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Book: About Edom and Idumea in the Persian Period

Chapter: 14. Edom as a Complex Site of Memory among the Literati of Late Persian/early Hellenistic Judah: Some Observations

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.42831


Ehud Ben Zvi opens the section with “Edom as a Complex Site of Memory among the Literati of Late Persian/Early Hellenistic Judah: Some Observations.” Here, Ben Zvi focuses on Edom’s role(s) within the world of memory of the Jerusalem-centred literati of the late Persian and early Hellenistic periods. Although it is to be expected that some memories held by these literati about foreign ethnies, polities, leaders, etc. evoked favourable images about them, while others, even within the same remembering community, conjured unfavourable characterizations of the same referent, Ben Zvi points to two remarkable aspects in this memory construction of Edom: First, in some of the texts that they read and reread, Edom was singled out for both YHWH’s and Israel’s enmity in ways that go beyond those of other political entities or ethnic groups in the surrounding area, such as Moab, Ammon, Tyre, Sidon, Qedar, and even, most strikingly, beyond those for some historically imperial powers such as Assyria or Babylonia. Second, in some other texts, Edom is characterized as the “other” not only not negatively, but in a relatively positive, and at times unexpectedly positive, manner. Ben Zvi explores the matter of Edom as a site of memory with somewhat peculiar features within the memoryscape of the literati of the late Persian period.

Chapter Contributors

  • Ehud Ben Zvi ( - ebenzvi4531) 'University of Alberta'