By Jo Carruthers
This interdisciplinary observation levels from early midrashic interpretation to modern rewritings introducing interpretations of the single biblical publication let alone God. reveals a wealth of missed rewritings encouraged by means of the story’s relevance to issues of nationhood, uprising, windfall, revenge, woman heroism, Jewish id, exile, genocide and ‘multiculturalism’Reveals a few of the struggles and techniques utilized by spiritual commentators to make feel of this basically biblical ebook that doesn't point out GodAsks why Esther is underestimated by way of modern feminist students regardless of a protracted background of subversive rewritingsCompares the main influential Jewish and Christian interpretations and interpretersIncludes an advent to the book’s myriad representations in literature, song, and artPublished within the reception-history sequence, Blackwell Bible Commentaries
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Extra resources for Esther Through the Centuries (Blackwell Bible Commentaries)
Hester’s uncle in Hester’s Fortune, or Pride and Humility () presents a theology of hiddenness. Whilst tracing the path to his brother’s grave he comments: ‘We cannot see it [. ] like many o’ God’s ways wi’ us – it is hid frae Godless Scripture our eyes wi’ a drift o’ snow – but I ken it reel’ (Plunkel : ). Hester is disappointed when she doesn’t receive an awaited fortune, the novel promoting the material world as exilic: ‘we are all so ready to build our hopes and set our affections on earthly things and God has to teach us, by so many ways, that this is not our rest’ ().
Although subject to ‘whole Floods of Venom poured out’ (: ii), he denies specific application, diverting responsibility from himself by proclaiming deference to his readers’ judgement: if Gentlemen will claim the Honour of being the Successors [of the wicked Prime Minister], or draw parallels betwixt the Living and the Dead, he is not obliged to answer for the Consequences: Nor will he dispute their superior Knowledge in these Matters. (: iv–v) Providence, Chosenness, Nationhood For Jews the assertion of providence is a key to the festival of Purim, at which God’s care and supervision of his chosen people is celebrated.
Rather than simply inserting piety, novels that appropriate Esther more often engage in theological speculation, perhaps better resonating with the godless biblical book. George Eliot, in her depiction of Hetty and Arthur in Adam Bede, complicates a simple theology of good versus evil. Adam locates Arthur as an Esau-like enemy yet sympathizes with him: ‘He’s of a rash, warm-hearted nature, like Esau, for whom I have always felt a great pity’ (), and Hetty is acutely transgressive in her child murder.