Literary and empirical readings of the books of Esther
Abstract (Summary)This project involved a close literary analysis of the three texts of Esther. The results of the literary analysis indicated that the texts displayed different textual tendencies and also represented God, the four main characters, and some minor characters, differently. The texts were then presented to real readers for an empirical study of their perceptions of the characters. The empirical data indicate some support for the difference in perception expected from the literary analysis. Readers of the AT considered the king to be more just, Mordecai to be more just and moral, and less dominant, and Esther to be more moral, than in the other two texts. Readers of the BT considered Mordecai more dominant than in the other two texts. For the justice of the king and the justice and morality of Mordecai they rated the BT between the AT and the MT. Readers of the MT considered the king to be less just and Mordecai to be less just and moral than in the other texts. However, for the dominance trait they rated Mordecai between the AT and BT. They also rated Esther between the AT and BT on the morality trait. Some of these effects, however, were modified by the factors of gender and religious affiliation. The literary analysis also suggested that there is a difference in the moral reasoning level between the three texts. This was indirectly supported by the empirical study. The fact that all except one of the differences in perception were related to the character traits of justice and morality indicates that the character traits which are most obviously related to the ethics involved in the text were the ones for which real readers perceived differences.
School Location:New Zealand
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:theology 0469 religion biblical studies 0321
Date of Publication:01/01/1999