Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Nehemiah and Persian propaganda

THE ASOR BLOG: Good Public Relations: What Persian Propaganda Tells Us About the ‘Nehemiah Memoir’ (Lucas Schulte).
Stretching from Egypt to the Indus River, the Persian Empire was the largest empire yet seen in the ancient Near East. Typically, the Hebrew Bible depicts ancient Near Eastern empires as divine instruments of punishment. But the Persian Empire is an exception: the Persians allowed Judean exiles to return home and rebuild the Jerusalem temple, so the Hebrew Bible uniquely depicts their empire as expressing YHWH’s benevolence. These positive depictions of Persian kings provide a better understanding both of the development of the book of Nehemiah and the Persian context behind it. Everyone needs good PR, even empires.