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Esther (1997) (Old Testament Library) Hardcover – January 1, 1997
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The book of Esther has been preserved in ancient texts that diverge greatly from each other. As a result, Jews and Protestants usually read a version which is shorter than that of most Catholic or Orthodox Bibles. In this volume, now available in a new casebound edition, Levenson capably guides readers through both versions, demonstrating their coherence and their differences.
The Old Testament Library provides fresh and authoritative treatments of important aspects of Old Testament study through commentaries and general surveys. The contributors are scholars of international standing.
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From the Back Cover
About the Author
- Publisher : Westminster John Knox Press; 1st edition (January 1, 1997)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 162 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0664220932
- ISBN-13 : 978-0664220938
- Item Weight : 12.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #572,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #1,189 in Old Testament Commentaries
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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There’s no doubt that Mr. Levenson writes with skill. When he says in the first paragraph, “it is also a tale of the ascent of an orphan in exile to the rank of the most powerful woman – and perhaps even the most powerful person – in the Empire and, arguably, the world”, his writing prowess becomes clear.
He begins his discussion in the Introduction on the plot of the Book of Esther. I thought his comment that there’s more narration than quoted speech as compared to similar biblical stories as perceptive. He gives a great overview of the plot. Next, he tackles structure and style and after surveying various scholarly opinions, he gives an outstanding visual representation of his thought of the structure of the Book of Esther. I can’t follow him in all his thoughts about the messages of the book of Esther, but he does give much food for thought. I totally disagree with his discussion of historicity. He gives a fine summary of the textual history of the book of Esther, though he could be disagreed with at points.
Though it has some of the same critical conclusions as the Introduction, the commentary proper is illuminating and thought-provoking. Let’s just say that he provides what I’m looking for in this type of commentary. You might want to check it out.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
The line-by-line commentary was disappointing. It did not add much to the introduction (although it did elucidate some of the themes in more detail). Levenson has studied the recent scholarly commentary on Esther, and a great deal of his commentary seemed to be citations of (or, in some cases, reaction to) other people's thoughts. Most of the discussion focuses on Esther as a literary work. I would have liked to have learned more about how the book was treated by the rabbis and by early Christian commentators. Overall, however, Levenson has provided a decent introduction to the book of Esther and the major concerns of modern literary scholarship concerning it.