UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Building the Second Temple : interpreting the evidence Saari, Kenneth


This thesis summarizes a brief survey of literature that bears on the question of when the Second Temple was built. To the extent that the launching of Second Temple Judaism is conceptually related to the construction of the Second Temple, an estimate of when the Temple was built is important in assessing the opportunity that the ancient Persian religion, Zoroastrianism, had to influence the ideology and doctrine of the ancient Jewish religion. The thesis is presented in two parts. The first part summarizes the scholarship published in The Cambridge Ancient Series, The Cambridge History of Judaism series, and anthologies, authored by such scholars as E. Stern, T.C. Mitchell, H. Tadmor, I. Eph’al, L.L. Grabbe, B. Becking, and O. Lipschits. This section concludes, not surprisingly, that construction of the Second Temple was complete by the end of the sixth century BCE. The second part summarizes theories offered by Kenneth G. Hoglund and Diana Edelman. In his 1992 book, Achaemenid Imperial Administration in Syria-Palestine and the Missions of Ezra and Nehemiah, Hoglund argues that alarmed at the growing threat posed by the Greeks and Egyptians on Persian hegemony over the eastern Mediterranean, the Persian authorities took steps to enhance the military preparedness of the region. Accordingly, in the mid-fifth century BCE, the Persians built garrisons throughout the Levant and fortified Jerusalem by rebuilding its defensive wall. In her 2005 book, The Origins of the ‘Second’ Temple: Persian Imperial Policy and the Rebuilding of Jerusalem, Edelman argues that having learned during the Egyptian Revolt that the Levant was underproducing, Artaxerxes I (465-423 BCE) implemented a comprehensive plan to improve food production, manpower availability, governance, transportation, communication, and security. It was the realization of this plan that resulted in the rebuilding of the defensive wall around Jerusalem and the building of the Second Temple. It is Edelman’s opinion that construction of the Second Temple was completed late in the fifth century BCE.

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