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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Covenant in the Persian Period: From Genesis to Chronicles
Bautch, Richard J. and Gary N. Knoppers, editors

Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2015 pp. vii + 452. $64.50

Description: The 22 essays in this new and comprehensive study explore how notions of covenant, especially the Sinaitic covenant, flourished during the Neo-Babylonian, Persian, and early Hellenistic periods. Following the upheaval of the Davidic monarchy, the temple's destruction, the disenfranchisement of the Jerusalem priesthood, the deportation of Judeans to other lands, the struggles of Judeans who remained in the land, and the limited returns of some Judean groups from exile, the covenant motif proved to be an increasingly influential symbol in Judean intellectual life. The contributors to this volume, drawn from many different countries including Canada, Germany, Israel, South Africa, Switzerland, and the United States, document how Judean writers working within historiographic, Levitical, prophetic, priestly, and sapiential circles creatively reworked older notions of covenant to invent a new way of understanding this idea. These writers examine how new conceptions of the covenant made between YHWH and Israel at Mt. Sinai play a significant role in the process of early Jewish identity formation. Others focus on how transformations in the Abrahamic, Davidic, and Priestly covenants responded to cultural changes within Judean society, both in the homeland and in the diaspora. Cumulatively, the studies of biblical writings, from Genesis to Chronicles, demonstrate how Jewish literature in this period developed a striking diversity of ideas related to covenantal themes.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Persian Period

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Review by Pieter de Vries
Published 3/1/2019
Citation: Pieter de Vries, review of Richard J. Bautch and Gary N. Knoppers, eds., Covenant in the Persian Period: From Genesis to Chronicles, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).


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