Presentation Title

P-17 Cultural Backgrounds to the Biblical Book of Esther

Presenter Status

Department of Old Testament and Institute of Archaeology

Second Presenter Status

PhD Student, Department of Old Testament and Institute of Archaeology

Third Presenter Status

BS Student in Speech Pathology and BA Theology

Location

Buller Hallway

Start Date

1-11-2013 1:30 PM

End Date

1-11-2013 3:00 PM

Presentation Abstract

The biblical Hebrew book of Esther closely reflects and interacts with the rich cultural backdrop of the ancient Medo-Persian empire during the reign of Xerxes, against which its drama is played out. The subject areas of investigation that my research is focusing on, but not limited to, include the lives of women in the Persian royal court in terms of their involvement in affairs of state, dynamics of polygamy in relation to social hierarchy, daily routines and quality of life, loci of access in palace architectural geography, and implications of these for understanding moral and ethical issues and behaviors reflected in the book of Esther, such as Esther’s choice to conceal her identity and undergo a high degree of cultural assimilation for survival, her marital (including sexual) relationship with Xerxes, and her harsh treatment of enemies of the Jews. The study interacts with the Hebrew Massoretic text, the Septuagint, as well as a wealth of extrabiblical data illuminating the diverse cultures of the empire during this historical period, including fairly recent archaeological discoveries that shed light on the lifestyles and societies of royals, nobles, military and civil servants, and commoners.

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Nov 1st, 1:30 PM Nov 1st, 3:00 PM

P-17 Cultural Backgrounds to the Biblical Book of Esther

Buller Hallway

The biblical Hebrew book of Esther closely reflects and interacts with the rich cultural backdrop of the ancient Medo-Persian empire during the reign of Xerxes, against which its drama is played out. The subject areas of investigation that my research is focusing on, but not limited to, include the lives of women in the Persian royal court in terms of their involvement in affairs of state, dynamics of polygamy in relation to social hierarchy, daily routines and quality of life, loci of access in palace architectural geography, and implications of these for understanding moral and ethical issues and behaviors reflected in the book of Esther, such as Esther’s choice to conceal her identity and undergo a high degree of cultural assimilation for survival, her marital (including sexual) relationship with Xerxes, and her harsh treatment of enemies of the Jews. The study interacts with the Hebrew Massoretic text, the Septuagint, as well as a wealth of extrabiblical data illuminating the diverse cultures of the empire during this historical period, including fairly recent archaeological discoveries that shed light on the lifestyles and societies of royals, nobles, military and civil servants, and commoners.