Bible Review 3:1, Spring 1987

Did the Author of Chronicles Also Write the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah?

Clutching at catchlines

By Hugh G. M. Williamson

The Book of Ezra/Nehemiah begins where the two books of Chronicles end—at the proclamation of Cyrus, king of Persia, allowing the Jews to return to their land after the Babylonian Exile. The conventional wisdom—for the past 150 years—has it that the two sets of books—Ezra/Nehemiah and Chronicles—were written by the same author. And that is the position recently presented, almost assumed, by Mena-hem Haran of the Hebrew University in “Explaining the Identical Lines at the End of Chronicles and the Beginning of Ezra,” BR 02:03:

“It is generally recognized among scholars that the two books of Chronicles (originally, one, uninterrupted book) and the Book of Ezra/Nehemiah are the work of a single author, who is often referred to as the Chronicler. The four (actually two) books together are sometimes called the Chronistic Work.”

Professor Haran tells us that “the overall unity of the Chronistic Work is … demonstrated by a common ideology, the uniformity of legal, cultic and historical conceptions and specific style, all of which reflect one opus.”

Surprisingly, Professor Haran makes no mention of the fact that each of these points has been forcefully challenged in recent years.a

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