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Esther in Ancient Jewish Thought

$35.99 (C)

  • Date Published: April 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107673885
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About the Authors
  • The book of Esther was a conscious reaction to much of the conventional wisdom of its day, challenging beliefs regarding the Jerusalem Temple, the land of Israel, Jewish law, and even God. Aaron Koller identifies Esther as primarily a political work, and shows that early reactions ranged from ignoring the book to 'rewriting' Esther in order to correct its perceived flaws. But few biblical books have been read in such different ways, and the vast quantity of Esther-interpretation in rabbinic literature indicates a conscious effort by the Rabbis to present Esther as a story of faith and traditionalism, and bring it into the fold of the grand biblical narrative. Koller situates Esther, and its many interpretations, within the intellectual and political contexts of Ancient Judaism, and discusses its controversial themes. His innovative line of enquiry will be of great interest to students and scholars of Bible and Jewish studies.

    • Situates the book of Esther within the intellectual context of Ancient Judaism
    • Provides a political reading of the book on the background of what others were writing at the time
    • Discusses the controversial themes in the book of Esther
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "[Koller's] suggestions are intriguing and insightful, and his detailed research is impressive. I highly recommend this book for seriously interested students and scholars … If you are doing any kind of serious work on Esther, you must reckon with this fantastic book."
    John Anthony Dunne, graduate student, University of St Andrews

    "… [contains] convincing insights, based on thorough analysis … recommended, not only for lovers of the Book of Esther, but also for those who are generally interested in the development of Jewish identity from the Persian period."
    Anne-Mareike Wetter, translation from the Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift

    "… this book is without peer in what it sets out to do, and it should succeed admirably in introducing a wide readership to a field where it is often difficult to find reliable and up-to-date information in a digestible format."
    H. G. M. Williamson, Journal of Jewish Studies

    "I thoroughly enjoyed this well-researched and stimulating book and I can recommend it highly to anyone interested in the Esther scroll and in the development of early Judaism."
    Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer, Vetus Testamentum

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    Customer reviews

    17th Oct 2013 by Buggs

    Esther - to be understood as the Bride - for when one intersects it with the additional chapters of the Apocrypha - one may begin to identify the other Similes representative of the Sister - Bride - Church when understanding the parabolic meaning of the root words

    Review was not posted due to profanity


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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107673885
    • length: 278 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.41kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus. 7 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Provocation: Conventional Wisdom in Early Second Temple Judaism:
    1. Setting the stage: the theological challenge of political stability
    2. The movement of Ezra and Nehemiah
    3. Authoring/editing: Joseph, Daniel, and God
    4. Identity of a hero: Mordecai the Yehudi, scion of the house of Saul
    Part II. Entering the Fray: Esther as a Political Book:
    5. Persian law and Persian king in the Book of Esther
    6. Modeling heroes: Daniel, Esther, and Mordecai
    7. Hero models: Joseph and Saul
    8. Diaspora revisions: rethinking the Exodus and rethinking God
    Part III. Early Reactions: Rejection, Subversion, Correction:
    9. A tense embrace: the reception of Esther in hellenistic Alexandria
    10. Subvert or ignore: canonical re-contextualization and outright rejection of Esther
    11. Criticism by adaptation: rewriting Esther in Hellenistic and Roman times
    12. Adoption: Esther in the eastern diaspora and in the canon
    Part IV. Rabbinic Readings: Moving Esther from the Periphery to the Center:
    13. Introduction to the rabbinic literature on Esther
    14. Biblicizing Esther
    15. Restoring God and Torah.

  • Author

    Aaron Koller, Yeshiva University, New York
    Aaron Koller is Associate Professor of Bible at Yeshiva University, New York and teaches talmud and biblical interpretation at the Drisha Institute. He studies the ancient world of the Bible and rabbinic literature, especially material culture, language, and intellectual history. He is the author of The Ancient Hebrew Semantic Field of Cutting Tools (2012).

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