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Citation for Introduction

Citation styles are based on the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Ed., and the MLA Style Manual, 2nd Ed..

MLA

Suggs, M. Jack , Katharine Doob Sakenfeld and James R. Mueller. "The First Book of Esdras." In The Oxford Study Bible. Oxford Biblical Studies Online. Nov 26, 2021. <http://www.oxfordbiblicalcstudies.com/article/book/obso-9780195290004/obso-9780195290004-chapterFrontMatter-40>.

Chicago

Suggs, M. Jack , Katharine Doob Sakenfeld and James R. Mueller. "The First Book of Esdras." In The Oxford Study Bible. Oxford Biblical Studies Online, http://www.oxfordbiblicalcstudies.com/article/book/obso-9780195290004/obso-9780195290004-chapterFrontMatter-40 (accessed Nov 26, 2021).

The First Book of Esdras - Introduction

First Esdras presents the material found in 2 Chr. chs. 35–36 , the Book of Ezra (with one minor omission), and Nehemiah 7.38–8.12 , dealing with Ezra. This material is at places presented in a sequence different from that found in the Masoretic Text. One section, 3.1–5.6 , a story of a debate at the Persian court, is exceptional in completely lacking a parallel in Old Testament texts.

First Esdras is a Greek translation of a Hebrew-Aramaic original (no longer extant) that closely resembled the Masoretic Text. It differed, however, at several points (e.g. compare 1.11 n. and 2.13–15 n. ), with some differences being enigmatic (e.g. 5.69 and 8.41 ). The exact relationship of the Hebrew-Aramaic original to the corresponding material in the Hebrew canon, and to a (hypothetical) common forerunner to these, cannot be determined. First Esdras is not related to the Septuagint translation of Ezra and Nehemiah. It is a curiosity that Josephus, for his history of the period, followed 1 Esdras.

A possible point of confusion lies in the name: 1 Esdras has also been called 2 Esdras (with 1 Esdras then being reserved for the Septuagint translation of Ezra-Nehemiah, originally a single book) and 3 Esdras (as in the Vulgate, where Ezra is 1 Esdras and Nehemiah is 2 Esdras). Others have called it the “Greek Ezra” (Esdras being a Greek rendering of the Hebrew Ezra).

Many scholars believe that 1 Esdras was written between 200 B.C.E. and 90 C.E., with sometime in the late second century B.C.E. a likely date.

The reader is invited to consult the annotations prepared for the parallel material in the Old Testament books, as indicated in the first paragraph above.

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