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Old Testament

Esther Through the Centuries by Jo Carruthers

By Jo Carruthers

This interdisciplinary remark levels from early midrashic interpretation to modern rewritings introducing interpretations of the single biblical e-book let alone God.

  • Unearths a wealth of missed rewritings encouraged via the story’s relevance to subject matters of nationhood, uprising, windfall, revenge, woman heroism, Jewish id, exile, genocide and ‘multiculturalism’
  • Reveals some of the struggles and methods utilized by spiritual commentators to make experience of this purely biblical booklet that doesn't point out God
  • Asks why Esther is underestimated via modern feminist students regardless of an extended background of subversive rewritings
  • Compares the main influential Jewish and Christian interpretations and interpreters
  • Includes an creation to the book’s myriad representations in literature, song, and art
  • Published within the reception-history sequence, Blackwell Bible Commentaries

Chapter 1 Esther 1:1–9 (pages 52–67):
Chapter 2 Esther 1:10–22 (pages 68–92):
Chapter three Esther 2:1–7 (pages 93–108):
Chapter four Esther 2:8–23 (pages 109–132):
Chapter five Esther three (pages 133–159):
Chapter 6 Esther 4:1–14 (pages 160–175):
Chapter 7 Esther 4:15–17 (pages 176–191):
Chapter eight Esther five (pages 192–220):
Chapter nine Esther 6 (pages 221–232):
Chapter 10 Esther 7 and eight (pages 233–253):
Chapter eleven Esther nine and 10 (pages 254–279):

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Sample text

Their fate should, therefore, be in some sense at least exemplary: opportunity was certainly offered to them, they had choices, at eighteen the world opened for them and displayed its riches’ (: ). The Radiant Way is full of allusions to Bible stories. Liz, for example, tries to learn the Book of Job off by heart (). Diasporic experience is transposed to the three friends who are ‘on the margins of English life’ and have ‘a sense of being outsiders’, Esther specifically ‘by refugee status and the warsickness of middle Europe’ ().

Christopher’s atheistic trajectory reflects the increasing secularization of the main tenets of Christianity in society at large, a trend often observed in the writing of George Eliot, an author also drawn to the biblical Esther for perhaps  Introduction this very reason. By choosing the figure of Esther, Linton and Eliot draw upon a book that is the weak link in the chain, the paradox of sacred status against atheistic content endorsing the privileging of agnosticism over belief. Modern commentators are still troubled by earlier assertions of the story’s inherent religiosity.

Amidst this publick Joy, My self with Shame and secret Horror die. [. ] Yet thou, Jerusalem! with Grass o’ergrown, To pois’nous Reptiles a Retreat art known. (: ) Brereton emphatically calls for the preservation of the Jews, but in a way that is fully in line with evangelical messianic interpretation of biblical history: No, Saviour! ] () Esther saves her people ‘to spare the chosen Line from which you spring’ (), implying that salvation is for the Messiah, not the Jews per se. The coupling of messianic fervour with exilic desire for the homeland in both Jewish and Christian traditions made plays like Racine’s Esther, played originally in Christian cities with high Jewish populations such as Rouen, appealing for both communities (David Maskell, paper delivered at Yarnton, Oxford, ).

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