Last summer, I heard a sermon on Esther, preached by a local
Presbyterian minister who is pastor of a "blended" congregation
consisting of Anglicans, Presbyterians, United Church and two other
denominations that I can't name offhand.
What startled me was his assertion that the story of Esther is not
historically true, that it contained a lot of hyperbole, and that it is
simply a story to teach people that God looks after His people.
Not being a archaeologist or a Biblical (?) historian, I had always
assumed that this book of the Bible dealt with a real person Esther, a
real king Ahasverus (sorry for the spelling; don't have a Bible in my
office/lab; maybe I should), and a real Mordechai.
> From: George Murphy[SMTP:email@example.com]
> Sent: March 18, 1998 8:21 PM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: esther & MN
> For the first time in my ministry I preached tonight on a text
> from Esther. There are 2 generally recognized features of this book
> 1) A major theme is providence - "Who knows whether you have
> not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
> 2) The Hebrew text is quite UNreligious - there is no mention
> of God, prayer, or any religious practices.
> Put them all together, they spell "Methodological Naturalism" -
> what happens in the world, including the preservation of Israel, can
> understood in secular terms, though there is the implicit faith that
> is the Lord who is at work in all of that.
> Maybe this is why Esther is in the Bible - "Who knows whether it
> has not come to the canon for such a time as this?"
> George L. Murphy