This study examines identity formation in the Nehemiah memoir. The account of Nehemiah’s mission to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem amid conflict with the inhabitants of the land exemplifies the polemic between the golah and those who did not experience exile. However, this traditional interpretation obscures the portrayal of Nehemiah as an exemplar of golah ideology and diminishes the value of Nehemiah’s mission to reformulate identity for the golah in Judah. The social identity theories of Tajfel, Turner, and others provide the framework for analyzing the role of the ingroup prototype (i.e., leader) in inter-group conflict and intra-group relations. The analysis of the Nehemiah memoir in conjunction with this social-psychological framework of identity demonstrates how Nehemiah embodies the prototypical characteristics of the superordinate group (i.e., golah). This characterization contrasts the golah group in Judah who has acquired an uncertain self-concept. In ruminating on the influence of empire on golah ideology and identity, this study employs the postcolonial concepts of mimicry, hybridity, ambivalence, and third space to supplement the social framework. Utilizing a socioliterary approach, the study examines the pre-reconstruction episode (Neh 1:1 – 2:20), the inter-group and intra-group conflicts (Neh 3:33 [4:1] – 5:19), and post-reconstruction affairs (Neh 6:1-19, 13:4-31) in order to show how the rhetoric of the text portrays the character Nehemiah’s efforts to reduce uncertainty and reformulate identity for the golah in Judah.
|Advisor:||Flesher, LeAnn S.|
|Commitee:||Brody, Aaron, Berquist, Jon L.|
|School:||Graduate Theological Union|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Biblical studies, Religion, Rhetoric, Language, Philosophy, Theology|
|Keywords:||Language, Nehemiah, Persian Judah, Social identity, Social sciences|
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