Jacqueline Lapsley

in Biblical Studies

ISBN: 9780195393361
Published online March 2012 | | DOI:

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The book of Ezekiel, with its forty-eight chapters, is the third of the so-called Major Prophets (after Isaiah and Jeremiah). Ezekiel was a priest and a prophet in the years leading up to and following the Babylonian invasion of Judah in the early 6th century bce. The events surrounding the invasion—that is, the subsequent deportation of people to Babylon, and the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem—provoked an unparalleled theological crisis in Israel’s life, the depth of which is everywhere evident in Ezekiel. The temple was widely understood in several of Israel’s dominant religious traditions to be the unique locus of God’s presence, and its destruction was thus tantamount to God’s total abandonment of Israel. For Ezekiel, as a priest, the destruction of the temple seemed to signify both the end of his own identity and, more importantly, the end of Israelites as God’s covenantal people. The prophecies in the book are generally dated to the period 593–571 bce, though they do not follow an entirely clear chronological pattern within the book. Having been deported from Jerusalem with the first wave of exiles in 597, Ezekiel has been in Babylon for several years by 593, when the first text can be dated. And by its own dating, the final vision of a glorious temple in chapters 40–48 dates to about 571. The book appears on the surface to fall neatly into three parts (God’s judgment of Israel, chapters 1–24; God’s judgment of the nations, chapters 25–32; God’s restoration of Israel, chapters 33–48), but within that threefold structure it resists easy organization. The following bibliographic entries are not meant to be comprehensive, but merely illustrative of the resources available.

Article.  12328 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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