Large-scale economic change such as the rise of coinage occurred during the Persian-dominated centuries (6th –4th centuries BCE) in the Eastern Mediterranean and ancient Near East. How do the biblical texts of the time respond to such developments?
In this study, Peter Altmann lays out foundational economic conceptions from the ancient Near East and earlier biblical traditions in order to show how Persian-period biblical texts build on these traditions to address the challenges of their day. Economic issues are central to the way that Ezra and Nehemiah approach the topics of temple building and of Judean self-understanding. Economic terminology and considerations also appear in Second Isaiah and the “Holiness Code.” Following significant interaction with the material culture and extra-biblical texts, the author devotes special attention to the ascendancy of economics and its theological and identity implications as structuring metaphors for divine action and human community in the Persian period.