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Calendars in the Book of Esther: Purim, festivals and cosmology

Jacobus, HR; (2013) Calendars in the Book of Esther: Purim, festivals and cosmology. In: Jacobus, HR and de Hemmer Gudme, AK and Guillaume, P, (eds.) Studies on Magic and Divination in the Biblical World. (pp. 69-94). Gorgias Press: Piscataway, NJ, US.

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The paper hypothesises that Esther added an extra month and a day to the king’s calendar to thwart the date of the annihilation of the Jews on Adar 13, a date chosen by Haman’s casting of lots. The result was that the Jews in the provinces were preparing and celebrating Passover when the Jews of Sushan, who had the benefit of additional time, were fighting then feasting. It argues that Esther’s intervention is directly related to Babylonian apotropaic calendar manipulation and that the mathematical and calendrical data in the text indicate how two different Babylonian calendars in the Book of Esther might work: a 354-day lunar calendar and a 360-day calendar. I also suggest is also a relationship between the chronology in Esther and with the reigns of the Persian kings. The essay includes comparative material relevant for the discourses on the role of different calendars in Second Temple Judaism, astrology, cosmology and Jewish festivals. The analysis of the suggested calendars and the textual data in Esther includes different dates for Shavuot followed by different groups in Second Temple Judaism, one of which is reflected in a 364-day calendar scheme that is also attested at Qumran. (9,000 words)

Type: Book chapter
Title: Calendars in the Book of Esther: Purim, festivals and cosmology
ISBN-13: 9781611438697
Publisher version: http://www.gorgiaspress.com/bookshop/showproduct.a...
Language: English
Additional information: Introduction, pp: ix-xvii (8 pages). This version is the author version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Additions to Esther, ancient Jewish astrology, Esther, Purim, ancient Jewish calendars, Passover and Purim, Persian king list, Artaxerxes II, Calendars in the Dead Sea Scrolls, biblical calendars, Babylonian calendars
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1393290
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