Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Concept of Exile during the Second Temple Period: Part 5 Josephus

The evidence of a continuing exile from Josephus

Although the writings of Josephus for the most part downplay the historical exile to Babylon and at times over emphasize the positive attributes of how Jewish people can contribute to their alien environments, coupled with the fact that Josephus himself spent the last three decades living in luxurious exile in Rome, it is not surprising that he does not emphasize restoration.[1] Josephus, however, does speak of two separate instances where certain Jews who claimed to be sign prophets promised their followers signs of coming salvation; Theudas and the Egyptian.[2]

Theudas came upon the scene during the reign of the procurator Fadus (44-?46 c.e.), he most likely was responding to friction arising over a dispute about who controlled the vestments of the High Priest.[3] Although Josephus calls Theudas an impostor, Theudas convinced his followers to take all of their possessions and to follow him to the Jordan River where he promised that upon his commanded the Jordan river would part allowing his followers to cross. Fadus however sent a squadron of cavalry and took Theudas’ group by surprise, capturing most of them and beheading Theudas on the spot. The head was displayed around Jerusalem to discourage other would be prophets.[4]

Thaedus’ intentions of parting the Jordan river, strongly evokes the re-enactment of the first exodus, by associating their actions with the splitting of the Re(e)d Sea (Ex. 12.29-14.30) and the Jordan river (Josh. 3-4), this group may have thought they were enacting the Isaianic second exodus thus bringing about the end of the exile by ridding the Jews of their foreign yoke and partaking of the land promised to them.

Josephus’ account of the Egyptian is part of a longer narrative summarizing the events of Palestine under Felix, who was procurator from 60-52 c.e.[5] Like Theudas, Josephus calls the Egyptian a false prophet, but by Josephus’ own estimation the Egyptian seemingly garnered a much wider following.[6] Although there are discrepancies in Josephus’ own accounts of the Egyptian, in the Antiquities Josephus tells us that the Egyptian first came to Jerusalem and raises a following there, the mass then marches from Jerusalem to the Mt. of Olives, outside the city walls, and there the Egyptian claimed that the walls would miraculously fall down at his command, allowing his followers to enter, and probably enact an armed invasion of Jerusalem.[7]

Here too the Egyptian modeled his actions upon the events surrounding the first exodus, namely in a re-enacting of the original entrance into the Promised Land by the defeat of Jericho by Joshua, by claiming to bring down the walls of Jerusalem. The Egyptian was most likely expecting divine intervention to help them in this new defeat of the Romans and in ridding the land of the political oppressors.[8]

Evans suggests both of these ‘prophets’ were probably laying claim to the promises in Deuteronomy 18.15-22 that someday God would ‘raise up a prophet like Moses.’[9] The promises of Isaiah 40 might have also contributed to the actions of the “prophets” to start in the wilderness thus drawing continuity between their own actions and the “high way” of God in the second exodus.[10] Because these signs recalled both the exodus and the conquest they were almost certainly meant as eschatological signs.[11] There is little doubt that in both of these cases some sort of restoration was still pined for, and the fact that both events were modeled after the events surrounding the first exodus gives credence to the idea that a new exodus from exile must have still resonated with many Jews, for it is unlikely that these two men would have collected ‘masses’ of followers, if there was a general consensus that the restoration was complete and thus the exilic experience was over.[12]

[1] Louis H. Feldman, "Restoration in Josephus," in Restoration: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Perspectives, ed. James M. Scott (JSJSup 72; Leiden: Brill, 2001), 226, 29.

[2] The account of Theudas is found in Ant. 20.5.1, 97-98; and the account of the Egyptian Jew is found in JW 2.13.4-5, 258-263; Ant. 20.8.6, 167-172.

[3] Rebecca Gray, Prophetic Figures in Late Second Temple Jewish Palestine: The Evidence from Josephus (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 114-15.

[4] Gray, Prophetic Figures, 115.

[5] For the larger narrative see, JW 2.13.4-5, 252-265; Ant. 20.8.6, 160-172.

[6] In Acts 5.36 Gamaliel 1 claims that Theudas had about 400 followers while Josephus cites that Theudas was able to convince the ‘majority of the masses.’ This is contrasted with Josephus account of the Egyptian in JW where he claims the followers to be in the 30,000 range.

[7] On the possible reasons for the discrepancies between JW and the Ant. see Gray, Prophetic Figures, 116-17.

[8] Gray, Prophetic Figures, 119.

[9] Craig A. Evans, "Aspects of Exile and Restoration in the Proclamation of Jesus and the Gospels," in Exile: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Conceptions, ed. James M. Scott (JSJSup 56; Leiden: Brill, 1997), 303.

[10] Craig A. Evans, "The Beginning of the Good News and the Fulfilment of Scripture in the Gospel of Mark," in Having the Old Testament in the New Testament, ed. Stanley E. Porter (McMaster New Testament Studies; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), 101.

[11] E. P. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985), 171; Richard A. Horsley, Christian Origins (A People's History of Christianity 1; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 30.

[12] Horsley, Christian Origins, 29. Josephus may have used these instances to reassure the Romans that he supported the swift action taken against these false prophets, but nevertheless these ‘rebels’ were able to garner popular support precisely because exilic notions still prevailed. See Steve Mason, Josephus and the New Testament (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1992), 110.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Homi Bhabha

Communication is always a process

that is never perfectly achieved

and that there is always


a gap,

between what is said

and what is heard.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Concept of Exile during the Second Temple Period: Part 4 Qumran

The evidence for a continuing exile from the texts of Qumran.

Probably the least controversial group of texts that speak of the potency and power of exilic ideas and restoration are those texts discovered in the Dead Sea.[1] While the concepts of exile and restoration are prevalent at Qumran, they oscillate between the restoration of the land of Israel, the restoration of Jewish people, the restoration of the temple, and the restoration of sacrificial worship, and restoration to a ritual purity and perfection.[2] Furthermore it is often hard to distinguish from the concept of restoration and the overlapping concepts of remnant, eschatology, and messianism. Such fluidity found within these texts ensure that any evidence given for continuing exilic thought must admit to only being a partial picture of the texts and certainly nothing like a theology. [3]

That being said the texts found at Qumran do show that the community[4] itself may have been modeled after the exodus traditions.[5] With this insight it can be readily appreciated just how central the theme of exile was to the authors of the Qumran manuscripts. Martin Abegg, Jr. states that:

While the sojourn in Egypt and exile of the northern tribes was still reflected in the writings, it was the Babylonian exile which had captured the corporate imagination. In a very real sense it had become a new paradigm which spoke of how god dealt with his people Israel. The new going down to Egypt was the deportation to Babylon in fulfillment of God’s warning of Judgment (CD 7.9b-15). The return was followed by an important albeit unknown event which led to a lengthy wilderness wandering (1QS 8.12b-14)—the new Sinai—so as to prepare for the coming of God. The New Moses was the Teacher of Righteousness. The Faithful then waited for God to bring them into the land of promise—the iniquity of the Amorites not yet being full—and establish them in their rightful place (4Q171 1-10 ii 26-iii 2).[6]

It is possible that the Qumran community believed that it was already living in the eschaton (cf. CD 1.12), and that the eschatological salvation was, already present and able to be found by following the Teacher of Righteousness whom God had raised for this purpose.[7] The Damascus document gives the impression of a community which thought of itself as the continuing faithful remnant of returnees from the Babylonian exile (CD 7.20-8.2). By framing the eschatological beliefs in the ‘historical’ return from exile it could be argued that the community themselves thought that they were indeed the first-generation of the 'new Israel' to return from exile.[8] In fact when the Damascus document speaks of the returnees (CD 3.21-4.4) it ignores the historical return of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubabbel, since in the sect’s eyes the exilic period would continue until the sectarians took control of the Temple’s ritual at the end of days. In other words the restoration is not an event that had already taken place in the Persian period, but rather a part of the eschatological future being played out already in his own day.[9] Although the texts make reference to the restoration as in the process of happening, this was still only a kind of prototypical return in which they modeled their vision of the future.[10] In this sense there was still a future element that had not yet taken place.[11] And at least for this segment of Judaism(s), as far as these texts represent a community, the matrix of exile and return was not only very powerful, but central to their own self-understanding.

Another interesting set of texts found at Qumran that speak of restoration in terms of the past exodus are the liturgical and hymnic texts. It has long been realized that because these texts do not betray sectarian terminology they may in fact have already been in use before the sect came into existence and may have been used by much wider circles of Jews in the Second Temple period.[12] One of the most interesting aspects then of these texts is that they include prayers for the restoration of Jerusalem and the ingathering of the exiles at a time when Jerusalem and its Temple actually stood and when the bulk of the Jewish people remained in the Holy Land. Clearly, this is an example of how the restoration does not necessitate purely physical conditions, but restoration also rests on religious and political dissatisfaction with the state of the nation and its religious life.[13]

In The Words of the Heavenly Lights (4Q504), which are a collection of prayers for each day of the week, we find a particularly strong recollection of Israel’s past, in an effort to stir up hope in a future restoration. The prayer itself reads as if it could be found in Isaiah 40-55 asking God to “Remember Thy marvels which Thou didst for the poor of the nations,” asking God to heal them from the sin which caused the exodus, calling for the restoration of Israel so that the nations might see God’s glory. This text looks to a time that is yet future, where there will be “neither adversary nor misfortune” but “peace and blessing.” In Zion God’s holy city, they call for God to remember his Covenant, asking him not to forsake Israel whilst in captivity, seeking God to save them from all the nations of their exile, near or far, as has been promised in Scripture. Likewise, in frag. 6 6-8, in a clear reference to Isaiah 40, God is asked to bring His people back on the wings of eagles. [14] These strong allusions to the Isaianic second exodus in 4Q504, and fragments, surely betray a strong longing for a future restoration that speaks of a still future restoration from sin and exile even at a time when the Temple stood and many Jews resided in the land.

[1] When discussing exilic thought in the texts found at Qumran it is important to recognize that despite the fact that most scholars identify these texts with the Essenes, the texts themselves betray a wide diversity of thought on a number of areas, especially that of exile and restoration. See Lawrence H. Schiffman, "The Concept of Restoration in the Dead Sea Scrolls," in Restoration: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Perspectives, ed. James M. Scott (JSJSup 72; Leiden: Brill, 2001), 205.

[2] Schiffman, "Concept of Restoration," 203. Furthermore once we begin to examine specific features of the sectarian ideology of restoration in the Qumran documents it is not clear whether only the sectarians will share in the ultimate eschatological restoration, or whether all the people of Israel as a unity will be restored. Cf. The Pesher Psalms’ (4Q171) 3: 10-13 with 4Q385 (Pseudo-Ezekiel) frag. 2, 4Q386 (Pseudo-Ezekielb) frag. 1, and 4QMMT.

[3] Schiffman, "Concept of Restoration," 205.

[4] I hesitate to speak of a Qumran community here because the exact nature these texts played within the community is open to debate. Thus I speak of community knowing that any conclusions cannot definitively speak of the views held by one group, especially the Essenes, but rather may only be evidence of minority views within these texts.

[5] Frank Moore Cross, The Ancient Library of Qumran (New York: Doubleday, 1961), 56 n. 36a, notes that the camp of the sons of light is ordered according to the prescriptions of the mosaic camp in Num 2.1-5.4; 10.17-28; (1QM 3.12-4.11). The Law of the camp (Num 5.1-4) is kept (1QM 7.3-7). The victory of God in the final war is compared with the first exodus (1QM 11.8). The typology of the Mosaic camp lies close to the surface in CD, 1QS and 1QSa.

[6] Martin G. Abegg Jr., "Exile and the Dead Sea Scrolls," in Exile: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Conceptions, ed. James M. Scott (JSJSup 56; Leiden: Brill, 1997), 125.

[7] On the variety of eschatological views at Qumran see, e.g., Philip R. Davies, "Eschatology at Qumran," Journal of Biblical Literature 104 (1985): 39-55; John J. Collins, "The Expectation of the End in the Dead Sea Scrolls," in Eschatology, Messianism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Craig A. Evans and Peter W. Flint (SDSSRL; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 86-88. On the problems of interpreting the ‘age of wrath’ see, Philip R. Davies, The Damascus Covenant (JSOTSup 25: Sheffield Academic Press, 1983), 61-69.

[8] Mark Adam Elliott, The Survivors of Israel: A Reconsideration of the Theology of Pre-Christian Judaism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 542-43, states that, ‘This could mean that the sect considered themselves later returnees, to be distinguished from those who returned at the time of Zerubbabel, Ezra, Nehemiah, or that they discounted this earlier return as entirely ineffective or incomplete, or at best conditional on the faithfulness of the returnees.’ See also Shemaryahu Talmon, "Between the Bible and the Mishna," in The World of Qumran from Within: Collected Studies (Leiden: Brill, 1989), 48.

[9] Schiffman, "Concept of Restoration," 208. See also CD 6.11-14; 20:20-21, 32-33.

[10] Shemaryaha Talmon, King, Cult and Calendar in Ancient Judaism: Collected Studies (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1986), 214-15.

[11] Davies, "Eschatology at Qumran," 52; Collins, "The Expectation of the End in the Dead Sea Scrolls," 90.

[12] Schiffman, "Concept of Restoration," 219.

[13] Schiffman, "Concept of Restoration," 217-18.

[14] Schiffman, "Concept of Restoration," 218. The ingathering of the exiles also features in the Festival Prayers (4Q509 frag. 3 3-5) and also appears to be mentioned in 4Q528 (Hymnic or Sapiential Work B) 3.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Patron Saint

There is a reason why Dorothy Day is the patron saint of missional/emergent/emerging Christians:

Love of brother means voluntary poverty, stripping one's self, putting off the old man, deny one's self. It also means non-participation in those comforts and luxuries which have been manufactured by the exploitation of others. While brothers suffer, we must suffer with them. While our brothers suffer from lack of necessities, we will refuse to enjoy comforts. These resolutions, no matter how hard they are to live up to, no matter how often we fail and have to begin over again, are part of the vision and long-range goal of the catholic worker.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Why they call him a saint...

Augustine's ultimate test for exegetical correctness is whether one's interpretation "contributes to the reign of charity." Thus for Augustine the imaginative empathy to identify with the other and to welcome the stranger is the sine qua non of all ethics.

-See De Doctrina Christiana 3.15.23

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Concept of Exile during the Second Temple Period: Part 3 Jubilees

The evidence for a continuing exile from Jubilees.

The book of Jubilees, written in the second century b.c.e, is a re-representation of the biblical history from creation to the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai in order to re-contextualize the narrative for a new generation.[1] The author still sees the restoration from exile as a future event.[2] A striking feature in the narrative that attests to this is set in the wilderness where the Lord tells Moses that once the people enter into the Promised Land, then they will turn to other gods and abandon the covenant (1.7-11). The result of these transgressions is exile, but the text is unclear on which exile is referred to (1.13-14). While the author of Jubilees is rehearsing the biblical narrative, it is evident by the subsequent criticisms of Israel that this return and restoration have not happened.[3] For instance in the vision of the end of exile the author states:

And afterward they will return to me from among the nations with all their heart and with all their soul and with all their might. And I shall gather them from the midst of the nations. And they will seek me so that I might be found by them. When they seek me with all their heart and with all their soul, I shall reveal to them an abundance of peace and righteousness. And with all my heart and with all my soul I shall transplant them as a righteous plant. And they will be a blessing and not a curse. And they will be the head and not the tail. And I shall build my sanctuary in their midst, and shall dwell with them. And I shall be their God and they will be my people truly and rightly. And I shall not forsake them, and I shall not be alienated from them because I am the Lord their God (Jub 1.22-23).[4]

For while the following passage reminds the readers that the return and restoration are bound up in the covenant promises of God to never forsake his people.[5] The eschatological significance of this passage is furthered demonstrated by the subsequent prayer of Moses to not abandon His people Israel (19-21). The Lord responds to Moses

And the Lord said to Moses, “I know their contrariness and their thoughts and their stubbornness. And they will not obey until they acknowledge their sin and the sins of their fathers. But after this they will return to me in and with all of (their) heart and soul. And I shall cut off the foreskin of their heart and the foreskin of the heart of their descendants. And I shall create for them a holy spirit, and I shall purify them so that they will not turn away from following me from that day and forever. And their souls will cleave to me and to all my commandments. And they will do my commandments. And I shall be a father to them, and they will be sons to me. And they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ And every angel and spirit will know and acknowledge that they are my sons and I am their father in uprightness and righteousness. And I shall love them.

It is in light of this that the author predicts that the people will repent while in exile, not only for the present generation’s sins but also for the sins of their ancestors.[6] The return, the sanctuary, and the new ability to perfectly obey the covenant all point to an ideal future that will come about at the ‘end of time.’ In fact the surface narrative of the whole book climaxes, in the expected jubilee of jubilees, when Israel is to be liberated from slavery in Egypt and receives back the land that is rightly theirs by inheritance.[7] This return from exile is thus envisioned as an eschatological return mapped out in terms of the traditional Sin-Exile-Restoration pattern.[8]

[1] Lester L. Grabbe, Judaic Religion in the Second Temple Period: Belief and Practice from the Exile to Yavneh (London ; New York: Routledge, 2000), 63; Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature, 72, Jubilees is by and large concerned with halakhah.

[2] Vanderkam, "Exile in Jewish Apocalyptic Literature," 103.

[3] What is interesting here is that the author of jubilees does not resort to a remnant theology, but rather envisions that since all Israel suffer together (1.12) all Israel will turn back to God (1.15-16). Cf. Martha Himmelfarb, A Kingdom of Priests: Ancestry and Merit in Ancient Judaism (Jewish Culture and Contexts; Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), 81-82.

[4] The translation is that of O. S. Wintermute, "Jubilees," in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. James H. Charlesworth (Garden City: Doubleday, 1983).

[5] Peter Enns, "Expansions of Scripture," in Justification and Variegated Nomism: A Fresh Appraisal of Paul and Second Temple Judaism, ed. D. A. Carson, Peter Thomas O'Brien, and Mark A. Seifrid (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 97.

[6] Gene L. Davenport, The Eschatology of the Book of Jubilees (Studia Post-Biblica 20; Leiden: Brill, 1971), 27. The author knew that the transformation of Israel’s heart had not yet taken place, for in his own day there was apostasy. What we usually think of as the return from exile had not, in fact, led to a new allegiance to God, but to repetition of the old unfaithfulness and rebellion. Israel had not yet sought God with all her heart. He had not yet truly been found by them. The author however was hopeful that in his own day the authentic return form exile was beginning to occur, that the time of God’s return was now.

[7] James M. Scott, On Earth as in Heaven: The Restoration of Sacred Time and Sacred Space in the Book of Jubilees (JSJSup 91; Leiden: Brill, 2005), 164-65; James C. Vanderkam, "The Origins and Purposes of the Book of Jubilees," in Studies in the Book of Jubilees, ed. Matthias Albani, Jörg Frey, and Armin Lange (TSAJ 65; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1997), 22.In fact Doron Mendels, The Land of Israel as a Political Concept in Hasmonean Literature: Recourse to History in Second Century B.C. Claims to the Holy Land (TSAJ 15; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1987), 59, 63-5, states that the raison d’`etre of the book was the reconquest of the land.

[8] Scott, On Earth as in Heaven, 165.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Concept of Exile during the Second Temple Period: Part 2 Yeshua Ben Sira

A litany of texts from the Second Temple Period can be amassed to support the interpretation that the return to the land and the rebuilt temple had not ended the exile, in the imaginations of many Second Temple Judaism(s).[1] Here we will rehearse only a few.[2]

The evidence for a continuing exile from Yeshua Ben Sira.

The book of wisdom compiled by Yeshua Ben Sira was composed early in the second century b.c.e., and for the most part it can be compared to the book of Proverbs, where its contents concern views concerning right and wrong.[3] Although, the Wisdom of Ben Sira has a peculiar text that suggests Israel still remained in a state of oppression and that the exile was still continuing.[4] In a soliloquy reminiscent of the prophets of old, Ben Sira reminds his readers of the justice that ultimately would culminate in the eschatological judgment. In contrasting the mercy of God with the justice of God, Ben Sira speaks for God stating:

He will not ignore the supplication of the orphan, or the widow when she pours out her complaint. Do not the tears of the widow run down her cheek as she cries out against the one who causes them to fall? The one whose service is pleasing to the Lord will be accepted, and his prayer will reach to the clouds. The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds, and it will not rest until it reaches its goal; it will not desist until the Most High responds and does justice for the righteous, and executes judgment. Indeed, the Lord will not delay, and like a warrior will not be patient until he crushes the loins of the unmerciful and repays vengeance on the nations; until he destroys the multitude of the insolent, and breaks the scepters of the unrighteous; until he repays mortals according to their deeds, and the works of all according to their thoughts; until he judges the case of his people and makes them rejoice in his mercy. His mercy is as welcome in time of distress as clouds of rain in time of drought (Sirach 35).

What starts out as an appeal for justice concerning those who cannot defend themselves turns rapidly into a plea for eschatological vindication.[5] Ben Sira has taken a common conception of how that nation Israel was to practice social justice as a nation, and turned it on its ear. The implication in this text is that it is the nations that bear the brunt of responsibility for the condition of the widow and the orphan.[6] The Most High is called upon as the Divine Warrior, reminiscent of the first exodus, to repay the nations and to destroy the insolent until they are judged according to their deeds. For Israel, she will rely upon the mercy of the Most High in this present time of distress. The text continues:

Have mercy upon us, O God of all, and put all the nations in fear of you. Lift up your hand against foreign nations and let them see your might. As you have used us to show your holiness to them, so use them to show your glory to us. Then they will know, as we have known that there is no God but you, O Lord. Give new signs, and work other wonders; make your hand and right arm glorious. Rouse your anger and pour out your wrath; destroy the adversary and wipe out the enemy. Hasten the day, and remember the appointed time, and let people recount your mighty deeds. Let survivors be consumed in the fiery wrath, and may those who harm your people meet destruction. Crush the heads of hostile rulers who say, "There is no one but ourselves." Gather all the tribes of Jacob, and give them their inheritance, as at the beginning. Have mercy, O Lord, on the people called by your name, on Israel, whom you have named your firstborn. Have pity on the city of your sanctuary, Jerusalem, the place of your dwelling. Fill Zion with your majesty, and your temple with your glory. Bear witness to those whom you created in the beginning, and fulfill the prophecies spoken in your name. Reward those who wait for you and let your prophets be found trustworthy. Hear, O Lord, the prayer of your servants, according to your goodwill toward your people, and all who are on the earth will know that you are the Lord, the God of the ages (Sir 36:1-22) .

In perhaps the most violent text in Sirach, Ben Sira again uses the language of the exodus this time in an effort to plead with God to enact a new exodus, ‘Give new signs, and work other wonders; make your hand and right arm glorious…Hasten the day, and remember the appointed time, and let the people recount your mighty deeds.’[7] It is clear that while Ben Sira echoes the Scriptures of Israel, it is not for the purposes of simply recounting the glorious past, but rather like the Isaianic new exodus, he seeks to evoke the traditions of the past so as to foster a new hope in these new times of distress.[8]

[1] See, e.g., Tobit 13.5; 14.5-7; Baruch 2.7-10, 14; 3. 6-8; 4.18-23; 5.7; 2 Macc 1.27-29; 2.5-7, 18; 1QM 1.3 ; 1QpHab 11.4-6; CD 6.4-5; 4Q504-506; 1 Enoch 89.73-75; cf. 4.83-90; T. Mos. 4.8-9, 13; Pss. Sol. 8.28; 4 Ezra 13.40-48.

[2]For a more thorough reckoning of the texts see: Evans, "Aspects of Exile and Restoration in the Proclamation of Jesus and the Gospels," 299-328; Craig A. Evans, "Jesus and the Continuing Exile of Israel," in Jesus & the Restoration of Israel: A Critical Assessment of N.T. Wright's Jesus and the Victory of God, ed. Carey C. Newman (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 77-100; Micheal A. Knibb, "The Exile in the Literature of the Intertestamental Period," Heythrop Journal (1978): 253-79; James M. Scott, "Exile and the Self-Understanding of Diaspora Jews in the Greco-Roman Period," in Exile: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Conceptions, ed. James M. Scott (JSJSup 56; Leiden: Brill, 1997), 173-218; Wright, People of God, 280-338; F. Gerald Downing, "Exile in Formative Judaism," in Making Sense in (and of) the First Christian Century, ed. F. Gerald Downing (JSNTSup 197; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000), 148-68.

[3] George W. E. Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981), 59.

[4] John Joseph Collins, Jewish Wisdom in the Hellenistic Age (Edinburgh: T and T Clark, 1997), 23, suggest that chapter 36 was a later addition added sometime in the Maccabean period.

[5] This text echoes Isaiah 1.10-17

[6] This implication can be taken when read within the context of the eschatological fervor of Sir 36.1-22, but may simply intimate God’s universal judgment over the unrighteous, whereby he repays all according to their deeds. See Collins, Jewish Wisdom, 111.

[7] In fact it is because of the violence of this text and the fact that no where else does Ben Sira invoke wrath upon the nations, that this text is disputed. See the discussion in Theophil Middendorp, Die Stellung Jesu Ben Siras Zwischen Judentum Und Hellenismus (Leiden: Brill, 1973), 125-32. But even if this text does comes from a latter time (i.e. the Maccabean period) the point still holds that the there were Judaism(s) of the Second Temple that still found it useful to invoke the motif of the second exodus in times of distress.

[8] Ex 15.15-16, Ex 7.3, Contra Gruen, Diaspora, 235, who, although he acknowledges Ben Sira’s plea for the gathering of all the tribes of Jacob, to be restored as from the beginning (36.10), he attributes this to mere echoes of the biblical texts, implying that these echoes have nothing to do with the longing for return felt in the diaspora. However, one might wonder why Ben Sira bothers to echo these texts at all, for what other end could the powerful images of the ‘exodus’ motif produce? The more pertinent question for Gruen’s thesis to my mind would be: Is it possible to long for an Isaianic like restoration without condemning the present diaspora? See next section.