Understanding the Complexity of Identity in Yehud and the Classroom

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Jennifer Wiliams


This paper focuses on the lesson plan for discussing Ezra-Nehemiah and Persian Period Yehud. Class readings provide a helpful framework for looking at the complex identities within the classroom and learning about the diversity of identity and thought in Yehud. Primary and secondary sources illustrate that multiple forces shape identity A class activity allows students to recognize and address the complexity of identity and the power relations that undergird identity formation. Students then engage the biblical text and discuss not only the complexities of identity in Yehud but also the dynamic processes of imperialization and decolonization. Specifically, students begin to see how the text reflects multiple groups, interests and perspectives, sometimes in competition. Students also consider the issue of intermarriage in both Ezra and Nehemiah. Students often return to discussions of their own experiences of bilingualism, ethnic differences, race, and their mothers’ and grandmothers’ influences on their own education.

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