I realize that it’s been nearly two years since this thread was started, and I apologize for not responding earlier.
The events recorded in the Biblical book know in the English-speaking world as “Esther” likely took place sometime between 485 BCE and 338 BCE.
Yehudim (“Jews”) first began to be deported to Mesopotamia around 605 BCE and continued to be deported through 586 BCE.
Mégas Aléxandros (III), Basileus of Makedonía (aka “Alexander the Great”) lived from 356 BCE to 323 BCE.
This timeframe is arrived at by looking at the possible identities of the husband of the titular heroine.
In the Hebrew text, he is called something like "Axchašhvwuerôušh," which indicates that he could possible be the first Pad’Shah’an’shah (“Emperor”) named “Xkhašhâyâr-šhâh” (or something to that effect – “Xerxes”) or one of the first three Pad’Shah’an’sha named Artaxkhšhasthra (or something to that effect – “Artaxerxes”).
None of these Pad’Shah’an’shah had anything to do with Aléxandros.
The titular heroine herself was originally called something like “Had-hach-ah,” which is the feminine form of the ‘Ibv’rit (Hebrew) name for the plant known to us in the English speaking world today as “myrtle.”
She later changed her name to something like “‘AEshe-tereh” to hide her ethnicity.
There seems to have been a somewhat similar term for the myrtle plant in use in Iran at the time, and she was living in Iran.
Then again, the name also seems to be somewhat similar to the Parsi (Persian) word for “star.”
There is also the possibility that her new name has something to do with the goddess worshipped throughout the ancient Near & Middle East under many different (but extremely similar) names…
Names that start with “’A,” “A,” or “I;” followed by “s,” “sh,” “st,” “shr,” “sht,” “t,” “th,” “tr,” “tht;” followed by a vowel sound; followed by “d,” “r,” “t,” “rd,” or “rt;” some variations end there, but others go on to follow with another vowel sound; some variations end after this vowel sound, but others go on to add “h,” “m,” r,” “s,” “t,” “rd,” or “rt.”
She was raised by her relative named Mar-Douk-ay (or something to that effect – “Mordechai”); a name which is of Mesopotamian origin and has a less-clear meaning.
It literally means “Servant of Marduk” or Worshippper of Marduk.”
Marduk was one of the chief gods of Mesopotamia (if not the chief god), and the name could’ve been understood by Yehudim in exile to simply mean “Servant of God” or “Worshipper of God.”
Or, since Marduk was a war-god, the name could’ve been understood to mean “Warrior.”
The form of the name also seems to indicate that the person with the name was a man to be greatly admired & respected.
The name is also extremely similar to a term in the Parsi language which means “Little Boy” or “Little Man,” and it is quite likely that while Mar-Douk-ay was growing up in Šhou-šhan/ Šhou-šhun (one of the capital cities of the Parsi Empire), his family used that Parsi term as a nickname for him.
Others may have used that same term as a nickname for him later in life as well, although not in such an affectionate way.
“Esther” presents itself as a historical text, and I believe it to be a historical text – a reliable, accurate documentation of real events.
In addition, “Esther” is part of the cannon for all sects & denominations of Judaism & Christianity.
“Judith,” however, is a deuterocanonical book found only in the Bibles of some Christian sects & denominations.
I do not believe “Judith” to be anything more than a piece of Hashmonayim-era literature, and a work of fiction at that.
Now, if you want to talk about how this film fares in its depiction of ancient Iran on a purely visual level, I can talk about that, too.
Thank you for an interesting post. I will have to say though, that I'm not sure about how historical the book of Esther is. Of course it presents itself as a historical text, but you have to remember that most of the other books in the Old Testament (and also the New Testament) did that as well. There probably is some historical backdrop to it. After all, we have to remeber that the Jews were under Persian rule for several years and probably feared being prosecuted by them. But I wouldn't call the book of Esther a historical document. But back in those days, people weren't as concerned with facts as we are today, so history was more about spreading a message than spreading facts.
The big problem is that this whole story (the Jews of Persia were almost exterminated by an evil grandvizir, but fortunately, the queen (who happened to be Jewish herself) managed to save her people) can't be found in other texts outside the Bible. You would have expected something like that to be written down by Persian scribes, but it doesn't seem to be the case here. Scholars have actually discovered that many Biblical stories have some truth in them. Because two cities near the Dead Sea really were destroyed by a natural disaster, just like Sodom and Gomorra were in the book of Genesis. The walls of Jericho fell from the inside, just like it says in the book of Joshua. Even the very fantastical Exodus story seems to have some truth in it. And even if the Egyptians haven't written about that incident, that might just have been because they never wrote about their defeats! So maybe I'm a bit harsh towards the book of Esther. But I see it as an old story with historical elements rather than a historical document. And when I read about the theory about the story being a distorted version of an old Babylonian myth, it felt more plausible than what you might believe at first glance...
And the so called deuterocanonical books are just as important as the "real" Old testament to the Catholic church and the Ortodox churches. Because these books were a part of Septuaginta, which was the most famous and wide-spread translation of the Hebrew Bible to Greek in ancient times, so the first Christians considered them legitimate, even if the Jews themselves had decided not to see them as a part of their Bible anymore. But for some reason, the Protestant churches never valued these books as much, and in many traditionally Protestant countries, like here in Sweden, they weren't even included in most bibles (with my grandmother's family bible from the 1950s being an exception). But they're included in our newest translation of the Bible, "Bibel 2000", as a natural bridge between the Old Testament and the New Testament, just as they should be.
Well, I won’t get into discussions of hermeneutics or apologetics concerning the canon, Biblical inerrancy/literalism, criticism (higher or textual), etc., etc…
I will just say that I am thoroughly convinced that those books in the so-called “Protestant Canon” that present themselves as historical narratives are accurate, reliable, and completely true account of real events that actually happened just exactly the way that these books say that they did.
However, the various & sundry apocryphal or so-called “deuterocanonical” books that appear in the canons of various & sundry Catholic & Orthodox groups are works of fiction, although a few (such as the books of the Maccabees) have some basis in actual events. However, none of them come anywhere near being on the level of the books of the so-called “Protestant Canon.”
That’s the conclusion that I’ve come to, at least, and I realize that you’ve come to a quite different conclusion.
I’m far from the only person that holds my views, and you’re far from the only person that holds your views.
There are those who hold similar views to mine, are extremely knowledgeable about ancient history, and have no trouble whatsoever reconciling these views with what we know of ancient history from non-Biblical sources.
I don’t really care to enter into a debate or discussion on the matter, so I hope that I haven’t come across as combative.
I just wanted to be clear about our differences of opinion.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading what you have to say!
Thank you very much for your contributions!
Thank you, but you are a part of the discussion now as well.
Intelligence and purity.
I think you have plenty of knowledge.
Intelligence and purity.