The Book of Esther as a Manual for Jewish Survival

The political vision and theological insight of Esther speak compellingly to the dilemmas and opportunities of the present age.

From Queen Esther by Edwin Long, 1878. Wikimedia.

From Queen Esther by Edwin Long, 1878. Wikimedia.

Observation
March 22 2016
About the author

Jonathan Silver is the editor of Mosaic.


Recent years have witnessed a renaissance of interest in the Bible’s political and social teachings, especially those that might have relevance to our own times. Studies have focused on the Bible’s putative articulation of federalism and the separation of powers, on the nation as a unique political form, on the concepts of equality, contract, consent, covenant, and much else. These works are valuable and often insightful. But they elucidate principles of social and political thought that were enacted by the heroes of the Bible in a world inhabited by the immanent presence of God—a world in which God acts in history, speaks to Moses and the prophets, gives laws and metes out justice, remembers the barren woman and the orphan child, and stands with courageous men in battle.

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More about: Esther, Hebrew Bible, Jewish political tradition, Purim