Daniel at the beauty pageant and Esther in the lion's den : Literary Intertextuality and Shared Motifs between the Books of Daniel and Esther

Michael, Matthew (2016)

CITATION: Michael, M. 2016. Daniel at the beauty pageant and Esther in the lion's den : Literary Intertextuality and Shared Motifs between the Books of Daniel and Esther. Old Testament Essays, 29(1):116-132, doi:10.17159/2312-3621/2016/v29n1a8.

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Article

The present paper reads the books of Esther and Daniel as polemic writings of the Persian period which subtly seek to undermine the rhetoric of each other. Since the postexilic environment posed an enormous challenge to the Jewish identity, the great need to preserve this identity became a reoccurring motif in most postexilic compositions. Crystallizing this postexilic discourse, however, the books of Esther and Daniel propose two opposing attitudes to the problem of Jewish identity. While the book of Esther generally advocates the extreme adoption and even marriage to these foreign cultures, the book of Daniel particularly its narrative section (1-6) rejects this particular perspective, and largely promotes a defiant disposition towards the dominant culture. Through intertextual connections, the paper engages the various motifs in Esther, and notes also the subtle engagement and even subversion of these motifs in Daniel.

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