Esther Regina: A Bakhtinian Reading

Esther Regina: A Bakhtinian Reading

by Andre LaCocque
     
 

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Readers and scholars often question the inclusion of the violent and seemingly secular book of Esther in the biblical canon. Distinguished scriptural scholar Andre LaCocque maintains that this confusion arises from a mistaken appraisal of genre. Drawing on the Russian critic Mikhail Bakhtin, LaCocque reveals the true comedic nature of the novella about Esther and…  See more details below

Overview

Readers and scholars often question the inclusion of the violent and seemingly secular book of Esther in the biblical canon. Distinguished scriptural scholar Andre LaCocque maintains that this confusion arises from a mistaken appraisal of genre. Drawing on the Russian critic Mikhail Bakhtin, LaCocque reveals the true comedic nature of the novella about Esther and Mordecai, finding in the book's grotesque elements - from royal banquets that last a half year to an improbable succession of coincidences and reversals of fortunes that neutralize a planned genocide - a natural fit with Bakhtin's description of the subversive and liberating "carnivalesque."

LaCocque uses key Bakhtinian notions such as the dialogic, the novelistic, the chronotopic, and the polyphonic for a nuanced rereading that shows how comedy in the book of Esther is paradoxically proportionate to the catastrophic predicament of the Jews. In the book of Esther, the underlying conviction is that Jewish survival is providential - and that anti-Semitism is anti-God. This is, as LaCocque tells us with a nod to Aristotle, a worthy lesson disguised as "low genre."

About the Author:
Andre LaCocque is professor emeritus of Hebrew Scriptures at the Chicago Theological Seminary and director emeritus of its doctoral Center for Jewish-Christian Studies

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810124592
Publisher:
Northwestern University Press
Publication date:
12/27/2007
Series:
Rethinking Theory Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
216
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

André LaCocque is emeritus professor of Hebrew Scriptures at the Chicago Theological Seminary and emeritus director of its doctoral Center for Jewish-Christian Studies.  He is the author, with Paul Ricoeur, of Thinking Biblically.

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