a new canonical consciousness—the Gospels, letters, and apocalypse—with John in forced migration on Patmos. Biblical literature received final form (Masoretic Text Babylon; LXX Egypt; Samaritan Pentateuch) by the experience of the Diaspora. Additional diasporic consciousness progressed in the Midrash and Talmud—between the Palestinian and Babylonian. Interestingly, the latter became authoritative. In closing, Tractate Berachot 7a says that God also prays. It asks, what does God pray? “May it be that My will that My mercy may suppress My anger, and that My mercy prevail over My [other] attributes, so that I may deal with My children in the attribute of mercy and on their behalf, stop short of the limit of justice.”



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John Ahn