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The Reversal of Fortune Theme in Esther: Israelite Historiography in Its Ancient Near Eastern Context

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[Abstract This paper examines the idea of reversal in Esther, arguably the most basic thematic constituent of that work, in an attempt to understand its background and meaning. It posits for it a historical context based on a reaction to contemporary ancient Near Eastern intellectual currents. Specifically this centers on Babylonian divination, astrology in particular, whose recognition as a serious branch of scientific reasoning in the ancient world was undeniable—or so it seems. The Book of Esther, which, as this paper demonstrates, manifests an unmistakable familiarity with this divinatory lore, itself partakes in the broader conversation. But, in accordance with its overring theme, it comes down on the matter with a reverse verdict., AbstractThis paper examines the idea of reversal in Esther, arguably the most basic thematic constituent of that work, in an attempt to understand its background and meaning. It posits for it a historical context based on a reaction to contemporary ancient Near Eastern intellectual currents. Specifically this centers on Babylonian divination, astrology in particular, whose recognition as a serious branch of scientific reasoning in the ancient world was undeniable—or so it seems. The Book of Esther, which, as this paper demonstrates, manifests an unmistakable familiarity with this divinatory lore, itself partakes in the broader conversation. But, in accordance with its overring theme, it comes down on the matter with a reverse verdict.]

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/content/journals/10.1163/156921211x603940
2011-01-01
2015-08-01

Affiliations: 1: University of Notre Dame Indiana United States, URL: http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink

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