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The book of Esther. Based on historical fact or fiction?

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  • Quickened
    replied
    Re: The book of Esther. Based on historical fact or fiction?

    Originally posted by astrongerthanhe View Post
    BroRog, I can't rep you again yet, but that was an excellent post!
    I agree.

    To address the OP personally there is no evidence that what is recorded here isn't history. I see no reason to doubt that it is history.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nihil Obstat
    replied
    Re: The book of Esther. Based on historical fact or fiction?

    BroRog, I can't rep you again yet, but that was an excellent post!

    Leave a comment:


  • rejoice44
    replied
    Re: The book of Esther. Based on historical fact or fiction?

    [QUOTE]
    Originally posted by Knight Templar View Post
    Deuteronomy 21:18 - 21 says that a rebellious son must be stoned to death. Is this the sort of morality that you're talking about? Because, while I would admit that being dishonorable towards parents is immoral, I would also say that I think that stoning kids to death is even more immoral, and I don't need anyone to tell me that.
    I will stick with God's righteousness above my own any and every day. Only God is good, and only God knows righteousness. The end result of disobedience is death and condemning God's righteousness is the quickest way to get there.

    Would you condemn God for bringing on the flood? Perhaps you believe that the flood was fiction too.

    Is there something written that we are guaranteed a certain time on earth, or is it God's good pleasure? If God says stone a rebellious child, then that is right, and that is good. How many lives will that rebellious child impact in a negative way? I don't know, but God knows the evil that disobedience projects. God's ways are not our ways. Our ways are selfish and sinful, but God's ways are righteous and good.

    Leave a comment:


  • BroRog
    replied
    Re: The book of Esther. Based on historical fact or fiction?

    Originally posted by Knight Templar View Post
    I disagree. "Faith" is not mentioned in Esther. Neither is God.
    While the term "faith" may not be used by the author of Esther, the concept of faith is definitely a major theme of Esther. For instance, faith is found in the words of Mordecai in the following passage.

    4:13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews. 14 "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?"

    In Mordecai's own words, "deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place", which indicates that Mordecai knew that God would deliver his people from utter destruction. Mordecai's concern was not that his people might be destroyed, but that Esther might abandon her people and miss out on God's blessing seeing that her father's house would perish. Mordecai raised Esther and was reminding her of something that she already knew was right. She was ultimately in the hands of God and her being in the favor of the king was not source of her blessing, but a chance to participate in the salvation of her people.

    Also, it does not expressly purport to be true.
    Yes it does. It reads like history and there is nothing in the account to suggest that it is a work of fiction. The only reason why scholars consider the book to be a "novella" is because certain details are inaccurate in their opinion.

    Nevertheless, I have learned to be very cautious when it comes to the expert opinion of modern scholars, who have the vantage point of a guy sitting in the upper decks of a very large football stadium, trying to figure out what happened in the previous day's game. When a scholar talks about "inaccuracies" what he means is "I have compared the account of Esther to the accounts of other historians and the bits and pieces of Persian culture, history, and politics and have found a few places where Esther and the other data disagree." What they don't tell you is that they are making a judgment as to which sources to believe and trust. That's what an expert opinion is: a judgment. We don't like it, but the human knowledge base depends on the wise judgments of those who contribute to it. We want our experts to give us mathematical certainty and we have constructed a framework of opinion that society has agreed to provisionally consider to be "truth", based on supposed considered decisions and sensible conclusions. In other words, we treat the subjective opinions of "experts" as if they are the "objective" truth, when in reality all expert opinions are subject to bias.

    In fact, these so-called "inaccuracies" may not be inaccuracies at all. For some reason historians, like all of us, tend to forget that history is the account of human activity and humans are messy, complicated, complex creatures. Just because an historian finds a document that describes the life of the courts of Persian kings, doesn't mean that the courts always performed the way such a document describes. Real life is messy and real life doesn't always conform to rules. What typically happens in any given situation may not be what actually happened in a particular situation. What people say they do, is not what they always do.

    So, without actually knowing the thinking that went behind and led up to an expert opinion, we must always hear expert opinions as subjective rulings and not objective truth. The guy who wrote Esther was there, and those who read his work were also there and since I trust other portions of the scriptures I choose to give the author of Esther the benefit of the doubt and choose to think that he chose to give us a true account in all of its human messiness and complexity.

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  • Ta-An
    replied
    Re: The book of Esther. Based on historical fact or fiction?

    I enjoyed reading this on the Feast of Purim,,
    Imagine standing on the brink of disaster with only a thin veil of hope between you and immanent death. You pray for deliverance from your enemies…and God not only delivers you, but brings swift justice to those who had willfully plotted your demise.
    Imagine your relief. Imagine your joy. You’d call your friends and family together to celebrate God’s goodness. Purim celebrates just such a deliverance and is observed annually on the 14th of Adar; also the 15th in Jerusalem, Jaffa, and Tiberias (March 19-20, 2011).
    The book of Esther tells the story of Purim. Esther, raised by her cousin Mordecai, is chosen as queen by King Xerxes. Haman, the highest-ranked nobleman in court, despises Mordecai because he won’t bow to him. Outraged, Haman plots the destruction of the entire Jewish nation. Esther risks her life to plead with the king to save her people. The tables are turned and Haman is hung on the very gallows he’d prepared for Mordecai.
    Because of the Jews’ miraculous reversal of fortune, Purim is a happy holiday characterized by reversals, when the expected gets turned upside down. Purim customs include parades and festive gatherings and children are especially encouraged to celebrate by dressing in costume and joining in the noisemaking. There’s a strong emphasis on community involving giving gifts of food (Esther 9:19), giving gifts to charity, (9:22) and a festive meal. (9:18, 22)
    Central to the Purim holiday is a noisy reading of the book of Esther. It’s customary to boo, hiss, stomp feet, and rattle noisemakers called graggers whenever the name of Haman (Boo!) is read aloud in order to drown out his name. In contrast, listeners cheer each time Mordecai is named (Yay!).
    [Go ahead, turn to Esther. We know you want to try it...]
    Behind the revelry lies a timeless message: God often works in ways that are not always apparent to us. He acts in ways that some call chance or coincidence. Yet, on closer examination, we see his fingerprints everywhere. Albert Einstein once wrote, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”
    Some will call it luck, but we know that God is in control.

    Leave a comment:


  • Free Indeed
    replied
    Re: The book of Esther. Based on historical fact or fiction?

    Originally posted by rejoice44 View Post
    How did anyone know what is moral and what is not without being told?
    Deuteronomy 21:18 - 21 says that a rebellious son must be stoned to death. Is this the sort of morality that you're talking about? Because, while I would admit that being dishonorable towards parents is immoral, I would also say that I think that stoning kids to death is even more immoral, and I don't need anyone to tell me that.

    So morality is worshiping animals while children starve to death?
    False dichotomy. For example, Gandhi was a Hindu, and was much more moral than many self-professed Christians I know. If children are going to starve to death anyway, what's the difference between worshiping animals and worshiping the Bible?

    Leave a comment:


  • Fenris
    replied
    Re: The book of Esther. Based on historical fact or fiction?

    Originally posted by rejoice44 View Post
    That is the whole purpose of a parable, to relate a story with a different perspective.
    It's to teach a lesson.

    Leave a comment:


  • rejoice44
    replied
    Re: The book of Esther. Based on historical fact or fiction?

    [QUOTE]
    Originally posted by Knight Templar View Post
    That does not follow. People wrote about, talked about, and practiced morality long before the Bible came into being.
    They did? Is that why God destroyed the world with a flood? The Bible is the word of God, and the word of God was from the beginning. The word came to Abraham, and even Job said he esteemed the words of God's mouth more than necessary food. There is a thread that asks does man have a sin nature, and the answer is of course.

    How did anyone know what is moral and what is not without being told?

    And the Bible itself is not always very moral.
    Do you mean the men in the Bible, or God?

    Technically, even that doesn't follow. Plenty of people throughout history have believed in God while rejecting the Bible: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Voltaire, and 50 million Hindus, are just a few examples.
    So morality is worshiping animals while children starve to death?

    I have to leave for awhile, sorry to be so brief.

    Leave a comment:


  • divaD
    replied
    Re: The book of Esther. Based on historical fact or fiction?

    The book of Esther, why would some take that as fiction? What are some points in that book that are hard to believe, if it factually occured? Isn't that what it really boils down to? If some are concluding the book is fictitious, they're implying that none of it actually occured historically, thus implying a literal reading of it renders the story nonsensical. For those that see Esther as fiction, what makes it more believable if it were fiction, opposed to, if it were based on historic fact?

    Leave a comment:


  • Free Indeed
    replied
    Re: The book of Esther. Based on historical fact or fiction?

    Originally posted by rejoice44 View Post
    If the story of Esther is not true, then we would have reason to believe that, perhaps, no part of the scripture is true. If the scripture is not true, then there is no such thing as morality.
    That does not follow. People wrote about, talked about, and practiced morality long before the Bible came into being. And the Bible itself is not always very moral. The argument that the book of Esther must be historically valid in order for the Bible to be true is not logical. Even Paul warned against placing too much importance on "Jewish fables" and "endless geneologies".

    If the Bible is not true, and only what we have in this life is it, then why waste time serving a God that doesn't exist.
    Technically, even that doesn't follow. Plenty of people throughout history have believed in God while rejecting the Bible: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Voltaire, and 50 million Hindus, are just a few examples. Of course I personally believe in the Gospel message, but if my belief in it were false, that doesn't necessarily mean that there isn't a God. And it certainly wouldn't mean that there isn't a God simply if it was found that the Book of Esther is a fictional account (again, Esther is not even a religious book, it's a secular one, and doesn't even mention God).

    Leave a comment:


  • rejoice44
    replied
    Re: The book of Esther. Based on historical fact or fiction?

    Originally posted by Fenris View Post
    Why?............
    That is the whole purpose of a parable, to relate a story with a different perspective. If I gave you a parable but didn't explain it, that would be a lie. Look at David, he was ready to kill someone over a parable, before he knew it was a parable.

    Leave a comment:


  • rejoice44
    replied
    Re: The book of Esther. Based on historical fact or fiction?

    Originally posted by Knight Templar View Post
    How in the world does it follow, that if the book of Esther does not describe historical events, there is no morality or no God? God isn't even mentioned in the Book of Esther, and I certainly don't base my understanding of morality on the book of Esther. I don't know anybody else who does either.
    If the story of Esther is not true, then we would have reason to believe that, perhaps, no part of the scripture is true. If the scripture is not true, then there is no such thing as morality. If the Bible is not true, and only what we have in this life is it, then why waste time serving a God that doesn't exist. Why not get as much gusto out of life as we can. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. There would be no advantage in doing good. Good would only be a relative term.

    Leave a comment:


  • Fenris
    replied
    Re: The book of Esther. Based on historical fact or fiction?

    Originally posted by rejoice44 View Post
    It is important that a parable be related as a parable
    Why?............

    Leave a comment:


  • rejoice44
    replied
    Re: The book of Esther. Based on historical fact or fiction?

    Originally posted by Fenris View Post
    If a listener wrote it down as I did, above, would it lose it's value?
    It is important that a parable be related as a parable, whether prior to telling or afterwards, as in the case of Nathan and David.

    Leave a comment:


  • Free Indeed
    replied
    Re: The book of Esther. Based on historical fact or fiction?

    Originally posted by rejoice44 View Post
    No, I am saying if the Bible is only a moral story, and not true, then there is no such thing as morality. Morality would be do what is right in your own eyes, for their is no authority, there is no God
    How in the world does it follow, that if the book of Esther does not describe historical events, there is no morality or no God? God isn't even mentioned in the Book of Esther, and I certainly don't base my understanding of morality on the book of Esther. I don't know anybody else who does either.

    Leave a comment:

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