An impressive and comprehensive study of the book of Esther for Christian scholars.

Esther: Surviving in a Hostile World


A Bible commentary embraces literature, history, and theology to better understand the book of Esther.

“The book of Esther is… full of questions that preoccupy modern man: sexism, feminism, racism, genocide,” Arnold writes. “Is it a model for feminists and oppressed minorities….Is Esther an example to follow?” To pursue this question, he conducts extensive analyses of the book of Esther as a literary work, a historical document, a biblical text, and, most important for his primary arguments, as a “hidden message” about the nature of God’s intervention in the lives of believers. Being different in structure, tone, and subject than any other book of the Bible, Esther lends itself well to this thorough study and allows Arnold (Esther: Forerunner of Jesus Christ, 2015, etc.) to investigate biblical translations, the origin of Purim, and Esther’s place in the historical record. His introduction sets out to show how Esther is affected by drama, intrigue, irony, and especially rhythm—Arnold makes particularly fascinating points about the book’s structure, likening it to varying heartbeats that follow “a crescendo, then a decrease,” in both chapter length and the temporality of the story. In his view, while the book of Esther opens itself to feminist or even post-colonial readings, these elements merely strengthen the text’s messages for believers. “The other questions are peripheral and are only of interest insofar as they convey the author’s message,” he writes, leaving many of those ideas in the footnotes and perhaps missing opportunities to engage with secular interpretations. But for Christian scholars and teachers of the Bible, Arnold acknowledges the inherent difficulties of Esther, namely that it is too long a narrative to easily use in a sermon and that God is never directly mentioned. For that reason, Arnold’s persistent emphasis on tying each piece of analysis to a Christian understanding of the work may become quite useful, especially in his extensive commentary, which breaks down the book of Esther verse by verse, calling on previous research and other biblical texts to further dissect the story for believers.

An impressive and comprehensive study of the book of Esther for Christian scholars.

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5153-0877-5

Page Count: 236

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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