Ezra & Nehemia rebuild Jewish life to Persian rule + Great Assembly

Year/Time Frame



Canaan/Eretz Israel



Jews Elsewhere



Jewish Culture



General History



















































Jewish Population: 70,000















































































































5th Century BCE










































End of Biblical Period






































































































































































































4th Century BCE



Second major migration of Jews from Babylon with Ezra the scribe and priest. Compels Jews to divorce heathen wives, teaches the law.



























Nehemia arrives in Jerusalem to rebuild Jerusalem's fortifications and to supervise the community. Judah is separated from Samaria.






Nehemia completes Jerusalem wall despite harassment from Samaritans. Populates the city.






Ezra and Nehemia assemble Jews on festival of Sukkoth to explain the Torah laws. The people commit to Sabbath observance and several other laws.


















Nehemia returns after 12 years in Babylon to find that the reforms have been forsaken. Reorganizes the community, expels the High Priest and returns the priest to Jerusalem, among other acts.






Samaritans erect temple on Mt. Gerzim.




















































































Jerusalem high-priest Yochanan has brother Joshua killed prompting Persian repression of Jewish activities.














































































Jews continue to live in the land of Israel - and beyond the borders of Judea - in coastal towns and in Transjordan (of Tobiad family in Tob region).






Territory of Judea governed by High Priest [b] with little interference from Persians.






















































































































































































































































Jews in Egypt (Elephantine, Aswan) practice unorthodox religion.






Yedoniah, Jewish priest in Elephantine ordered by Nehemia's



successors and Persian Satrap to observe Passover according to Jewish law.






Jewish temple in Elephantine destroyed.






























Elephantine Temple rebuilt; Jews forbidden to make animal offerings.



















































































































































Artaxerxes III settles some Jews in N. Persia, extending the Diaspora.



Ezra fixes leap year calendar.












































































































Ezra's teachings can be seen as the beginning of classical Judaism: the wall of G-d explained through textual interpretations, rather than prophecy. Ezra was in many ways the first Rabbi.























































































































































































































































































During this period, Ezra gathered the Men of the Great Assembly. 120 scribes (Soferim): collected and edited books of the Bible, introduced square Hebrew [d] founded schools, appointed judges in every city. Ordained prayers and Torah reading.






The Book of Chronicles, history of Jews from early times to Ezra emphasizes continuity between the people and institutions of restored Judean community and Second Temple with those prior to destruction of First Temple.






Aramaic increasingly serves as spoken language of Judea.






Books of the Apocrypha composed [c].






Xerxes succeeded by Ataxerxes. (464)
























Golden age of Greece (philosophy, mathematics, art, drama, poetry)



Athens-Persia truce. (449)
















































































































































Peloponnesian War. (431-404)









Parthenon completed atop acropolis in Athens. [b]



Demarcates proposes that matter is composed of atomic structures.









































































































Egypt liberated from Persian control. End of Peloponnesian War. Athens Weakened.



Ataxerxes II succeeds Darius IV in Persian Empire.






Unsuccessful revolution of Ataxerxes' brother and 13,000 Greek mercenaries: Xenophian's "Anabasis."






Persian Empire: From Persian gulf in the south to India in extreme east. (538-331 BCE)






Monarchy; religion Zoroastrian Empire divided into 20 satrapies. Fair system of taxation.






399: Citizens of Athens condemn Socrates to death.



390: Invasion of the Gaul's.



360-336 Continuing strife between Egypt and Persia.






359 - Philip II- King of Macedonia






358 - Artaxerxes III establishes position as king.






350 -Aristotle: treats each branch of knowledge systematically. Important to contemplate principle of existence.






346 - Successful diplomacy between Athens and Macedon. Demosthenes' "On the Peace."






341 - Persia destroys Sidon; reconquest of Egypt.






338 - Macedon (now) defeats  Hellas.






336 - Phillip of Macedon murdered prior to campaign against Persia.






Alexander the



Great (333-323)














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23 Aug 2005 / 18 Av 5765 0