The Social Context of Law in the Second Temple Period
In this study, cultural expectation, situational expedience, and adaptation to new social norms will be the guide for the examination of legal statements. It will be determined that in the post-exilic period, legal pronouncement blended with political expediency and religious zeal to shape the social context. Concerns over defensive posture within disputed regions, maintenance of protocol and recognition of the rights of posted garrisons in conquered territories (as at Elephantine), and the general sense that people who can be defined as identifiable groups and set in fixed patterns are easier to control may have separately or together driven Persian policy. The reforms imposed by Nehemiah and Ezra suggest both imperial meddling as well as cultural incursion by the advocates of Diasporic Judaism and its more rigid concept of law and ethnic identity.
Matthews, Victor H. "The Social Context of Law in the Second Temple Period." Biblical Theology Bulletin 28, no. 1 (1998): 7-15.