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Ezra, persons in the Bible
Ezra, book of the Bible
See F. C. Fensham, Ezra and Nehemiah (1982); M. A. Thronveit, Ezra–Nehemiah (1992).
(also Esdras). Dates of birth and death unknown. A descendant of the Zadokites, high priests of the Temple in Jerusalem. Reformer of Judaism.
In the mid-fifth century B.C., Ezra arrived in Jerusalem at the head of a group of Jews returning from the Babylonian exile. He made changes in the ritual and appears to have carried out the first codification of the Pentateuch. In other reforms, Ezra prohibited marriages between Jews and those who had not converted to Judaism, and all Jews were obliged to learn the basic tenets of Judaism. It has been suggested that Ezra introduced a square Aramaic script, which gradually supplanted the Canaanite (Paleo-European) script.