Leadership, Social Memory and Judean Discourse in the Fifth - Second Centuries BCE - Diana V. Edelman

Leadership, Social Memory and Judean Discourse in the Fifth - Second Centuries BCE - Diana V. Edelman

At the Crossroads of Persian and Hellenistic Ideology: The Book of Esther as "Political Theology"

Leadership, Social Memory and Judean Discourse in the Fifth - Second Centuries BCE - Diana V. Edelman

Beate Ego
Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Description

The Esther narrative can be interpreted as containing the memory of Persian imperialism as well as the Hellenistic worship of rulers. In this context, it surveys the possibilities and limits of Israel's existence under the reign of foreigners. While Israel can come to terms with the concept of a human king, because of the commandments and customs through which it differentiates itself from other people, it will always be in tension with its surroundings. The precedent par excellence in which this difference is supposed to be expressed is divine kingship. By means of intertextual references and the use of reversal, the author of the book of Esther clarifies that even in the Diaspora, it is the God of Israel who holds the individual threads of events in his hands. Reading aloud the Esther narrative during the festival of Purim creates a kind of mental positioning to counter real or potential enemy threats through the remembrance of this tradition. On the one hand, the Esther narrative aims to convey courage for behavior that is loyal to both its own tradition and to its political and social environs. On the other hand, it creates a counterbalance to the threat and persecution of the Jewish people. In this way, the Festival of Purim functions as a medium of collective consciousness, which demonstrates appropriate Jewish behavior when encountering different leadership and which makes the memory of overcoming the crisis and of being saved topical for all time and newly inscribed in the consciousness.

Notify A Colleague

Citation

Ego, Beate. At the Crossroads of Persian and Hellenistic Ideology: The Book of Esther as "Political Theology". Leadership, Social Memory and Judean Discourse in the Fifth - Second Centuries BCE. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 147-163 Dec 2016. ISBN 9781781792698. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=26812. Date accessed: 17 Nov 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.26812. Dec 2016

Dublin Core Metadata