Theologie

Laura Carlson Hasler

Vulnerable Spaces and Mobile Rituals: Reconstruction and its Risks in Ezra-Nehemiah

Jahrgang 10 () / Heft 3, S. 314-330 (17)
Publiziert 01.02.2022

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Ezra-Nehemiah has been read as a collection of stories and documents in which monumental space is a vital component of post-exilic restoration. According to such readings, the temple and city walls serve as physical sites of social and divine connection, symbols of fulfilled promises, and instruments of security and purification. In this paper, I do not argue against this set of observations but instead pair them with a correlative locus of anxiety: ruins. Both Ezra 1–6 and the Nehemiah Memoir are preoccupied with destroyed spaces and the considerable effort required to resurrect them. It is fair to argue that the aim of these narratives is to achieve complete restitution of these lost or eroded sites. However, the ruined or partially rebuilt spaces that form the centerpiece of the narratives' drama also complicate readerly confidence in these reconstructed spaces. I contend that Ezra-Nehemiah's ambivalence about the built environment is matched by its presentation of alternative technologies of recovery: text and ritual. Text and ritual, I argue, simultaneously confirm the power of physical buildings to orchestrate Judean recovery and propose alternative means of achieving it.
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Schlagworte

archive , Ezra-Nehemiah , Ritual , Space , Text