Conducting a basic literary analysis of the book of Esther offers a look into the genre of novella/short story in the Bible, written to edify and guide

Conducting a basic literary analysis of the book of Esther offers a look into the genre of novella/short story in the Bible, written to edify and guide communities of the Diaspora.  By pulling apart its different components (plot, characters, themes, message, etc.), and subsequently reintegrating them, you will be able to more consciously appreciate the story’s power to guide Jewish and Christian communities, particularly in settings where they were/are living as struggling – and sometimes beleaguered – minorities

Instructions:

Your work will be divided into six parts as such:

  • Part I – Outline of the Plot of Esther (estimated .5-1 page)
  • Part II – Profiles of the Main Characters in Esther (estimated 1 page)
  • Part III – Main Themes of Esther (estimated 1 page)
  • Part IV – The Theology of the Book of Esther (.5 page)
  • Part V – Implications and Applications for Faith Communities and Communities (.5 page)
  • Part VI – Conclusions: Significance of the Book of Esther (.5 page)

Read the shorter version of the Book of Esther as found in the Jewish canon.  You can find it on:     

As you read the book of Esther:

  • Part I. Outline the plot (the important moments in the story that carry the story forward) – about 15 to 20 key events in Esther.
  • For example (outline using letters):  The story begins at a dinner party hosted by the king of Persia
  • etc.
  • Part II. List the main characters as they surface in the story and develop their profile by listing their traits, challenges that they face, etc., as developed in the story.  (There are at least five main characters.)
  • For example:  Mordecai:  Esther’s uncle, Proud of his people and his heritage etc.
  • Part III. Identify the main themes of the story (there are about 4 or 5) and offer a description of each theme
  • For example:  Loyalty is a main theme because…(a brief description or explanation would follow) etc.
  • Part IV.  Although, as commonly pointed out, the original Hebrew composition of the book of Esther does not include mentions of God (the Septuagint version does), it still is the expression of a theology.  Describe how you understand the theology of the book of Esther.
  • Part V.  Consider implications and applications of the book of Esther: How do you relate the book of Esther to ministerial settings?  How can communities of biblical faith (Jewish and Christian) incorporate/apply its message in the world today?
  • Part VI. In a concluding paragraph (10-15 sentences), write your thoughts on the meaning and significance of the story/book of Esther.  Conclude with a few sentences (3 to 5) on your experience of having conducted this ‘literary analysis’. 

Submission Instructions:  

The paper is to be clear and concise and students will lose points for improper grammar, punctuation and misspelling.  

The paper is to be no shorter than 4 pages in length and no more than 4.5 pages in length. The student will automatically lose points if these limits are not followed.  

Journal articles and books should be referenced according to APA style (the library has a copy of the APA Manual).

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