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Advice Scenes in Herodotus’s History and the Book of Esther

  • Korean Journal of Old Testament Studies
  • Abbr : KJOTS
  • 2019, 25(2), pp.148-172
  • DOI : 10.24333/jkots.2019.25.2.148
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Old Testament Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Christian Theology
  • Received : April 14, 2019
  • Accepted : April 29, 2019

KIM SUNG ON 1

1연세대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study attempts to analyze the advice-scene related to King Xerxes (486-465 BC). To this end, I would like to refer mainly to two different data. One is the History of the Greek historian Herodotus, and the other is the Book of Esther. Scholars see Xerxes in Herodotus and Ahasuerus in Esther as the same king. In this study, we are particularly interested in the role of counselors appearing in both sources and the attitude and response of Xerxes. According to Esther, King Ahasuerus follows the advice of his followers on almost every occasion. And Herodotus records in detail what wise courtiers made specific recommendations beside Xerxes. But according to the history of Herodotus, Xerxes is often described as rejecting rather than following the advices of his counselors. These differences make it difficult to assess the style of Xerxes’ rule. If Esther’s King Ahasuerus and Xerxes of Herodotus are the same king, how do we understand the difference in these propensities, which are described differently in the two sources? Herodotus and the author of the Book of Esther each held a very different ethnic life context: Greek and Jewish. This national difference and the difference in the historical experience may seem to have influenced when Herodotus described Xerxes in his book and the author of Esther portrayed about the King Ahasuerus. For the Greeks, Persia was an invader who wanted to overthrow the civilization that was just blooming by force with the power of the great empire. And the Greeks eventually overcome the Persian invasion and think their civilization flourished. On the other hand, the Persian empire came to the Jews more positively than the previous empires. Above all, by Persia the Jews were able to return to their homeland and restore their religious.

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