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Bibil Identifier bibil:214448
Publication Type Journal article
Title (English, Long) ‘And They could not Understand Jewish Speech’
Title (English, ) Language, Ethnicity, and Nehemiah's Intermarriage Crisis
Author Southwood, Katherine E.
Journal The Journal of Theological Studies (Volume: 62, Issue: 1)
Year (Publication) 2011
Year (Original (1st Edition)) 2011
Year (Copyright) 2011
Year (Reference) 2011
Language English
Pages 1-19 Pages
Genre Original
Abstract Unlike Ezra's intermarriage narrative, Nehemiah 13 specifically mentions the significance of language, using the curious phrase לדבר יהודית וכלשון עם ועם ובניהם חצי מדבר אשדודית ואינם מכירים (Neh 13: 24). The sentence suffers from a number of difficulties in terms of translation. It is, nevertheless, possible to understand its significance more fully in the light of a number of studies which examine the relationships between language, ethnicity, and religion. In consideration of the connections and contrasts between Nehemiah's intermarriage episode and the types of contexts wherein the importance of language and ethnicity rise to a level of social consciousness, it is possible to argue that in the opinion of the author, assimilation is anathema. Hence, the problems concerning the preservation of language are a symptom of a deeper crisis: that of the need to preserve ethnic identity. Religious and ethnic identities operate mutually in a self-perpetuating, reinforcing manner within both Ezra and Nehemiah, perhaps, as a reverberation of the return from exile.
DOI 10.1093/jts/flr030
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Old Testament (Introduction) : Theology : Themes : Marriage
Pericopes Nehemiah 13
Last modification 2017-10-27