English ARTHUR SZYK Jewish ART BOOK Bible ESTHER SCROLL Judaica ISRAEL Holocaust

English-ARTHUR-SZYK-Jewish-ART-BOOK-Bible-ESTHER-SCROLL-Judaica-ISRAEL-Holocaust-01-snu
English ARTHUR SZYK Jewish ART BOOK Bible ESTHER SCROLL Judaica ISRAEL Holocaust
English ARTHUR SZYK Jewish ART BOOK Bible ESTHER SCROLL Judaica ISRAEL Holocaust
English ARTHUR SZYK Jewish ART BOOK Bible ESTHER SCROLL Judaica ISRAEL Holocaust
English ARTHUR SZYK Jewish ART BOOK Bible ESTHER SCROLL Judaica ISRAEL Holocaust
English ARTHUR SZYK Jewish ART BOOK Bible ESTHER SCROLL Judaica ISRAEL Holocaust
English ARTHUR SZYK Jewish ART BOOK Bible ESTHER SCROLL Judaica ISRAEL Holocaust
English ARTHUR SZYK Jewish ART BOOK Bible ESTHER SCROLL Judaica ISRAEL Holocaust
English ARTHUR SZYK Jewish ART BOOK Bible ESTHER SCROLL Judaica ISRAEL Holocaust
English ARTHUR SZYK Jewish ART BOOK Bible ESTHER SCROLL Judaica ISRAEL Holocaust
English ARTHUR SZYK Jewish ART BOOK Bible ESTHER SCROLL Judaica ISRAEL Holocaust
English ARTHUR SZYK Jewish ART BOOK Bible ESTHER SCROLL Judaica ISRAEL Holocaust
English ARTHUR SZYK Jewish ART BOOK Bible ESTHER SCROLL Judaica ISRAEL Holocaust

English ARTHUR SZYK Jewish ART BOOK Bible ESTHER SCROLL Judaica ISRAEL Holocaust
This is the EXTREMELY RARE ENGLISH VERSION!!! Arthut Szyk has created two versions , The first one in the 1920s and the second one in the 1950s. The 1950s one was published in Israel in 1974 (One and only edition) in quite a luxurious edition (Please read the Ervin Ungars article hereunder). Here for sale is an excellent copy of the 1974 most sought after ENGLISH edition , Szyks version is very directly HOLOCAUST RELATED while HAMAN is deressed with black fascist uniforms which are decorated with the swastika An obvious relevant comparison. Over 80 pp throughout profusely ILLUSTRATED and DECORATED. Each of Szyks magnificently original pages is accompanied by an ENGLISH commentary , Also placed within one Szyk decorated framing. Please watch the EXQUISITE DESIGN of this ENGLISH version. Not much to be added to the extreme ARTISTIC and HISTORICAL qualities of this ONE OF ITS KIND Jewish artistic creation. One ARTHUR SZYK MASTERPIECE. Exquisitely illustrated HC and DJ. Over 80 throughout illustrated and decorated unpaged chromo pp. Measures around 8.5″ x 11″. Including the illustated DJ. Clean except for a few foxing signs. Very slight shelf wear of cover. (Pls look at scan for accurate AS IS images). Will be sent inside a protective rigid packaging. This is an ORIGINAL vintage 1974 ENGLISH edition , NOT a reproduction or a recent reprint , It holds a life long GUARANTEE for its AUTHENTICITY and ORIGINALITY. Will be sent inside a protective packaging. Arthur Szyk (pronounced “Shick”) (ód , Poland, 1894 – New Canaan, Connecticut, September 13, 1951) was a Polish-born American artist, famous for his anti-Axis political illustrations, caricatures, and cartoons during World War II, as well as his illustrations for magazine and newspaper articles and books; including an illustrated Haggadah of Pesach, the Szyk Hagaddah, cited by The Times as “worthy to be placed among the most beautiful of books that the hand of man has ever produced”. His illustrations took the form of medieval miniaturists and illuminated manuscripts, which gave them a very distinctive style. Szyk was born in ód, Poland, to Jewish parents. At one time, he was expelled from school for his anti-Czarist, pro-Zionist, and pro-Polish sketches. Considered a child prodigy, he studied art in the Academie Julian in Paris, France in 1909, in Kraków in 1913, then in Palestine in 1914. During World War I he served in the front lines of the Russian Army for six months in 1914, then in 1919-20 during the Polish-Soviet war, he served as artistic director of the Department of Propaganda for the Polish army in ód. He fought as a guerilla during the Polish-Bolshevik War in 1921 under the name “Lieutenant Alex Szinkarenko”, to save Jews from attack. In 1919, Szyk’s illustrated Rewolucja w Niemczech (Revolution in Germany) was published, a satire of post-World War I Germany. In 1921, he moved to Paris, where he illustrated such books as Le Livre D’Esther (The Book of Esther), La Tentation de Saint Antoine The Temptation of St. Anthony, Le Juif Qui Rit (The Jew who Laughs), and Le Puits de Jacob (The Well of Jacob), and exhibited in the Galeries A. Decour as well as three other one-man exhibitions. In 1924 he was commissioned to go to Morocco for seven weeks to do a portrait of the Pasha of Marrakesh; from 1926 to 1927 illustrated a 45 page copy of the thirteenth century “Bill of Rights” for Polish Jews, the Statute of Kalisz, which was published in 1932; and in 1931 he was commissioned by the League of Nations to illustrate the League of Nations Covenant, which went unfinished but was exhibited in Geneva. He was awarded a Gold Cross of Merit by the Polish government for his exhibitions at the Musee Galleria in Paris, and the Musee d’Art et d’Histoire in Geneva. Roosevelt, and remain in the FDR Library. Because his illustrations were clear and unfavorable references to the Nazis, however, publishers in Poland and Czechoslovakia rejected it for fear of antagonizing Germany. In 1937, Szyk moved to London, where Beaconsfield Press agreed to publish his Haggaddah, on the condition that overt and direct references to the Nazis be removed. However, once Germany and Britain were at war, Szyk’s history of opposition to the Nazis in his art became an asset; the Haggadah was dedicated to King George VI, who was given the first copy, and Szyk was sent to the United States by Britain and Poland to help publicize the anti-Nazi cause. In December, 1940 he settled in New York City and began publicly advocating US involvement in defeating the Nazis. Szyk was inspired by Roosevelt’s 1941 “Four Freedoms” State of the Union speech to illustrate the Four Freedoms, preceding Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms by two years; these were used as poster stamps during the war, and later illustrated a Four Freedoms Award which was presented to Harry Truman, George Marshall, and Herbert H. His work was very popular in the United States, appearing in magazines and newspapers, books, posters and advertising in addition to galleries and museums. In 1941 he published The New Order, one of the first books of antiNazi caricatures in America, and staged an exhibit on behalf of the British-American Ambulance Corps. He became the editorial cartoonist for the New York Post, contributed to Time, Esquire, and Collier’s, produced advertisements for Coca Cola and US Steel, and exhibited in the galleries of M. The Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Brooklyn Museum, the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, and the White House in the 1940s. His diverse subjects included coffee, steel, airlines, the United Nations, the American Cancer Society, the United States Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, and Simon Bolivar. He closely followed the reports of atrocities and massacres by the Nazis, and in his work kept up the pressure on the Allied powers to intervene. Eleanor Roosevelt said of him, This is a personal war of Szyk against Hitler, and I do not think that Mr. Szyk will lose this war! ” He joined the antiNazi Bergson Group, where he became “our one man art department, according to Ben Hecht. According to Lodz Ghetto Book 5, in December 1942, Szyk’s mother Eugenia Szyk (and possibly her Polish-Christian companion) was taken from the Lodz Ghetto in Poland. Arthur Szyk thought she went to the Maidanek concentration camp and died in 1943, but his mother was actually murdered at the Chelmno concentration camp in 1942. After the war, Szyk continued to advocate the Zionist cause, and in 1948 he illustrated the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel; meanwhile, his work included illustrations for Andersen’s Fairy Tales, Pathways Through the Bible, and The Ten Commandments, along with commissions for the Limited Editions Club. He was commissioned by Canadian entrepreneur and stamp connoisseur, Kasimir Bileski to illustrate the United Nations Series; in 1946 he published Ink & Blood. On July 4, 1950, Szyk’s illustrated Declaration of Independence was publicly dedicated in New Canaan. Szyk married Julia Liekerman in 1916, and had a son, George[s], in 1917, and a daughter, Alexandra, in 1922. On May 22, 1948, Szyk became a US citizen. In 1949, despite his demonstrated admiration of and loyalty to American ideals, Szyk was named by the House Un-American Activities Committee as a member of several “subversive” organizations. In September 1951, he died of heart failure. He was eulogized by Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser, who said: Arthur Szyk was a great artist. Endowed by God with a rare sensitivity to beauty and with a rare skill in giving it graphic representation, he used his talents to create a series of works of splendor and magnificence that will live forever in the history of art. But Arthur Szyk was more than a great artist. He was a great man, a champion of justice, a fearless warrior in the cause of every humanitarian endeavor. His art was his tool and he used it brilliantly. It was in his hands a weapon of struggle with which he fought for the causes close to his heart; and by Judge Simon H. Rifkind, who said: The Arthur Szyk whom the world knows, the Arthur Szyk of the wondrous color, and of the beautiful design, that Arthur Szyk whom the world mourns todayhe is indeed not dead at all. How can he be when the Arthur Szyk who is known to mankind lives and is immortal and will remain immortal as long as the love of truth and beauty prevails among mankind? His work continues to be exhibited and published today. Recent exhibitions include: “Arthur Szyk – Drawing Against National Socialism and Terror” at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin, Germany (August 29, 2008 – January 4, 2009); “A One-Man Army: The Art of Arthur Szyk” at the Holocaust Museum Houston (October 20, 2008 – February 8, 2009); “The Art and Politics of Arthur Szyk” at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D. (April 10 – October 14, 2002); “Arthur Szyk: Artist for Freedom” at the Library of Congress (December 9, 1999 – May 6, 2000); and “Justice Illuminated: The Art of Arthur Szyk” at the Spertus Museum in Chicago (August 16, 1998 – February 28, 1999). “Justice Illuminated: The Art of Arthur Szyk” is also a traveling exhibition of The Arthur Szyk Society. Recent major publications about the art of Arthur Szyk include: a new edition of The Szyk Haggadah and its Companion Volume Freedom Illuminated: Understanding The Szyk Haggadah; and Justice Illuminated: The Art of Arthur Szyk, produced in conjunction with the 1998-99 Spertus Museum exhibition. Thanks to the Spertus Museum and the guest curator Rabbi Irvin Unger of Historicana, we have a new opportunity to face the art of Arthur Szyk, a great artist, a man for all seasons, a rare humanitarian, an original, prolific artist who first of all used art as a weapon. We should bless those who contributed to his comeback because he has been forgotten. Rabbi Unger is an expert of Szyk’s art. He is the owner of the Arthur Szyk Archives. It should be noted that the only country which never has had an exhibition of Szyk’s art is Israel. He illustrated with his unique style the Israeli Declaration of Independence multi-colored lithographic print (1949), the lithograph of Israel: A Visual History (1949) in which he summarized 4,000 years of Jewish history (according to Rabbi Unger) and he even designed several early Israeli stamps. Often I think that Israel did not like Szyk because of a less known fact: in the 1940’s, Szyk, who lived in New York, became an activist in the Irgun Tsvai Leumi The Irgun or: he joined the Jabotinsky camp in America. Szyk used his art as a weapon for the Irgun ideas. He supported the so-called Bergson group or Ben-Hecht group in America. First he was active in the struggle in America to save the European Jewry from the Holocaust. He believed and published articles calling for America’s public opinion to do something in order to save Jews or, at least, to reduce the scope of the Nazi genocide. From 1944 he was active as a leader inside the Irgun’s body, namely, The American League for Free Palestine. Therefore, he fought against the British cruelty and for a free, independent Jewish State in Palestine. Szyk, who was born in Lodz, Poland, on June 3, 1894, viewed himself as an eternal refugee, always in exile. After the Holocaust, he fought for the ending of this Jewish destiny. Szyk and his wife, Julia, served the Irgun with love and dedication. He fought for justice with Peter Bergson, Ben-Hecht, Shmuel Merlin, Yitshag Ben Ami, Harry Selden, Stella Adler and Eri Jabotinsky, to name a few. His Irgun’s chapter is well integrated in his personal-professional biography. Indeed, we still cannot find his biography in the bookstores, sad to say. This giant is still looking for his biographer. Rabbi Unger, who promotes the Szyk legacy, and Spertus Museum, located in Chicago, should be blessed for their exhibition The Art of Arthur Szyk which opened on August 16, 1998 and will close on February 28, 1999. The following is Szyk’s condensed biography (Spertus Museum): Born in 1894 into a middle-class family in Lodz, Poland, Szyk left home at age 15 to study art in Paris. As a young artist, Arthur Szyk experimented with various contemporary styles of the time, including abstraction. But as a lover of history, he felt abstract left too much to the imagination. He sought clarity in his work and sensed a need to educate. He was drawn to the intricate and decorative style of illumination, in the tradition of 16th-century miniaturist painters. To accomplish this, Szyk created miniature scenes and portraits, illuminating initial letters, decorative and symbolic border patterns, and calligraphy. Szyks art extolled his loyalty to three countries: Poland, the homeland of his birth; Israel, the homeland of the Jews; and America, the homeland of freedom. One of his most important works produced during his early years was the 45-page Statute of Kalisz, which glorified the 13th-century edict granting rights of citizenship to Poland’s Jews. In 1931, he was commissioned by the League of Nations to illuminate its charter. The artist’s interpretation of the Passover Haggadah was acclaimed by The Times (of London) as worthy of being considered among the most beautiful books ever produced by the hand of man. Using modern-day political figures to represent traditional characters from the Passover story, including Hitler as the fabled wicked son, Szyk was asked to downplay the political nature of the work before any publisher would agree to print the now-famous volume. As the urgency of the Holocaust loomed overhead, and specifically in 1939 at the German invasion of Poland, Szyk’s life and career altered course. Living in London at the time, British authorities dispatched Szyk to the U. To sway American public opinion against the Nazis. Relocating to New York City, he moved away from his established illumination style. He forged a new approach within the genre of political caricature that incorporated both the precise detail and fine craftsmanship of his miniaturist illustrations, combined with the clear message and barbed satire of political commentary. It was during World War II that Szyk produced his boldest work, as the editorial cartoonist for the New York Post, producing a steady stream of anti-Nazi cartoons and caricatures for major U. Publications, including Time, Collier’s, Esquire, the New York Times, and the Chicago Sun. In many newspapers, the drawings were placed on the front page or elsewhere within the news, rather than on the editorial pages, where cartoons usually appear. His work vilified the Nazis, the Japanese, and their cohorts, while galvanizing strength and support for the allies noble fight for freedom, and exposing the anguished faces of the persecuted victims. As a hater of hate of any kind, while the U. Fought injustice overseas, Szyk was among the first to speak out against segregation and other forms of racism against blacks in the American armed forces. His anti-Nazi propaganda drawings were used to promote U. War bonds, and were credited with boosting more sales than any other vehicle. A survey conducted by Esquire magazine published in 1941 proclaimed that Szyk’s political cartoons were more popular with young Americans in training under the Selective Service Act that photos of movie actresses or pin-up girls. After the war, Szyk continued his advocacy on behalf of Europe’s Jewish refugees, with works calling for the establishment of the State of Israel. In addition, he illuminated the Proclamation of Independence of the State of Israel and the U. Szyk died of a heart attack in 1951 at the age of 57. He was survived by his wife, Julia, his son, George and daughter, Alexandra. During the different stages of his life and career, the man who decorated countless works was, himself, decorated by three nations, Poland, France at the U. And in 1948, he proudly succeeded in becoming a citizen of the U. His books continue to be reprinted and his works hang in numerous prominent international museums and galleries, including the Museum Naradowa, Warsaw; the British Museum, London; the Library of Congress and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The following is from this index: Arthur Szyk (pronounced Shick) is considered by scholars to have been the greatest 20th century illuminator working in the style of the 16th century miniaturists. Szyk was the leading political caricaturist in America during World War II. His Haggadah was described by the London Times, at the time of publication in 1940, asa a book worthy to be placed among the most beautiful books that the hand of man has produced. Taken together, Arthur Szyk is truly one of the most remarkable and talented artists of modern times. Known as Franklin Roosevelt’s soldier with a pen, Szyk was a spirited defender of liberty and a passionate opponent of injustice, a true lover of mankind. The last few years have seen a growing interest in Arthur Szyk. While many remember him from their youth by marvelling at his illustrated Andersen’s Fairy Tales, others recall his poignant World War II caricatures and cartoons on the front pages of many of America’s leading magazines (Collier’s, Time, Esquire) lampooning the Nazi and Axis leaders in mockery and scorn. Some remember seeing his works exhibited at the 1939 World’s Fair, others have viewed them on display in The White House in The FDR Library in Hyde Park. Recognized and decorated by numerous governments both on a local and national level, Szyk’s reputation is international. His books continue to be reprinted; his Haggadah, Andersen’s Fairy Tales, The Ten Commandments, articles on Szyk’s famous Statutes of Kalisz are reappearing; and The Library of Congress has recently printed a calendar of his art. Arthur Szyk died of a heart attack on September 13, 1951. He was creative until his last moment. It is hard to believe but Szyk, before his death in New Canaan, Connecticut, was investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee as a member of… The Communist Front Organization. This is the irony of history. Szyk fought, always, for human freedom and against any tyranny. He was a civil rights fighter. He was a pioneer of freedom. His legacy means that the artist has an obligation to fight for political and social goals. He should not isolate himself by believing in Art for Art Sake. The greatness of Szyk stems from his genius: the ability to use ancient techniques 400 years old to express his convictions and his political goals, as well. He knew how to use the past in order to achieve a better future for humanity and first of all, for his nation, the Jews. Just look in his 1920’s new version of The Book of Esther. By using, also, swastikas, Szyk expressed his outcry against modern anti-Semitism. Let’s bring Szyk back to our artistic world. During World War II, readers of Life, Time, Esquire, and other American magazines enjoyed the vivid anti-Nazi cartoons of Arthur Szyk, a Polish-born Jewish artist and illustrator. Szyk’s witty and dramatic style packed a fiery political punch. Szyk was a fierce advocate for justice. One of his wartime cartoons was so liberal that it proved too hot for any publisher to handle. Veering away from his usual Axis targets, Szyk depicted two GIs, one white and one black, escorting German prisoners. The white soldier asks his comrade, And what would you do with Hitler? ” The black soldier replies: “I would have made him a Negro and dropped him somewhere in the US! Not one American magazine or newspaper printed it. A soldier in the Polish army during World War I, Szyk fell prisoner to the Germans but received lenient treatment because his captors admired his artistic talents. After the war, Szyk traveled to Ukraine, where he witnessed pogroms that devastated Jewish communities. In 1934, Szyk created a series of 38 paintings depicting the American Revolution that were exhibited at the Paris Worlds Fair. Szyk’s most famous work was his illuminated Haggadah (1939), found to this day on Seder tables throughout the world Although hailed by the Times of London as “among the most beautiful books that the hand of man has produced, ” intimidated European publishers refused to print it, fearing that his graphic allusions to the Nazis might provoke German wrath. Finally, Szyk found an English publisher who agreed to publish the work if Szyk whittled down the anti-Nazi content to only two depictions of Hitler as the wicked son. When the Nazis overran Poland in September 1939, Szyk was in London. He immediately began contributing illustrations to the war propaganda campaign. A colleague described Szyk’s political art as powerful as a bomb, clear in conception, definite and deadly in its execution. The British authorities dispatched Szyk to the United States in 1940, hoping his work would sway American public opinion to join the struggle against Hitler. Living in Connecticut, Szyk became the editorial cartoonist for the New York Post and contributed a steady stream of anti-Nazi cartoons and illustrations to major magazines. Szyk thought of himself as Roosevelt’s soldier with a pen. ” He wrote, “I consider myself as being on duty in my cartoons. ” While he would have preferred to continue doing illuminated manuscripts and other forms of art, he observed, “We are not entitled to do the things we like today. ” Eleanor Roosevelt once remarked, “This is a personal war of Szyk against Hitler, and I do not think that Mr. Szyk’s devotion to the Allied war effort was matched by his growing concern for Jews trapped in Nazi-occupied Europe. In 1941, Szyk joined forces with the Bergson Group, a band of Jewish activists who lobbied the Roosevelt Administration to rescue endangered Jews. After the war, the Bergsonites rallied American public support for the Jewish underground’s revolt against the British in Palestine. Szyk’s dramatic illustrations were featured in the full-page advertisements in American newspapers. Ben Hecht, who wrote the text for many of the Bergson group’s newspapers ads, called Szyk our one-man art department. Worked for eight years without a pause. Nobody paid him anything and nobody thought of thanking him… Szyk’s art lent a nobility to the Irgun cause. His Hebrews under fire, under torture, exterminated in lime pits and bonfires. Remained a people to be loved and admired. Their faces fleeing from massacre now, were tense and still beautiful. There was never slovenly despair or hysterical agony in Szyk’s dying Jews, but only courage and beauty. If there was ever an artist who believed that an hour of valor was better than a lifetime of furtiveness and cringe, it was Szyk. Szyk died in 1951 at the age of 57. His life was indeed that “hour of valor” to which Ben Hecht alluded, an artist whose brush was truly his sword. Adolph Hitler put a price tag on Arthur Szyk’s head. The American press called Szyk a one-man army against fascism. ” The Times of London declared his art work to “be among the most beautiful… Ever produced by the hand of man. Arthur Szyk (pronounced Shick) is considered by scholars and art critics to have been the greatest 20th century illuminator working in the style of the 16th century miniaturist painters. Americans first knew and loved Arthur Szyk’s illuminated manuscripts and political caricatures as they appeared on and between the covers of their most popular magazines during the Second World War: Time, Esquire, Collier’s and advertisements for U. Steel and Coca Cola. His subjects were as diverse as his uniquely combined styles of renaissance illumination and political caricature: The Declaration of Independence, Nazism, The Passover Haggadah and Book of Esther, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the United Nations, American Cancer Society, and even coffee, steel and airlines. Szyk’s art was not an end in itself. It was his means to promote tolerance, human dignity and freedom. In his time, he became widely known for the declaration: Art is not my aim, it is my means. Szyk first visited the United States from his native Poland in 1934 to receive the George Washington Bicentennial Medal, awarded by the U. Congress, and to attend the Library of Congress exhibition opening of Washington and His Times. He emigrated to the U. After fleeing Nazism in 1940, and became America’s leading political caricaturist during World War II. Ironically, it is because of the Holocaust that Americans can proudly claim this world renown artist and social commentator as our own. Szyk’s life bridged the great cultural and social movements of his day, and, remarkably, he gained international prominence as an artist devoted to democracy and Judaism. Throughout his life, his eyes were always open to political injustices and human suffering. Szyk’s illuminated works of art and political caricatures hold powerful messages of relevance to men, women and children across generations, cultures and geographical borders. The accomplishments of The Arthur Szyk Society can attest to this great artist’s timely social value. The Book of Esther (Hebrew: , Megillat Esther), also known in Hebrew as “the Scroll” (Megillah), is a book in the third section (Ketuvim, “Writings”) of the Jewish Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible). It is one of the five Scrolls (Megillot) in the Hebrew Bible and later became part of the Christian Greek Old Testament. The book relates the story of a Hebrew woman in Persia, born as Hadassah but known as Esther, who becomes queen of Persia and thwarts a genocide of her people. The story forms the core of the Jewish festival of Purim, during which it is read aloud twice: once in the evening and again the following morning. The books of Esther and Song of Songs are the only books in the Hebrew Bible that do not mention God. [2] Contents 1 Setting and structure 1.1 Setting 1.2 Structure 2 Summary 3 Authorship and date 4 Historicity 5 Historical reading 6 Interpretation 7 Additions to Esther 8 Modern retelling 9 Notes 10 References 10.1 Citations 10.2 Sources 11 External links 11.1 Text and translations 11.2 Physical relics Setting and structure[edit] Setting[edit] The biblical Book of Esther is set in the Persian capital of Susa (Shushan) in the third year of the reign of the Persian king Ahasuerus. The name Ahasuerus is equivalent to Xerxes[3] (both deriving from the Persian Khshayrsha), [4] and Ahasuerus is usually identified in modern sources as Xerxes I, [5][6] who ruled between 486 and 465 BC, [3] as it is to this monarch that the events described in Esther are thought to fit the most closely. [4][7] Assuming that Ahasuerus is indeed Xerxes I, the events described in Esther began around the years 48382 BC, and concluded in March 473 BC. Classical sources such as Josephus, the Jewish commentary Esther Rabbah and the Christian theologian Bar-Hebraeus, [8] as well as the Greek Septuagint translation of Esther, instead identify Ahasuerus as either Artaxerxes I (reigned 465 to 424 BC) or Artaxerxes II (reigned 404 to 358 BC). [8] On his accession, however, Artaxerxes II lost Egypt to pharaoh Amyrtaeus, after which it was no longer part of the Persian empire. In his Historia Scholastica Petrus Comestor identified Ahasuerus (Esther 1:1) as Artaxerxes III (35838 BC) who reconquered Egypt. [9] Structure[edit] The Book of Esther consists of an introduction (or exposition) in chapters 1 and 2; the main action (complication and resolution) in chapters 3 to 9:19; and a conclusion in 9:2010:3. [10] The plot is structured around banquets (mishteh), a word that occurs twenty times in Esther and only 24 times in the rest of the Hebrew bible. This is appropriate given that Esther describes the origin of a Jewish feast, the feast of Purim, but Purim itself is not the subject and no individual feast in the book is commemorated by Purim. The book’s theme, rather, is the reversal of destiny through a sudden and unexpected turn of events: the Jews seem destined to be destroyed, but instead are saved. In literary criticism such a reversal is termed “peripety”, and while on one level its use in Esther is simply a literary or aesthetic device, on another it is structural to the author’s theme, suggesting that the power of God is at work behind human events. [11] Summary[edit] King Ahasuerus, ruler of the Persian Empire, holds a lavish 180-day banquet, initially for his court and dignitaries and afterwards a seven-day banquet for all inhabitants of the capital city, Shushan (Esther 1:19). On the seventh day of the latter banquet, Ahasuerus orders the queen, Vashti, to display her beauty before the guests by coming before them wearing her crown (1:1011). She refuses, infuriating Ahasuerus, who on the advice of his counselors removes her from her position as an example to other women who might be emboldened to disobey their husbands (1:1219). A decree follows that “every man should bear rule in his own house” (1:2022). Esther is crowned in this 1860 woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld Ahasuerus then makes arrangements to choose a new queen from a selection of beautiful young women from throughout the empire (2:14). Among these women is a Jewish orphan named Esther, who was raised by her cousin or uncle, Mordecai (2:57). She finds favour in the King’s eyes, and is crowned his new queen, but does not reveal her Jewish heritage (2:820). Shortly afterwards, Mordecai discovers a plot by two courtiers, Bigthan and Teresh, to assassinate Ahasuerus. The conspirators are apprehended and hanged, and Mordecai’s service to the King is recorded (2:2123). Ahasuerus appoints Haman as his viceroy (3:1). Mordecai, who sits at the palace gates, falls into Haman’s disfavour, as he refuses to bow down to him (3:25). Haman discovers that Mordecai refuses to bow on account of his Jewishness, and in revenge plots to kill not just Mordecai, but all the Jews in the empire (3:6). A royal decree is issued throughout the kingdom to slay all Jews on that date. When Mordecai discovers the plan, he goes into mourning and implores Esther to intercede with the King (4:15). But she is afraid to present herself to the King unsummoned, an offense punishable by death (4:612). Instead, she directs Mordecai to have all Jews fast for three days for her, and vows to fast as well 4:1516. On the third day she goes to Ahasuerus, who stretches out his sceptre to her to indicate that she is not to be punished (5:12). She invites him to a feast in the company of Haman (5:35). During the feast, she asks them to attend a further feast the next evening (5:68). Meanwhile, Haman is again offended by Mordecai and, at his wife’s suggestion, has a gallows built to hang him (5:914). That night, Ahasuerus cannot sleep, and orders the court records be read to him (6:1). He is reminded that Mordecai interceded in the previous plot against his life, and discovers that Mordecai never received any recognition (6:23). Just then, Haman appears to request the King’s permission to hang Mordecai, but before he can make this request, Ahasuerus asks Haman what should be done for the man that the King wishes to honor (6:46). Assuming that the King is referring to Haman himself, Haman suggests that the man be dressed in the King’s royal robes, and crown and led around on the King’s royal horse, while a herald calls: See how the King honours a man he wishes to reward! To his surprise and horror, the King instructs Haman to do so to Mordecai (6:1011). Mordecai is honored in this 1860 woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld. Immediately after, Ahasuerus and Haman attend Esther’s second banquet. The King promises to grant her any request, and she reveals that she is Jewish and that Haman is planning to exterminate her people, including herself (7:16). Overcome by rage, Ahasuerus leaves the room; meanwhile Haman stays behind and begs Esther for his life, falling upon her in desperation (7:7). Unable to annul a formal royal decree, the King instead adds to it, permitting the Jews to join together and destroy any and all of those seeking to kill them[12][13] (8:114). On 13 Adar, Haman’s ten sons and 500 other men are killed in Shushan (9:112). Upon hearing of this Esther requests it be repeated the next day, whereupon 300 more men are killed (9:1315). Over 75,000 people are slaughtered by the Jews, who are careful to take no plunder (9:1617). Mordecai and Esther send letters throughout the provinces instituting an annual commemoration of the Jewish people’s redemption, in a holiday called Purim (lots) (9:2028). Ahasuerus remains very powerful and continues his reign, with Mordecai assuming a prominent position in his court (10:13). Authorship and date[edit] Scroll of Esther (Megillah) The Megillat Esther (Book of Esther) became the last of the 24 books of the Tanakh to be canonized by the Sages of the Great Assembly. According to the Talmud, it was a redaction by the Great Assembly of an original text by Mordecai. [14] It is usually dated to the 4th century BC. [15][16] Shemaryahu Talmon, however, suggests that the traditional setting of the book in the days of Xerxes I cannot be wide off the mark. [17] The Greek book of Esther, included in the Septuagint, is a retelling of the events of the Hebrew Book of Esther rather than a translation and records additional traditions which do not appear in the traditional Hebrew version, in particular the identification of Ahasuerus with Artaxerxes and details of various letters. It is dated around the late 2nd to early 1st century BC. [18][19] The Coptic and Ethiopic versions of Esther are translations of the Greek rather than the Hebrew Esther. A Latin version of Esther was produced by Jerome for the Vulgate. It translates the Hebrew Esther but interpolates translations of the Greek Esther where the latter provides additional material. Predating the Vulgate, however, the Vetus Latina (“Old Latin”) was apparently translated from a different Greek version not included in the Septuagint. [20] Several Aramaic targums of Esther were produced in the Middle Ages, of which three survive the Targum Rishon (“First Targum” or 1TgEsth) and Targum Sheni (“Second Targum” or 2TgEsth)[21][22] dated c. 5001000 AD, [23] which include additional legends relating to Purim, [21] and the Targum Shelishi (“Third Targum” or 3TgEsth), which Berliner and Goshen-Gottstein argued was the ur-Targum from which the others had been expanded, but which others consider only a late recension of the same. 3TgEsth is the most manuscript-stable of the three, and by far the most literal. [25] There is no reference to known historical events in the story; a general consensus, though this consensus has been challenged, [26][27] has maintained that the narrative of Esther was invented in order to provide an aetiology for Purim, and the name Ahasuerus is usually understood to refer to a fictionalized Xerxes I, who ruled the Achaemenid Empire between 486 and 465 BCE. [28] According to some sources, it is a historical novella, written to explain the origin of the Jewish holiday of Purim. [29][30] As noted by biblical scholar Michael D. Coogan, the book contains specific details regarding certain subject matter (for example, Persian rule) which are historically inaccurate. For example, Coogan discusses an apparent inaccuracy regarding the age of Esther’s cousin (or, according to others, uncle) Mordecai. [29][30] In Esther 2:56, either Mordecai or his great-grandfather Kish is identified as having been exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar II in 597 BC: “Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jeconiah king of Judah”. If this refers to Mordecai, he would have had to live over a century to have witnessed the events described in the Book of Esther. [29] However, the verse may be read as referring not to Mordecai’s exile to Babylon, but to his great-grandfather Kish’s exile. [31][32][33] In her article “The Book of Esther and Ancient Storytelling”, biblical scholar Adele Berlin discusses the reasoning behind scholarly concern about the historicity of Esther. Much of this debate relates to the importance of distinguishing history and fiction within biblical texts, as Berlin argues, in order to gain a more accurate understanding of the history of the Israelite people. [34] Berlin quotes a series of scholars who suggest that the author of Esther did not mean for the book to be considered as a historical writing, but intentionally wrote it to be a historical novella. [35] The genre of novellas under which Esther falls was common during both the Persian and Hellenistic periods to which scholars have dated the book of Esther. [29][34] There are certain elements of the book of Esther that are historically accurate. The story told in the book of Esther takes place during the rule of Ahasuerus, who amongst others has been identified as the 5th-century Persian king Xerxes I (reigned 486465 BC). [32] However, according to Coogan, considerable historical inaccuracies remain throughout the text, supporting the view that the book of Esther is to be read as a historical novella which tells a story describing historical events but is not necessarily historical fact. Yamauchi has questioned the reliability of other historical sources, such as Herodotus, to which Esther has been compared. Yamauchi wrote, [Herodotus] was, however, the victim of unreliable informants and was not infallible. [36] The reason for questioning the historical accuracy of such ancient writers as Herodotus is that he is one of the primary sources of knowledge for this time period, and it has been frequently assumed that his account may be more accurate than Esther’s account. Historical reading[edit] The Feast of Esther (Feest van Esther, 1625) by Jan Lievens, North Carolina Museum of Art. Those arguing in favour of a historical reading of Esther most commonly identify Ahasuerus with Xerxes I (ruled 486465 BC), [6] although in the past it was often assumed that he was Artaxerxes II (ruled 405359 BC). The Hebrew Ahasuerus (aawr) is most likely derived from Persian Xayra, the origin of the Greek Xerxes. The Greek historian Herodotus wrote that Xerxes sought his harem after being defeated in the Greco-Persian Wars. He makes no reference to individual members of the harem except for a domineering Queen consort named Amestris, whose father, Otanes, was one of Xerxes’s generals. In contrast, the Greek historian Ctesias refers to a similar father-in-law/general figure named Onaphas. Amestris has often been identified with Vashti, but this identification is problematic, as Amestris remained a powerful figure well into the reign of her son, Artaxerxes I, whereas Vashti is portrayed as dismissed in the early part of Xerxes’s reign. [citation needed] Alternative attempts have been made to identify her with Esther, although Esther is an orphan whose father was a Jew named Abihail. As for the identity of Mordecai, the similar names Marduka and Marduku have been found as the name of officials in the Persian court in over thirty texts from the period of Xerxes I and his father Darius I, and may refer to up to four individuals, one of whom might be the model for the biblical Mordecai. The “Old Greek” Septuagint version of Esther translates the name Ahasuerus as Artaxerxes, [37] a Greek name derived from the Persian Artaxara. Josephus too relates that this was the name by which he was known to the Greeks, and the Midrashic text Esther Rabba also makes the identification. Bar-Hebraeus identified Ahasuerus explicitly as Artaxerxes II; however, the names are not necessarily equivalent: Hebrew has a form of the name Artaxerxes distinct from Ahasuerus, and a direct Greek rendering of Ahasuerus is used by both Josephus and the Septuagint for occurrences of the name outside the Book of Esther. Instead, the Hebrew name Ahasuerus accords with an inscription of the time that notes that Artaxerxes II was named also Aru, understood as a shortening of Aiyaru the Babylonian rendering of the Persian Xayra (Xerxes), through which the Hebrew aawr (Ahasuerus) is derived. [38] Ctesias related that Artaxerxes II was also called Arsicas which is understood as a similar shortening with the Persian suffix -ke that is applied to shortened names. Deinon related that Artaxerxes II was also called Oarses which is also understood to be derived from Xayra. [38] Another view attempts to identify him instead with Artaxerxes I (ruled 465424 BC), whose Babylonian concubine, Kosmartydene, was the mother of his son Darius II (ruled 424405 BC). Jewish tradition relates that Esther was the mother of a King Darius and so some try to identify Ahasuerus with Artaxerxes I and Esther with Kosmartydene. Based on the view that the Ahasuerus of the Book of Tobit is identical with that of the Book of Esther, some have also identified him as Nebuchadnezzar’s ally Cyaxares (ruled 625585 BC). In certain manuscripts of Tobit, the former is called Achiachar, which, like the Greek Cyaxares, is thought to be derived from Persian Huwaxara. Depending on the interpretation of Esther 2:56, Mordecai or his great-grandfather Kish was carried away from Jerusalem with Jeconiah by Nebuchadnezzar, in 597 BC. The view that it was Mordecai would be consistent with the identification of Ahasuerus with Cyaxares. Identifications with other Persian monarchs have also been suggested. Jacob Hoschander has argued that the name of Haman and that of his father Hamedatha are mentioned by Strabo as Omanus and Anadatus, worshipped with Anahita in the city of Zela. Hoschander suggests that Haman may, if the connection is correct, be a priestly title and not a proper name. [38] Strabo’s names are unattested in Persian texts as gods; however the Talmud[39] and Josephus[40] interpret the description of courtiers bowing to Haman in Esther 3:2 as worship. Other scholars assume “Omanus” refers to Vohu Mana. [41][42][43] In his Historia Scholastica Petrus Comestor identified Ahasuerus (Esther 1:1) as Artaxerxes III who reconquered Egypt. [44] Interpretation[edit] In the Book of Esther, the Tetragrammaton does not appear, but some argue it is present, in hidden form, in four complex acrostics in Hebrew: the initial or last letters of four consecutive words, either forwards or backwards comprise YHWH. These letters were distinguished in at least three ancient Hebrew manuscripts in red. [45][note 1] Christine Hayes contrasts the Book of Esther with apocalyptic writings, the Book of Daniel in particular: both Esther and Daniel depict an existential threat to the Jewish people, but while Daniel commands the Jews to wait faithfully for God to resolve the crisis, in Esther the crisis is resolved entirely through human action and national solidarity. God, in fact, is not mentioned, Esther is portrayed as assimilated to Persian culture, and Jewish identity in the book is an ethnic category rather than a religious one. [46] This contrasts with traditional Jewish commentaries, such as the commentary of the Vilna Gaon, which states But in every verse it discusses the great miracle. However, this miracle was in a hidden form, occurring through apparently natural processes, not like the Exodus from Egypt, which openly revealed the might of God. “[47] This follows the approach of the Talmud, [48] which states that “(The Book of) Esther is referenced in the Torah in the verse’And I shall surely hide (in Hebrew,’haster astir,’ related to’Esther’) My Face from them on that day. [49] Although marriages between Jews and Gentiles are not permitted in orthodox Judaism, even in case of Pikuach nefesh, Esther is not regarded as a sinner, because she remained passive, and risked her life to save that of the entire Jewish people. [50] Additions to Esther[edit] An additional six chapters appear interspersed in Esther in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Bible. This was noted by Jerome in compiling the Latin Vulgate. Additionally, the Greek text contains many small changes in the meaning of the main text. Jerome recognized the former as additions not present in the Hebrew Text and placed them at the end of his Latin translation. This placement and numbering system is used in Catholic Bible translations based primarily on the Vulgate, such as the DouayRheims Bible and the Knox Bible. In contrast, the 1979 revision of the Vulgate, the Nova Vulgata, incorporates the additions to Esther directly into the narrative itself, as do most modern Catholic English translations based on the original Hebrew and Greek e. Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, New American Bible, New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition. The numbering system for the additions differs with each translation. The Nova Vulgata accounts for the additional verses by numbering them as extensions of the verses immediately following or preceding them e. Esther 11:212 in the old Vulgate becomes Esther 1:1a1k in the Nova Vulgata, while the NAB and its successor, the NABRE, assign letters of the alphabet as chapter headings for the additions e. Esther 11:212:6 in the Vulgate becomes Esther A:117. The RSVCE and the NRSVCE place the additional material into the narrative, but retain the chapter and verse numbering of the old Vulgate. These additions include:[51] an opening prologue that describes a dream had by Mordecai the contents of the decree against the Jews prayers for God’s intervention offered by Mordecai and by Esther an expansion of the scene in which Esther appears before the king, with a mention of God’s intervention a copy of the decree in favor of the Jews a passage in which Mordecai interprets his dream (from the prologue) in terms of the events that followed a colophon appended to the end, which reads: “In the fourth year of the reign of Ptolemy and Cleopatra, Dositheus, who said that he was a priest and a Levite, and his son Ptolemy brought to Egypt the preceding Letter about Purim, which they said was authentic and had been translated by Lysimachus son of Ptolemy, one of the residents of Jerusalem” (NRSV). It is unclear to which version of Greek Esther this colophon refers, and who exactly are the figures mentioned in it. [52] By the time the Greek version of Esther was written, the foreign power visible on the horizon as a future threat to Judah was the kingdom of Macedonia under Alexander the Great, who defeated the Persian empire about 150 years after the time of the story of Esther; the Septuagint version noticeably calls Haman a “Bougaion” (Ancient Greek:), possibly in the Homeric sense of “bully” or “braggart, “[53] whereas the Hebrew text describes him as an Agagite. The canonicity of these Greek additions has been a subject of scholarly disagreement practically since their first appearance in the Septuagint Martin Luther, being perhaps the most vocal Reformation-era critic of the work, considered even the original Hebrew version to be of very doubtful value. [54] Luther’s complaints against the book carried past the point of scholarly critique and may reflect Luther’s antisemitism. The Council of Trent, the summation of the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation, reconfirmed the entire book, both Hebrew text and Greek additions, as canonical. The Book of Esther is used twice in commonly used sections of the Catholic Lectionary. In both cases, the text used is not only taken from a Greek addition, the readings also are the prayer of Mordecai, and nothing of Esther’s own words is ever used. The Eastern Orthodox Church uses the Septuagint version of Esther, as it does for all of the Old Testament. In contrast, the additions are included in the Biblical apocrypha, usually printed in a separate section (if at all) in Protestant bibles. The additions, called “The rest of the Book of Esther”, are specifically listed in the Thirty-Nine Articles, Article VI, of the Church of England as non-canonical. [55] Modern retelling[edit] There are several paintings depicting Esther and her story, including The Punishment of Haman by Michelangelo, in a corner of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. [56] In 1660, Rembrandt van Rijn’s painting of Esther’s Banquet depicts how Esther approached the men at their level to make the request of erasing the decree. The Italian Renaissance poet Lucrezia Tornabuoni chose Esther as one of biblical figures on which she wrote poetry. [57] In 1689, Jean Baptiste Racine wrote Esther, a tragedy, at the request of Louis XIV’s wife, Françoise d’Aubigné, marquise de Maintenon. In 1718, Handel wrote the oratorio Esther based on Racine’s play. In 1958, a book entitled Behold Your Queen! Was written by Gladys Malvern and illustrated by her sister, Corinne Malvern. It was chosen as a selection of the Junior Literary Guild. The play entitled Esther (1960), written by Welsh dramatist Saunders Lewis, is a retelling of the story in Welsh. A 1960 movie about the story, Esther and the King, starring Joan Collins. A 1978 miniseries entitled The Greatest Heroes of the Bible starred Victoria Principal as Esther, Robert Mandan as Xerxes, and Michael Ansara as Haman. Episode 25 of the 1981 anime series Superbook involves this story. The 1983 musical entitled Swan Esther was written by J. Edward Oliver and Nick Munns and released as a concept album with Stephanie Lawrence and Denis Quilley. Swan Esther has been performed by the Young Vic, a national tour produced by Bill Kenwright and some amateur groups. A 1986 Israeli film directed by Amos Gitai entitled Esther. In 1992, a 30-minute, fully animated video, twelfth in Hanna-Barbera’s The Greatest Adventure series, titled Queen Esther features the voices of Helen Slater as Queen Esther, Dean Jones as King Ahasuerus, Werner Klemperer as Haman, and Ron Rifkin as Mordecai. [58][59] A 1999 TV movie from the Bible Collection that follows the biblical account very closely, Esther, starred Louise Lombard in the title role and F. [60] In 2000, VeggieTales released Esther… The Girl Who Became Queen. Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther by Ginger Garrett. A 2006 movie about Esther and Ahasuerus, entitled One Night with the King, stars Tiffany Dupont and Luke Goss. It was based on the novel Hadassah: One Night with the King by Tommy Tenney and Mark Andrew Olsen. Esther is one of the five heroines of the Order of the Eastern Star. On March 8, 2011, the Maccabeats released a music video called “Purim Song”. [61] The Book of Esther is a 2013 movie starring Jen Lilley as Queen Esther and Joel Smallbone as King Xerxes. [62] In 2012, a graphic adaptation of the Book of Esther was illustrated by J. Waldman and appeared in volume one of The Graphic Canon, edited by Russ Kick and published by Seven Stories Press. 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English ARTHUR SZYK Jewish ART BOOK Bible ESTHER SCROLL Judaica ISRAEL Holocaust