Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The Kings of Persia and the Missing Years

The differing chronologies, moreover, carry major consequences for the dating of Purim. Having so dramatically shortened the Persian empire’s span, the rabbis place the Purim story before the Second Temple was built. According to modern scholarly consensus, however, Purim did not take place until some fifty years after the Second Temple was completed. As Rabbis Yoel Bin-Nun[4] and Menachem Leibtag[5] have suggested, this difference might have profound implications for the meaning of Esther. If the narrative unfolded decades after the Temple had been rebuilt, we might be more likely to view the Megilla as a satire castigating the Jews of Shushan for remaining in the Persian capital instead of returning to their own capital Jerusalem.

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