The commentary approaches the Book of Esther from a fresh literary point-of-view. It includes essays entitled “When and Where Was the Book of Esther Written?”; “Sex and Spies”; “Rabbinic Interpretation”; and many others. Recipient of the Prize of the Minister of Science, Culture, and Sport [of the State of Israel] for classical literature for the year 5762 .
This resource is available as part of the JPS Tanakh Commentary Collection (11 volumes).
“Most scholars now date the writing of the Book of Esther to the late Persian or early Greek period, roughly between 400–200 b.c.e.” (Page xli)
“The tone of the book fits its purpose: a comic story for a carnivalesque holiday.” (Page xvi)
“Are the events recounted in it true? In other words, is the book historic ally accurate? Arguing against the book’s historicity is the fact that many things in the story conflict with our knowledge about Persian history or are too fantastic to be believable.” (Page xvi)
“In the Greek versions of Esther, which de-emphasize Purim, the comic elements are diminished. The Hebrew Esther and the festival of Purim bring us a uniquely irreverent and joyously optimistic celebration of Jewish identity and Jewish continuity.” (Page xvi)
“To govern a country in which a law could never be changed would make governing impossible” (Page xvii)
This informative commentary ... dissects the Book of Esther and, by extension, the Jewish holiday of Purim. Berlin begins with a lengthy introduction, discussing Esther as comedy and as Diaspora literature; the introduction does a fine job of explaining the Persian period and its various art forms.