Approaching a Christian Re-reading of Esther after Esther Rabbah: An Experiment in Comparative Theology

Wickham, Andrew (2018) Approaching a Christian Re-reading of Esther after Esther Rabbah: An Experiment in Comparative Theology. Masters thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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This thesis is an exercise in comparative theology inspired by Brueggemann’s call for Jewish-Christian ‘co-reading’ of the Old Testament/Tanakh. It re-reads the Book of Esther from a Christian perspective after interreligious engagement with the rabbinic midrash, Esther Rabbah. Using an approach exemplified by Clooney and Moyaert, this thesis engages the midrash through a hermeneutic reader-text conversation where the text ‘speaks’ not only through its academic critical interrogation but also through the reader’s empathy and vulnerability. I suggest that Esther Rabbah interprets Esther through two key themes: exile and redemption which are utilised to bring the biblical text into the rabbis’ experience of life in extended exile, awaiting redemption. Intrinsic to this interpretation are two concepts: election and God. That is, even while living in protracted exile, the Jewish covenantal relationship with God provides them with the necessary hope that God will remain with them until the World to Come when the divine presence will be fully revealed. In the meantime, God is to be sought in the Scriptures, with the great divine acts, primarily the Exodus, remembered, so that, by faithful observance, the final redemption may be ushered in. This study uses Esther Rabbah to re-read Esther in the light of recent discussion of what Beach has called ‘the Church in exile’. I suggest that, after Christendom, contemporary Christians who are in a state of spiritual ‘exile’, would do well to follow the example of the rabbis in searching for the presence of God even in times when humanity seems loveless and the divine seems hidden. Esther Rabbah helps the Christian reader to remember God’s acts in Scripture and live in accordance with the divine commandment of love of God and neighbour, in anticipation of the future redemption when people may be truly restored to the eternal presence of God.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Additional Information: Masters by Research
Uncontrolled Keywords: Old testament; Esther Rabbah
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2019 15:22
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:54

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