National and religious identity in crisis – Ezra & Nehemiah

This post is in the series Rite Reading.

If it wasn’t for the names of the biblical books, the title of this piece could look awfully like a contemporary headline. Yet in many other respects, neither Ezra nor Nehemiah feel particularly relevant for the contemporary world. Perhaps that’s why only one reading from these books crops up in the Sunday lectionary.

Gustave Doré’s woodcut of the scene (1843: Public Domain) He imagines Ezra as a second Moses with stone tablets, rather than the scroll described in the story.
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