rgprice wrote: ↑Wed Aug 31, 2022 11:10 am
I have considered something that Gmirkin does not mention that I have noticed, but which may aid his thesis.
There is the possibility that after the fall of the Persians, the Jewish elite who were carrying out the program that Gmirkin proposes (supposedly), may have declared that the Persians had suppressed their true heritage, and that the priesthood was now revitalizing the truth about their ancestors.
This is plausible.
In the case of the Jews, what would have happened here would have been a much more rigorous re-writing of their history, but after 200 years of Persian rule, who would know any better?
So, I think that this potential for "re-education" does provide a plausible scenario for the possibility of what Gmirkin proposes.
Nothing in the Deuteronomistic works mentions the Persians. However the fact that ostensibly later works, such as those of Ezra and Isaiah praise the Persians, may challenge the proposal I just laid out.
I appreciate and welcome the healthy input of critical thinkers (such as RGPrice, Neil Godfrey and others) who have read, understand and seriously considered my lines of argumentation but may disagree with parts of my analysis. I am always reviewing my own arguments to see if they stand scrutiny.
I'm interested in defining the parameters of pro-Persian material in the Hebrew Bible: what themes were present, what social groups may have contributed this material. My preliminary observations are:
(1) There doesn't appear to be any detectable pro-Persian material whatsoever in Genesis-Kings.
(2) Pro-Persian material in both earlier (Haggai [ca. 500 BCE]) and later works (Isaiah [3rd BCE], Ezra [2nd BCE], Nehemiah [2nd BCE]) appear to be consistently associated with (authentic) Persian authorization of the rebuilding of Jerusalem's temple. Persian authorization of a return from exile and support for Judean governorship appear to be relatively late and novelistic, although Ezra may contain some [highly reworked] Persian Era provincial correspondence.
(3) The locus of authentic Persian Era information in the Hebrew Bible appears to have been (pre-Maccabean) temple archives, which seem to have preserved oracles about the foundation of the temple, and (probably) some official Persian Era correspondence.
(4) Two potential social milieus that could have produced this pre-Persian content are Jerusalem's temple personnel (note the anti-Samaritan polemics in Ezra-Nehemiah) and early second BCE scribal circles (given the prominence of the fictional figure Ezra the scribe).
(5) Davidic descendants could have constituted a third group, in light of the prominence of Zerubbabel, but I consider this unlikely, since the Davidic content is more convincingly explained by the Zerubbabel's incidental mention in authentic oracles in Haggai.
(6) A relevant datum, but of unknown significance, is the Persian colony of Elephantine. At least one of the soldiers stationed there (in the Hellenistic Era, as I recall) was alternately referred to as Jewish and Persian, so the ethnicity of those stationed there was somewhat fluid. The Egyptians appear to have hated these Jewish troops due to their association with the Persians and with Cambyses in particular. How, if at all, does this play into matters?
Although I can't promise to respond, I would be interested to read how this analysis comports with others on this list who have thought about some of these same issues and may have some original insights or considered some information I may have overlooked.