The exiles of Israel and Judah cast a long shadow over the biblical text and the whole subsequent history of Judaism. Scholars have long recognized the importance of the theme of exile for the Hebrew Bible. Indeed, critical study of the Old Testament has, at least since Wellhausen, been dominated by the Babylonian exile of Judah. In 586 BC, several factors, including the destruction of Jerusalem, the cessation of the sacrificial cult and of the monarchy, and the experience of the exile, began to cause a transformation of Israelite religion which supplied the contours of the larger Judaic framework within which the various forms of Judaism, including the early Christian movement, developed.
Given the importance of the exile to the development of Judaism and Christianity even to the present day, this volume delves into the conceptions of exile which contributed to that development during the formative period.