Rhome Harrell - Examining the book of Esther


Author : Rhome Harrell
Title : Examining the book of Esther
Year : 2011

Link download : Rhome_Harrell_-_Examining_the_book_of_Esther.zip

The curious Book of Esther, one of only two in the Bible not mentioning God, may have been composed BCE485-464 during the reign of King Ahasueris, roughly concurrent with the reign of Xerxes I in Persia. The names certainly are similar. Many scholars dispute its provenance and authenticity of Esther. Only the first part is found in the Greek Septuagint scriptures, and it is the only book of the Tennakh not found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Because of discrepancies in Hebrew texts, St. Jerome divided it into the older and newer parts when he organized his Latin Vulgate Bible in the late fourth century CE. Notably, the first time the word Jew (Judean) is used in the Bible, rather than Hebrew or Israelite, is in Esther. Set in Persia, the story incorporates key elements of Persian paganism. Fertility rites always occur in spring, and so does Purim. This is set on 14 Adar. Because the Hebrew calendar is lunar, this falls in March. Not to digress, but demonstrating the strong Judeo-Persian cultural confluence, the names of the Hebrew months are Babylonian. Purim may be a Judaized recreation of an ancient springtime gala celebrating the victories of the gods Marduk and Ishtar over rival deities. This and other Near Eastern pagan themes made pretty good background material for concocting this very Jewish, very Talmudic fairytale. Esther reads more like an adventure romance novelette than a book of scripture. Its sole purpose was to establish Purim, a holiday when the ancient Jews ruthlessly struck back against their former oppressors. In Hebrew, Purim means lots, named after the lottery Haman used to choose the day for the massacre. The Persian word is Pur. On this day, the Talmud gives permission, even encouragement, to getting drunk, cursing, reviling and spitting on Christians. To begin Purim, the entire book, called the Megillah (simply means scroll in Hebrew), is read in the synagogue. Hence the Jewish expression, “the whole Megillah”, is like saying “the whole nine yards”, meaning the entirety of something. Free Dictionary Online appropriately adds “tediously detailed or highly embroidered account”. The services are held in the evening, after the beginning of the new Jewish day and commemorating Esther‟s deadly after-dark dinner party. Jewish women are rabbinically required to attend. In older times, and where it was tolerated, as in the ghettoes and shtetls, loud boisterous street parties went on for much of the night with dancing, singing and drunken carousing, concluding with the burning of Haman in effigy. The Talmud Bavli tell us more. ...

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