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"Those who live in these ruins in the land of Israel" (Ez. 33:24): Some Thoughts on Living in the Shadow of the Ruins in Persian Period Judah

Prof. Oded Lipschits (University of Tel-Aviv)


Throughout the Persian period, Judah was a small province in the periphery of the empire, with many memories of the glorious past. The tension between the poor reality, the longing for the glory of the past and the expectations for a change in the near future, is expressed in Biblical texts written in this period, as well as in the historical reality that ranged between hopes for a change and bitter disappointments for the change that did not come.
In this lecture, I will suggest that this tension did not exist only in biblical texts, but was a daily reality that existed in Jerusalem and in the other cities of Judah. Part of it was an expression of the poverty that prevailed during this period, but part of it was an expression of the intentional reality of living in the shadow of the ruins of the past, designed to perpetuate the past. This reality should be viewed as a “landscape of memory” of the Persian Period, served as a physical and active reminder of the glories of the past, intended to perpetuate the memory, not to accept the reality of the present and perhaps it was also part of the attempt to speed up the long-awaited change.

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