The aims and objectives of this investigation were to find whether non-Jews or non-exiles related with the early post-exilic Jewish community in their religious life and communal living according to Ezra and Nehemiah; to discern the nature of such relationship; to discover the basis on which this relationship was sustained; and to examine the text of Ezra-Nehemiah and see whether Ezra and Nehemiah exhibits exclusivity in their dealing with non-Jews or non-exiles as supposed by others (cf Williamson 1987:83). The inquiry reveals that the author(s) or editor(s) of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah re-interpreted certain passages from the Pentateuch in a peculiar way to support the exclusive religious and social reforms of Ezra and Nehemiah. Consequently, two viewpoints emerged from the text of Ezra and Nehemiah concerning non-exiles. The one is exclusive and the other is inclusive. The researcher contended that the inclusive perspective is the appropriate approach toward non-Jews as evidenced in the spirit of the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants as well as in the Deuteronomic-Deuteronomistic history. In other words, the Abrahamic covenant and certain passages from the Pentateuch and from the Deuteronomic-Deuteronomistic history provide a framework for a religious and communal relationship between the Israelites and or Jews and foreigners.
Dissertation (MTh (Old Testament Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2005.