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Esther Through the Centuries Hardcover – January 14, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1405132138 ISBN-10: 1405132132 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


"The author digs up literary echoes and poetic versions of thebiblical book of Esther.... This important scholarly resourceoriginated as a PhD thesis in the University of Manchester. It isto be hoped the PhD students can be interested in doing similarresearch, producing studies as valuable as the present one."(International Review of Biblical Studies, 2007-2008)

"This book can be highly recommended. It provides a fascinatingglimpse of how the Bible has shaped … The ideals of societythroughout history." (Expository Times, November 2008)

"Carruthers looks at the reception of the text in detail, butalso has an introduction to different ways of viewing the biblicalbook." (Church Times, October 2008)

From the Back Cover

Esther Through the Centuries traces Jewish, Christian andsecular reception of the only biblical book not to mention God.Author Jo Carruthers introduces the most significant adaptations ofthis story of Jewish life in the Persian Empire; a tale aboutaverted genocide, a heroic queen and the machinations of courtpolitics. Prominent in the Jewish tradition because of the festivalof Purim, Esther has also provoked and inspired Christian andsecular writers, artists, musicians and commentators for twomillennia.

This commentary unearths a wealth of neglected rewritingsinspired by the story’s engagement with themes of nationhood,rebellion, providence, revenge, female heroism, Jewish identity,exile and genocide. Ranging from early rabbinic interpretation tocontemporary rewritings, the book discusses the significance ofEsther for artists such as George Eliot, Nathaniel Hawthorne,Handel and Michelangelo, who are drawn to the cosmic drama of goodversus evil and its authoritative yet transgressive queen. The bookexamines Esther chapter by chapter, revealing a surprisingafterlife remarkably resonant with contemporary preoccupations.

More information about the Blackwell Bible Commentary series isavailable at

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