Esther: Fraud or Fable?

While the podcasts and notes to our critique of the Book of Esther are are freely available on the pages linked below, there is also a CD available for purchase which contains all of the podcasts and notes to the programs. See Christogenea.com for more information.

Esther: Fraud or Fable? Part 1

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The Book of Esther, Fraud, or Fable? Part 1

“Oh no”, some would say, “now he's attacking the Bible!” Well, whose Bible is that? And what is the Bible? The books which we call the Bible were compiled into a single volume by men, and originally many of them were argued over at great length. Of the 66 books (they are not all “books”, but we will call them “books” for our purposes here) in the King James Version of the Bible, 65 certainly belong there. However the original King James Version of the Bible contained 80 books. The Geneva Bibles which were published in the 16th century and which were the Bibles of the first American protestants also contained 80 books. Someone before us must have attacked the Bible 14 times, because 14 books are already missing! Those 14 books are sometimes published separately and are called the “Apocrypha”. Reportedly, Martin Luther was the first to have published a Bible with these 14 books placed under that special designation, and the Geneva and King James Bibles followed his lead. The typical Catholic Bibles have 72 books, because they retain 6 books from the Apocrypha as well as the 66 found in the King James Version.

But other ancient scriptures exist which are not in the Bible, and were quoted by the apostles as scripture, yet they are not found in the Apocrypha. For a clear example of this, there is Jude 14, where the apostle quotes Enoch. The passage is famous, where it says “14 And Enoch, seventh from Adam, prophesied to these saying 'Behold, the Prince has come with ten thousands of His saints 15 to execute judgment against all and to convict every soul for all of their impious deeds which they committed impiously and for all of the harsh things which the impious wrongdoers have spoken against Him!'” But no such prophecy from Enoch is found in the Old Testament as we have it today. So there are books which the apostles themselves esteemed as Holy Scripture, which never made it into our Bibles at all.

Esther: Fraud or Fable? Part 2

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Esther: Fraud or Fable? Part 2

In Part 1 of Esther: Fraud or Fable? this past Saturday we hope to have established as fact that the Esther narrative does not fit into the histories of any of the kings of Persia, especially taking into consideration the circumstances of Ezra and Nehemiah and some of the internal circumstances of the Esther story, such as the chronology which the book itself provides. We had walked through each of the Kings of Persia, from Cyaxares all the way down to Darius III, the last Persian king, and illustrated the problems which materialize with identifying any one of them as the King of Esther.

We also spoke at length about the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the fact that not only is any portion of Esther entirely missing from those scrolls, but in addition, the Feast of Purim is not mentioned in any of the extensive calendrical writings found among the scrolls. Now, as we have often discussed before at Christogenea, the Dead Sea Scrolls can with certainty be dated to the time of Roman rule over Judaea and while Jerusalem was still intact, to the 130-year period between 65 BC and 65 AD. So the sect which created those scrolls obviously did not have the Esther story among their holy scriptures.

Esther: Fraud or Fable? Part 3

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Christogenea Saturdays, June 6th, 2015 - Esther: Fraud or Fable? Part 3

In the first part of our presentation refuting the canonical status of the Book of Esther, we showed that historically, the Esther narrative does not fit into the rule of any of the kings of Persia, from the earliest of them all the way down to the last of them, for the entire 200-year span of the Persian empire. We also presented textual evidence of the rejection of Esther by the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the sect of Judaeans at Qumran. Additionally, we showed that the supposed events portrayed in Esther are impossible in light of the records of Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, and the minor prophets of the second temple period, which are Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

Then in the second part of our presentation of the arguments against the veracity of the Book of Esther, we began following Bertrand Comparet's sermon against the book. Doing this, along with Comparet we pointed out several inconsistencies in the story itself, as well as several historically ridiculous situations which the book expects us to accept. Among the inconsistencies is the fact, recorded by both the prophet Daniel and by the Greek historian Herodotus, that the Kings of Persia were forbidden to change any laws or decrees which had been made before-time. Yet in the Esther story, even though the story itself also informs us of this Persian custom, the king is seen making such changes which are impossible because of the custom. Among the historically ridiculous situations, we saw that the king had issued a lengthy proclamation that all of the Jews throughout the empire would be put to death, on a specific date eleven months from the date that the proclamation was made. Yet there was no Exodus, and no uprising. Among the inconsistencies we pointed out, the story purports that only two months later the King of Persia had apparently forgotten that he made such an important proclamation.