Bigthan and Teresh and the reason gentiles hate jews

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Abstract

The account of Bigthan's and Teresh's conspiracy against the king (Esth 2:21-23) was transposed in the Septuagint to Addition A, which opens the book, while an additional story regarding a conspiracy to kill the king was introduced, in its stead, at the end of chapter 2 of this translation. These moves are part of Greek Esther's reworking of the story in order to depict Mordechai as faithful to the king, and Haman as the king's adversary who seeks his downfall, and to suggest that this contrast explains Haman's animosity toward Mordechai, and the Jews, who are loyal to the throne. This tendency, to accentuate the Jews' allegiance to the gentile monarch while understating the contrasts between Jews and gentiles, is widely manifested throughout Greek Esther. Its objective is to assert that gentile hatred of the Jews derives from their loyalty and reflects, in effect, hatred of the king. The historical backdrop to Esther, reworked in this manner, is most probably Egypt at the beginning of the first century BCE, when the extent of Jewish involvement within the Ptolemaic court and military was considerable.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)318-356
Number of pages39
JournalVetus Testamentum
Volume62
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

Keywords

  • anti-Semitism
  • Bigthan and Teresh
  • Haman
  • Jewish diaspora in Ptolemaic Egypt
  • loyalty
  • LXX Esther
  • Mordechai

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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