Erica Brown, "Esther: Power, Fate and Fragility in Exile" (Maggid, 2020)

New Books in Ancient History

25-02-2022 • 49 mins

The Biblical Book of Esther reads like a classic fable, a drama of actors who are recognizable archetypes. There is Esther, the beautiful orphan who becomes queen, Ahasuerus, the buffoon king, Haman, the prototype of evil, and Mordecai, the wise, courageous, and loyal hero. The Book of Esther takes us to the heart of destiny’s moments: a beautiful but unlikely queen evolves into a Jewish leader. A wise and trusted courtier expands his platform of influence, and a vulnerable minority facing death becomes a powerful people in a land not their own. In Esther: Power, Fate and Fragility in Exile (Maggid, 2020), Dr. Erica Brown offers us a close textual and thematic reading of this familiar story of courage and heroism against a background of hate and political ineptitude. This ancient story sheds its light on today's most pressing problems: contemporary antisemitism, sexual tyranny and the absence of leadership. Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network’s Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit