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date: 21 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The first and most important premise for the reading of the book of Esther proposed in this chapter is to construe it as a product of Diaspora Judaism. Concepts from postcolonial studies and ritual theory (specifically ritualization) are employed in order to highlight the struggle of the “Jews” in the narrative to maintain their religious and ethnic identity vis-à-vis “others” from within and without. Thus, an image of the text as a subtle but pervasive web of intertextual hints arises, in which meaning is as hidden as God is throughout the narrative. The reading is supplemented by insights from gender studies, approaching the various interactions between male and female protagonists not simply as the struggle between the sexes, but more broadly, as a means of identification, representation, and embodiment for the suppressed or marginalized group as a whole.

Keywords: book of Esther, Diaspora Judaism, postcolonial studies, intertextuality, ritualization, gender, representation, embodiment

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