The Book of Esther takes us to the heart of destiny moments: a beautiful but unlikely queen evolves into a Jewish leader. A wise and trusted Jewish courtier expands his platform of influence, and a vulnerable minority facing death becomes a powerful people in a land not their own. Dr. Erica Brown offers us a close textual and thematic reading of this beloved story of courage and heroism against a background of hate and political ineptitude. This ancient story sheds its light on today’s most pressing problems: contemporary antisemitism, sexual tyranny and the absence of leadership.
Esther: Power, Fate and Fragility in Exile
Unlike any other book of the Hebrew Bible, Megillat Esther (The Scroll of Esther)has left the greatest minds and scholars of the Jewish tradition bewildered and dumbfounded while simultaneously capturing the hearts, minds, and imagination of artists, writers, and poets for thousands of years. Both as a love letter and statement of caution, the scroll speaks to the situation of the Jew in exile and invites the reader on a journey to ensure Jewish security in the presence of political predators.
In her latest book, Esther: Power, Fate, and Fragility in Exile, Dr. Erica Brown takes the scroll’s storyline, masquerading behind layers of silliness, and sobers its carnivalesque unraveling. Dr. Brown unlocks the hidden secrets to this coded and subversive book. Slowing down each scene with exegesis from rabbinic, modern, and academic scholars layered with citations from archeologists, psychologists, and sociologists, she offers a holistic lens to every line of the Megillah. Dr. Brown gives the reader a broad range of penetrating lessons, pointing out parallel plots in the biblical canon and the human condition as a whole.
Most significantly, Dr. Brown brings faith and empathy for those who live with darkness and fear, illuminating a pathway to see beyond the topsy-turvy world, connecting seemingly disjointed storylines to reveal the hidden purpose of it all.
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