Separation of the People, Separation of the Land: The Parallel Literary Structures of Ezra 9–10 and Nehemiah 1–3
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This dissertation argues that the parallel narrative structures of Ezra 9–10 and Nehemiah 1:1–3:32 are intended to connect the two books and highlights the overlapping theological connection of building the community through exclusive ownership of the land. This is developed by contrasting return narrative in Nehemiah 1–3 with the two other return narratives in Ezra 1–2 and 7–8. Then the removal of foreign wives in Ezra 9–10 is contrasted with foreign wives crises in Nehemiah 9–10 and 13:23-29. In each of these comparisons, the major thematic points, prominent character(s) and primary concern, are discussed and then the narrative movements. Once the narratival differences between the thematically similar passages have been shown, the structure of Nehemiah 1–3 and Ezra 9–10 is compared. This comparison shows that the narrative movements of the two passages are extremely close which indicates that the narratives have been intentionally shaped to mirror each other. Finally, the theological and thematic importance of this shaping is explained by comparing the theological message in each movement of the narrative in Ezra 9–10 and Nehemiah 1–3. The conclusion is that these highlight the shared theological message of building the community through exclusive ownership of the land.