Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use

Megillat Esther

Was Haman Hanged, Impaled or Crucified?

The manner in which Haman’s execution was depicted had real world consequences.

Dr.

Abraham J. Berkovitz

,

,

Why Mordechai Refuses to “Kneel and Bow” to Haman

A political strategy and a religious wakeup call to Jews in the Diaspora.

Rachel Friedman

,

,

Walled Cities “from the Time of Joshua” Celebrate Shushan Purim – Why?

Hidden behind the strange rabbinic definition of walled cities is a polemical response to the notorious claim of Emperor Hadrian, who rebuilt Jerusalem as the pagan city Aelia Capitolina.

Prof.

Eyal Ben-Eliyahu

,

,

Tisha B'Av with Queen Esther

Prof. Rabbi

Laura Lieber

,

,

A More Religious Megillah: The Jewish-Greek Version of Esther

The Jewish-Greek version of Esther adds several elements into the story, including prayers to God, prophetic dreams, and recognition of God's intervention.  These passages were added in Hasmonean Jerusalem, and highlights the conflict between the original diaspora book and how it was received in Hasmonean Judea.

Prof.

Aaron Koller

,

,

Haman's Antisemitism: What Did He Not Like About the Jews?

The book of Esther is a study in antisemitism. It is the only biblical book that portrays antisemitism, and itself has been the subject of criticism with antisemitic overtones. 

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

,

,

The Enduring Value of "These Days of Purim"

The megillah emphasizes the ongoing obligation to observe Purim, and Maimonides asserts that it will endure even into the messianic age. Yet many modern Jewish thinkers have questioned this holiday’s continued relevance. What value does Purim continue to hold?

Prof.

Wendy Zierler

,

,

Survival and Revival: Megillat Esther and Ezra-Nehemiah

Jews in the Persian Period dealt with the reality of the destruction of Judah in two different ways. Megillat Esther emphasized the diaspora while Ezra-Nehemiah emphasized the rebuilding. For most of Jewish history the Ezra-Nehemiah model was all but non-existent, but this changed with the emergence of Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel.

Prof.

Sara Japhet

,

,

The Women in Esther

Prof. Rabbi

Michael V. Fox

,

,

Why Does Mordechai Not Report the Assassination Plot Directly to Ahasuerus?

The protocols of ancient Near Eastern courts shed light on the danger Mordechai faces in reporting a conspiracy. A case in point: An Assyrian official, who tried to save Sennacherib from being assassinated by his son Arda-Mullisi, ends up being killed by the assassins himself.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

,

,

Ahasuerus, the Son of a Stable-Master

Vashti insults Ahasuerus by calling him “the son of my father’s stable master” (b. Megillah 12b). Persian sources, including the story of King Ardashir I, shed light on the origin and significance of this calumny.[1]

Dr.

Geoffrey Herman

,

,

Megillat Esther: A Godless and Assimilated Diaspora

Dr.

Elsie R. Stern

,

,

Ahasuerus and Vashti: The Story Megillat Esther Does Not Tell You

Why the rabbis came to imagine Ahasuerus as a usurper who halted the rebuilding of the Temple and his wife Vashti as a wicked and grotesque Babylonian princess, who lived as a libertine and persecuted Jews.

Dr.

Malka Z. Simkovich

,

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

,

Rabbi

David D. Steinberg

Rejoicing on Purim with a Jewish Novel

The techniques and motifs of the Book of Esther

Prof.

Lawrence M. Wills

,

,

The 220-Year History of the Achaemenid Persian Empire

An overview of Persian history starting from Cyrus the Great’s conquest of Media (549 B.C.E.) until Alexander the Great’s conquest of Persia (334-329 B.C.E.), including related biblical references and Jewish texts.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

,

,

Comparing Purims

Karaite Jews question Mordechai’s authority to create an obligatory new holiday. Nevertheless, they join their Rabbinic Jewish brethren in celebrating the two days of Purim, in keeping with their understanding of Mordechai’s instructions.

Shawn Joe Lichaa

,

,

If Achashverosh Is Xerxes, Is Esther His Wife Amestris?

How do the names in Megillat Esther correlate with those we know from Persian history? Do some of them refer to the historical personages described in the Greek sources of Herodotus and Ctesias?[1]

Mitchell First

,

,

Megillat Esther: Reversing the Legacy of King Saul

One of the main themes in Megillat Esther is the death of Haman, the descendent of Agag, last king of Amalek, at the hands of Mordecai and Esther, Benjaminites from the family of King Saul. Is this just a coincidence?

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

,

,

Why Did Mordecai Not Bow Down to Haman?

The reason for Mordecai’s defiance is not explained in the book of Esther. The midrash, the targum, and the Greek versions of Esther fill in the gaps.

Prof.

Rachel Adelman

,

,

Unraveling Megillat Esther: How the Story was Developed

A close literary reading reveals the seams of two independent stories: the Harem Intrigue (Esther) and the Court Intrigue (Mordechai) and how they were connected to the festival of Purim.[1]

Prof.

Sara Japhet

,

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

,

The Megillat Esther Massacre

Confronting the description in Megillat Esther of the Jews killing 75,000 including women and children

Prof.

Meylekh (PV) Viswanath

,

,

No items found.