This volume takes up the general theme of violence and religion, specifically violence in the Bible, by an examination of selected passages in Megillat Esther. Scripture describes both human and divine violence, and the reality of the latter necessitates treating it as a theological issue, which finds expression chiefly in contexts of judgment and salvation (pp. 4-5). Megillat Esther poses a particularly intriguing challenge in this regard due to its apparently “secular” character because of the absence of God from the narrative, with the result that violence is perpetrated exclusively by human agents (p. 5). The author suggests that the theme of violence in fact reveals traces of the divine presence (p. 8), a point more fully argued later in the book (e.g., pp. 233-34).

The initial chapter discusses these issues by way of introduction and delineates the salient features of the author’s methodology. The book’s chief focus is on...

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