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Princeton NJ Events

Events for Monday November 14, 2022

Lifelong Learning: Were Ezra and Nehemiah Real People?, Jewish Center of Princeton

Monday November 14, 2022
7:30 PM

Jewish tradition has always regarded Ezra and Nehemiah as pivotal in the formation of Jewish identity, so much so that the Maccabees and even the Rabbis wrote heroic literature about them and made them central to their respective religious projects. There was a time when biblical scholars took for granted the historical accuracy of the biblical texts about these luminaries. But in recent decades, scholars have debated the veracity of those texts, with some going on to ask the question: were Ezra or Nehemiah even real people? In this session, we will answer this question by exploring the relationship between text, memory and myth in ancient Judaism, the way that this dynamic affects the language and presentation of history in the biblical sources, and whether or not this helps us determine whether these two important, even legendary figures were rooted in the accomplishments of historical individuals bearing their names.

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