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‘And Their Laws Are Diverse From All People’. Haman’s Protests against the Jews in Targum Sheni to Esther

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Chapter Summary

The holiday of Purim and the book of Esther are topics mentioned in Christian anti-Jewish literature. Already in the early centuries of Christianity, Jewish celebrations of Purim were associated with Jewish anti-Christian activities such as the burning of crosses and cursing of Christians. Later on during the medieval and early modern periods, Purim continued to be associated with anti-Christian activities and for Christians it was one of the examples of Jewish hostility towards Christianity. The book of Esther, from which the story of Purim was recounted in synagogues during the holiday, was a focus of Christian attacks and Martin Luther even loathed its existence. This chapter focuses on one passage from the Aramaic translation of Esther, known as Targum Sheni, and discusses its uniqueness in the history of the literature of Jewish-Christian relations and the extent to which this passage was harbinger of later tropes in Jewish-Christian relations and polemics.

Keywords: Christian anti-Jewish literature; Esther; Martin Luther; Purim; Targum Sheni



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