Home Morningside Events - Morningside Area Alliance Classes Lectures Religious Mordecai the Jew and Esther the Greek: The Changing Politics of the Book of Esther in Antiquity and Our Times

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Online
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Date

Mar 11 2024
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Time

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

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Online

Mordecai the Jew and Esther the Greek: The Changing Politics of the Book of Esther in Antiquity and Our Times

Part of our spring learning series Timely Insights, Timeless Wisdom 

Monday, March 11, 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET 
Online

Dr. Aaron Koller, Adjunct Professor, JTS, and Professor of Near East Studies, Yeshiva University

The Book of Esther is a diaspora book. None of the action takes place in the Land of Israel, and the Temple is never mentioned. One of the most famous—and significant—features of the Hebrew Book of Esther is the absence of any mention of God. But these features that make Diaspora Jews feel comfortable were profoundly disturbing to some of the book’s earliest readers—so disturbing that they actually changed it.

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 highlight the conflict between the original diaspora book and how it was received in Hasmonean Judea. We will gain deeper appreciation for the ideologies of both versions of the book through a careful comparison of the two, and discuss how these tensions play out today as well.

If you have previously registered for another session in this series, your registration admits you to all sessions in the series, and you may attend as many as you’d like.

The Zoom link for all sessions in the Timely Insights, Timeless Wisdom series will be in the confirmation email that you receive after you register.

ABOUT THE SERIES

Join JTS’s renowned faculty to learn about their current scholarly work and greatest passions. Drawing on their expertise, scholars will offer inspiring learning and expose us to new ideas and insights that help us connect the Jewish past with the Jewish future.