Esther

The book of Esther is not a historical document in the usual sense--but that doesn't undermine its importance as a religious book in the Jewish canon.

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The story, like its accompanying festival, does what comedy and carnival are supposed to do: it confirms the belief that the power at work in the universe favors life and favors the success of the Jews. The Book of Esther affirms that all is right with the world and with the place of the Jews in it.

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Adele Berlin

Adele Berlin is Professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Maryland.